Monday, November 13, 2017

Estoy en Higuey!

Sorry about the crazy email last week! But right now I have been working in Higüey for almost a week now! It is very beautiful here! My companion, Hermana Aleixo, is from Brasil and has about 4 months in her mission! We get along really well and she´s teaching me portuges! I´m pretty pummped to be here! It was SO bittersweet leaving Gazcue, but I know that I´m here where I am for a reason! The area is SOOOOOOOOO big. I don´t think I´m ever going to be able to learn all the streets and places. 

My first day here we were able to but a baptismal date for a 13 year old boy named Jefferson. He lives with his aunt because his mom lives in the US. He is haitian, so speaks French, Creole, Spanish and even some English! They have a hymn book in french, so we sang some christmas songs in french. Let´s just say I´m forever grateful I´m learning spanish and NOT french. That is very difficult! And yes, it is christmas here. It starts on October 15th and ends in January....everyone already has their christmas trees and lights everywhere! And we have been singing christmas hymns for a couple of weeks now! haha

On Saturday we had a conference with ELDER COOK! Technically he was in Santiago and broadcast to us here, but still. He spoke to the three missions that are here in the DR. IT WAS AMAZING. One thing that really stood out to me is the apostolic promise he gave to us. It was that one day, every single one of us will realize that our mission was not for us. It was and is for someone else. I know that my mission has and IS changing me. I am closer to our Savior Jesus Christ, I have a stronger testimony of the restauration, and there are so many changes I can´t even count them. But to know that someday I´ll realize that this mission isn´t for me, is incredible to me. I don´t just hit me. After the conference, we went as a zone to El Seibo to do a cosecha. It is a beautiful area in the mountains! I helped push a giant truck to help it start and then we contacted the people there using the book of mormon. Then we played leap frog with a bunch of kids and contacted them and their parents with the book of mormon. Being a missionary is just plain fun! 

Well, I´ll try to write a better email next week...haha LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Lawrence
A beautiful Catholic Cathedral in our area

Standing on the roof of our house
This area is beautiful!

Dirt roads in our area

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Today is a holiday and all the internet sites are closed, so i am quickly writing in the office so thats
Raiza's Baptism
why everything is so loco!

First things first... TRANSFERS!!!  I'm leaving my lovely Gazcue after six months of being here... It's bittersweet!  I really love this crazy area.:-)  I'm going to HIGUEY! The furthest area of hermanas from the office.  I'm going to be with Hna. Alexio from Brasil who just finished her training and I'm going to be the Hermana Leader.  Hna. Jensen is staying here in Guzcue... AND TRAINING! Whoo! I'm so excited for her.  She will be AMAZING!  But I'll miss her a
TON!!!  She's the best!

This week was crazy!  Tuesday Raiza got baptized! It was a really awesome experience for Hna. Jensen and me to be able to help out Maria Aviliadora... and something that I've learned lately is that "converts" are not "ours", they're the Lord's.  Raiza was really happy.  :-)  (what a better way to spend Halloween)

Wednesday... Consejo de Lideres was amazing!  Learn a lot!  I
don't remember much of this week.. Haha!

Saturday we sent to Familia Acosta's to do service.  The ward has been planning for a while to fix up their house because they have very humble circumstances.  The ward brought them beds, food, painted their house and fixed it up A LOT!  The family  basically every single member shared their testimonies on Sunday crying saying how grateful they were and it was an awesome experience!

Summer was baptized on Saturday.  He's been investigating on andoff for a long time and it really is a miracle how
easily he accepted to be baptized. His service was great!  The spirit was strong!

...okay... I don't remember a ton right now...

LOVE you all!
Hermana Lawrence

For Halloween we carved a papaya.  It works incredibly well!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Where do I even start?!

Wow! A week full of miracles, SO MUCH OPPOSITION, and more miracles!

On Monday night, we were so excited to go to Estela and fill out her baptism record and get her so ready for her baptism on Tuesday night. We arrived at her house and she started telling us that she wasn't ready, that she couldn´t get baptized because she was going to have to move...etc. She gave us a lot of reasons why she couldn't get baptized, but really Hna Jensen and I mainly just felt she wasn't telling us the truth. We went home that night and I was just frustrated that Estela wasn't trusting us and telling us the truth. Our district leader called us and was telling us something about her baptism and then I broke down and told him that estela might not be getting baptized. (I think i cry a little too much for no good reason. In the moment I feel like the world is ending but then it always turns out that God is just making sure I´m learning the lesson I need to learn...) Then the other hnas got home and told us that Maritza, a member, said that Estela called her and was talking to her about some things. So tuesday in the morning we went to Maritza´s house and asked her about what Estela had said. She told us that she explained that she shouldn´t get baptized because she feels an obligation to someone, but apparently I was frustrated for no good reason because Estela was still getting baptized, and for the right reason! So tuesday night we arrived at her house to walk with her to her baptism. We arrived at 6¨30, and we waited there for about an hour before Estela even got home from work. Her baptism was supposed to start at 7, but really didn´t start until 8ish. But the
baptism went really well! Her brother, who is a member but hasn´t been to church in like 6 years went to her baptism and was crying and smiling at the same time because he was so happy about his sister making the decision. The spirit was strong! It always is nice when your companion can play the violin like a pro too! 

