Monday, December 29, 2014

What Didn't Happen?

I am about to recount the greatest week of my missionary life!!!! I hope my sheer giddiness doesn't show too much ;) This week seems like a month because so much happened and I'm now living 4 hours away from Tepoztlan...but we'll get there in a moment.

Monday - After I finished sending my email home and finished yet another P day, we found ourselves with time to fill and no appointments.  As missionaries, when times like these come the only thing to do is get on your knees and ask the Lord for His guidance that you can make those hours worthwhile, and boy were they worthwhile! We ended up going to Ocotes to knock the doors of two references (for the 100th time) and, MIRACLE, they were both home and ready to hear our message.  We also found out that for one of them we were actually knocking the wrong door, but the women who lived there invited us in and was super excited to listen.  We then were walking through the square at the end of the night and I felt impressed to contact a woman in the three minutes that we had.  Turns out it was Gloria, an  old investigator that we had been trying to find at home repeatedly for two weeks.  Gosh, it was such a good day!

Because it was Christmas eve/Christmas nobody wanted to talk to the missionaries, or were on vacation, or had all their family in town, but it was okay because (like so many other missionaries across the world) we took to the streets caroling for everyone and knocking the doors of everybody we knew.  I'm pretty sure I've never had a more rewarding Christmas.  It sure wasn't white, but it was raining cats and dogs all Christmas eve and about 50 degrees so we found almost everyone in their homes with ALL their family because the parties at the Catholic churches were canceled! (huge blessing and miracle). The people were thrilled to see us. Safe to say that caroling isn't a thing here, so nobody knew what we were up to but the Latin comps took to it like it was a totally natural thing and just loved it.  We ended every visit with a joyful chorus of "we wish you a merry Christmas" just like back home.  Safe to say I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time!!!! By the end of the night we had so much candy in our bags that we just started giving it away to random strangers cause there wasn't room.  We also had about 7 sweaters and 2 umbrellas that were borrowed from members and MA that were worried about our health being soaked through in the rain ;)

The real drama went down Christmas day at 10:30 in the morning, Albino Ortego, #14, Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico.  We were headed to make our first rounds of caroling when the phone rang....and in the process of pulling it out of my bag I dropped it, sending the pieces in different directions, and ending the call.  "hope that wasn't important" were the joking words that came out of my mouth, oh how little I knew.  Instantly the phone of the other sisters began to ring, "......ummmm it's the zone leaders asking for you Hermana Neu" WHAT?!?! "Hermana Neuberger?" "yes?" "Pack your bags, you re shipping out tomorrow morning from Civac at 9:30" WHAT?!?! I managed to hide all my shock and surprise and then lie to everyone that he was just asking about our plans, don't know why they ever believed that.  The day passed just as fabulous as Christmas eve! After lunch we ran to the president's (of the branch) house to skype our families and they had everything ready.  I wish I had a video of the Neuberger shenanigans that went down in the hour that we were trying to get the skype to work because they were priceless and soooo labeled my family that I was almost in tears about how perfect it was.  First there was no sound, then there was no video, and then, when we had tried the laptop and tablet with no success and were going to resort to a phone call the skype decided to magically work! What a great chat/dance party/giggle fest with the greatest family ever! Everything was super great until I told my family that I was transferring, in English, while my non-english speaking comp and the other Latin comp that lives with us were sitting near by. Later, my family brought it back up again.....but there were English speakers in the room and they freaked out, leading to a Latin freak out when they found out what was going on....and then a lot of tears. The night was REALLY REALLY REALLY rough to say the least.  My comp refused to leave my side and I couldn't get her to crack a smile.  Words cannot describe how much I love that girl and how much I'm going to miss her! Truly my "daughter" that one, and I know she's going to just keep being a spectacular missionary! That night we all slept together with  7 blankets on top of us and it was the first good night sleep in days because we weren't all shivering to death!

The next morning, we showed up to the church to find a group of 30 Elders....and I was kind of wondering if the whole thing was a joke of some sort.  All the Elders were so happy and shouting with joy and it was the Zapata gang, so basically all the coolest American Elders, so I got crazy animated off their excitement AND THEN FOUND OUT WE WERE HEADED BACK TO GUERRERO!!!!!! 

A little bit of history for those who have forgotten or don't know, three months ago they took all of the missionaries out of Guerrero due to civic unrest on the account of 43ish students that went missing on their way from Chilpo to Iguala (might need to check those facts cause I'm also forgetting).  There were huge riots and a whole lot of problems, so for safety all of the LDS missionaries serving in this mission were sent to the state of Morelos (where I have always served and never left).  

So at the chapel on Friday, once things got a little settled down, all the companions not being transfered had left, and more hermanas had showed up, they called us into the chapel where President Kusch gave us a brief devotional and then told us our new areas! "Hermana Neuberger, you will be serving with Hermana Garcia in the Area of Aeropuerta, Chilpancingo...its one of the most amazing wards in all of the mission, enjoy" YES, SIR!!!! So I hope you can imagine how the 4 hourish bus ride to Chilpo was.  There are now 34 missionaries in the state of Guerrero (4 in Iguala, 10 in Chilpo, and 20 in Acapulco) of which only four are sisters (WOW).  We took a private bus with all the missionaries that would  first pass through Chilpo and then on to Acapulco. What a great trip it was!

They dropped us on the side of the road in Chilpo where we all waved frantically goodbye and wished each other the best of luck.  Our zone leaders/district leaders started giving directions and sent us in all directions.  We ended up at the house of our bishop, who then drove us to our house.....where we remembered that to open a door keys are very necessary, and keys were not something we had.  The keys to our house were still in Cuernavaca....small overlooked detail. We are currently living in Heroico (shout out to Elder Stutz), thank goodness there are other sisters here in Chilpo! I think the only way to describe my new ward is missionary paradise! I feel honored to be here.  The people here are so excited to have missionaries again that we have been invited to so many things we don't even have time.  Due to the fact that we don't have keys to our apartment we don't have access to any of the information about old investigators or anything, but that was not at all a problem.  The bishop sat us down and started giving us a list of people to go see and members who could help us get there and take us around.  Basically the last two days have reminded me a ton of a Sunday in Brazil with my family when we passed by the house of one member, who went with us to the house of another member, and then we went to another house gaining more people as we went.  Words just cant even come to describe how amazing the people are here and this ward (whistle) Heaven!!!!

