Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is This Really Goodbye?

don't think I have words that truly describe the emotion of the end or what I feel when everyone reminds me that I'm now down to days! When I think of endings a quote always comes to mind from Elder Uchtdorf, "In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.” To that I can truly say “Amen”, because every part of me right now is trying to resist the idea of my mission coming to an end.  The thought of not waking up every morning at 6:30 am, putting on a name tag, and walking out the door to face whatever the world has to throw at us that day, is really hard for me to comprehend.  I guess a part of me had grown to believe that this day would NEVER come and another part of me was praying it was somehow true.  Being a missionary though is something that I know will never end. The only ending I'm really facing is the fact that I'm leaving Mexico, which I now believe to be the greatest country in the world! But the end does not mean I'll forget.  It does not mean that I won't say a thousand times, “One time on my mission….” It will just mean a change up!
Oh and what a change up it will be.  I think its going to take a couple of weeks for my mind to wrap around the idea of washing machines, technology, hot water coming directly from the pipe, not having an aisle dedicated to oil in the super market (and then another aisle dedicated to mayo, another to beans, and another to rice), not having to shower out of a bucket, flush toilets, everyone having their own cars, asking for water and not getting flavor options, and about a million other things that I just crazy love about Mexico.  I can honestly say that the mission grants us a chance to feel a love so full and so pure that it can only be called charity.  Never in my life have I ever been so concerned about the older women trying to carry her groceries or the young man sitting alone on the street corner.  Never have I gazed at a family and instantly thought how much happier they would be if they had the gospel in their lives and then walked right over and shared it with them.  The mission doesn’t just make us believers, it makes us doers! Doers of good continuously, in every situation, in every thought.  We make the good out of everything and even if all of our last plans fall through, we just keep smiling and think of a thousand more people we could help with the magical extra time the Lord has given us.
Too cute!
But as Uchtdorf so greatly puts it, “Endings are not our destiny. The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.” And truly there is no ending at all.  I am merely graduating from an 18 month missionary to a Forever Disciple and I believe that to be a truly golden prize! Nothing will ever erase the work I have done here.  More importantly, nothing will ever erase the mighty change of heart the mission has blessed me with.  I will never falter, I will never yield.  I truly know with all my heart that my Heavenly Father's love is real.  He lives.  He hears and answers every prayer and is so willing and ready to bless us.  I know that Jesus Christ truly is my Redeemer, He is my Exemplar, He is my Best Friend.  He is the only one who can carry me on and has done so more times then I can count.  I know that due to their never ending love for us, God and Jesus Christ, have restored all the same truths that Jesus Christ taught when He was on the earth in our day.  I know that those restored truths exist here, in the one and only true church on the face of the earth, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know that Their only desire is for us to return to their presence again one day.  I know that the joy we feel on that day will be truly perfect as we enter into the embrace of that loving family who has waited so long to see us! His plan is perfect and I will be forever grateful for the chance he has given me, a weak, imperfect servant, to take part in the greater plan that He has for the people of Mexico.  I will choose to forever be the servant He has molded me to be!
 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Tim. 4:7-8)
See ya Monday,
Hermana Neuberger

My family will understand this one:)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Starting on a Journey

Me, Lucio, and my companion
The Lord certainly has a way of making everything work out perfectly! This week everyone in the ward was so excited for the baptism of Lucio, as were we! He was super nervous for his baptismal interview and because he was nervous so were we, because he probably would have just started talking instead of answering right.  His baptismal interview ended up being almost 2 hours long, 2 HOURS, so we were panicked as we waited outside wondering what on earth could possibly be going on.  Saturday we passed by quickly just to make sure that he was ready and to answer any questions.  We were all laughing and joking on his couch when his phone unexpectedly rang.....and it wasn't good news.  Last week a good friend of Lucio had taken a turn for the worse so he had left church early.  This call was to tell him that his friend had died and they were requesting his presence in the hospital because the guy has no living family....4 hours before the baptism and the guy is more then an hour and a half away...So all sorts of crazy drama broke loose.  Lucio burst into tears, "Hermanas, the only thing that I prayed for last night, over and over again, is that Dios (God) would just let me get baptized today.  I just wanted to get baptized. Can we wait till next week or something?" My only thought was NO!, we are not going to postpone this.  So we just delayed it with the start time being "whenever Lucio gets here." I was so wiped out from stress that I almost keeled over right there! How could this possibly be happening?! This is the man with whom we fought off iliteracy, jail time, and life threatening illness! What more could he possibly go through?!?!

But I guess the moral of the story is that he got there! And he was happier then ever, and everything worked out so we all went to bed Saturday extremely happy! That's the greatest part about the gospel. If the Lord wants it to happen it will all work out.  I have an unshakable testimony of how powerful this message I carry is! It changes lives FOREVER and will have eternal consequences.  The light it brings into the lives of others can't be denied.  When people are truly converted the passion burns within them and brings about changes that would NEVER be possible without the hand of the Lord.  I know this gospel is true and that is why I will share it with each and everyone of you. When we have something so precious and dear to our hearts why wouldn't we share it with everyone?? 

