Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week 73: Now I Feel Like A Fit Pillsbury Dough Boy

1) Do you hear from any of your former companions, ever? Do you keep in contact with them?

2) Are you opposed completely from a Valentine's package?  I know you said no more treats.  But I feel like a "bad missionary mom" if I don't do something.

3) Do you read exclusively from the Book of Mormon in your scripture study, or do you mix up your studies and cover all scripture by studying topically?

4) How is the winter there?  Colder, snowier, wetter, etc than last winter?  are you holding up OK?

5) How is your health holding up?  Anything unusual?

  1. I do every once in a while. My past companions that are still in the mission send me their weekly emails so that's fun. 
  2. I'm not entirely opposed, I just don't know what you'd put in it....because the only thing you could send that would be used before I go home is food. But I don't think I need any of that. And anything else would just be more stuff to get home or leave behind. I've tried thinking of something I could use but I literally can't think of anything...sorry.
  3. For me, personally, what I do is I begin my hour of personal study by reading the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes, and then I study out of Preach My Gospel (the missionary guide) for 10 minutes--I'm studying it from front to back, or at least that was the original idea but it's pretty slow going because I only have ten minutes--and then I study a Christlike attribute for 10 minutes. The last 30 minutes I use to study for investigators, so I'll use Preach My Gospel, the New and Old Testaments, the Book of Mormon, True to the Faith, the Bible Dictionary/the index/the Guide to the Scriptures, etc. It all kind of depends on the needs of the people we're teaching that day. I'm trying to read through the New Testament, but it's pretty slow going because one hour just isn't enough ever.
  4. The winter this year is much milder than last year. There have been a couple single digit days but not many. And it isn't that snowy either. Today it was actually sprinkling/misting rain. I'm doing fine though. I'm pretty much prepared for anything so I just take what we get because the weather doesn't affect much of the work of salvation. The only reason it would is if it's below zero degrees (F) without windchill. Then we're not allowed to go out. Which makes me wonder how people in Russia or Mongolia or other really cold places ever get anything done...maybe we're all just super wimpy here or something.
  5. Health wise I'm doing fine I think. About three times a week we work out with one of the sisters in one of the wards so this is probably the best shape I've been in my whole mission. I still have weird back issues at times, but it's just soreness. None of that crazy I-can't-move-ness so that's good. Plus I've been really trying to get my 5 fruits/veggies every day and drinking more water. A couple times I actually got 8 glasses and I was SO proud of myself. Because that's the hardest part of Fit for the Kingdom for me. (For those who aren't aware, Fit for the Kingdom is our mission "diet". We get points if we meet certain parts and if you get over 400 points for the transfer then you get a gift card to Subway, or something like that. Trust me, I've not gotten close to that yet but I am improving and that's what really matters, right? I'm just building healthy habits for the rest of my life. haha)

Wow I don't even know where to begin this week. SO MUCH HAPPENED. And since I've been pretty skimpy on the emails as of late (sorry) I'll try to give you a summary of the highlights of each day:

Okay so a lot happened but nothing worth noting this day. haha we're just building up the suspense here, okay.

A sister invited us over for lunch so we visited her. Every time we visit she always gives us something random to take with us. This week it was tights, hand sanitizer, a heat compress, face wash, bowls and salt & pepper shakers. haha she's so great. 

We also knocked a lot of doors, which we haven't really done since I got here the beginning of December. Oh man it was so great. I've missed knocking doors. Every door is like a wild card, a surprise. We had some pretty funny/interesting encounters with people closing the door as they talked with us until it was maybe a quarter of an inch wide. One man we talked to did that and then, when we asked him his name, he took one look at us and closed the door. Another woman, when we asked if Maria and Reyna live there, told us that they didn't. We asked her name and she said "Reyna". haha man I just love people. They're so great. It's something that has really helped me to stay positive throughout my mission, because normally when we knock doors, we have experiences with people slamming the door in our face or telling us to go away or something. But it's easier to stay positive if you look for the good in those situations. And you know, someday those people will come round and they'll have true, lasting happiness and peace.

Also taught English class. We worked with Pablo, one of our investigators. He knows about five words/phrases in Spanish, so we went over the alphabet with him again. Oh man, I don't know why but it sure is fun. It's also really hard to say the alphabet in English now, it's been so long.