Our Bishop is part of a family that has their own street, and they're all members. They cover two different wards, with the ward boundaries running right down their privada.  Every Sunday night they have an FHE with the whole family, more then 70 people and last night we were invited. COOLEST THING EVER!!!! I'm so in love with how amazing this family is and think it would be pretty cool to do something like this in the future with my own family....but only if we can live in Mexico or Brazil ;)

I cannot even begin to express how happy I am, how hot it is, how fabulous this ward is, how lost we are, and how much excitement is pumping through my veins with every hour of every minute of every day!!!!! We just want to get out there and work (we actually worked this morning instead of taking a Pday) so that we can show the ward that were going to match their awesomeness.  I have never felt so blessed in my life!

With so much love,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, December 15, 2014

Funny Thing

I'm sorry to report that there is not a whole lot to report about this week because we spent three days living in we had about two days to work.

FUN FACT: My comp (dear little Hna Hernandez) is DEATHLY afraid of cows.  I'm pretty sure I have never seen anything funnier in my life!!!!  It's also a fabulous experience because when are there not cows in the street? Let me try and paint the picture for you of how it usually goes down.  So we're walking down a beautiful country lane, laughing and joking, nobody in sight when we walk around a corner and bam, there in front of us are 4 to 8 cows munching on the grass on the side of the road.  Instantly my comp freezes and is like, "oh no, oh no, oh no! Espera Hermana, espera! Alguien va a venir a ayudarnos." (Wait, Sister, Wait! Someone is going to come and help us) Ayudarnos con que? (Help us with what?) Was my question the first time this went down. They're just cows.  Basically it ends up with me walking closer towards the cows dragging my comp who is clinging to my arm just begging me to stop and flinching like crazy every time the cows move.  We finally get passed them and she instantly starts consoling me, "VĂ©ase, no pasa nada" (See, nothing happened).  I need a video of it!

Soooo really thats my whole week basically, I'm super sorry. Enjoy the pics instead
Hermana Neuberger
Our Christmas Tree

The hike above the city

Just making pinatas

Our new zone jerseys

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where There Is Faith There Are Always Miracles

First off, not to brag or anything, but I have the most amazing family on the planet.  No joke. No lie. No discussion. I was thinking about all the amazing things we've done together and I'm just beyond amazed.  The things we're doing don't even matter, we could just be at home, but the joy that we experience together is unmatched and truly fantastic. I'm more then ever grateful for all of our fabulous Christmas traditions.  Mom, you would be pleased to know that your Christmas traditions have not been wasted on me.  The people of Tepoztlan have been very touched with the simple box that says "Eternal life, with love, Jesus Christ".  There are times where I hand it to people when we're contacting and I fear that I'm not ever going to get it back because they just love it so much.  That is certainly a Neuberger tradition that I cherish with all my heart!

On a funny note: recently people have been freaking out when I tell them that I from Missouri.  The conversation usually goes something like this:
"You're from in the United States?!"
"WOW, it's like crazy dangerous there.  I heard recently on the news that people are like shooting people and stuff and that the whole city is having a huge riot!"
I just look at the people and start laughing.  HELLO, WE'RE IN MEXICO!!!! But it sure makes me smile that people are worried about what's going up in my state when the neighboring state of Guerro is currently facing similar problems and it's only a 100 miles away.  Got to love the people here!

More then anything this week I'm beyond grateful for miracles!!! I truly know that the Lord will never leave us alone, He will always be there to help us overcome.  I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity that we had to fast this week.  And I know that the power of the Lord is stronger then anything that we can do.  We have an investigator named Ana that we've been teaching now for about a month.  We found her by accident one day when we were trying to find the home of a MA.  To say that she lives in the middle of nowhere would be an understatement! But anyway she has the most amazing spirit about her and has a testimony that the things we are teaching her are true......with all that being said she has never made it to church which means she can't progress.  So this week when we were planning out our lesson we talked about how we were going to address the matter.  As we were going over the part of the plan of salvation that we had discussed in the last visit and talking about our life here on earth she got super quiet.  We asked her if there was something shed like to share. "Well I just feel terrible that I always say that I'm going to go to church and then I never do.  I know that it's where I should be, and where I want to be but something always gets in my way.  Our time on earth is super precious and I can't just say that I'm going to do something, I need to do it!" Yeah, so we didn't end up talking about how church was important cause she covered it for us :) Later on in the lesson, because that moment wasn't mind blowing enough I guess, she asked," Do you guys think I'm ready to be baptized? Its something I REALLY want to do and I've been thinking about my date a lot this week. Do you think I know enough to be baptized? What do I need to do more to be ready?" Well safe to say that my comp and I were at a loss for words.  She looked at me to say something and I tried my hardest to make sense of Spanish because my brain was whirling in dizzy circles! All the next day we were thrilled about it and so sure she would be at church this Sunday, but all Saturday I kept thinking and worrying about her until my comp finally asked what was wrong.  I suggested that we pass by for her Sunday morning just to make sure that she knew where the church was.

Sunday morning we left the house at 7 to walk to her house (because we don't have a lot of money) and found her in the street with her three kids walking to a neighbor's house.  They were crazy surprised to see us and her face was just shocked when we asked about church.  "of course I'll be there.  It starts at 12 right?" UMMM it starts at 9, like in 30 minutes.  Ana was horrified to say the least!! She grabbed her baby, threw him over her shoulder and told the other children to start running.  We made it back to her house in record timing and I'm pretty sure she was ready in a time that was fast even in Neuberger standards.  We made it to church with 5 minutes to spare and huge smiles on everyone's faces.  Her children were AMAZING for all of Sacrament meeting (they're all under the age of 4) and then were thrilled out of their minds when the primary teacher came over to ask if she could show them to their classes.  Ana wasn't going to stay for the whole three hours (because they hadn't even eaten breakfast in the morning because they were in such a rush), but her kids refused to leave so they stayed longer then most of the members.  It was just awesome! Not to mention that the Family Morningstar was back at church this week and back in the progressing mindset, Sergio was faithful and fabulous along with Hilda who just has the strongest of testimonies and it was just the greatest Sunday of all Sundays!!!! For the second Sunday in a row the chapel was so full that we had every child sitting on a lap and still had to have people sit outside cause there wasn't anymore room to sit.  The best part is there are still so many more to get to church and then I can't even imagine what will do! I just love this place soooo much!!!