All My Love,

Hermana Neuberger

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trust In The Lord

17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Sun light shining in a cave below the pyramids
Well I know it was quite a roller coaster week last week but this week was a lot of waiting and holding on tight to see if the roller coaster would end and Id be able to walk off unharmed.  Luckily that's what Heavenly Father had for me in mind as well.  Jose is still in the hospital, after a week, but is only still beating due to machines and has been that way for about 5 days.  His family wants to disconnect him so they can just end the suffering, but the government can't do that due to the free healthcare and other laws.  Its really sad, but we had the chance to say goodbye to him before he went into coma and Chynoweth even made it to his bedside which was the greatest thing ever for me because that's her convert.  So for me everything in the end was all right and we know that José's already going to work as a missionary, looking for his dear mother.  We saw Lucio on Monday and he told us that the final decision wouldn't be made till Wednesday (waited till Wednesday with way way way too much stress!!!!) and then the decision didn't come till Thursday! But if I had known the decision was going to turn out that perfectly I could have waited a life time to hear it! He came up to us in the street Thursday and told us, "Hermanas, IT'S A MIRACLE!" He then informed us that at the trial the lady who was accusing him had settled for 5 thousand pesos and nothing else.  That's 40 thousand pesos less then what she had been arguing for the last three weeks! And with that settled the case is closed closed closed, in the form that in can never ever ever nunca jamas be revisited....and I cried tears of joy! So baptism ready, font soon to be filled, and another son of God ready to enter into the fold!

Making friends with the cicadas
On Saturday we went to go teach Lucio about baptism a little more and why we get baptized.  We started explaining it, he cut us off, finished explaining it way better then I could have, and then said "yeah I know that, it's all here in the book. What's tithing? And how can I start paying it? The Lord has truly blessed me more then I can imagine lately and I need to show him that I understand its all thanks to him!" .......can you be any more of a miracle Lucio?!?!? I don't think I've ever met anyone before who is so excited to pay tithing.

We also started teaching Margarit this week and found that her family situation is way more complicated then we thought.  Her children literally hate her and don't talk to her...despite the fact that they're all above the age of 20, still living at her house with their families, and she is basically sustaining all 5 of them with her next to nothing income.  It's really sad, but we started trying to be friends with all of her children this week, and it worked! Because Sunday they ALL came to church and loved it! I just love how much the gospel can truly strengthen and bless families in more ways then we can imagine if we first just open our hearts!

A little fun in a children's park
More then anything my heart is full and my humility is that much greater! I know with all the surety of my heart that there is no greater or more perfect plan then that of our Heavenly Father.  If we do our part, He will work out the rest.  Our joy is greater when the trials take our faith, but we are given more faith to overcome, more faith to endure only if we put our full confidence in Him.  I know that everything that we have passed through has not only strengthened my faith but has also blessed the lives of Lucio and has allowed His faith in God to grow 100 fold.  Heavenly Father knows us. He loves us. He truly created the universe, the solar system, every life form here on this earth. But more then anything He is our Father and His arms will always be there to encircle us, no matter the circumstance, because to Him we are everything!

Love to Everyone,

Hermana Neuberger

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Greatest Man

Well my mind currently can’t wrap around all the things that have passed in the last week! It’s safe to say it’s been an interesting one, from district leaders’ flip out because we found 10 new investigators all in one our district leader, for the first time ever, being completely speechless, "simply stating, wow you can’t catch a break!" So where do I begin with a week like that?!?! Well with my testimony, I know that everything that we go through is this light truly makes us better people, BUT only if we choose to let it do so! I know that the plan of the Lord is perfect for ALL his children, ALL OF THEM, and He will never simply leave us to suffer.  If we turn to Him, He will truly send angels to protect us and to keep us standing when our knees become to week to stand! I truly believe in the ministry of angels both seen and unseen!

This week our new mission president arrived and it has been one of the funniest experiences of my life! He couldn’t be any more lost if he tried but he is so willing and wanting to get to know everyone and just be a part of everything so I know he will do great things! We had a multi-zone conference on Friday and everyone was ecstatic because there were so many friends there. He started off the conference asking if anyone had any questions, so we started in....and then when no one had any more questions that was the end of the conference.....interesting! But they are sooooo very different from the Kuschs that there will never be comparing that’s for sure.  We feel just a little sick and Hna Avila (the President’s wife) is ready to turn the mission home into our personal hospital. We leave our area and they want a direct phone call when we leave and when we get home safely. They just want to talk to all of us and they could care less about the line of authority (district leaders call zone leaders, zl call APs, APs call president).  Hna Avila was super worried Sunday because no one had signed up to feed us, "Is that normally a problem hermanas?! I can totally feed you whenever you need me to, I hope you guys know that, just call me!" And I was like, aren’t you always gonna be gone like the Kuschs?? THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!!!!! I think the greatest part about the Avilas, if that wasn’t already enough, is that they brought with them one of their sons who has Downs syndrome.  His name is Sammy and he reminds me so much of Sara Bailey that I just want to squeeze him!!!!! He soooo sweet and just awesome! During church on Sunday he sat across from me and every time he looked up I just smiled at him, he blushed, looked down, and then would peak back at me, so I naturally just kept smiling during the whole class!!!! I’m so excited to have them here with us!!! Truly they are a great light during a rather roller coaster kind of week....

So for the roller coaster....On Friday night we stopped by to see Lucio, the greatest miracle of my mission, and he was crying.  What on earth is going on, was all I could think?! He then filled us in on the fact that the court case that we all thought had been settled a month ago when they dropped the charges had come back up. Because he still didn’t have the 31,000 pesos he was officially going to jail Monday morning for 8 years on false charges, despite all the naturally his tears were not the only ones shed.  I couldn’t believe my ears, but what followed was the most powerful testimony meeting of my life.  This dear old man who I just happened to sit next to one day on the bus for 2 minutes has stolen my heart and showed me that our Heavenly Father knows us much more personally then we can ever imagine! I have had the marvillosa pleasure of watching Lucio transform in the course of a month from a man who knew nothing of God or how to read, to someone who now can read AND UNDERSTAND, but more importantly has a faith in God that cannot be shaken! We started talking about faith and he shared his testimony that he knows that His father in Heaven is looking out for him.  He told us that he knows it for sure because that same God sent his "angels" (us) to him.  In that moment I was so thankful for the family Palmas (my district: the office secretaries and the assistants) and their ability to react fast.  I called Elder Jenson instantly to come give Lucio a blessing and they dropped everything and came running just by listening to my voice.  It was a powerful blessing and the spirit was just burning as we left his house. So that imposing doom is still hanging over our heads 13 days before his baptism.....