On tuesday night we got a text from the zone leaders saying that we were going to have cosechas in different zones to help the zones that haven´t baptized yet, baptize. We have the promise this month that every companionship is going to baptize. So on Wednesday morning we packed up two guaguas full of missionaries (we are in the DR so of course we fit WAY too many people into the guagua! Probably 25 missionaries in a 10 person guagua....haha) The guagua that I was in headed to Los Molinos. Hna Jensen and I went to a place called La Ureña and contacted our lives out searching for pepole prepared to be baptized. There, we gave away 12 copies of the Book of Mormon and found many prepared people! Then we ate some lunch and packed up the guagua again and we all headed to San Pedro! Hna Jensen and I continued to contact and give away books of Mormon. We found a very prepared family in Santa Fe! The excitement of all the missionaries was soo coooool to see! At the end of the day we all met up at the stake center (there were missionaries working in every area in San pedro) and we all knelt down and said a pray thanking heavenly father for the success and miracles we had seen that day. There were about 65 missionaries working in ONE zone. We were able to put 40 baptismal dates in 3 areas that didn´t have any baptismal dates before that! On the way home we were all tired, hot, but very very happy! We sang hymns all the way back to the capital! I wish you could all see the was incredible!

On Thursday, we did an intercambio and i went with Hna Falcon to the assistant´s area. (hna jensen and I have been helping with the assistant´s investigator that is getting baptized this month) We taught Raiza, and she told us that we was ready for baptism on Sunday!

Friday morning Hna Jensen and I went to go over the baptismal questions with Raiza, and she passed with flying colors! Then we got picked up to head back to San Pedro. This time we worked in the area of Kennedy. Hna Jones is serving there! We we able to contact more and find more prepared people! That day 25 more baptismal fechas were set for this month! There were people calling the assistants asking permission to do baptismal interviews that very minute! So many miracles happened! Again, we sang heading back to the capital! My heart was so full of happiness and excitement!

Saturday we headed to my first area, MENDOZA! To do a cosecha there. We went to the area of Villa Carmen and visited a girl that already had her baptismal interview, passed, but then said that she wasn´t ready, so didn´t want to get baptized anymore..even though she already passed her interview. We talked to her and invited her to pray to God and ask when he wanted her to get baptized, and she said that tuesday was good....THE LAST DAY IN OCTOBER! Miracle right there, people. Then we went to go teach Raiza again, but she wasn´t home. We then found out that her cousin had just gotten murdered, so they were over at their house helping out with that and to be with family. I feel like someone has to die every time someone has a baptismal date. It´s terrible. So we wrote a note and left it for her hoping she´d get it and go to church and her baptism the next day (and we prayed a lot). Then we went and taught Summer, He is now preparing to get baptized this saturday!

Sunday, Estela got confirmed! She was hugging the whole bishopric a lot because she was so happy! Then, during Sunday School, we got a call from the Assistants asking us to talk to Raiza over the phone and basically persuade her to leave her house and go to church and her baptism. She wasn´t wanting to leave the house. So over the phone, we sang I´m A Child of God and we prayed with her. After about a 30 minute conversation, we came to the conclusion that she wasn´t going to leave. So we just continued to pray and have faith. Later that afternoon, they asked us to go to her house and talk to her in person, so we went and after 5 minutes of talking to her and her mom, her mom said, ¨so when can Raiza get baptized?¨ We asked Raiza if that´s what she wanted, and she said yes and we put the fecha for tuesday (tomorrow). The elders told us we were miracle workers, but if I have learned anything this week, I´ve learned that it is ALL Heavenly Father! I am not an extraordinary missionary, but the Lord is extraordinary. He can work miracles, and any miracle that ¨we work¨ is always in His name. Heavenly Father has given each and every one of us talents and gifts to bless His children. I know that this is HIS work. I love being an instrument in God´s hands and being able to see so many miracles and blessings! I love you all and hope you all have the greatest week ever! We´re always going to have opposition, especially when we´re about to see something amazing, so we just have to have faith to overcome the opposition and push forward!

Les Quiero!
Hermana Lawrence 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Guineos por un peso!

Hola! It has been a good week, still difficult, but I am still learning and growing everyday! I love everyday and every experience I am having! 