The Lord will NEVER let you down,
What we face in this life is nothing compared to what He faced and because He faced it He knows EXACTLY how to help us,
Have faith in Him in EVERY moment, of EVERY day, 
He truly lives,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, December 1, 2014

Accepted of the Lord

So I have like 20 minutes to write cause I'm covered in dirt and sweat and need to shower before 6.  BUT we went on the craziest hike today and I cant wait to take all of you on it.  The fact that we made it to the top is nothing short of a miracle!!!!! Safe to say it is a kind of Mexican "Angel's Landing" and the trail is really tough....if you can find the trail that is!!!! Safe to say,sorry mom, you and your fear of heights are not invited!!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!! (safe to say I kind of forgot it was a holiday) After 50 pics of New York City from my mom I'm feeling slightly trunky and super psyched for my next Thanksgiving in NYC the only place to be for turkey day....that being said I can't really complain about where I am, the greatest place on earth!!!

This week was really, really, really, really hard.  The kind of hard that leaves you racking your brain for a Plan M because every other idea has fallen through; crazy jealous as you pass yet another eight references to the other Sisters of T for an address that used to be part of our area; and on your knees more then ever pleading for answers from the Lord.  I mean we are here to share the gospel with others.  Why on earth aren't missions easy!? BUT with all the thinking this week I made quite a few realizations.  Where is the success in a unfought battle? Without opposition mission life would just be 2 years without growth and that's exactly the opposite of what I want for my mission.

So with all that said let me tell you how much good comes form the bad.  No, it's true, we're still struggling more then ever, but we know there are people waiting and we need to find them and that vision gets us through just about everyday....that and putting our arms around each other as a silent sign that were in this together. I truly believe one of the greatest promises we have of the Lord is that He will always send answers or guides.  If we truly analyse every moment of our lives will soon quickly come to realize that there are no bad days, maybe hard moments, but never a bad day.  No matter what happens during the day, how many appointments fall, how many people flat out reject us, we still have the opportunity to have an effect on these peoples lives and that's all that really matters in the long run.  Hopefully were planting seeds and making a difference for the future.  If we accomplish that I can wake up every morning with a huge smile on my face ready for anything!

I found answers with answers this week in a talk called Accepted of the Lord.  Its times like this on the mission where you literally analyze every little thing and wonder what on earth it is that I'm doing wrong.  But naturally were all going to have low points and it might not mean anything at all.  People will ALWAYS have their agency to choose I'm just here to give them another option.  The talk outlines three important things to do in times like this that I've seriously been reflecting this week: self reflection to see if you truly have an honest and broken heart, contrite spirit to receive direction and understanding from the spirit, and to observe our covenants no matter the sacrifice (DC 97:8).  Having the spirit is the number one way to know you are accepted of the Lord, and without the spirit this work is truly nothing.  So I'll do my work for all I'm worth and continue to improve because I'm crazy human and there's always room to change and be better.  I truly treasure the spirit that I can feel in the lessons I teach, though they might be few.  I feel blessed everyday just for the opportunity to be a missionary cause there is no greater cause in the entire earth.

I also feel super accepted of the Lord this week in my own silly ways.  I hope I've explained chump change before (the money I find on the street after we did what the Lord wanted us to do. I consider it a pat on the back from heaven) because this week I found over 70 pesos worth of chump change.  I guess more then ever the Lord was looking out for me and just letting me know that He still has an infinite love for me and wants me to feel it!  

This Sunday was the Primary Program in church which resulted in attendance of 86 people....there wasn't even room for all of us.  Safe to say it was just mind blowing.  Our next plan is to figure out how to get those numbers every week.  Looks like the Primary might have to start making it a monthly event ;)

Life can never get better then serving others,
Love everyone around you,
Share the real meaning of Christmas (He is The Gift)
So much love,
Hermana Neuberger

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is This Legal?

It's fun not being the short companion
This morning we were reading out of the mission manual, My comp in English and I in Spanish, when all of a sudden (I might not have been paying the best attention) I hear my name, like my real one.  I look up super shocked and she just has a huge grin on her face.  "Whoops.  I meant Christ like.....Did you know that your name is super similar to Christ like??" I died of laughter :)

Well I'm going to use the term lost in a fairly free way because as missionaries, or in at least my case, we're never truly lost(Editor's note: this is said tongue in cheek as KL has a long reputation of getting lost).  This week we found out, or it might have been last week, that the Guerrero missionaries aren't ever going back so every area in Morelos was divided again.  We lost three investigators because of the area divide.  It was crazy hard to decided which half of the area we wanted and where exactly we wanted to divide the area because every investigator matters and for sure has a huge place in my heart.  I hope the other missionaries take good care of T B, but I know they will!! But with the divides we took T A and have decided to start working that very untouched part of our area.  Yes we've been warned of the danger so we only go when we have a fixed appointment, but its been nothing less of rewarding.  The best part is that Amatlan is beyond huge!!!! I'm still not super certain about exactly where it starts which means that we do a whole lot of walking down this country lane to find the correct turn off.  This week an awesome member that's also a taxi driver saw us waiting for the cambi and insisted on giving us a lift.  We tried to explain to him that we didn't have the slightest idea where we were going, only the name of a street, and it only put a bigger grin on his face (taxi cab drivers like a challenge).  As we searched, stopping at every store along the way to ask if they knew the street, he became more and more giddy and just laughed about how much it reminded him of his own mission.  We finally found the dirt road that lead off into the distance with no houses in sight and climbed out of the taxi.  He looked up the road and asked if we could say a prayer because he felt a little bit responsible for leaving us in the middle of nowhere and wanted to make sure that we would make it back.  It was an amazing adventure where we walked down this dirt road for 20 minutes looking for the white house that the store lady had described to us.  I was certain that I could see the house off in the distance and, being the taller one of the duo, my comp mistakingly believed me.  The "house" ended up being a lake that was reflecting the clouds above it (HAHAHA!).  But we did eventually find the BLUE house and taught a fabulous new investigator.
My Mexican comp never ate gorditas

As we were walking back to T (because a cambi never passed) we passed a huge field of flowers and it was basically like my wildest dreams come true, so we took a ton of pictures and my comp thought I was even more crazy then normal.....what can you do!