It was a rough day/night, but we woke up Saturday morning with our dreams big cause we had so much to do and we were crazy excited about how good our day was going to be! But naturally you shouldn’t count your eggs before they hatch, the day quickly became something that none of us were expecting! Everything fell through so we decided to go visit Jose (a 72 year old recent convert of Hna Chynoweth who we visit about every day because he’s amazing) early.  We sent him a message to tell him we were on our way but when we arrived he wasn’t waiting for us outside....that’s a first! The door was open and there was Jose, hunched over in a chair unable to breath.  Luckily, missionaries are trained to react super well in crazy situations so we kept our calm really well.  Jose was able to get air and started showing us how swelled up his legs were and telling us about his other horrible symptoms.  For a man that has been smoking around 20 cigarettes every day of his life for the last 60 years, he’s basically a living miracle.  He didn’t want us to tell anyone, just to sing him a few hymns.  We naturally did not follow the first request, the second one we followed through with.  The other week I made him a disk of the music and lyrics of every hymn, which he has now listened to 50 times through.  He loves the “Spirit of God” so we sang him that one as we waited for the APs to arrive to our aid (we decided to give Elder Jenson and Elder Morales a break because they had saved us last night).  The APs dropped everything and were there in minutes, love them! Jose was shocked to see them but happily received the blessing.  Afterwards he said, "I already feel better. Do we want to have the lesson here on the patio or in my house?" YEAH RIGHT, there was no doubt in my mind that he needed to get to the hospital.  We all went to work trying to find a member to pass by to help us get him there but nobody answered so we just went to work.  The elders carried Jose down the mountain where he lives and I ran way out in front to find a taxi.  A taxi was the first thing that passed by, can someone say miracle?!?!?, but the guy apologized saying he didn’t have time and needed to repair something in his car first.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Was all I could think to say as he drove away.  I said a quick prayer and out of nowhere there was the same taxi driver backing his car down the same road he had just driven away on.  "Okay.....I’ll do it!" We later came to find that as he drove away a huge feeling to go back came over him that he said he just couldn’t ignore, THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER!

The hospitals here are sponsored by the government so the care is all free.....which means the lines are hours long....and the care isn’t the best....but it’s free.  For yet another miracle, the mile long line parted ways as the elders carried Jose in and he was immediately attended to.  Elder Estrada went in with him while we sat outside with Elder Corven.  It was probably the worst three hours of my life! We had no idea what was going on inside.  All we could do was sit there and watch all the sick and horribly battered bleeding people standing patiently in line trying to get care.  At one point an old man who was waiting in a chair had a heart attack...he was dead before the doctors even got to him.  When he arrived he hadn’t been bad enough for the doctors to have to rush him in so they had told him he had to wait an hour.  And that’s how I passed my Independence Day and I have to say that I am proud to be an American! I have never felt so thankful for my country then I did in that moment.  A good part was that I stick out as an American so a ton of people stopped to ask me what I was doing there and I had a ton of opportunities to share the gospel with hopeless people who just needed hugs. With a few calls the elder quorum was on top of things.  From that moment till today, there was a member of the elders quorum at Jose’s bedside 24/7 all of the brethren taking shifts :) it was a tender mercy and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

The night finished with little news of Jose and even less of Lucio.  Elder Jensen tried to share words of comfort but just felt hopeless.  Safe to say Sunday was a welcomed blessing.  Everyone canceled about coming to church an hour before everything started and we couldn’t find Lucio anywhere...stress.  We walked into the chapel with our heads down, and found Lucio sitting there waiting for us with a huge smile on his face! It was a needed tender mercy. We sang the Spirit of God....and I was in tears thinking of Jose.  And from that moment on it became one of the greatest sacrament meetings of my life! I don’t think I have ever heard more powerful testimonies.  There was a unity in the ward, there was a powerful spirit in the air, and there was simply love flowing from every individual! I left truly happier as if I had shed a burden.  As we were sitting in pricipios del evangelio when Hermano Javier called us out.  My comp and I were a little surprised but we followed him out of the room to a lady who was waiting in the lobby for us.  He simply said, "she’d like to hear about the church so I thought you guys could help." I almost started crying on the spot, but a giant smile won! In my entire mission I have never had the experience of someone just showing up to church and I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord.  It was needed.  It was as if the Lord was telling us, "Everything’s going to be okay. Here’s a family of 8 of my precious children who need your spirit and help.  Go strengthen them and I’ll take care of the rest!"

Sunday night ended on a horrible note.  We arrived home and instantly called Elder Estrada to see what he knew about Jose.  He told us he would call us in a few minutes...but after an hour we tried calling him again...still didn’t answer.  The meeting that our district was in with president lasted till 10 Elder Jenson called at about 10:20 for our data and to see how we were doing.  In the middle of the phone call the assistants called so we hung up really fast from him.  To hear Elder Estrada crying on the other side of the line was all I needed to know....Jose had been put into induced sleep because his heart was overworking, and then his lungs had failed, he had fallen into a coma a few hours before.  I broke down like I haven’t in a while and instantly called was a hard conversation.  After that Jenson called to see how we were all to say it was a really late night for the Family Palmas......