Oh boy, was this a good day! Instead of our normal district meeting, we got to watch a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast with some of the Apostles and other General Authorities. It was truly amazing. For those who are interested, we have approximately 75,000 full-time missionaries now, serving in over 400 missions. How crazy is that?! Oh man, it was just so marvelous. I was able to receive a lot of revelation that I know is going to help me endure to the end with joy.

That evening we were able to teach a less-active sister in one of the wards. We just stopped by and she let us in, and I think it truly was led by the Spirit. We were able to have a really powerful lesson with her, that I honestly don't think Elders could have had--we discussed our divine nature as daughters of God and helped her recognize how she can have the Spirit more in her life. We're also going to be visiting her again this evening and I am very excited to help this daughter of God come even closer to Christ.

Two of our investigators had their baptismal interviews and they passed with flying colors. Our district leader was actually in tears because he was so touched by this hermana's humility. Man I love these two. They'll be baptized this coming Saturday at 6 pm. They are such an inspiration to me. When I grow up, I want to be as humble as the G. family.

Also had dinner with a recent convert and his wife (she was already a member): the Hartung's. They are so much fun! They took us out to eat at a Thai restaurant (also delicious) and man, I just love being around them. They're so down to earth and humble. Unfortunately they're moving to Arizona soon so we don't get to be with them for much longer.

We had about 30 minutes before we had to leave our area for exchanges and we had some tracting (knocking doors) in the plans. That morning we had picked streets to knock and we'd both felt one of the same ones, along with some others. I knew that we'd both felt that one for a reason so we went and the very first door we knocked on we didn't even get around to knocking! A man opened the door as we walked up (he was waiting for someone else, but still) and we taught him a little about what we teach and he expressed interest in learning more! We set up a return appt for Tuesday (tomorrow) and we're excited to teach him the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! Inspired tracting: I love it.

We were on exchanges and I got to be with my MTC companion, Hermana Capps. What made it even better was that she came here, which is one of her past areas! It was definitely inspired to have our exchange when we did (it was planned approximately one day in advance as opposed to at least a week, which is more normal) because we were able to visit some of the people that Hermana Capps taught while she was here and it was perfect! We had an awesome lesson with her convert, Gonzalo, as well as a lesson with an investigator couple (Samuel and Imelda) that she found. With Samuel and Imelda, we knelt and he offered the prayer, asking very sincerely if this is the path that God wants for him. It was amazing. Plus, they fed us tamales and mexican hot chocolate afterwards. haha score! (But the main reason it was awesome was the lesson, not the food, I promise.)

Also that day, we had to get gas but our receipt didn't print so we had to go inside to get it and we ended up teaching the cashier for about five minutes! Definitely not a coincidence people. As an hermana in my last area always said, "No hay casualidades". Y es la verdad.

Had a meeting with Bishop Malley (Sycamore ward) and Brother McConkie, our ward mission leader, plus Brother Hartung (a ward missionary) and the elders that morning. We got to eat breakfast (Sis Malley is a fantastic cook....) and then discussed the work of salvation in this area. Bishop Malley is awesome, though very intense about everything, which is somewhat intimidating at times. But Brother McConkie is basically an angel and he just knows exactly when we need a bit of an explanative pick-me-up. The work truly is hastening.

Due to the meeting, we started our studies about an hour later than normal, and then we got a call during our language study saying that Jose and Ida (my investigators from Rochelle) were getting married in approximately two hours. EXCUSE ME?! So we were like, alright keep us posted and we'll be where we need to be when we need to be there. Later, we get a call saying Jose and Ida are at the church right now, but we were the closest ones to them (everyone else was in Rochelle--everyone else being the Rochelle Hermanas and Branch President Walters). So we run to the church and let the family in. The Rochelle hermanas get their soon and then we find out that President W has been detained--one of his locksmith jobs was going to take four times longer than expected, so he wouldn't be there for an hour, maybe an hour and a half. So we sent everybody else to go get lunch while Hermana Albrechtsen and I decorated a little bit. Luckily, Sister Owens, who runs the family history center, was there so she helped us out and it turned out pretty lovely. It's amazing what you can find in an LDS church building as far as decorations go. Eventually, everybody who needed to be there was in the same room and they were officially married. So cool. It was a little weird because apparently they had decided the night before that this was going to happen--and one of the Primary girls from our ward was getting baptized at about the same time so there was a bit of confusion--but it all worked out! haha I love those two and I am so happy for them.