This week the attendance in the branch was back up and it just felt right.  I know the mission really is about the service that we do without reward, but it felt super good this week when the branch president saw our four pages of informa de progresos and simply said wow under his breath.  After consejo he took me and my comp aside and thanked us for all the work that we do/are doing to make Tepoztlan just felt good.

Earlier I was reading in the Isaiah chapters of Nephi (always a doozy) and really trying to find something that I could apply to myself.  I was half focusing and more thinking about how blessed our week has been when I came across a scripture that I really really like: (2 Nephi 20:15)
15. Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!

Is this legal?
I truly beleive that one of my biggest struggles for my entire life is humility.  Truly this work has nothing to do with me because, just like this scripture so clearly states, its impossible for us, the tools of the Lord, to function without His force.  In this work we need His power, His guiding spirit, and His gospel to change the lives of others.  I cant boast of my own strength because its not me thats carrying this work.  In reality my time here will be really short, but thanks to Him this message can be carried to the people of Tepoztlan forever by the missionaries that follow me.  This message truly is life changing and its something that will last forever.  Its not only something that functions for a moment, that gives a few answers, but its doctrine that when truly applied can bring us a joy that we have never experienced and will never experience anywhere else.  I know the church is true and more then anything else I want others to experience and feel of that joy that can only come from the gospel in their lives!

Share this great message,
Hna Neuberger

Sound of Music Mexican Style

Monday, November 17, 2014


Well I am such a fan of all the surprise visitors that have been passing through Tepoztlan!!!! It's also become a problem cause I think I've given myself serious whiplash from all the crazy head turning it's caused.  I'm also a little jittery now because I truly believe that I keep seeing people that really aren't there.  Today we were standing in the center not really looking at anything, WAITING FOR FERB AND CAPENER TO COME SEE US (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), when around the corner walks Carlos.  We make eye contact and awkwardly stare at each other as he enters the square.  I wasn't positive it was him cause he was still far away and he wasn't positive it was me cause he couldn't see my name badge, but the awkward moment ended with huge smiles and a heartfelt handshake. I was so excited and didn't even know what to ask him first.  I really wanted to know if the entire Garcia family was there...but no.....BUT then Mohommad, Ali, and Eric!!!!!! And while we were standing there laughing and talking I got jumped from behind by two of the coolest/most amazing/greatest people ever which resulted in a lot of joy and happiness and crazy hugging.  So we had a Oaxtepec reunion and it was awesome! It was one of the greatest Pdays ever just cause I got to spend the entire time with Ferb and Capener and laugh out of my mind at all of our crazy stories and stuff.  It's really weird cause I haven't seen them both in over four months....and now it just feels like normal times all over again....I don't want them to leave in 30 minutes :(

Reunion with Oaxtepec crew
Time is passing so fast I don't even know what to think.  You all wonder what I did last week and I have to be perfectly honest when I look back and wonder the same thing.  Weeks feel like days so I often have a hard time realizing what I did each day.  Daddy Morningstar was back in town this week (and only for a week...) so we only had a chance to teach them once cause they were crazy busy doing everything family with the very short time they had together.  He won't be back again till February but that's okay cause the missionaries who are here in Tepoztlan in February are gonna be so grateful for how much we have prepared this family and how ready they all are for their baptism.  Our goals is to act like they're already members and to continue strengthening their testimonies so they're beyond ready.  I love how much they love us and their desire to know more.  Plus the fact that their oldest daughter (Christina) is now a crazy awesome and strong member happens to help a LOT! 

Attendance at the branch has been really little as of lately and we don't know what to do.  We have some of the most powerful lessons of my mission with MA and I was so certain they were gonna be back at church the next Sunday.....nothing.  This week was Stake Conference so we had to take the bus ride to Cuernavaca for conference...which meant that basically everyone decided not to come, even the "active members".  That was super ruff and yet really rewarding, let me explain why.  Saturday night we went beyond crazy inviting everyone possible and reminding everyone possible that tomorrow the bus was leaving from the gasolinera (which is kind of far away from everything) at 8 am.  We promised everyone that they could sleep on the bus ride there and that it would be a really rewarding experience.  We arrived at the gas station first Sunday morning and waited as the member started trickling in.  First surprise, Yeni showed up and was ready to go (she's only been to church once in my time here) and then not just Mireya but ALL OF HER FAMILY (even her non-member children) showed up! Needless to say it was quite jaw dropping.  The conference was very enjoyable, primero, because the talks were amazing as always, second because it was a conference year when a general authority visits, third because everyone decided to speak in Spanish instead of using a translator....giggle, giggle, giggle....I hope you can imagine how that went down.  We listened to Elder Neil A. Anderson speak some interesting Spanish, but I think it's safe to say that he fought to the end and everyone really appreciated it.  I think the coolest part about the whole thing was that it was the first time that any of the Spanish saints had heard the real voice of Elder Anderson, usually they just listen to a voice over of a translator!  After the conference I didn't know what to do with myself as everyone gathered around their friends from the stake and missionaries with their investigators.  Safe to say I felt like the biggest loner of all time BUT looking around at how happy everyone was, especially the investigators, filled me with a greater resolve to get my investigators to church next week and back on track to progression.