All I know is that despite everything! I have unfailing confidence in the plan of the Lord! Jose, Lucio, Margarita, every one of them was a blessing from the Lord and I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their help and support! I’m so glad for the knowledge I have of the gospel.  I know with all certainty that there is no other way to happiness then accepting and following the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is my rock and my Salvador.  One day I’ll have the chance to thank Him for all He has suffered for me and for all the tender mercies I have received at His hand.  This work will never end, because it’s the work of an Almighty God and it will truly change the world, as it has truly changed my life! In the words of Elder Holland, "we cannot quit, we cannot go back!" So forward we go! With the shield of faith ready to destroy all the doubts and traps strewn in our path by the adversary!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Endings

Yeah, I know that this is still not my last blog letter but I feel like so many things are currently coming to an end that it’s just appropriate.  In this week we will be receiving a new mission president! As of this week I will only have one more friend from freshman year who is still on a mission.  As of this week I am officially a “valiant” missionary.  As of this week I am now one of the oldest sisters in the mission (time wise) and the next in line for “death”.  As of this week everything just got way too real! I think the greatest thing is that one of the assistants to the president will also be going home with me, so every time we see each other he asks, "como esta....muerto?" (How are you, Dead One) and it’s really funny.  Last week at our food appointment, Elder Estrada (the AP) was shaking my comp’s hand and she goes, "Ewwww, Elder did you forget to shower this morning?! Because you smell like death!" HAHAHA gosh my comps such a fireball! (Editor’s note: for those of you who don’t know, missionaries jokingly refer to all aspects of their mission time with terms of life. Their first are is where they are “born.” Their trainer is their “parent.” And when it’s time to go home they are “dying.”)

Happy ending number 1: I think President was trying to make me the happiest missionary every when he moved me to this area because I’ve had the joy of sending off two groups of valiants.  When Garcia’s group was all gathering in the offices to go to Presidents house for the final dinner, I was there waiting for the AP to show us how to get to food.  So naturally I got to spend like 30 minutes just loving her! And just last week all the valiants were coming back into the offices.  I knew what day they were coming and had saved up a ton of reasons to pass by the offices that day...and all of them fell through because the elders were like, "We got it under control!" But Heavenly Father had my back.  The Hermana that it touched to give us food had just given us money so I had to drop the money off for the elders.  I snuck right into the offices and found out that I had to pick up a few sisters also to take to my house.  I was upstairs and everyone else was down stairs and stressed about flight plans so I didn’t want to enter and cause chaos....but let’s be honest, yes I did!!! I sent a messenger (Elder Estrada) to tell Ferb that I was upstairs and she hit me so hard that we almost fell over and took my companion out all at the same time! I haven’t bawled saying goodbye to anyone recently (because everyone’s going to be really close to Utah really soon), but I instantly started crying! I haven’t seen her in like a year so it was the best reunion/farewell ever where we just couldn’t stop hugging! Naturally Skinner came running too and joined in on the intense hug, which made me laugh really really hard! There were so many people to say goodbye to and I love them all so much that I can’t truly accept that they’re gone! Every single one of the 25 were like my older siblings because they have literally been here since I started the mission, a lot of them were trainers of people from my generation, I’ve served with all of them, and almost all the elders have been my zone leaders or district leaders! Some of them I don’t even know that well, I’ve just heard of them because they’re legends, and I was surprised to find that they knew me! We were in the offices for a good hour and a half.....and we ate real triple chocolate cake!!!!!!!!! I have been so blessed to serve with the most amazing people ever and make the greatest friends!

Happy ending number 2:  I found out a ton of joyful surprises this week while I was with the valiants this week that had a huge impact on me.  I feel like the mission just tries to remind us over and over and over again that we will never truly know the impact that we have on people.  Truly the seeds we plant will be harvested and I’ve had the blessing in my mission to see these seeds be harvested! If you go back in my emails to about exactly a year ago, you’ll find the story of Alberto, a man we contacted late one night in a cambi.  We only said about three things to him, (Here’s a card, the church’s direction, and when we meet), but he felt the spirit and came to church the next day as a complete surprise.  We began teaching him and discovered that he smoked about 40 cigarettes it was something really hard for him to overcome.  Three weeks later, both Ferb and I left the area.  We heard that the other sisters dropped him really fast cause they didn’t think he was going to progress.  Ferb and I were truly sad because we had always felt that one day he would be a stake president due to his ability to feel the spirit! Well the night that I got to see Ferb again she told me the greatest of news, Alberto had been baptized three weeks ago!!!!!!!! I started crying all over again, happier than happy that the Lord had truly never given up on him.  Five seconds later, Elder Matos walked up to shake my hand and was super excited to tell me news.  "Hermana, do you remember the family in the corner store in Chilpo?? The ones that you gave a Book of Mormon too and basically taught all the lessons to by just gifting them folletos everytime you passed by??" "of course I remember them!" "Well they’re getting baptized soon! They want to tell you thank you for all you tried to do for them!" WOW, was really all I could say and the best part is that that is only the beginning to all the amazing things I’ve recently heard!

