Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Zone Conference Pictures

PiƱata craziness!

Our District

Your Hermanas!

President and Sister Nelson

Feliz Navidad!

This week was extremely special for Hermana Cervantes and I. As you guys know, I've been here in Independencia for about 5 months and it has been a very meaningful experience. We have been working with some part member families that we just love to death. 

One of these families is the Rosales Family. Hermana Diesi and her children were baptized about 2 years ago in Chiapas but the father, Francisco, didn't want to hear about the Gospel. It has been very special to see the timing of the Lord and how it is truly perfect for each of His children. Francisco had a belief that he needed to change before he was ready to repent and be baptized. But once he received an answer for himself that this was the change he needed, he never looked back. 

The Lord doesn't just want individual persons but truly entire families to come to Him. Throughout this experience a scripture has been in my mind, 1 Peter 3:17 " If you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye." The mission is the hardest thing but the best thing. It's worth having 100 nos to have 1 yes. This work is truly a happy one because it's helping to fulfill the wonderful plan of the Lord for His children. 

The baptism was also super special because the Hermana that served in Chiapas was able to attend the baptism and see this family come together. That's the cool thing about missionaries, we work together all the time, even though we may not always get to see the success. This truly was a merry Christmas and I hope ya`ll had a good one as well. Also shout out to family for being so great! So special for me to see all of you! 

Hermana Herrera

Fransisco and his family and the Hermana who taught his family 2 years ago in Chiapas

Our parents on the mission, President and Sister Nelson. Aren't they great!

The crew

When the Hermanas forget their keys!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mole de panza...a great teacher

Feliz Navidad! I cant believe it's almost here! This week I wanted to share a story for my thought.  I learn best from personal experiences and I think my family is going to think this one's a hoot. Last Sunday, Hermana Cervantes and I had the opportunity of trying a soup that had cow stomach in it called mole de panza. I love mole. It's a sauce that has a lot of spices and chile and chocolate. I thought that mole de panza was probably pretty similar but I was wrong. The first few bites weren't bad but the texture was definitely getting to me. I kind of got to a point where if I put it far enough back it could slide down my throat pretty easily.

 As we were eating, I was thinking of a quote that our President likes to say "Every action has a spiritual purpose¨ and I wondered what I possibly could learn from this experience? Then I thought about how probably before my mission I wouldn't even touch this dish. And now? I was willing to eat it out of love for the people here in Puebla. It was a small change in my life, but it was Christlike. 

I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father that sees people as they truly are and their potential. In this experience, I had a change of heart and a willingness to put people first. A quote that means a lot to me and something that I strive to apply here on my mission is by Elder Cornish "If we must compare, compare how we were in the past to how we are today- and even how we want to be in the future." 

This is the invitation that I want to give this week because I know when I made this small change in my life I was automatically happier with myself and had a greater love for The Lord. To close I wanted to share a definition of Grace- because we truly need it in all things. ¨It is through the Grace of the Lord, that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to do by their own means.¨

Have a Merry Christmas! 

Hermana Herrera 

Our investigator Lucia

Mole de panza

Rebecca stole my plaque

Monday, December 12, 2016

3 seconds to react

It`s the 12th of December and you know what that means.. the birthday of the Virgin de Guadalupe. Fireworks have been going off this whole week. To describe this, I would say I feel like I'm in Hunger Games ( team Peeta).  Other exciting news... HERMANA CERVANTES AND I GET TO STAY IN OUR AREA FOR CHRISTMAS. She is such a great example to me and its a privilege to work with her. 

The reason I put 3 seconds to react is because missionaries are always on a time limit. Sometimes people literally only give you 3 seconds to spit out an answer that makes sense to them. On my mission, many people have asked for us to give their children blessings. When we reply that we can not the response is crazy. Mainly- why are you in a church that diminishes women like that? I have recognized that my immediate response has to be my testimony. We are not here to fight or have conflict but to share the truth. I feel like this is a response we all need to give, to be bold but with love. 

To address the Priesthood subject in general, I fall back on my knowledge that first I am a daughter of God. I have a divine role here on the earth. The priesthood has blessed my life tremendously and I'm so grateful I have it in my home. This knowledge, I believe, comes from searching the scriptures, praying, personal experiences and knowing the importance of developing my own testimony. 

I know this applies to every member of the church because we always have opposition in this life, so we need to be prepared. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share this Gospel. I'm grateful the Lord gave me the opportunity to be a example to all the girls and women in my life, especially my 5 sisters. I know when we share our testimonies, they become stronger and more firm. I love you all! 

