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

Monday, October 2, 2017

Milagros! (Miracles!)

This was a crazy, miracle-filled, spiritual week! On Thursday we were so blessed to be able to go to the Temple for the first time with Pte and Hna Smith! In the Temple, I was trying to recieve revelation about something specific....and I didn´t recieve it. But I know that Heavenly Father works in different ways than we normally want, and I have been able to recieve answers in different ways! But while inside, I was looking at the picture of when Jesus Christ came to the America´s. I have probably looked at that picture a million times (we show it to so many people every day) but for some reason it just really got to me. I thought about what it might be like when He comes again. Will Heavenly Angels Sing? Will the Earth know spring? (that song came to mind haha) I do know that if the day comes soon, I want it to be a happy day for me, I want to be able to touch His hands and feet and be worthy for Him. The thoughts were kind of changing for me.

Friday we had our Zone/District meeting. At the end, we were making plans to help areas baptize. We had the promise in September that every companionship was going to baptize...and September was ending the next day. So we made our plan and we went out! Hna Jensen and I went to the area of Villa Juana to go ask a little girl´s mom for permission
that the mom wasn´t wanting to give her. We only had an hour because we had to get back to our area for a testimony meeting we had planned with Estela. We rushed to the area in a carrito and then sped walked and then said a prayer before we walked down the alley to the house. The elder´s took us to what they thought was Clariss´house (the little girl). The elder´s left, and  We sat down and started talking to the women inside, thinking that one of them was the mom.....but they weren´t. I didn´t know what to do! WE WERE RUNNING OUT OF TIME! I have no idea how it happened, but somehow they were able to take us a couple of BLOCKS down the street and we were able to meet Clariss and her mom! We got talking to them and then we went upstairs into their house. We invited Clariss to be baptized the next day (saturday, the last day of the month!) and she accepted! Then came the nerve-racking part....the permission because she´s 10 years old. In the past she wasn´t able to get baptized because her mom didn´t want to give permission. But we talked to her and I don´t know
how it happened, but the elders´showed up at the house (I don´t even know how they knew where we were....) and she SIGNED THE PAPER! It was a miracle! The pictures attatched are with the family! Then we had to RUSH to our area to make sure that we got Estela to the church. We were late....but God is great and God is good and we literally showed up at Estela´s door at the exact same time that she did! Then more miracles happened and we got to the church and we had a testimony meeting with Estela, her less-active brother, our ward mission leader, and basically all the missionaries in our zone. THE SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG. I couldn´t help but cry various times. Towards the end of the testimony meeting we invited Estela to be baptized the next day. She told us that she has been depressed (she had a baptismal date for the 17th but then her husband died on
the 15th and we lost contact with her for a little because she went to Santiago). The assistants (because they´re in our zone) asked if she would like a blessing of comfort. She said yes. So the assistants and the ward mission leader gave her a priesthood blessing. I WAS BAWLING. Even though the blessing was for her, I could feel the comfort as well. I am so grateful for the preisthood! She didn´t end up saying yes to baptism for the next day, but I know that the testimony meeting and the blessing helped a ton! When we went to visit her the next day she was SO much happier and a lot different and then she accepted to be baptized tge 21st of October!

Saturday was amazing with conference and everything! SO MANY ANSWERS TO PRAYERS!Then after the second session, we were walking to go visit people and the Zone leaders called us and told us that Clariss wanted us at her baptism, so we hurried and got there. Turns out the Grandma almost didn´t let it happen unless we showed good thing we were able to get there! And of course I was so happy to be able to see her get baptized! When we talked to her after, she said she felt ¨something¨when she came up out of the water. haha She´s adorable! She gives the best little hugs!

Sunday was amazing with conference AGAIN! For the afternoon session, Pte and Hermana Smith invited us to go to their house with one of our investigators! We took Legna, and boy was it the best thing ever! We watched conference and then we talked for a while afterward. Legna was explaining to them that she really wanted to be baptized. President asked her ¨What is stopping you from being baptized?¨She told him that she has the faith to be baptized, she is just scared about falling away or not knowing enough. They promised her that with her faith, she would be ready. So now we´re helping her prepare to be baptized on the 14th of October! And she wants Pte Smith to baptize her! Then they fed us homemade chili and cornbread! YUM! The night was such a miracle and I am so grateful for leaders that care for us! THe night (conference, conversation with Pte and Hna Smith....etc) really probably changed the whole conversion story for Legna. It was a crucial point! 

Last transfer Hna Jensen and I worked so hard and saw very little results, but I know that Heavenly Father blesses us when we are obedient and diligent, sometimes it´s just later than we want. I know that Heavenly Father loves every one of his children....especially YOU!