Truly we are instruments in the Lords hands every day.  There are times when I get angry because I didn’t have anyone I contacted that day accept an appointment to return.  There are days when I feel like I haven’t accomplished a whole lot, but those are the days when I’m focusing on my own success and not on the success of others.  As true instruments of the Lord, we talk to everyone to make them aware of this great message we share.  We share this message with everyone to help them see how much the Lord wants to guide and bless their lives.  And we share it with all of our hearts so they can see the blessings.  We share and we share and we invite and we share all day long, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after half a year.  The number of people we talk to is uncountable, but the work we do truly changes lives and the lives that we touch are even more difficult to count. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to see so many seeds bloom into gorgeous flowers and to see the spirit of the Lord touch the hearts of the people that we meet.  One of the greatest parts of missionary work is the mark that we leave behind.  It may be in a month, it might be in a year, it might even be in 10 years, but the Lord will make sure that our seeds were not planted in vain and that one day, every person will have the chance to accept this glad tiding and learn the truth! There is no greater work!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Familiar Faces, Amazing Places

First off thank you for the Christmas package Frontenac ward!!! Loved every letter and I’ll keep them forever!

These past two weeks have been like an old comp rehash and I just can’t get over how much I love my companions! On Sunday morning our doorbell rang and I knew it could only be one person, GARIE! We hugged it up, like seriously don’t think we stopped hugging, and laughed for way too short a time and then she was gone! Two days later Hna Sturt was in my house and we were happy as two larks.  The next day Hna Hernandez was sleeping with us and we were happy all night and just trying to make every second count in the little time that we had....because we might never see each other again :( (yeah the Familia Neu was separated two weeks ago when Hernandez and her comp were emergency transferred to Chilpo). And today I topped it off with a visit with Chynoweth and Skinner.  All I lack is the beautiful face of Ferb! BOY HAVE I BEEN BLESSED!!!! Like more than I could ever imagine! Great friends, great times :)

I wanted to write an odd to the family Garcia to put here as a thank you for just how amazing they have been in the course of the last week.  On Saturday I received a phone call from a voice I instantly recognized.  Apparently President Kusch had given the Garcia family permission to kidnap me for the night and to do whatever, with the tag line, "I trust you guys." So we went to dinner, but better than anything I just got to spend more time with GARIE +her amazing family and hear all about things in Chilpo and in real life! AND THERE WAS NOTHING LIKE THE MIRACLES SHE TOLD ME!!!! When we were together in Chilpancingo we had been teaching two cousins who were our ages and they were the most amazing people ever.  Adi had gone to church three weeks in a row and was reading the Book of Mormon.  She just couldn’t get over how good she felt every time we came and how perfect our timing was when we first found them.  When we left Chilpo it was really hard to leave them, but we had faith that we would soon see their faces in the baptism video that we get to watch every three months.  Well while Garie was walking along the beaches in some city south of Acapulco, she ran into Adi who had recently moved there for work!!! Talk about small world! She hadn’t been to church after we left because the elders had only passed by once and it was really awkward.  But the Lord put her in Garcia’s path and now once again she’s meeting with the missionaries! Truly the Lord is mindful of all of us, AND he doesn’t give up on anyone until they have returned to Him!

So that was the Garcia/Neu miracle of the week (that and that everyone remembered me in Chilpo and were quite confused why I wasn’t there with Garcia).  But there were also an incredible number of miracles that went down in our area this week.  Last week we hit rock bottom; 0 investigators, 0 con fecha, and 1 in church who is an eternal investigator so it didn’t really count.  I was mad at the world, but I tried to take a daily dosage of humility pills and just see what the Lord had to offer us.  Because we didn’t have anyone to teach we just rolled up our sleeves and went to work talking to anyone we could find.  The Lord not only answered, He gave double! I think the greatest example is that of Lucio, an old man of 75 that we had just started teaching.  He was quitting smoking really really really well until the day we found him on a street corner smoking a whole box because he had just found out that he was getting thrown in jail for something he hadn’t done and there was nothing he could do about it.  We were crushed because finding him had been such a miracle! Well we saw him in the street this week and he had the greatest news, HE WASNT GOING TO JAIL ANYMORE, for once justice had come through and the real criminal was going to jail.  Well more than ever he was ready to progress.  It’s been a miracle in itself that he has been able to progress even a little bit because he can’t read and his comprehension level is about that of a 12 year old.  We use a lot of pictures as we teach him to help him remember things.  This week we talked it over and felt impressed that we needed to give him a Book of Mormon and invite him to read it.....yup a Book of Mormon to the guy who doesn’t know how to read.  We taught him a small chunk of the first lesson and then I promised him that if he had faith in the Lord, He would open up the means that Lucio could read it.  We came back two days later to the biggest miracle of my mission! Lucio simply said, "I know it’s all true!" We were a little confused, "You know what’s true?" "I know the whole Joseph Smith story is true!" We were blown away because we hadn’t even talked about Joseph Smith yet so we calmly asked him how he knew.  Turns out he had read the lesson one pamphlet 4 times in preparation for our visit because we always ask so many questions and he wanted to be able to answer them for once.  The man, who doesn’t know how to read, read the pamphlet four whole times AND got an answer! That’s what I call a miracle!