One of the coolest moments/straight up miracles that happened this week occurred late one night when an appointment fell.  I feel as though all the stories of miracles happen in the same kind of settings.  We weren't really sure to do with our hour so we went looking for a reference that lived near by.  It was super dark so we started knocking on just about every door cause we couldn't read the numbers and everyone needs the gospel anyways! As we were knocking on one door their neighbor happened to answer and asked what we needed.  We asked him if he knew the person we were looking for, "nope I'm new here", "oh perfect, well we're the missionaries", "......Yeah i noticed your badge....I'm a member..." JAW DROP!!!! Turns out he was baptized about 6 years ago in the District and was young mens president for a year.  He moved to Tepoztlan a year ago and became less active.  But he certainly won't be less active for long.  He got really excited as we bore our testimonies and then ran in to introduce us to his wife, who is now a new investigator!!! I love how much the Lord works through us to find the people who need to remember the great love he has for each of them and the joy the gospel can bring to families.  As we were walking back, giddy about the experience we had just had, we walked by another family and I felt impressed to contact them.  They accepted everything and we had our first appointment with them yesterday night.  It took an hour to find their house because they live on the most poorly numbered street in probably all the world and then they weren't home (always a missionary bummer).  We decided to pass back by later and the family was thrilled that we had taken the time to see them again.  Turns out they have an older son who has actually been to church over 20 times but in a different area (chiado!).  What can I say, I just love my families of 5!

I'm so grateful for the great work and golden opportunities that I have each day to be here truly helping others with all my energy and all my time! In the words of Lucy Smith I often wonder and ask the Lord, "What comes next for willing hands to do?"

Until next week ;)
Hermana Neuberger

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Half Way . . . No Way!

Wow I just got done reading probably the greatest grouping of emails I think I've ever received and just about all of them said the same thing, "I miss you like crazy! When are you coming back?!" SURPRISE!!!!!! It's November, I'll be back soooo soon that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I past my halfway mark last week and now I'm in the home stretch wishing I could add about 30 more hours to each day cause I feel like there is never enough time to accomplish everything.

'just like to say that Tepoztlan has to be one of the greatest areas to ever be in, literally there is never a lull in the work there is to do! Better then anything else is how blessed we are to have some of the most amazing investigators EVER! Sadly we've currently been having some problems in our branch so Hna Hernandez and I have been talking with President Kusch and that leads to my greatest story ever of the week.  We were walking some back streets in Tepoztlan at about 8 pm when we received a phone call.  The other sisters had already called about 10 times because they were trying to meet up with us for divisions but just kept getting lost, so we assumed it was them.  I answered the phone with a quick "Bueno" and was shocked out of my mind when I heard the voice of President on the other side.  "Hermana Neuberger.  I've been thinking, it's been a super long time since I visited Tepoztlan, like almost 2 years, so I think I'm going to come to your branch tomorrow.  How do I get there?" (In my mind: WHAT!?!?!) In reality: "Okay President that sounds great!" The best part was that about 20 minutes later we received another phone call informing us that we would be the two people speaking in sacrament meeting (oh joy).  We decided to let the whole thing be a surprise for the other sisters so when they showed up to church the next day the president would be there.  Basically that whole night my comp was so giddy I thought she was going to ruin the surprise.

We were walking the next morning and saw President's car turning onto the street where the church is and my comp started jumping up and down she was just so psyched. Safe to say it was quite hilarious.  President accidentally passed the church (house of prayer) so we made it there before him.  We went to put our stuff down in the chapel and I stopped dead in my tracks because there was none other then MOHO, my old ward mission leader from Oaxtepec.  We both had a moment of freak outs aka "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?!?" "WOW BEST DAY EVER!!!" I then spent about 10 minutes before church, 10 minutes before Sunday School, and 30 minutes after church asking about everything, investigators, converts, the ward, families I love, and how the missionaries are doing.  I was super sad to hear that the missionaries currently have about zero investigators because they only work in our area for 2 days a week and then are on divisions in other areas every other day.  I guess that's what happens when the AP sister training leaders take your place, but according to Moho, the ward is ticked and want us back (it made me feel a little good). Anyway, I felt like my talk was a bunch of stammered words, but everyone really liked it.  Moho was laughing forever afterwards because of how nervous I was...apparently I was shaking, but HELLO my mission president was sitting behind me on the stand!!!! It was just an amazing Sunday and yet another amazing start to a new week.

So I just love general conference more then anything else and recently found two talks that I think are just incredible.  The first is by Presidente Uchtdorf that talks about Regrets and Resolutions.  He points out three things that most people regret at the end of their lives; not spending enough time with my family, not reaching my full potential, not letting myself be happy.  But the part about the talk I love the most is how President Uchtdorf teaches that all of these things that we can regret in the future are affected by choices we make in this moment.  Right now is when we need to be spending time with our family, right now we need to try our best everyday and then in the future we can accomplish what we want to become BUT, more then anything, WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY.  Despite everything there is ALWAYS a reason to be happy and when we find it we should keep it close to our heart so when the hard times come we can remember and continue to be happy through it all! All of this reminded me of a Holland talk about the disciples after the death of Christ. Elder Holland expressed what the Lord may have said, "What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world." Truly our message is something that can change the world and it can change the world everyday by the manner in which we share it.  We can choose to live the gospel, to live the things we know to be true, and this will cause us to be happy.  I know that to be true!!! The more and more we live the gospel each day, really really live it, the happier we will be!!

Choose to be happy this week,
Look for the good in every moment,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ghosts in the Streets

Wow can I just start by saying that Mexico just has got it all going right. Here they’ve truly accepted Halloween, but made it their own and mixed it in with their own holiday, Dia de los Muertos.  Basically they do what we do, but on steroids.  The streets were so crowded I kept losing my companion.  If you’re not giving out candy you’re in the street asking for candy with your family.  Here there’s no age limit so everyone takes part.  It’s also super cool because here you carry your jack a lantern with you.  Yes, the pumpkins are a whole lot smaller so it’s not a huge deal and the street just looks awesome with all the light.  Everyone was so happy and animated about the whole event.  I wish I could have taken pictures of the whole thing, due to new regulations we can’t take pictures, but I guess I’ll leave it up to all of you to look at pictures on line.  Also Mexicans aren’t happy with just one chance to go around asking for in eight days the whole festivities will be happening all over again in full force and I’m super excited!