Hermana Herrera 

Feliz Navidad! #iluminaelmundo

The members in the ward found out that I'm willing to try new things. This week I tried chapolines (grasshoppers). The news spread like wild fire and I had a taco waiting for me at every appointment. They are not bad! 

Cruising back to my childhood in the back of my Grandpa's truck!

Monday, December 5, 2016

What's your gift to Christ this year?

Hola familia y amigos!

 This week went by so fast. I love being a missionary during the Christmas Season. We have the special opportunity of sharing #lighttheworld through the video and little cards with baby Jesus and Mary. I think that they are amazing and help a lot:) 

Quick thought for you this week. Through my personal study I've been thinking a lot about what gift I want to give Heavenly Father this year. Being on the mission, I have witnessed over and over again the importance of true Christlike service in conversion. I know when we serve others Heavenly Father feels that comfort as well BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD. Our relationship with Heavenly Father needs to be our top priority because His joy and glory is through us His children. (Moses 1:39)

Sometimes our prayers can be a little rushed, a little fast and repetitive. I love the description of prayer in the Bible Dictionary ¨Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them."

With that said how often do we verify with the Lord in our works?  How often do we pray to have his guidance? How often do we tell him we love him? These questions hit me hard and it's something that I wanted to change in my life. I have come to realize that when we go over our day and say that we did all we can, we can feel His love for us.

Something that my Dad said he misses most about his mission is the confirmation of the Spirit that he did all that he could to share His Gospel that day. I feel that same Spirit and it feels me with joy.  I know you guys can feel it also. 

Another cool experience about prayer this week is that Hermana Cervantes and I have been praying specifically to find a new investigator. This Sunday we had stake conference and there were TONS OF PEOPLE. Through the sea of people a sweet old lady seemed desperate to talk to us. She told us that she was starving literally starving to have the Gospel in her life. She had been taking the lessons with other missionaries for a year but did not have the opportunity to get baptized. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she said she was ready. I can not tell you the joy and happiness we felt as we told her that we were her missionaries and we were going to do everything we can to help her. I know The Lord answers our prayers, I know that we can be witnesses of daily miracles and I know the Lord loves His children. I would love to hear your gifts to Heavenly Father. Love you all! 

Hermana Herrera 

The new crew here in Independence


CHOLULA. There are 364 Catholic churches here. This is by far one of my favorites.

My cute compa on the brink of starvation

Monday, November 28, 2016

Close enough to Hawaii sunsets annddd 5 minutes to write

Hola! This week was so fantastico. Hermana Cervantes and I laugh all the day long and love to work hard! Es perfecto! Something I would love to share is the 25 days of service the Church is holding for the month of December, Light the World. It's super awesome! We get to hand out these little cards and the people definitely are more welcoming to hear the message! 

I love you all and will write more next week! 

Thanksgiving with mini Pocahontas

Street Paintings

Volcano Views

Basically the Mexican version of Romeo and Juliet. The Volcano on the left is Popocatepetl, a poor man that is in love with a princess.  On the right is Iztaccihuatl a princess who basically lays down and dies because she can't marry her love. Yep super sad but I love the culture here!

A painting of them

Monday, November 21, 2016

The testimony of a child

I am amazed and continue to be amazed of the children here in Puebla and especially in our ward. They are great examples to me and I can feel their sweet spirits. Hermana Cervantes and I are blessed to be teaching part member families and the children have had huge impacts on their non member parents. 

I have been pondering upon why we are asked in the scriptures to be like children. I think number one is that they know their identity and they don't let anyone affect it. I love the quote by Elder Anderson ¨ While a child's earthly situation may not be ideal, a child´s spiritual DNA is perfect because one´s true identity is a son or daughter of God.¨

Number 2 is that they do their duty, even if it's small. We had comida with a family and the dad isn't a member. He began to eat and his 4 year old son told him to stop. He said that we should always say the prayer and give thanks to God. It was AWESOME ... Now this doesn't mean that these kids or we as a people in general have to do big things to make a difference. I think Mosiah 4:27 perfectly describes what we all need to do. We need to be diligent and work to our capacity. This has been confirmed to me over and over again this week. I wish I had more time to share but I will share this: faith leads to action. 