"Thou hast seen and heard all this; and will ye not declare them?...All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; who among them hath declared these things unto them? The Lord hath loved him; yea, and he will fulfil his word which he hath declared by them" 1 Nephi 20:6, 14

The Lord fulfills our promises.  He puts power to our words.  I’m here to declare this message because I know He is here supporting me no matter what!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Smell the Coffee

I think the greatest blessing about being a missionary is the continual confirmation that "whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. That doesn’t mean that you’re the only one who could do it right.  At times you might think others could possibly do it better, but more than anything the Lord knows that you can do it the right way, HIS WAY, and that’s why He wanted you and only you! I think it’s also important to remember that "whom the Lord loves, He chastens" and sometimes the chastening makes you feel like you’re crawling through the dark and all alone instead of following His glorious light.  If there is something I learned this week (a rather hard one), is that there is a reason for all things and though the answer won’t always come at this exact moment or right when we need to know that there is still hope, we will ALWAYS have a chance to feel the power of God’s love.  We will always have a chance to feel His blessings and power in our lives and it’s those tender mercies that make us strong during the greatest/most difficult times in our lives.  One of my favorite quotes (I believe it’s from Pres. Eyring’s talk, “Mountains to Climb”) says, "With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the hardest along with the happiest of times can be seen as a blessing" (see the talk for a better quotation). As President Kusch would say, ADELANTE CON VALOR (and I would add, with faith in Christ)!!!!!

We got a call about Elder Perry passing away Saturday night, it was really shocking cause I didn’t think he would be the next one even if he was 92.  I for sure remember that night in SLC when I mistook him for Bro Hillemeyer in our ward, it was actually the first thing I said to my companion when we found out.  Pretty funny!  I’m feeling that Elder Rasband will be the next called.  He has like over 10 years as a member of the presidency of the seventy, but I know who ever the Lord calls will be the right person and will just be amazing!

In one of Sunday's talks a woman told a story of a chef whose daughter came to him complaining of too much stress and too much suffering. He didn't say anything, but took her into the kitchen where he began to boil water in three pots. In the first he put some carrots, in the second an egg, and in the third some coffee beans. After a few minutes his daughter became impatient and asked what it all meant. He showed her the carrots and how they had become soft. He cracked the egg and it was now firm from the boiling. And he had her sip and smell from the third pot. He then explained that we can respond in one of three ways when things get difficult and the water starts to boil.  We can shrink and become soft like the carrots although we were strong and firm to begin with. We can let our tender hearts become stiff and unchangeable like the egg, or we can release the best of ourselves and make use of the trial to make something and everything around us better. I thought it was a good analogy and should be taken for its meaning. Unfortunately, a couple of members thought that it was bad to make coffee a positive thing in an analogy. Oh well, I think you understand the point.  I will try my hardest to not endorse coffee haha.  But it was an extremely hard week and I have to say that I might have let myself become an egg, but a letter from Hna Garcia about how much of a difference we made in Chilpo made me realize that I want that same change here.  I want my area to be its own branch so members can get to church always and just have a super strong community and so many more opportunities to share the gospel.  I’m gonna become coffee!!!!!!!!! ;)

Love to all,

Hermana Neuberger

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It Wasn't Us

So kind of second week  "ish" opening an area.  Naturally, our miracles were up and it was time to get crazy to work.  It was a rather hard week, but we were trying so hard to reach every possible goal we had set.  We passed by everyone's house on Saturday and found next to no one.  The people we did find couldn't come to church the next day, so we were really stressed, scratch that, I was really stressed! We spent the good portion of 2 hours calling every investigator, MA, reference, AI, and contact that we could find a number for to boost them up and invite them to church.  We got next to no answers.....

So the next morning we went to work knocking doors, trying to find people at home, trying to remind people of the importance of the sacrament...and nothing, no one was home.  So we ran to the church for ward council and spent the little time we had before and after the meeting calling more and more people and still getting more answering machines then anything else.  We said a quick prayer and then just put on the smiles to say hi to the members that were arriving.  Basically it was one of the weirdest feelings of my entire mission.  Yes, I was still crazy stressed as always but I was at peace.  There was literally nothing more I could do!

Church started and we had two investigators there, and so I was happy and thankful and telling the Lord all about it.  I decided not to look around that day or keep turning around to check the door because I couldn't imagine who else could possibly walk in. At the end of church, I stood up and turned around, and SHOCK.... there in the back was an old investigator that we had not even called because we hadn't been able to find her in two weeks. And just two rows behind her sat a family that we had contacted the other day!

So maybe the Lord still has plenty of miracles in store for us. "¿Por que ha dejado Dios de ser un Dios de milagros, y sigue siendo todavia un Ser inmutable? Y he aqui, os digo que el no cambia; si asi fuese, dejaria de ser Dios; y el no cesa de ser Dios, y es un Dios de milagros!" (Mormon 9:19) I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who is so willing to bless our lives but also lets us stretch ourselves first so that we can become all we need to be!

Love to All!

Hermana Neuberger

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cuernavaca Good Times

Well I can’t even begin to describe the positives of this area, because there are far too many and the whole place is so beautiful! I love it despite the fact that my knees are about ready to fall off due to the crazy hills and thousands of stairs.  I think one of the greatest parts about this area is that the office Elders and the Assistants to the President share the ward with us, so the meals that they actually come to are a blast! I officially feel like a secret agent due to the office Elders.  This week has been interesting because not one of the food appointments has been in our area and if I’m getting lost in my own area imagine how great it is when I have to go explore in someone else’s.  BUT luckily the "headquarters" has my back.  I call in to tell them where the food appointment is (they naturally have no idea where it is because they rarely leave the offices) they type the address of the member into Google maps and BAM, I’m getting a fully guided tour to the house of the member.  Something like this, "are you looking at the blue house? Okay so you’re going to walk five more houses down to the orange house and there will be an alley way....don’t go into the alley way." hahaha thanks Elders.