Also had a great finding lesson with a member family, the Henricksen Family, in Dekalb. We taught about our mission vision--1000 baptisms in our mission in the year 2016--in relation to Lehi's vision at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. As we taught, Sis Henricksen told us that she had a coworker that we should go visit. Well, one thing led to another and right after dinner we followed her to his house and knocked on his door. It was awesome! He was ready to let us teach him before he even knew what we were going to teach him about! He is so prepared. We just taught him on the doorstep for a few minutes but we were able to set up an appt for this coming Wednesday at a time when Sis Henrickson and his whole family will be there. The vision is truly coming alive before our very eyes. And get this: he offered to feed us. Wow. Just, wow.

Saturday night we had gotten a call from an unknown number and, come to find out, it was Howie A (from my first area in Normal)! He and his wife were passing through Sunday and wanted to stop in and see us both. Man I love those two so much. They also brought up a pan of cinnamon rolls. (They know us so well.) haha

Also, Saul and Francisca and Diego were all at church, plus Samuel and Imelda. Saul and Francisca were totally fellowshipping Samuel and Imelda--they're just too perfect. Also, Saul gave the lesson in Gospel Principles (he's not even a member yet people). Samuel shared a very sweet  thought/testimony at the end of our class, and Imelda seemed to enjoy herself too. Our Spanish group is getting pretty strong here; I love it. I love these people so much. I truly am so blessed to be serving as an Hermana in the Sycamore-Dekalb area of the Illinois Chicago West Mission. 

I have learned so much and I continue to learn and grow everyday. I am definitely not the same person that I was just 17 months ago, for which I am eternally grateful. I know that the Lord is hastening His work. This is the truth. There is no other organization or group of people on the earth that have the very authority of God to perform ordinances of salvation--for the living and the dead--and to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He stands at the head of His Church, and at the side of His disciples. Each of us has the potential, as children of God, to bear the name of Christ and share His restored gospel with all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples. It is a privilege to be a full-time representative of Jesus Christ. I know that I am nothing; as to my own strength I am weak. But I truly can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (Alma 26:12; Phil 4:13) This is the Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ, which were lost from the earth for nearly 2000 years. But God has not abandoned us; He has not ceased to speak to the children of men. He truly has restored His priesthood authority through a young man, even a prophet of the Lord, Joseph Smith. He truly did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, that spring morning in 1820, in a forest in upstate New York. I know it, and I know that God knows that I know it, and I cannot deny it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is another testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Together with the Bible, each of us may know the doctrine of salvation that we may inherit eternal life. All of this knowledge and even more is available to every child of God, if he or she will but ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true (Moroni 10:4). I know that He is your Father, and He will answer your sincere prayer, if you will but ask with real intent, believing that you will receive. Of this I testify, as a set apart representative of my Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, in His name, Amen.

Love, Hermana DeBuck


 1. With Gonzalo, Hermana Capps' convert here in Sycamore. He was overjoyed to see her again. I imagine that's what it'll be like in the spirit world, except probably even better. (:

 2. At the end of exchanges....it's super dark, sorry. haha but it was 8 o' clock at night. We do what we can, but we're only missionaries.

 3. Me with Jose and Ida at their wedding. (It wasn't even planned, but I totally match the colors we picked out for them...) They were so thrilled. And don't they look lovely!

4. Us with the Albrechtsens. It was so fun to see them again! They said when I come back to visit I can stay with them. haha I love them so much.

5. Got our hairs cut today. I love that members are willing to do that for us, for free. Even if we just used a garbage bag as a cape. haha it was definitely worth it. And doesn't my hair just look lovely....haha ah well. You know, you just stop caring after a while. Because there are more important things than how your hair looks--like the salvation of souls.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 72 This Tranfer's Theme: It's Just Too Much!

5 Questions:
1) When you have to speak in church as a missionary, do you have a "go to" topic you like to use? What is it? Or do the bishoprics give you a topic like regular?
2) I know you said not to send any more candies, or treats, but don't you want one last package for Valentine's Day?  Does Sister Albrechtsen. have any favorite treats?
3) How was the wedding this weekend?  Any good stories?
4) Annika Jaccard. got home last week, but I haven't seen her.  I was thinking about popping over to her family's home just to give her a hug in person.  Any message?
5) I have to teach on the Plan of Salvation in February to all the YW.  Any bonus hints you might suggest?