Love you! Have the best weeeeek ever!
Hermana Lawrence

PS. Sad news! They took missionaries out of Yamasa.....I am really sad about that, becasue of converts I have there and Hna Jones told me even more of the people we were teaching got baptized there...but that´s why we make sure people get baptized because they have a testimony of the the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not converted becasue they like missionaries. I am praying they´ll put them back in next transfer!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Don't Worry! I Survived Hurricane Maria!

Monday a lot of things happened, so that´s why I wasn´t able to write. It just so happened to be after the hurricane (Maria) I am sorry. I´m doing well, we had transfers and I am staying another transfer (my 4th) here in Gazcue with Hna Jensen to finish her training. I´m still assigned to be the Hna Lider also. I´m excited for a new transfer and new miracles! I love you all! Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts! We are still in a different house...haha. We were fine during the hurricane. A lot of wind, rain, lightning and thunder. But we baked cupcakes (the ones you sent me, mom) so obviously we were fine...There´s a member from our ward that has a son serving in Puerto Rico, and all the missionaries are being evacuated. Her son is going to Colorado. The mission President and his wife of Puerto Rico are probably going to be staying in the house we´re in right I might be homeless the next time I write you on monday. haha I´m sure they´ll find us a place. But I´m doing well. The work is going well, and I love you all!

Waiting out Hurricane Maria

Monday, September 18, 2017

One Year!!!

I have one year of....
Living on a tropical island
Eating rice and beans for every meal
Being called Gringa, Rubia, Mi Amor, and Americana
Walking for endless hours in the hot sun
Preaching the Gospel
Being with someone 24/7
Speaking Spanish
Sweating profundly just for walking like a normal person
Being eaten by mosquitos (and sometimes bed bugs...)
Showing with dirty, cold water
Eating the best fresh fruit smoothies 
Waking up at 6:30
Being around the best people in the world

It´s been a great year! I wouldn´t change the time here for ANYTHING!

It´s been a decent week as well! We had a ward activity on tuesday night! Noche de Cine! We had quite a few investigators there! We watched Meet the Mormons.

We also found a family this week! They´re super great and Im exited to teach them more! WE also have a new investigator from Aruba, so she speaks 4 languages! Its super cool talking to her and learing about all the different cultures she knows! She has so much potential also, so things are looking up as far as new investigators go! The way we found her is a MIRACLE as well. We literally showed up at the perfect time!

 TIme is flying by! I can't believe Hna Jensen and I only have one more week as her first transfer! I am hoping and praying that we can stay together! Yesterday we got another companion as well! Hna Falcon. She´s from the DR, so we´re going to make her cook us yummy dominican food every day! It was a special transfer...Apparently things were going on, I don´t really know what...but apparently we´re supposed to be careful...haha. A lot of times I really think President has a LOT more trust in me than he should. 

We also had to move out of our apartment again!!! WHOOO! We still have bed bugs! Technically I think we´ve had them for the past weeks because we´ve all had bug bites, but we just barely told hna smith yesterday, so we had to pack up and move for the week to a different apartment. haha

I love the gospel! I love the time that I have here! I LOVE YOU ALLLL!!!

Hermana Lawrence

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What Hurricane???

This week was interesting. We were going crazy buying tons of water, storing water in containers, preparing to evacuate our house even...Wednesday night we had to come into the house an hour early and Thrusday we weren't allowed to leave the house to proselyte. We had 8 hermanas in our house! The hermanas that are in the areas that were most going to get effected by the hurricane. We studied, planned, ate (some really good rice and beans...haha) and played a game with hymns...haha misson life. We were just waiting for the storm to come. It was overcast, windy, rainy and there were thunderstorms, but nothing that yelled "HURRICANE" When we were allowed to leave on Friday there were leaves and branches and a lot of trash in the streets, but that's actually quite normal in this long story short, I didn't see any real impact from the hurricane (but now everyone is telling us that there's another coming?) All the Dominicans tell us that everyone in the country is so believing and pray so much that the natural disasters won't ever effect us here! Haha I am grateful for all the prayers that are said!

We have been contacting with the Book of Mormon a lot! It's been cool to see the reactions (this week we've gotten that we worship Joseph Smith, that we can marry more than one person, that we're wrong, that we're Jehova's witnesses....and so much more!) and we have been able to feel the spirit while contacting! We set a very high goal for the number of people we wanted to contact. Everyone in the zone was like "that many people just for your goal of baptisms?" but we showed them! We contacted 3 more people than our goal! We're praying that our efforts will eventually lead to progressing investigators. This week was hard for visting investigators because we had Consejo de Lideres and Interviews with president, but we made sure we still made contact with them through phone calls-made sure they were okay through the storm! 