This week we had a huge drop in church attendance, I blame Dia de los Muertos, but in the missionary department there was crazy success.  We have huge goals with both presidents about church attendance and we’re trying like crazy to get more and more people each week.  This week had me down cause we had been rocketing upward, but then I looked around at our investigators, recent converts, and the crazy amount of less actives that were back and I had to smile because it was just a small tender mercy that they were all there.  Two amazing things that happened at church: Well Salvador came to church this week for the first time in about 5 years and he was so happy that all he could say was that he was happier than words could express.  Other thing, there was a young couple visiting from the District and the awesome guy grabbed a hymnal and sat right next to one of our investigators to show him how it was all done.  Yup, I know understand why the missionaries in the district baptize about five people each week, those members are unreal amazing! It really got me thinking about the members that we want to be.  Any member who acts like this is instantly golden in the eyes of every missionary.  But more than anything, more than just the members we should be, it’s more about the people we should be.  We should always have this general desire to reach out and touch all those around us.  In every moment we need to look and not just stop there but find the way in which we can help.  We shouldn’t need to wait for someone to ask, we should just do, and do it willingly and with happiness.  I love the people from the District and they always animate me when they visit our branch, never the same twice, but always the same amazing spirit and powerful testimonies.  Just remember who you mean to be, who you want to truly be, and then be that with all your heart!

This week we also taught the fabulous Morningstars about temples and the work we can do for our families there.  We watched Together Forever (probably one of the greatest church films ever) and after bore our testimonies.  I don’t know if it was just the fact that we miss our families or the spirit, but both me and my comp were in tears and a loss for words.  WOW oh wow the truth of it all just hit me with a force I can’t describe! Do we realize how good we have it?! We are part of amazing families and there not just a temporal thing, they’re meant to be eternal and that’s what they can be.  How often I think I take this knowledge and the blessed covenant of sealing in the temple for granted.  I know that my family can be together forever someday, to never again be separated! To share that message with other amazing families is a huge blessing.  It doesn’t matter who you are, we all love our families.  So why not love them forever? Why not be with them forever? Why not enjoy that blessing for all eternity.  I’m truly grateful for the spectacular family that God saw fit to bless me with and I am truly thankful for the covenants that my parents made in the temple so that we can be together forever.

This week we challenged Itzel, who is also less active, to invite him to church.  She was really freaked out cause she said she’s done it about a thousand times and he always gets super mad, but she did it anyway, and there he was Sunday morning.  I ran over to shake his hand again at the end of sacrament meeting.  I asked him how he felt and with a huge smile he said, "a joy I cant describe!" Wow missionary work is so worth it.  There are so many amazing MA (which sometimes feels like a double negative to write) that are just so ready to get back to church....we just have to find them and then get them out the door.  Its certainly difficult here because the branch has so much history and everyone talks about everyone (a super bad thing).  A lot of people have left the church just because of the untrue rumors that have been spread about them.  As the missionaries we get the story from both parties and then have to try to figure out the truth so I decided to try to put an end to it all this week during branch council (which we’ve actually had for two weeks in a row now which is nothing short of a miracle).  I was magically called on to give the spiritual thought and I shared the scripture about the moats and beams in our eyes.  I invited them all to forget everything that’s happened in the past and invite all the MA back with open arms. I challenged them all to reach out to those that they haven’t talked to in a while or who possibly aren’t there because of something that they once said.  Everyone was super silent for a good minute afterwards, during which time Presidente Pineda reentered the room.  He looked around and was like, "what’s wrong?!" and that broke the silence.  Hopefully everyone can take that message to heart and we can stop all the gossiping.  Also in branch council we were talking about different MA and someone made the comment that they’re never going to come back to the church.  Israel (who’s a recently reactivated MA and now young mens president...still not sure how that works) got really angry and serious and told the branch council to never give up on anyone until they say you’re never allowed to come back cause we can’t judge when they might return.  It was super awesome and powerful and gave me more desire to get out there and find even more Menos Activos (less actives).

We have seen nothing but blessings from the Lord here in Tepoztlan.  Recently we’ve been spending the last hour of the night just in the center of Tepoztlan contacting everyone because it’s a better use of our time then trying to find people at home.  Every night we’re standing in the square thinking, "wow we need a MA" and Bam almost instantly there is a MA walking by and they have the desire to sit down and talk to us for a while.  It’s crazy! I can’t really explain it all but it make us more desirous to talk to everybody because we start with a prayer and then we enter the center knowing that there is a MA somewhere we just need to talk to everyone to find out who!

Have the greatest of weeks,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nothing But Smiles

WELL Hello there all you fabulous people!!!
Hermana Hernandez in the hospital
First off I have to comment, because I promised my branch president that I would, we had 71 people in church this week. Yes that's right, SEVENTY-ONE!!! It was nothing short of a miracle.  The weird thing was that it didn't feel like there were any new people there or people who were returning because everyone was just so warmly accepted.  Basically it was thrilling.  Also, thanks to mother nature and Benjamin Franklin, we gained an hour...and most of Mexico was not aware so everyone showed up early, thinking they were late, and we not only started Sacrament Meeting on time BUT there were about 40 people there.  It just had me and Presidente with huge smiles on our face the entire time. 

Cristina's Baptism
Speaking of miracles, there were so many that happened this week I think it would be impossible to list them all but something that was certaintly a miracle for two sister missionaries who were crazy lost in what felt like tornado winds and a lot of rain was the random car that stopped and offered us a ride! I love all memebers in every part of Mexico! Our baptizm this week came together and we had an amazing turn out.  The coolest part was that the boyfriend from Utah gave a talk via skype! Probably the first and last time were going to do that but it was super cool! At the end of the service we were talking to her boyfriend and Cristina got all serious and told her boyfriend that she was going to serve a mission....the whole room got REALLY silent and the poor guy got super red....and then we all started laughing cause it was a joke.  Basically shes asked him a LOT about missions because she now has such a desire to serve we shall se what actually ends up happening.  She would be such an amazig missionary and im kind of half supporting it.  The whole family is just so incrediable that i cant help but smile when Im around them.  The mom is mom, if that makes sense and I cant wait for Momma N to meet her cause I know theyll be great friends.