1. So far, I've been given a topic usually. I think I've only been allowed to pick maybe once. So I don't really have a go-to topic.

2. Her favorite is Reese's.

3. It was amazing! Wow, first off, the ward here is just phenomenal. We set up for the wedding Friday night and it was lovely. As for stories, Diego, the 7 year old son of the newly wed couple, almost walked out just before the actual ceremony because he had to go to the bathroom. haha luckily we got him back in before it got too far along.

4. Just tell her I love her!

5. Um......use Preach My Gospel? That's about as simple as it gets....haha sorry I'm not more help.
Well, I don't have much to say this week. I'm staying here in Sycamore-Dekalb with Hermana Albrechtsen--she's going to have killed both of her trainers. I am so blessed to get to be here for another six weeks. The people that we are teaching here are just amazing. The members are awesome. And Hermana Albrechtsen is wonderful. I'm excited to continue to learn and to grow with her here in Sycamore-Dekalb.
Something I learned this week was to appreciate the Spirit in my life. One day, the only homes we made it into was members' homes. And yet there was such a difference between homes of how you felt inside. One was a sister who is going through some medical issues and has a rough past, and at least this time always seemed to be bringing up hard times she's been through. Her husband isn't a member, and for some reason neither of us could feel the Spirit in that lesson, though I think it had more to do with something that happened before we went in, though we never did figure out what it was. And later we visited a less active family whose daughter was recently baptized. And it was so contentious in the home that it was really hard to teach. After we left neither of us felt at ease. Then we had a dinner appointment and we both thought it would be a respite compared to the rest of the day, but it still wasn't super peaceful. After that we stopped by our ward mission leader's home to counsel with him and his wife. Both of us were feeling confused and exhausted and we just needed some guidance. We both also got blessings of comfort and counsel. 
I truly am so grateful for the priesthood that has been restored. I know that Jesus Christ is the source of this power and authority. He gave it to his 12 Apostles during His earthly ministry, but after their deaths, there was no one who had the permission of God to perform ordinances and blessings, until Peter, James and John appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, almost 2000 years later, to give him the same priesthood authority that Christ Himself had given them. It is such a blessing to have that power on the earth once more so that we can be sealed to our families not "until death do you part" but for time and all eternity. It is also a blessing to have it in our every day lives and be able to rely on priesthood holders, who worthily exercise their faith and authority for the benefit of others, whether it be through blessings of healing or ordinances such as baptism. I know that this power is real. It's healed me physically and emotionally and mentally more times that I can count. I know with all my heart that it is this priesthood power and authority, which all of God's prophets have had, that sets apart the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from all the rest. It is by that priesthood power--God's power--that a person can be baptized and truly receive a remission of their sins, because only God can forgive sins. Money won't give you a remission of your sins; only a broken heart and a contrite spirit, when you make a covenant with your God that you will always remember Christ, that you'll take His name upon you, and that you'll keep His commandments. Then and only then is His promise fulfilled--that He will forgive us of our sins, that we will be born again, and that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I know that these things are true, and I know that any person can come to feel and know their truthfulness, if they are willing to pay the price of divine knowledge.
I love my Savior, and I am privileged to be His representative here in Sycamore-Dekalb. I know that the work we do as missionaries--18, 19, 20, and 21 year olds--is the work of salvation. Everyday we go out and we offer everyone we see the opportunity to inherit eternal life. Because God works by two laws: mercy and justice. And it is through divine ordinances, and our own personal enduring to the end, that both of those laws may be fulfilled and we may feel at home in our heavenly home once more. I know all these things because I have read the Book of Mormon and pondered on its words, and asked God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true, along with all the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I am blessed to teach every day for 18 months. If you yourself do not have a knowledge of these things--if you do not know that these are true nor false, I invite you to find out. I know that they are true. And you may know if you will show your faith and read, ponder, and pray. It's as simple as one, two, three. Because God loves you and wants you to know what is true. That's it.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. nice zone foto: E. Trappett, Hadlock, Hibbard, Frark, Hastings, Clark, Weigel, McNatt. H. Webb, Henricksen, Albrechtsen, DeBuck, Beuhner, Osborne, S. Smith, Seyfi, Waters, Smith.

 2. "serious" district photo. (I just can't do serious, people...)
3. photo via my best friend from Japan (we know where he lives...)