Something that has helped me is a handout my mom sent me speaking about our mindset. 
Is your mindset fixed? 
do you: 
  • avoid challenges
  • give up easily
  • ignore feedback 
  • become threatened by people's success 
  • try hard to appear as smart or capable as possible 
What does a growth mindset look like?
do you:
  • embrace challenges
  • give your best effort
  • learn from feedback
  • become inspired by other people's successes
  • believe you can grow/change if you work hard
I know that the hardest part is the beginning. When we determine what we need to change in our lives, acting on it is the hardest part! I love you all and hope you have a great Thanksgiving. A lady in our ward wants to make Thanksgiving dinner for us. Super excited to see how it goes! 

Hermana Herrera 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sight seeing and ice ice baby

Hola amigos y familia!

This week went so well. Hermana Cervantes and I are really making some great contacts here in Independencia. Also blessings come in small packages. This week was the first time I've had not only ice.... but CLOSE ENOUGH TO SONIC ICE! It was fantastic!  A lady in our ward had some in here freezer and I can't tell you how excited I was.

Something neat that happened was we had a special broadcast from Salt Lake City. Elder Russel M. Nelson spoke about the importance of teaching our families eternal truths and how the temple brings eternal consequences. This was so awesome and a confirmation of our vision here in Puebla for the missionaries. In our past zone conference Presidente Nelson shared that our vision is to help the people have a temple here in Puebla. This touched my soul because I was privileged to work in the San Antonio temple before I left on my mission. My testimony of eternal families is one of the great reasons for coming here and sharing the Gospel. 

A vision is a way that we can accomplish what we desire and is just with the Lord. It is based upon Christlike attributes, doctrine, and testimony. I know that when we have visions or goals we can receive the strength to perseverar hasta el fin, endure to the end. That's why Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-6 is so important. I love you all and want you to know that I have a testimony that we have a loving Heavenly Father. There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is only for a moment (like eating sonic ice or dancing to Abba's Dancing Queen) but joy is eternal. We can only have joy when we follow the example of the Savior.  Have a great week! 

Your Hermana in the work,

Hermana Herrera 

The Mexico City Temple

Dulces in the Centro

Your Hermana!

The Centro is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
It is very colonial!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dia de los Muertos Part 2


Sorry this post is going to be short and sweet but! Thank you all for your notes of encouragement!

Hermana Herrera

A Glorious Sight! Thank you so much Grandpa and Mamaquel and the Gaspar de Alba Family!

Up to our eyeballs in Dia de los Muertos Bread! It's fantastic!

All the members say we look related.  My money is on the eyes!

Adios Elder Villasenor! You will be missed.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Ch Ch Ch Ch-anges and Dia de los Muertos

This week was full of changes. In Mexico, the people celebrate Dia de los Muertos. It's a tradition where people go to the graves of their ancestors and put meals like MOLE, flowers, candy, you name it because they believe their family comes back for a day. It's really interesting. Also kids have been asking for candy this whole week.  I asked my companion why and she said ¨It's Mexico¨... cierto (true) Mexico's got it right, celebrate all week.  

Also meet my new companion Hermana Cervantes! She is from Mexico and has about 7 months on the mission. She also has the coolest Disney play list on the planet. That's right, this Pocahontas is bilingual. I kill Colors of the Wind in Spanish. We for sure have about 6 more weeks here in Independencia.  I am so super excited for this opportunity to further the work with our investigators.

As you probably know the mission has its up and downs. This week was hard. One day during personal study I was reading in Luke, where Christ was suffering in the Garden. The Spirit was so strong and I had a humbling moment. I think Elder Renlund describes it the best, ¨ When we strive to be closer to Christ, we determine that life would be the most unfair for Jesus Christ. Though absolutely innocent, the Saviour would suffer the most. The closer we are to Jesus Christ in the thoughts and intents of our hearts, the more we appreciate his innocent suffering, the more grateful we are for his grace and forgiveness and the more we want to repent and become like him. Drawing nearer to him causes us to change and we develop an intense desire to stop causing God further grief.¨ 

This opened my eyes a little wider and I had a lot more gratitude. When we maintain an eternal perspective through our trials we can gain a better appreciation for the Atonement. I also think it's a privilege to have these trial because we are growing and developing Christ like attributes. It's an honor to have Him as our example and have the opportunity to become more like Him in this life. This has helped me a lot and I have really reflected about what I am doing that I know I can change. First of all I need to change my mind set, not asking the Lord why is this happening to me but what is this happening for or what can I learn from this?  I need to be willing to receive correction and be prepared for whatever else the Lord has in store for me. I hope this gives a little comfort to the people that need it. I know this is true and I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. 

Hermana Herrera 

We have 2 Hermana Herreras in our zone.  She is such a cutie!