The not so convenient part is that President Kusch lives around the corner which can be rather embarrassing.  I haven’t even been that lost this week, but the other day coming back from lunch we had no idea where to get a bus to get back to our area so we were crossing streets and looking crazy lost.  Out of nowhere we hear someone call out, "Hey Hermanas, are you lost?" I turned around, thrilled and hoping to see a member, only to realize that the question was in English and there were President and Sister Kusch laughing at us from their car....que pena!

More than ever this week I was incredibly thankful for the power of the priesthood and priesthood leaders.  This week my insomnia came back and it hit harder than ever.  I didn’t get any shut eye for about 3 days and after 5 months no problems, I wasn’t use to overcoming it.  By day three I was so beat I couldn’t even express Spanish and smiling made my head hurt.  Worse than ever, I knew my comp was exhausted too, first week on the mission and all, so I couldn’t complain.  I finally broke down and asked for a blessing which resulted in a family council (offices elders and assistants).  Their advice and help was amazing and I’ve been dreaming again.  I’m so thankful that the Priesthood truly has been restored to the earth and is here in this church! What a blessing it is to ask for aid and receive it from on high.

This week we also had the last zone conference ever with President and Sister Kusch and everyone was rather down....well almost everyone.  My newbie comp (no pun intended) was dying of sleep by the second hour and had a grumbling stomach by the fourth hour.  I guess the whole goodbye to the president doesn’t have nearly the same effect when you just met them 5 days before.  The rest of us were hanging on to every word and just loving every moment of it.  It’s going to be super hard to say goodbye to them, but I’m grateful for the chance to have served with them!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Back to the Beginning

Editor's Note: This letter was from last week and I failed to get it posted. There should be a new one tomorrow so stay tuned.

Once upon a time, late at night, a group of 25 brand new missionaries arrived at the offices in Cuer

navaca.  They were quickly divided into different houses to get to sleep. The Hermanas Neuberger, Sturt, and Johnson were all chosen to sleep at the sisters’ house in Palmas, leaving a crying Chynoweth in the offices.  That very night Hna Garcia was one of the sister training leaders and little did her and Hna Neuberger know, but they would one day become the greatest of friends.

In Cuernavaca with Hermana Chynoweth
Fast forward to this week, by a magical turn of events, and having failed to meet up with my companions, I got dropped off at the offices to wait for them (PERFECT!) right at the hour when all the people who were going home arrived aka Garcia.  Last P-day she sent me a pick of my dream, she found Calle 15 de Septiembre, and in the offices she brought me chump change and conference Ensigns.  That’s true love right there, she knows me WAY too well!!! So I got to hang with her for a little bit and the AP ended up having to drag me out the door to comida with the promise that she could sleep with us that night.  Boy what a night it was. I was so happy and we talked for hours, while all the other girls in her generation were in some other house! I also got to spend almost all of Sunday with her and I am now sporting the Garcia wardrobe! I’m so glad for the time we had together and would have loved to go with her to see her family who are just the funniest!

With new transfers saying goodbye to Hna Skinner and Hna Chynoweth was a little difficult but okay because we are all still in the same zone and we will be seeing each other every martes!!!! (President must really love us). We truly had the most amazing week of all weeks as we taught 142 lessons in total.  That’s the power of a trio and divisions! And I don’t think I’ve ever taught more spiritual lessons in all my mission....or laughed so hard for hours straight.  Everyone was really worried about us getting separated when transfers came and how we would handle it, but at the end of the day we all know that we’re headed to be where the Lord needs us most and we’re so glad that we will be together again really, really soon (12 weeks).  

Saying goodbye to Hermanas Skinner and Chynoweth
So I think it’s safe to say that the last 6 weeks have been the craziest of my entire mission.  From leaving Chilpo, to the twin fest in Amayuca, to emergency transfers to the greatest trio of all time, to saying goodbye to Hna Garcia, to training and white washing an’s been quite an adventure.  I guess that the key and joy of the mission: making every moment the greatest wherever you are and with whomever you are! I’ve truly made the greatest of friends and had the most amazing experiences.  I know that when we are all working hard for the same purpose that it’s impossible to not love every moment of the work we are doing. This is the work of salvation and I’m so truly glad for the opportunity that we have to be doing it!

Love to all,

Hermana Neuberger

La familia Neu (two daughters and a granddaughter). I'm so proud!

Monday, May 4, 2015

They Ran Us Right Out of Town

So I guess I’ll just start out with the biggest surprise....I’m no longer in Amayuca. It’s weird to think that a month ago I was saying goodbye to everyone in Chilpo and now I’m already gone from Amayuca. But that’s the mission.  I’m sure you’re all wondering why? A question that can be summed up in one word, Twins!

