Week 1 in the new Utah Orem Mission

Here are my new missionary president and his wife.

Here are my former Utah Provo Mission President, President McCune, and his wife. We’re standing in front of the Mount Timpanogos Temple.

Here is our banner for the July 4th Provo Parade.

Here is our banner for the July 4th Provo Parade.

We heard about President Packer’s death yesterday — I wasn’t expecting it. But I am grateful for the words of Elder Perry and Elder Packer in this last general conference. Powerful testimonies of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of families.

No, our landlord didn’t mention anything about a bat in the dormitories at the Missionary Training Center and the evacuation of 600 sisters. That is crazy though! Poor sister missionaries. Just starting their missions and receiving a panic attack.

Yes, we met our new Utah Orem Mission President, President Killpack and his wife, this last week. We have our interviews with him this coming Wednesday. They are absolutely sweet. It feels very right for me to be with him. We were part of the parade with the Utah Provo mission, and we got to see and meet the new mission president of the Utah Provo Mission. And I felt I don’t belong with those other missionaries. I belong with the Orem missionaries now. A nice confirmation of the revelation from the Apostles.

Our senior missionaries left these beautiful flowers after I had a difficult day.

Our senior missionaries left these beautiful flowers after I had a difficult day.

This last week has been a little stressful. With the change of the mission, our area book has gone crazy, and it won’t show us the information/teaching records of the families in our area. And we lost our plans and goals. Wednesday I asked for a priesthood blessing from Elder Cornish, as I could feel that I was stressed. That blessing brought my heart lots of peace. The area book is still not working, but we have seen the Lord’s hand in this work more. We have to rely on Him and trust what the spirit says. This last week with weekly planning, we had no teaching records to look at, so we prayerfully planned by what we felt would help them progress.

Wednesday night Hermana Bonilla started having another Migraine. We were at the home of Hermana Cano (the Relief Society president), and later at the Chapel she received a priesthood blessing. She needed to lie down, so Sister Wilde (the bishop’s wife) stayed with her as I stayed with Hermana Alma Aguayo (RC), Hermana Cano, Hermana Chacon, Obispo Wilde, y Ricardo Lopez (inv). I felt a little scared — it was my first time doing a chapel tour all by myself. Before we started, I prayed, pleading for the company of the Spirit to guide me and speak through me to the needs and benefit of his children in this tour. And He did. The spirit was very strong throughout the tour. We testified of the Atonement (Ricardo shared his testimony of Christ), the Sacrament (Hermana Chacon shared her testimony of what partaking of the Sacrament means in her life), the Book of Mormon (Alma shared her experience coming to know the Book of Mormon), and of Baptism (Hermana Cano shared her experience being baptized and started her new life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It was so amazing and hard to describe in words, but I know it wasn’t me that day doing all that — it was Heavenly Father, and I am just honored for this chance to be an instrument in His hands and a witness to the many miracles He performs every day.

We began our journey together in the Mexico MTC (me, Hermana Thomas, and Hermana McDermaid).

We began our journey together in the Mexico MTC (me, Hermana Thomas, and Hermana McDermaid). Now Hermana Thomas will remain in the Utah Provo Mission, and Hermana McDermaid and I will serve in the Utah Orem Mission.

Thursday night we went out with Fabiola Bermudez (return missionary), her friend from the mission (Hermana Samchez), and her younger brother. We contacted some referrals, left notes for people when we knocked and they weren’t home, and then we felt that we should visit a certain family. We parked the car, and as we got out and walked towards the house, we passed by a home with a sister sitting out on the front porch smoking. As I looked into her face, she seemed depressed, and I knew something was going on. We stopped and talked with her. Fabiola asked if we could pray with her, and afterwards we shared the video “Because He Lives” and each of us bore witness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and comfort. She thanked us for stopping and talking with her — she was really struggling and needed that help at that moment. I know the Lord guided us there for her. (When we knocked on the door of the other family for which we came, they weren’t home, but the Lord knew He could trust us, and that if He guided us there, we would help her.) And I’m super proud of Hermana Bonilla — she was testifying in English!

Here are a few of the sisters posing with

Here are a few of the sisters posing with “Star Wars Storm Troopers” at the July 4th Provo Parade.

Saturday night, the stake president of one of the stakes and the elders in our district prepared dinner for us. And the stake president’s wife made dairy-free food options for me. She totally understands — her daughter can’t eat dairy or gluten.) After brisket and fruit (lots of fruit) and dairy free brownies, I was a happy camper. 🙂 We then watched How to Train a Dragon 2. I liked the message how people can change — they can choose to change. I also really liked the part where Toothless is under the mental control of the evil king dragon, and his rider Hiccup went up to him and was talking with him, telling him he was good, that he was his best friend and that he loved and cared for him. And through that process, Toothless came out of that control and defended his family and defeated the evil dragon. I thought of how we have brothers and sisters around us who have fallen away from the path or have be gotten caught under Satan’s influence, and what will help bring them back is love. Knowing that they are loved and wanted.

Here we are with our senior missionaries. They are wonderful!

Here we are with our senior missionaries. They are wonderful!

Yesterday (Fast Sunday), my prayers were answered. Fasting has always been difficult for me, but I know it is a powerful tool and gift from our Heavenly Father. And during Sacrament Meeting, the spirit directed me to stand up, walk up to the podium, and share my testimony is Spanish. Second time in my mission to stand up (willingly) and share my testimony in Spanish. As I stood up there, I felt the spirit helping me with what to say and how to say it (grammar, conjugation, etc.) He helped me remember what I have learned and put it into practice. And as I shared the feelings in my heart, I saw some members of the congregation crying. What I said touched their heart. It was what they needed at that time. And later on many of the members thanked me for the testimony I shared. (A couple weeks ago I also said the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting. Spanish is fun.) And in a couple weeks, Hermana Bonilla and I will be giving talks in Sacrament Meeting (my first talk outside the CCM [Mexico MTC]). Hermana Cano (the Relief Society president) also shared her testimony and feelings of the Chapel Tour. And Fabiola’s younger brother stood up and shared our experience on Thursday night with Amber and his testimony. This was a testimony to me of the power of involving members in this work. They can feel the spirit so strongly as they reach out and extend a loving hand to others in need — spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc.

 After the Provo parade, I met up with Cassie Kerr (who used to be in my San Antonio Ward).

After the Provo parade, I met up with Cassie Kerr (who used to be in my San Antonio Ward).

After church, Hermana Bonilla and I felt tired and exhausted. As we unpacked and got ready to ride our bikes, I thought about how fasting is supposed to be a joy. I prayed, asking for Heavenly Father’s help in being happy, seeing the joy of this fast. And it came. I felt happy. I had energy. I actually started singing hymns in an operatic style in the streets. Haha. And as we went around and visited families, we felt the spirit guiding us. Before dinner, we felt impressed to visit a sister who just had surgery, and as we went towards her home, we saw that Juana and Valentin had come home, and we stopped and read the Book of Mormon with them. I have found that the Lord will many times put names into our head to where we should go, and we need to be aware of the opportunities he puts into our path to find those he has prepared. That is how we found Cristina Parras — because we followed the impression and talked with everyone on our way there.

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