Funny thing: we were walking in the street one day and something hit my face and it hurt really bad. I yelled at Hna Jensen: "Get it off! Get it off!" IT WAS A BEE AND WHEN THE BEE LEFT THE STINGER WAS STUCK IN MY NOSE. Luckily Hna Jensen remembered some first aid and she took the stinger out with a card instead of her hand...haha I think that's a thing. It hurt. I don't think a bee has ever stung my nose before that....

We've been doing cosechas in all the areas in the zone. We went to Villa Agricolas on saturday and it was refeshing to go to a "normal" area and work there. Then on Sunday everyone came to our area. We got some references and we hopefully will be able to see results! The ward was really supportive as well. Pretty much all the elders that came (there were like 10  elders) were able to do divisions and go out with members! 

I love being a missionary and I love being able to see change in people. I am grateful for every hard thing I have to go through. I am grateful I can learn patience in afflictions. I love you all and hope you all have the greatest week ever! 

We went bowling for P'Day with some of our besties!

Hermana Lawrence

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Book of Mormon has POWER!

It´s been a good week! We have been contacting A TON because we have had to drop (and all my investigators got cut in half when the area divided) a lot of investigators. It has been long, hot days, but I know that we are and will be rewarded and see the miracles from our obedience and diligence! We are continually striving to be more obedient, and I know we will be blessed from it! 

One cool experience we had from contacting is we were walking in a park and Hna Jensen said ¨lets contact her¨so we walked over and started talking to her. Her name is Brenda. She was telling us about her family and then how she had been having some difficulties in her life. We pulled out a book of Mormon and read Alma 7:11-12 but put her name in it. We then told her we wanted to give her the book so that she could find the peace and joy from it....and she started crying! She told us that she felt so blessed that we were giving her the book! It made me realize that I need to be so grateful for the book of mormon, even more than I am! And that the Book of Mormon has POWER. And as we can use the power of the book in any situation! There have been various other contacts that have really impacted me and really taught me to follow the promptings of the spirit and not to judge who to talk to and not. FOLLOW THE SPIRIT!

We had a noche de hogar in a less actives house last night. There were so many relief society sisters there! Sifrida (the less active) invited her neighbors, which is a Mom, Loren, and her two sons, Joel and Adriel and then her 3 nieces and nefew ( that how you spell it??) Esther, Erene, and Ermes. They´re a great family and we have an appointment to go visit them this week! MILAGRO! Sifrida is excited to help us teach them as well! 

We got to eat sancocho 3 TIMES this week. The members in this area all made sancocho and then they all explained to hna Jensen that it was a typical dominican dish. I think hna jensen is almost ¨aplatanada¨ how they say it here haha She´s doing so great. I feel very blessed that she´s so easy! She´s teaching me soooooo much!

We had a zone activity today and the elders all suprised me with a cake with exploding candles! haha Happy birthday again! 

Love you all so much! have the absolute besst weeekkkk evvveerrrr!!!
Hermana Lawrence

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Birthday Week!

First off, sorry for all the pictures. They´re from the last couple of weeks...haha....

So this week has been super great. I can´t really remember a lot. I know that I´ve been speaking a lot, both english and a LOT of spanish...a lot of translating! haha I love it! Hermana Jensen is doing fantastic! We´re working hard, and trying our very best to be exactly obedient! 

We had zone conference this week, which was really good. We learned more about how to use the book of mormon in our teaching and contacting. I love the Book of Mormon and I KNOW that it is true! Every time I read from it I gain a stronger and stronger testimony of it, so I definitly invite you all to read every day from the Libro de Mormon and enjoy the blessings that you´ll recieve! 

Yesterday was a good day! We arrived at church and Leiby and Eugeni were already there! And we arrived very early! They were sitting there reading their Book of Mormon and it made my heart so happy! Then we went to go visit them at night. I can´t remember how much I´ve told you about them,
but Leiby is like 29 years old and she is ¨married¨ really like her boyfriend to an inactive member. Her son is Eugeni and he is 9. We have been working with them and I love them so much! They are preparing to be baptized. After we taught them the lesson, Leiby left the room and came back with a cake with candles on top for my birthday! Then they threw confetti all over us! haha It was fun and something very, very unexpected. They´re progressing so well! They are really delving into the LDM and they are able to tell us the whole story of Lehi and his family! It makes my heart leap with joy. Moments like that are what I live for in the mission!

I love being a representative of Jesus Christ and I know that Heavenly Father loves you all so much! There is no where else I´d rather be spending my 20th birthday than here being a missionary! Les Quiero mucho! 

Hermana Lawrence