My cute new companion, Hermana Cervantes, and the traditional flowers for Dia de los Muertos.

My favorite animal es poopies!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The power of service

Hola! This week was full of miracles! So so so so great!
First off, let me introduce a couple that we are teaching. Their names are Pedro and Gloria. Pedro is a less active member of the church and his girlfriend is not a member but has been investigating the church in Hermosillo for awhile. They were a reference from a member family down the street. They own this cute little shoe repair store. It's a little tricky because they are both married to different people but live together. We have been visiting them for the past month, but not with much success. Pedro has had some rough experiences with members in the past and it has really affected his faith. We began to bring members from the ward to our visits and trying to serve them in any way that we can. A couple, Hermano and Hermana Oli, have been especially helpful. I have recognized the importance of having a friend at church. The church isn't exclusive therefore we can't be exclusive.

All of a sudden, we dropped by and we saw this big sign that they were closed on Sundays, straight bliss! When we casually asked what changed their minds they said their hearts were softened and they wanted to go to church! It's crazy how much they have progressed. I loved their comments in Gospel Principles class! 

This reminds me of a testimony that was shared this month from a recent convert. Actually,the mom of baby Rebeca on the bottom picture. She said ¨How is it possible for me to be in a church for 15 years and not change at all, then be in this church for 1 year and my whole life has changed for the better.¨ This strengthened my testimony that I know the Lord wants us to move on. As we apply the Atonement in our lives and desire to do His will, we grow more than we can believe. Also side note He will always bless us temporally when we keep the sabbath day holy. We dropped by the shoe store this week and they had hundreds of shoes to repair! 

Take a look at Mosiah 2:41, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
I love you all! I hope you have a great week. Also this is our last week with pants... no more elderas!

Pedro and Gloria are on the right.
Check the poster on the left!

My Marisol on the mish

Your favorite Hermanas

Monday, October 17, 2016

Latter Days week 16

Hola! This week was definitely a hard but good one. I think Hermana Flores and I have recognized the power of Heavenly Father and the power of Satan as well. First,  I would love to share a quote by Elder Renland, The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement”—also has profound spiritual applications. Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the ultimate Givers. The more we distance ourselves from Them, the more entitled we feel. We begin to think that we deserve grace and are owed blessings."

This has been very difficult as we have been visiting a lot of families in the ward who are less active. As I have searched the scriptures, trying to help these people that we love so much, I have had a couple of thoughts related to Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-33:

1. Recognize that the plan of our Heavenly Father is not meant to control us. We all have our free agency and Heavenly Father believes in this so strongly, he lets everyone act as they please.
2. We all need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, to use our agency to bless others. Remember that when we do this, we are doing what Heavenly Father wants so in return we are blessed to find our true potential. Do we care enough to find out what it is? 

3. Don't wait to be asked to do something. When we wait to be asked, we will always receive it with a doubting heart and probably wont do it. This can be related to impressions, honoring your parents etc. 

4. Remember that the Lord is bound to bless us when we are obedient.  "Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?" v. 31

As a missionary, we are encouraged to be bold but with LOVE. We have received some rejection this week and it's so heart breaking because we know that this Gospel blesses the family so much. Being a representative of Christ, you truly feel the love of Christ for these people. After one specific lesson we wept for this family. I can only imagine the love Heavenly Father has for these children. These are truly the Latter Days and I encourage you all to hold fast to the iron rod and pray and serve together. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Also, sorry no pictures this week! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Miracles happen once in a while if you believe!

First miracle: ROSARIO AND HER FAMILY CAME TO CHURCH!  So so happy for her and we hope that she continues to come and feel that wonderful spirit.

This week we had a really neat experience with a less active family in our ward. Everyday we have comida, the biggest meal of the day, at 2:00 with members and we share a spiritual message in the end. During the meal, we came to learn that this family has been less active for a couple of years. They are an older couple that have about 35 grandchildren. Apparently they had a couple of bad experiences with some members. During the lesson we explained the importance of remembering that the Church is perfect, but the people are not.

What I took out of this lesson is that we need to be defenders of Christ at all times. Christ is the perfect example and it's our job to love like He did. I love the scripture in Mosiah 4:9 "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."  I think it goes well with the quote ¨The price to know God, is a privilege to pay.¨  I know this is true with all my heart. The mission life is tough but I'm honored to represent Christ everyday. 