4. Found this in a diner, and thought of Dad and Cameron.
5. The diner we ate at, in downtown Sycamore. Checking things off the before-I-die bucket list, one P-day at a time... (:

6. all the sisters in the Rockford South zone (Sis Smith, Sis Waters, Hna Beuhner, Hna Osborne, Hna Webb, Hna Henricksen. Sis Smith, Sis Seyfi, Hna Albrechtsen, me.) [I feel like I'm always on the end
7. Funny zone foto #1

8. Funny zone foto #2

9. district photo: Hna Albrechtsen, me (not on the end this time!), Hna Henricksen, Hna Webb. Elder Frark, E. Hibbard, E. Clark, E. Wiegel, E. Trappett, E. Hadlock


10. decorating the cake for the wedding
11. us and Francisca and Saul. I LOVE THEM.
12. everybody at the wedding. I think. (back row: Sis McConkie. behind the piano, Gonzalo Pizzaro, Megan (friend of Francisca), Loni Williamson, Francisca Freeman, Anabel (friend of Francsica), Francisca, Saul, Presidente Garza, Miguel (Saul's uncle), Brother Briscoe, Pablo, Javier G., front row: me, H. Albrechtsen, Diego (son of couple), Emma, James, Rosemary, Elizabeth, Christian and Brother McConkie.)
13. us and the cake...
 14. the weather on Sunday morning....this is what I'm living through...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 71: I Almost Didn't Send This Email

1- what kind of training did you have that you got to visit with Brother Howie from normal? He messaged me that he got to see you.
2- how is the training going for Hermana Albrechtsen?
3- when is the next transfer? Do you think you'll stay put?
4- are you still liking your mini iPad? Is your keyboard case working right?
5- how are your promising investigators progressing?

  1. We had new missionary training last week. The Elders that are in my first area are also a trainer-trainee companionship (the trainee was actually in Hermana Albrechtsen's MTC district) and Brother Albrechtsen had driven them up because he's just amazing like that. haha it was so good to talk to him and the Elders actually. I found out from my trainer a bit ago that someone we'd taught was baptized and when I asked the Elders about it they said they met with her on Monday and she told them she wanted to be baptized on Wednesday. So they made it happen. So cool! Man, I love that area. I may not have baptized anyone while I was there, but I feel that I've at least played a part in a few of the baptisms that have happened. I know I've made a difference in those people's lives and they sure have impacted mine.
  2. I think it's going well. She hardly even needs training, she's so great. And we can't believe it's almost over! This is the last week of the 12 Week program for us. We're pretty excited because we get to watch ALL of the district. Movie night! (Just kidding, it's totally for training purposes. But we still love it.)
  3. Next transfer is next week. We find out this Saturday what's going on. And yes, I think I'm stay. We're hoping and praying that we both stay actually. That would be the dream.
  4. Yeah, it's good. I admit, it's grown on me. It's super useful, especially for missionary work. Yesterday we had a member with us who just got back from his mission a few months ago and he's pretty jealous that we get to carry around our entire Area Book with us, everywhere we go. (The paper Area Books are like a two inch binder and they're SUPER heavy....)
  5. Oh man. They're amazing. Did I tell you they paid tithing last week? (I suspect it was supposed to be fast offerings, but they paid it all the same! There were some great testimonies on tithing and it really impacted them I think.) They're also getting married THIS SATURDAY. Oh man. I am SO excited. Wedding number three for this hermana. But this one will be a lot more low key (not put on by a Spanish branch, and put on for a very humble reserved couple.) It's going to be great. They'll be baptized the 30th of this month as well. They're excited. We're excited. The ward's excited. Everyone's excited. (: This area is amazing.

As far as news, I haven't got much. I'm nearing the end of my service as a full-time missionary, but I know there are many miracles to come. I've got some repenting to do *cough*journal*cough* but I know that "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven". We washed and vacuumed our car today, even though it's about 15 degrees Fahrenheit (excluding windchill...). I think the guy manning the car wash thought we were crazy, but we are obedient and we will be blessed.

Oh there is this tidbit: we've been assigned Jose and Ida, my two investigators from Rochelle. Jose is taking a 6 week long class in Chicago Heights and Ida is staying with her daughter during the week while Jose is away and her daughter lives in Dekalb. So we're suddenly in charge of their teaching until further notice. It's kind of really confusing actually. But I'm excited. We're going to visit Ida tomorrow. They're also getting baptized the 30th of this month and need to get married before then. But at least both of our couples have marriage licenses so it's really not that hard....it's just coordinating everything. Man. I love this week. It's so rewarding.