We have really been focusing on contacting with the Book of Mormon. Hna Jensen and I decided we were going to carry books in spanish and creole. There was a guy on the sidewalk selling sweets or something. We walked up to him and asked him if he spoke creole. He said yes, so we continued to say that we had a book in creole that we didn´t understand and we were hoping that we could give it to him. He said yes. So we gave him the book and asked him to read Helaman 5:12. He read it in creole, obviously. I could only understand a couple of words, but I could feel the truthfulness of what he was reading. The whole street went quiet. not a single car passed by (which is very rare here haha), and we were just standing there listening him read the Book of Mormon in creole. It´s an experience I will never forget! I felt the spirit very strong! 
We had a noche de testimonios/movie night on Tuesday as a zone. Everyone brought their investigators and we watched the movie ¨finding faith in Christ¨it turned out really well! There were a lot of people there, and we were able to meet the investigators from other areas and create friendships with them! I am really seeing a difference in how our zone and our mission is working together to accomplish great things! The Lord is blessing us!
We went to go do Estela´s baptismal interview on Thursday because her baptism was for Saturday.  We were waiting for the elders to show up at the church...and they were late. Hna Jensen said ¨Let´s say a prayer. There´s way too many things that could go wrong right now.¨ I really love Hna Jensen! SUCH an example to me! I know that when we ask for help, and then do something about what we ask for, Heavenly Father blesses us. FAITH is very important! We showed up and the first thing she told us was ¨hermanas. I can´t be baptized saturday¨my heart sunk. She then explained to us that her daughter´s dad died, and so she was going out of town for the funeral, but that any day after sunday was okay for her baptism! I don´t understand why someone has to die in her family right before her baptism....but she had her interview, she passed and now the baptism is tomorrow! I´m excited! NOTHING IS GOING TO GO WRONG.
On sunday we did a cosecha in Villa Juana. Hna Jensen and I had the relief society president with us and also a young women of 16 years. Walking around the area, teaching them how to contact people, learning their conversion stories, and sharing the gospel was one of the highlights of my week. I could not stop thinking Ï WANT TO BE A MISSIONARY! But then I kept reminding myself that I am one! How lucky am I?!
I love you all! Hope your week is the greatest! 

Hermana Lawrence

-We went to the Parque Mirador Norte (it´s like a national park or something) and as we were walking out there was a truck full of bananas, so i asked the guy how much each one cost, and he said ONE PESO! Usually they are 5 PESOS! So we bought 20.....I don´t know what I´m going to do with 20 green bananas. I guess i just got a little exctied that they were so cheap. Thats like 20 bananas for 40 cents! WHOO! If anyone has good green banana recipes....send them my way! haha 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Up's and Down's

It was a very busy, stressful, amazingly spiritual, heart-breaking, learning week! We had cosechas in basically every area in our zone, so I was able to visit Simón Bolívar, Capotillo, Maria Auxiliadora, Villas Agrícolas, and we had one here in  Gazcue as well! I like cosechas-being able to help other missionaries and being able to see how different this country is from one place to another. We were able to help the Elder´s put fecha bautismales, we were able to animar their investigators, we saw many miracles! They really help our zone become more united. Because if we´re not untited, we´re not the Lords (that sounds awkward in english....) haha

We weren´t able to see Legna for the whole week because she was working A LOT. Like, overtime. So we wrote her a letter of everything we wanted to say to her as if it was a lesson. It worked out pretty well! On Friday night we were supposed to have her baptismal interview and so we were waiting at the church with our district leader and our ward mission leader. Legna never showed up. She wasn´t answering her phone either. It was already too late to walk to her house and still be in the house on time. So the next morning she still wasn´t answering. We got to her house at 10 in the morning and her car was there, but she wasn´t coming to her we waited. We ended up doing our weekly planning outside of her house....haha....becasue we didn´t want to lose any time. Eventually at 12*30ish she woke up or something and we were able to talk to her. She told us she needs more time to be baptized. That this passed week she hasn´t even read in the book of mormon because she´s been so busy and worried about work and making money. She also told us a couple of other things, and I am grateful that she was honest with us. I´m going to admit, I cried after. I was just so confused as to why HeavenlyFather wouldn´t bless her in her work like we have promised her time after time. But I know that he still loves her. And he can only bless us as much as we put in. I don´t know how to describe everythign I learned, I´m not very good with words, But I do know that heavenly father loves us. We´re still helping her prepare for baptism, so she´ll get baptized soon :)

We had zone conference this week! Hermana Jensen was asked to do a special musical number with her violin and another elder playing the piano. They divided the mission into 3 days of conference, so she played everyday! But, being her companion, somehow I was roped into being the singer....luckily it wasn´t a solo, though. We did Savior Reedeemer of my Soul. It was BEAUTIFUL (other than my voice haha) I sang with different people every day, so it was cool! President cried every single time :)

We´ve been working a lot with Andreas Santana. I can´t remember if I´ve talked about him or not, but he contacted us in the street and has come to church a bunch-he has been to president and hermana smith´s house, and he is so cool! He is so impressed by us as a church, but most importantly he says what he feels at church and when he is with us is peace and he want´s that all the time! We invited him to be baptized and he said he want´s to, but he wants time to keep learingin, but he will be baptized soon! 