Second miracle: this family, the Martinez family, MADE IT TO CHURCH! That makes it all worth it, when you help people come closer to Christ.  They have been able to receive comfort from the scriptures and through praying. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Rosario and her daughter at one of our lessons

New District: Elder de Angel sliding into missionary base

We had a scheduled appointment but came to find out they went to the luchador fight next door.

I had a bad day and looked up.
Heavenly Father is the best!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Woo Week 14

Hola! This week was filled with great spiritual power! First of all Conference was the bomb as usual. I loved the talk by Elder Ballard about less active members. I think it touched a lot of hearts in our ward.

This week my companion and I have been practicing a lot about introducing the Book of Mormon to our investigators by using the introduction. We had a very neat experience with this. Recently we have been teaching a family that owns a tortilleria (By the way, I have decided that the smell of homemade corn tortillas is my all time favorite). We went through the invitation to read the BOM, meditate and apply the doctrine, and pray to Heavenly Father to know if the BOM is true. I love that the Lord always promises specific blessings. They can be found in the final paragraph of the introduction. One of them is to help us prepare for the second coming of Christ.

While we talked about this with Hermana Rosario her face was in shock. She later explained a dream that she had.  At first we were a little hesitant because people always ask us to interpret dreams. But she later expressed that what she understood from her dream was that Heavenly Father sent us to her family so that they could receive the gospel and follow Christ. My companion explained that the BOM is the key of our religion. When we know that it's true, everything else is also true, that the restoration truly happened.

Being the incredibly confrontational person that I am, (it's un chiste), I was uncomfortable but I realized that true correction only comes from the Spirit. I love the quote from Elder Eyring, "The only exhortation that changes hearts comes from the Holy Ghost". That occurs most often as we bear testimony of the Savior who was and is the perfect family member. I have gained a stronger testimony of the BOM. I know its another testament of Jesus Christ and I know it was written for our time. I love you all and your emails mean so much to me.


My reality!

Words of wisdom from my Father: Don't eat the pork.
This picture accurately describes my experience the one time I did eat it!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nicholas Cage Fan

Hola! This week was great and went by super fast. Something funny happened during one of our lessons. Hermana Manuela is a widow that lives alone so we drop by once in awhile to teach a lesson. This week she asked me if I knew Nicholas Cage personally..... uh no but that would be awesome. Finding national treasure with Cage would definitely be one of my favorite past times. She then left the room and came back with a notebook with hundreds of cut outs of him. It was so funny. Cage fever to the max but who doesn't, right? Haha!

I also had a very humbling experience this week. A man in our ward died of a heart attack. His wife asked me to play the piano for the funeral on Sunday. At the funeral, while I was playing prelude, she came up to the casket to say goodbye. Her back was facing the crowd so I was the only one to see her say goodbye. Heartbreaking as it was, I could tell she had some sense of peace. She had the knowledge that families can be together forever. This made me think of my family and my gratitude that my parents were sealed in the temple. 

There is a talk by Elder Oaks, ¨Opposition in All Things¨, in which he says "Our mortal life, however, was never meant to be easy or consistently pleasant. Our Heavenly Father... knows that we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heart breaking sorrow and difficult choices. Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.¨ I love this because when we have an understanding of why we have hard times we can also have the peace that these things are only earthly. They don't last forever and when we are obedient and endure with faith we can have eternal happiness. 

I love you all and your words of encouragement mean so much to me. 

Hermana Herrera 

Package, so exciting!

Last district meeting before exchanges this week

We sang A Child's Prayer in Primary.  I got a little teary eyed because
 my sweet Katia sang this to me before I left.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mexico Pollo Norte Mission

Hola! This week flew by! First of all, guess how many times we had pozole this week?  SEVEN, its been grand! This week on the 16th was Independence Day for Mexico. Our ward had a great party with horchata, chalupas, helotes and you guessed it pozole. Our ward is so big we have about 250 active members and 5 missionaries. 

This Sunday Hermana Flores and I had the opportunity to give talks in church. I talked about the Plan of Salvation and also extended the commitment in Doctrine and Covenants 11:19 through 21. I encourage you guys to read it! I also talked about our purpose as members sharing the Gospel. I can tell you how powerful it is when members share their conversion stories with our investigators. I think it really helps them gain confidence and a desire to learn more. 

After the invitation in D&C I love that Heavenly Father always promises blessings. One that I would like to share is actually my mission scripture in D&C 15: 4-6. This includes temple work. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share the gospel with everyone. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed about all the things a new missionary has to learn but something important to remember is that my biggest job is to testify of Christ. That makes it easy because it's the truth! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Herrera

Post talk bliss

The crew

Rain, rain, rain!