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 better...it 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 candies.....so 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