There truly is no greater joy then watching others take the steps that we know will bring them more happiness then we can express.  This week I was hit a little by a wall of pride that made me realize that I know this language now and I can really say stuff.  I think the best part is that I can now target peoples needs and really express to them the importance of the message we bring.  There is nothing like the

gospel and there certaintly is nothing else that is as precious in our lives.  I just love how the mission has given me such a different perspective on life and true purpose.  As we keep an enternal perspective we can have more joy then we can even fathom.

So much love,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, October 20, 2014

Inspired Leaders

Well Hello all you Fabulous People Whom I LOVE,
Just because I'm pretty sure there are some rumors spreading a little too rapidly, I'd like to confirm that I am completely fine! Yes, there are certainly big problems going down in the boundaries of my mission' but I'm pretty sure the whole thing has only increased my perspective that the Lord calls inspired leaders.  In any other situations I'm sure the idea of moving over 100 young adults into safety would have been considered quite daunting, but here we're a team.  The mission is so well organized that everything moved like clock work and there was not a moment of panic.  Though I'm sure there was a ton of stress on President's part. Right now all the missionaries are living in the boundaries of Morelos.  They closed the four biggest zones of the mission and every area in Morelos is now stocked with two additional companionships.  Elder Chiser was a little shocked when he found out he was training....but I think he was a little more shocked when he found out that he now was going to have six more companions.  They walk down the street like an army and it's all quite amusing.  There are still a few elders living in the offices and doing random splits with different areas everyday, but overall everyone's settled into a random corner and really happy.  I'm so excited for our district meeting tomorrow because our district is going to have gone from 7 people last week to 35 people this week. GOSH, its going to be awesome.  Plus all my dear friends are now so close to me that I just want to go to Cuernavaca everyday so I can run into all of them!

The break down:
-Last Saturday we received a call that transfers would not be happening Monday.
-Monday we received a call that we would find out about transfers on Tuesday at district meeting. (1st trip to Cuernavaca)
-Tuesday we found out that they were pulling the sisters out of San Andres (the other companionship that lives with us) and closing the area for a time.  We gained Hna Harmon as part of our trio. (2nd trip to Cuerna for district meeting)
-Wednesday we headed to the offices (3rd trip to Cuernavaca) to drop off Hna Ayala and say goodbye...then we hiked to the estrella oro (where we were supposed to meet the zone leaders) which really isn't that far away from the offices...but if Hna Neuberger is leading to an unknown destination....well it took us a half hour, but we talked to some really cool people and ran into two sets of zone leaders who let us in on some transfer secrets so it was all good. We waited for about 20 minutes and then called about all the missionaries in our phone trying to figure out which was the number of the zone leaders.  Which resulted in some super funny phone calls.  We finally got in touch with the zone leaders only to find out that they were in the offices :l so we hiked it back (this time it only took 5 minutes).  Biggest secret surprise that was going down in the offices that we got to also know about, our zone leaders were becoming the APs....after only being our zone leaders for a week :/
-Thursday we received a call that we needed to be at the offices at 9 am
-Friday morning, as we were leaving the house, we received another call that we didn't need to go....only to receive a call two hours later that they needed us in Cuernavaca.  So we dropped everything and headed out to pick up our new companion.  (4th Trip to Cuernavaca) Her name is Hna Hernandez (also) and she's from Vera Cruz and just awesome and bubbly and perfectly happy about life, basically the description of every missionary I know.  She was a little bit sick and apparently had been sick for about 5 days.
-Saturday Hna Hernandez called the doctor and he asked her to come in for a check up....two hours later we got a call that she had forgotten all her cards and couldn't check into the the never failing Tepoztlan sisters headed to Cuernavaca (5th Trip) to bring her insurance cards and money.

And so this week we never had a full day of work, only about 2 hours every night, which made things rather interesting and us determined to make every moment count just a little bit more.  Fun fact: it takes an hour and a half to get to Cuernavaca by bus...and then the same amount of time to get waiting for buses...

But despite it all we were still able to find quite a few blessings.  The German Family that I believe I mentioned last week, was one of the most amazing lessons I've ever had.  We were laughing so hard the entire time with there adorable children and just about other things.  They have officially nicknamed us Mary (because I'm American) and Maria and its just amazing.  When we asked them what there belief in God was they went off on a tangent for about 30 minutes where they basically described and talked about everything that we had planned to teach them.  I'm pretty sure I've never heard anyone say that they believe an apostasy happened after the death of Christ and that there needed to therefore be a restoration of the truth except at church.  Also, that the only way that God could do that would be to call a new prophet for our time.  My comp and I just sat there gapping.  They're not promising us anything but even if were just planting a seed with them it will certainly be the greatest seed Ive ever planted!

A quote that I really liked this week comes from the always incredible Elder Holland (can't remember it word for word):
"Imperfect people is all God has ever had to work with.  Don't focus on your imperfections, look past them.  Better yet think of all you can become if with His help,  and then do it!"

I'm not here to be perfect, my imperfections get me down each and everyday.  But when I truly put it all in the Lords hands, that's when we see the miracles, that's when were lead by the spirit, that's when every single moment becomes sooo worth it that there aren't even words to explain.  Let the Lord morph you into your most perfect self! He wont do it against your will but with His help we can truly accomplish all things :)

With an abundance of love,
Hna Neuberger

Monday, October 13, 2014

So That Happened


There once was a place called O, where once upon a time they almost killed the missionaries...let's just say the Elders came back from there a little worse for wear.  Every Catholic church (there's one every two or three blocks in all the areas of T) has a loud speaker at the top of its steeple to announce when mass is going to start and other prayers. The dear people of O used this speaker to announced to the whole community NEVER to talk to the young men in white shirts and ties.  Better yet if you see them, get rid of them.  So yeah were not suppose to go there....but I'm new here and so is my comp so how am I suppose to know these things right?? I'm all about seeing every part of my area because my thought is that if we don't go to every pueblo then possibly we are missing out on a golden person who wants to hear more of our message.  That being said I can see why O is off limits, the people really don't like us, but I survived and the best part is that we got to find a less active family that was thrilled to see us.  Positive or Negative?...I think it was more positive! ALSO there once was a place called A where the people threw rocks at the missionaries when they tried to visit a member....needless to say, I've been there too....there should really be a sign or something ;) I think the best part about these areas is that there is no cell phone service (let's be honest there is no cell phone service in almost all of T) but there must be angel service because not only were we protected BUT we found some truly amazing people!!!!