As many times as I have felt down this week, thinking why people aren´t getting baptized as fast as they have in the past or in other areas, I have felt good remembering my real purpose as a missionary. Hermana Jensen is teaching me way more than I am teaching her :) We´re doing well! and we are working hard!

Love you all! Have the greatest week ever!

Hermana Lawrence

(we set up my hammock for p-day today!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Another week of miracles!

Another amazing, miracle-filled week! There are definitley challenges everyday, but it´s just Heavenly Father making sure that we deserve the miracles! On Tuesday we were searching for a menos-activo familia. We didn´t really have an exact address, but I thought I knew what apartment building they lived in, so we just went to a random door and asked if they knew the family. They didn´ then we contacted them. We asked them if they believed in Christ or something like that and they said ¨were baptist¨ and then sent us away. But we were determined to find this family. So then we went to a different member´s house to ask where the menos activos lived. (Elder Fortuna...he´s a 70 and lives in our ward...haha) The wife told us that it was the second building on
the second floor to the left. So we went back to the other building and went to the second floor and the door on the left. We yelled ¨BUENAS!!¨because knocking doesn´t exist here. A woman stuck her head out and told us to wait a second. Then a minute later a guy came and opened the gate of a door for us.We asked them if they were members, and they said no. But they told us to come in. We went in and we sat on the couch. It was a little unconfortable how it seemed like they knew us so well. But we got talking to the mom, whose name is Dalma and her son, Sanky who is 19 years old. She said ÿou´ve been here before! It´s been a long time!¨ we told her that
we had never been to her house before and she seemed just as suprised as we were! She told us we looked like missionaries from a different church that had been there before. We explained that we were different missionaries and then Sanky started showing pictures that he had on his phone of the TEMPLE! He said that he could see it right outside one of his classroom windows and he has always thought that the gold guy on top was cool. This 19 year old non member (yet) literally had pictures of the temple on his phone because he thoght it was cool. Like....that´s a miracle in and of itself! They then fed us dominican pasta and invited us to come back on Saturday. So on Saturday we went back and we found that Dalma has other sons! We ment Yohansel, who is 30 years old. The second we walked into the house, Yohansel was so suprised! He was so attentive to the lesson (which ended up being like 2 hours long because they had so many questions and were SO interested!). We gave Dalma and Sanky copies of the Book of Mormon the first time and they had read it, and Yohansel was telling us that he wanted one as well, so we gave him one as well! He kept it close to him the rest of the night (they fed us dominican spagetti and tostones....again.....just becasue I said I liked tostones. You really need to be careful about what you say you like in this country....because the people will give it to you. For example one time I told someone I liked their shoes and they tried giving me their shoes...haha) at the dinner table he had it as well. We invited them to be baptized and Yohansel said yes! He´s preparing for the 29th of this month. He was a little nervous about it being so fast but then he was like ¨YES! I CAN BE BAPTIZED ON THE 29TH!¨ The next day he came to church and he loved it! and was particiapting a lot! Another testimony builder that Heavenly Father truely prepares his children, we just need to find them! We are still working with the rest of the family for baptism. And we still haven´t found the menos activo family...

Sunday we had 7 investigators at church! It´s crazy how one week it is difficult to have one investigator and then this week we had 7! Hard work is paying off and Heavenly Father is blessing us! 

We were doing a cosecha in Villa Francisca on Sunday, in which each missionary was given 2 copies of the Book of Mormon because President told the zone leaders that we would see a lot of success if we used the Book of Mormon in the cosechas. Hna Jensen and I contacted a 10 year old girl using the Book of Mormon and then we left. A couple of minutes later we saw her running down the road towards us and panting said ¨my grandma wants a book! Can she have one?¨ We then went back and gave her grandma the Book of Mormon! It was a cool expierence! We gave away our four books within 30 minutes! We needed more! Everyone has seemed very excited when we have given them a book!  We have been giving away a TON of books of mormon recently and it is so much fun! I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON!

Legna is getting baptized on Saturday! She´s amazing! I am praying that everything goes well! 

LOVE YOU ALL! Have the best week ever and try to see the miracles in every day....every hour even :)

Love, Hermana Lawrence