It's been a great week of achieving our goals and I'm looking forward to reaching new heights. The vision truly has been raised by the Lord and I know He will qualify us as we submit our will to His. He is all-knowing and all-powerful, and through Him we truly can do all things--even miracles, if it so be His will for us and for those in our care. I know that this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives, and He has not forsaken us. He has called a prophet on the earth today, who has the authority to say "Thus saith the Lord..." because he speaks with the Lord and literally knows the words of the Lord as He speaks today. Miracles have not ceased. The heavens are not sealed. I am a representative of Jesus Christ Himself, and as such I invite all to learn of the message of joy which I share and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if this message is not true. I testify that God answers the prayers of those who have a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ. All people everywhere may gain a divine witness that the Book of Mormon is in fact another testament of Jesus Christ, that Joseph Smith is God's prophet of this dispensation, and that the Church that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith is indeed the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days. Will you put God to the test and ask Him for yourself if these things are not true?

Love, Hermana DeBuck


Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 70: How Many Times Do You Have To Be Repreimanded/Counseled To Fill The Font?

5 Questions:
1) Were you a trainer before Sister Albrechtson?  We got a nice letter from the mission office that you were made a trainer, but I thought you had been one before.
2) We also got a nice thank you letter from the mission office about my sending  McDonald's gift cards.  Did you get one--I hope not.  I meant them to go to missionaries that didn't get much/anything from their families.  Just wondering...
3) Has winter shown up there yet?  It is winter here in a BIG way.  Christmas day we had a ton of snow--so we came home to a yard/driveway/housetop full.
4) Are you warm enough?  Do you like your Christmas presents?  You really didn't say too much when we talked on Christmas.
5) Did you get my message that I put Grandma Eileen's and Grandpa Herb's Christmas money in your account?

  1. No, this is my first time.
  2. I did not get one, at least not from the mission/you. Just from other people. (By the way, shout out "thank you" to everyone for the Christmas cards/gifts/notes! I really wish I could write hand written thank you notes to each and every one of you, but I just can't. I'm sorry. I am not superhuman and it just won't happen. I still love you though.)
  3. Yeah, so last week on Monday we got some crazy snow that is nicknamed "heart attack snow" because it is so dense that when you shovel it, you're likely to get so worked up that you'll have a heart attack if you're not careful. Or something like that. Anyway, there was a winter storm warning with snow and freezing rain and whatnot, but we did just fine. However, the snow froze overnight and walking over it now is like walking over a frozen lake. We had a grand old time jumping on it outside a members' house because there's no fear of falling into the ice cold water below--because it's just grass.
  4. I am definitely warm enough. haha I did like my Christmas presents, thank you. I just wasn't expecting so much. I think I just dislike talking about gifts people give me because it makes me feel uncomfortable but I really am grateful. Promise.
  5. Got the message at least now, but I think I did before too. Thank you.