I guess that was basically our whole week, the best way to describe it, MIRACLES! We were walking down the street last Sunday night and stopped to talk to a young family.  Turns out the mom had talked to the missionaries before about 10 years ago.  My comp and I still can't describe why the spirit was so powerful during our first lesson with them, but we both left just in awww with the biggest of smiles across our faces.  They're such an amazing family with four kids under the age of 8 (with the craziest nagwat names you've ever heard so I can't even come close to saying them).  I think my favorite part of the entire lesson was when Maya (the mom) committed to be baptized and the husband´s (Ramon) jaw dropped straight to the ground.  He said that his wife never commits to anything if she's not certain about it and that she's never been super big on religion.  Basically he convinced himself that if this was something his wife saw as a turning point then he did too and quickly agreed to be baptized also!

Wednesday the sister training leaders did divisions with us, which was just what I needed to remind me of how lessons works when your companion has more time on the mission then you.  It felt kind of relaxing to let them take the lead and to really listen louder.  It was also a huge wake up call that in a lot of our lessons I've been really focused on trying to follow the lessons and make sure my comp knows the order instead of following the Spirit which is what it's all really about.  Safe to say we had a day full of finding amazing people at every turn.  It just reopened my eyes to how amazing my area is and how much work there is to do here.  It made me even more desirous to get my hands dirty and just talk to EVERYONE! Basically I was super spiritually renewed and it felt so good.

The next day we finished the last segment of the districts, and with that ending, and the memory of the spirit that was here with the sister training leaders, we hit the day with a force of a thousand winds and a ton of faith and hope.  And basically when you enter the day with hope like that you see everything as a miracle and a blessing and there is nothing better!!! (Side note: I'm trying a lot harder to note every blessing I see in my day and trust me it brings so much extra happiness that I basically burst with smiles)  We were walking down the street and passed a lady reading the Bible on her porch and I felt impressed to talk to her so we stopped to ask her what she was reading about...."oh just James chapter 1," she responded and I just about had a heart attack! So she invited us in and we talked about how true James 1:5 is and how we can always ask God for help and shared the Jose Smith story.  And that was just the start of blessing after blessing after blessing of that day.  We got lost walking (I would love to know how many miles I walk each day.  Let's just say going from Ocotes to Tierra Blanca to return to Ocotes and after to San Jose was a doozie that left me cramping at the end of the night.  The members think were absolutely crazy for ever walking that, but we don't have 30 minutes to wait for a cambi and we're cheap and don't want to pay for cambis.) BUT ANYWAY, we ended up in Xilotepec which is the neighboring barrio (yup here the whole place is divided into barrios, as every good Catholic city, where each barrio has its own church in the center.  Basically it's as if we lived in Utah and our stake center was in the center and then their were the different church buildings around it) BUT ANYWAY we found ourselves in Xilotepec that's the neighboring Barrio to Tierra Blanca, except that its higher up on the mountain and has the most amazing view of everything.  It was so pretty that we're going back today to take pictures and just enjoy the hike.  As we were trying to figure out how to get to Tierra Blanca we found more amazing people.  And basically in quick summary we taught the family Vargas (less active) and they all came to church this Sunday, we found a less active that had been praying that we would stopped by, an old investigator wants to take another go, and that amazing family that I mentioned before kept us smiling. The moment that capped it all right before we entered the house Saturday night was when we found the German family (that I've been praying we would find again) sitting in one of the cafes.  At first we just walked by and exchanged hellos, then kept walking, but I paused long enough for my comp to ask what was up.  I told her that this was an answer to my prayers, but I didn't know how to go back and talk to them without it being weird (yup, I'm a failure what can I say) but my comp, being the amazing person she is, insisted that we needed to talk to them and dragged me back...where I did all the talking in a mixture of English, Spanish, and German.  Basically it was awesome and we're going to meet with them later this week. I was so giddy that I just fist pumped it out all night long ;)

I guess all I'm trying to say is that I have a firm faith in the Lord.  Not only that He is there watching over me, but more importantly that He can do all things.  Therefore with Him I know that I can truly do all things.  I've felt the lows and the highs of the mission, but I'm certainly appreciating the highs more then ever.  I look all around me and all I see is miracles and all I can see in the future is loads more.  Here it's safe to say there are a lot of people that don't like us, but once upon a time they didn't like the prophets of old either.  Once upon a time they even rejected Christ.  But amidst all of that there are those who are ready and there are those who have such a great desire to follow Christ that those who don't are quickly forgotten.  The hard times get us down, but the good times and amazing experiences are so sacred that they fill us up to the bursting point.  I know Tepoztlan is on a mountain, and possibly that helps, but I don't think I've ever felt so close to heaven then in my time here! Angels are truly walking with us and directing our paths.

In other news I found the coolest scripture this morning and really want to share it with all of you! In a very unread section of first Nephi(chapter 17) a scripture caught my attention so much that I would mind giving a talk on it for about five minutes.  In verse 9, Nephi asks the question "Lord, Where should I go to find..." (klee spanish translation).  It had me thinking all day about how that needs to be our first source to turn and our first reply to this work the Lord has called us to I pulled a Holland and took some liberty with the scripture and morphed it to us in the mission field.  Yep again another rough Spanish translation of what I wrote in Spanish, "Where should i go to find the knowledge I need to teach,  in order to do my part to have the tools to help in building your kingdom here (insert your area), following the way you have shown?"  And directly following in the next verse the Lord answers with where Nephi needs to go.  Like I said I could basically go on for an hour about how much I love this but I'll let you all come to your own conclusions.

May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of you and you put forth the effort.  May we all more readily recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives!!!
So much love,
Hermana Happy ;)