Remember last week how we were all laughing (President included) about two human eating white people running around the corn fields of Amayuca? Well on Tuesday night we were contacting someone when we got a call from a member.  She simply told us that some crazy lady (the “don’t eat me” lady from last week) was trying to start a law suit against us and that she was also trying to convince her neighbors to band together to run us out of town.  The warning was just to not go to that part of town and it would all settle down in a couple of days. Okay, sounds good and we hung up thinking that everything would be alright. We had just walked in our door when the phone rang and poor Elder Ramos only said, "You guys have to get out now" (in his flawless English). "There is a huge mob coming for you guys, so pack!!! Were on our way to pick you up" IS THIS A JOKE!!! And now we see how quickly the truth can be changed and blown WAY out of proportion.  Apparently after talking to us the member had called our ward mission leader just to warn him, who had called the first counselor, who had called the elders, who instantly called President because they were so scared.  The story grew from an angry lady’s talk to an imaginary angry mob that was coming to lynch us....I truly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.  The best part is that we never unpacked from Chilpo because we were still awaiting the call that would tell we were headed back to good old Aeropuerto, therefore packing took a whole 5 seconds.  The Elders picked us up and took us to the stake center where we met our very confused zone leaders, who had no idea what was going on.  We stayed with the only other sisters in our zone for the night...and long story short, basically our entire zone finally got to bed about midnight due to the whole twin fiasco. We made it to the mission offices the next morning, where we got to once again tell the dramatic story of the twins (something we were getting REALLY good at) .  .  .  . and then we found out that Hermana Garcia and I were getting super separated .  .  .  . all laughter gone! She only has 11 days left, safe to say I was super disappointed!!! On the positive side I’m back with Hermana Chynoweth, my MTC companion, and Hermana Skinner, a sister I’ve known and loved all my mission.  I’m serving in Palmas, the President’s home ward, and my areas is so beautiful that I’m actually okay with serving in Cuernavaca.  I’m finally back to huge hills littered with houses and a ton of greenery, ITS SOOOOO PRETTY!!! So here starts my area of firsts: first trio, first area in my entire mission that I’m not opening, first time serving in Cuernavaca, first time getting emergency transferred, first time having a ton of missionaries in my ward, and first time not being sad to change.

I think there has been an overkill of happiness in the last couple of days and I am not the least bit sorry for it!!!! Life is just good and I’m counting down the days till I get to see Hermana Garcia again (just 5 days when she comes through on her way home) and I get to see my baby, Hermana Hernandez, tomorrow so life just keeps going up! Who knows what’s going to happen with transfers in 5 days, but I don’t like to think about it.  For now I’m just enjoying! 

Between false doctrine Friday (Hermana Skinner was having a hard day) and a crazy amount of golden investigators I don’t even know where to begin talking about how amazing this ward is! There is naturally a ton of work to do because the ward has 600 members and only a sacrament meeting attendance of 100, BIG PROBLEM, but that’s all about to change because there is serious power in this trio.  I think in the last couple of days I might have taught the most powerful lessons of my mission!

On Sunday I was talking to a member and a man standing nearby overheard my name.  He looked up shocked and said, "did you say Neuberger?" I was super shocked and said yes. "You know Elder Stutz.  I know you.  I’ve heard all about you! It’s so nice to meet you!" That got the ward really excited soooooo Hey Thanks Tanner ;)

I’m excited for everything that life has to bring!!!!

Love ya,

Hermana Neuberger

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anybody See the Gemelas? bishop, no relief society president, no ward secretary, no ward missionaries, no primary presidency, no young men’s presidency, no Sunday school presidency, and yes, I like you, am quite amazed that this ward is still somewhat functioning! But they are and it’s probably has something to do with the fact that the entire ward is family.  Things have been a little different but.......

P-day exploring
Now for the greatest plot twist of my entire mission: Amayuca is a REALLY small town so rumors spread fast, like REALLY fast, and they grow even faster.  Now for the rumor: In a very small town near ours, two twins were apparently playing Ouija board and became possessed by evil spirits.  So they naturally did the only normal thing to do under the situation....they ate their parents and then they took off to live in the fields living off of wild dogs.  Yup, that was the beginning and then...the story is that it was actually two guerras (white people) that were here on vacation and now they’re going around eating unexpected people in the street. So every so often we had heard kids in the street whispering gemelas (twins) as we passed, but we had no idea what was going on so we just kept walking.

Maybe this is what gemelas look like
A few days later around sundown, we were super lost and looking for directions and decided to ask a lady who was walking by...rather quickly.  As we turned to talk to her she didn’t respond...weird. So we called out again and she only looked worriedly over her shoulder and then kept trotting down the street.  So we walked quickly after her hoping to get her attention and her help.  HORRIBLE IDEA!!! The poor lady took off running when she saw we were gaining on her and yelled over her shoulder at our pleas for help, "DONT EAT ME!" You can only imagine how confused we were until the next day when one of our investigators told us that the neighbors had seen the gemelas the other night on her very street (aka us ;))

Maybe if we had a sign
So now people run from us because the rumors have spread to include that the twins are nuns, that they’re always by churches, and they have secret allies (aka members).  The other day a member said, "Good thing the people here are scared folk or I’m sure you guys would have been lynched by now! Hahaha imagine that" .....ummmm hahahaha. All the members think it’s the funniest thing to ever happen and my comp and I are having a fabulous time with it.  I personally find it hilarious!

For all the walking we have been doing we are still sitting on a whole lot of zeros but the Lord has a greater plan for us. I recently found a quote that I really like that says:

Heavenly Father knows us, loves us, and desires everything necessary for us to return to His presence. And sometimes that includes trials, troubles, and challenges (see 1 Peter 1:7). If Heavenly Father were to free us from our challenges simply because we asked, He would deny us the very experiences necessary for our salvation. We must learn to trust in God’s plan for us and submit our will to His. As we align our desires with His desires and acknowledge our complete dependence on Him, we may qualify to receive “the end of [our] faith, even the salvation of [our] souls” (1 Peter 1:9).
I know with all my heart that Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us is so much greater than that which we can comprehend.  We have two choices in this life, to overcome or be trodden down and I personally enjoy the first one so much more.  One day in the future we will be able to see the big picture of all our struggles.  I feel like recently I’ve been crying out "hope yah know, I had a hard time" when there is no one who knows more perfectly then the Lord that I was struggling.  Let us never forget how truly he knows us, in a way more complete then we could ever imagine, and is willing to go to whatever length to help us if we but ask Him!

Thanks for all your love and support!
See you soon,

Hermana Neu