Basically, this was the week of miracles.
If I could write about every single one, it'd probably take you an hour to read it--and that would name an inordinate amount of time to write for me, which is time that I simply do not have. So a summary is what you'll get and you'll just have to be happy with it.
  • I love going by less active members' homes that you don't know anything about--and then they're super duper nice! It's the greatest feeling, I tell you what.
  • District lunch at a Mexican restaurant and we convinced our district leader to get horchata; needless to say he's in love.
  • A dinner appointment cancelled the day of one day and then, as we were driving back to our apt for dinner we got a call from a family saying that they were planning on having the Elders over but they weren't able to make it so if we wanted to we could come over and eat the extra food. I think we got there faster than a horse around a barrel. 
  • Because of the impromptu finding lesson and my wonderful companion asking for a referral, we decided to try this less active family later in the week, with the daughter of the family we ate dinner with. But they said we should call first so we did and she was super friendly! Unfortunately she was on her way to work so we couldn't visit. But then she was at church the next day! We were unable to attend that ward's sacrament meeting but we were told that she shared her testimony about all the "coincidences" that helped her want to come today--including a call from the sister missionaries. I love it when you see/hear of the direct fruits of your labors. And I love it when members and missionaries actually work together.
  • We taught two of the best investigators of all time, Saul and Francisca (and their 7 year old son Diego). And they told us that they want their son to go on a mission. Also, the wedding date is set and they're on their way to baptism!
  • We celebrated New Years with our ward mission leader, Bro McConkie and his family. We did a Spanish (as in Spain) tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight (or 6:30 for missionaries), one at every chime of the clock. I only got through ten because it was so funny to watch everyone else. Then we spent the evening reading the Book of Mormon--our mission president gave us a new challenge of specific things to mark and look for, and we're supposed to be done before April, though I'm going to try to finish before I report home.
  • We FINALLY got to do some finding (probably the third or fourth time since I got here) so we went looking for some people who missionaries had met in the past but never taught and one of the doors we get to has someone coming out of it. His name is Hector and he practically asked us to teach him about Christ. Unfortunately he lives in Wisconsin. But I know the Gospel is just as true there as it is here. At another door we knocked we found Marina who somehow has a Book of Mormon and a King James version of the Bible (though we have no record of her being taught) and we taught her for just a bit and set up a return appointment. First new investigator since my first week I think! So cool.
  • Went out with one of the Laurels in Dekalb ward to try some less actives for about an hour and the first two had moved--but the people living there were interested in learning more! It was truly miraculous. We told the young woman with us that she must be a lucky charm because rarely do people respond like that. But it was amazing! That is the effect of members and missionaries working together. President Monson is definitely inspired and is definitely the Lord's chosen prophet.
  • Jennifer was baptized! She was so so happy and it was such a good service. To make a funny long story short though, we spent the two hours before the baptism started filling the font--with giant pots from the kitchen because we couldn't get the font faucet to work. Eventually one of the bishopric members and his wife came and showed us what to do. In our defense, the directions on the wall are NOT accurate for what to do. But hey, thanks to our giant pots from other water sources in the building, the water was the perfect temperature.
  • Jennifer was confirmed on Sunday! The members do such an amazing job of fellowshipping and helping her feel welcome. She also shared her testimony (at the baptismal service and in sacrament meeting) and she did so wonderfully. It was such an amazing experience.
  • Saul AND Francisca (and Diego) came to church and she loved it! It was her first time and it was a really good one. But then, they're always good. We had set up 8 headsets for translation and all of them were gone. Sadly, Pablo was unable to make it and one of our other investigators dropped us via text, but he'll come around when it's his time, I know it. Also, we found out this morning that our investigator couple paid tithing yesterday, due to some powerful testimonies on tithing--and we've never even taught them what it is. The gospel is SO true, people.
  • We got a call one morning from someone that we'd stopped by the day previous, leaving a note with our number. For those who aren't too familiar with missionary work, that NEVER happens. Seriously. People never call us when we leave a note. Not even members. But this guy did. And he told us he's looking for something more in his life and he thinks this might be it. Well, Dan, the path to eternal life is about to open up before your eyes. (He's one of three people we'll be handing over to the elders, but the gospel they teach is the same exact one we teach, which is the same exact one that Christ teaches, so it doesn't matter who teaches or who baptizes because it's all just so true!)
  • We visited Saul and Francisca and Diego on Sunday in the afternoon and  they accepted a baptismal date of 30 January! We are so excited for them. Diego asked, "I have to be 8 to be baptized right?" and when we said yes he told us in three months he'll turn eight, so we told him that his dad will be able to baptize him. He was so excited. Also, his parents want him to serve a mission in Mexico--probably to find, teach, and baptize all their cousins. Aren't they the greatest? I think yes.

Basically, Heavenly Father is so good to us. I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel with everyone. I especially love giving cards to cashiers and random people in the store and sharing a simple testimony of Christ and His restored Gospel. The Gospel is so true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and so is the Bible. Joseph Smith is God's chosen prophet in these latter-days to restore the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today and the only man authorized to receive revelation for the entirety of the human family. I know that when we follow his counsel and the words of the ancient prophets found in the holy scriptures, we will not fall off the path and one day, we too will partake of the fruit of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 8).

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. Us with one of the pots we used to fill the font. We are nothing if not creative and resourceful.
2. Using the water from the men's shower--the women's was colder and yellowy...no thanks.
3. The other water source was the cleaning closet, and we used the mop bucket to transport the bucket from the closet to the font.
4. Jennifer and us, just before her baptism. Isn't she just glowing? (Pardon my awkward smile, I was in the middle of chewing a brownie, which was all I had for dinner....)
5. This time we are literally glowing. Oh boy. But this is us with Jennifer and Brother McConkie (the ward mission leader) who baptized her.