Monday, January 19, 2015

Sugar Overload

This week is easily summarized by the things that always bring a huge smile to my face; Chocolate, children, testimonies, and baptism!

To begin this week I received not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR packages from that fabulous mother of mine (they never arrived for Christmas).  Now if you know Mama N you know that her packages are not normal.  Pretty sure the post office is still trying to create a regulation that will not allow her to pack her own boxes, because the amount of stuff that is in a Mama N box is beyond crazy. So just imagine 4 packages worth of candy then make that 10 packages worth and you might come close to the amount of candy I received.  I just started handing it out to all the missionaries in my zone and ended up with one box....of all the best stuff that was "unsharable".  During ward council I gave away more candy and then the children stole my heart and I gave away a ton more.  Though it sounds like I gave away A LOT, and lets be honest, I DID, we have to remember that this was 40 pounds of chocolate sooooooo the sugar hangover has been SUPER intense! I have the greatest mom on the face of the earth :)

Saturday we had a chance to be the missionaries to lead Josefa Garcia Lopez into the waters of baptism.  We met her our second Sunday and thought she was a member  because she has 4 years attending church.  She never had the chance to get baptized because she wasn't married and her "husband" didn't want to get married.  Due to some tragic events the road was cleared and she could now be baptized like she's always wanted.  I'm pretty sure she has one of the strongest testimonies of the gospel that I've ever heard.  She was overjoyed that Hermanas were called back in Chilpo and were the ones "baptizing her" because the first missionaries to teach her four years ago were hermanas! For the baptismal service my comp and I sang "Oh My Father" mixed with "Lead Kindly Light" and it was fabulous, the least I could do for such an amazing woman.  The light in her eyes was just what a baptism!!! The members were also laughing super hard about all the little details that we had in order and kept smiling and shaking their heads saying, "only hermanas" ;)

Also this week we had the chance to teach Lady for the first time (and I was on splits with Hermana Sturt so it was basically the greatest day of my life!), talk about beyond prepared.  She has around three months attending church, but has never been taught by the missionaries so we're trying to teach in more a question way because she knows a ton and has a huge desire to be baptized before the end of the month so her sister will still be here to see.  Another of our investigators got her answer this week that the church was true! We received a reference from the Galeana ward of an investigator that's been attending the wrong ward for a month that's ready to be baptized! And a 12 year old bore her testimony to us this week at church and we were like wow that's so great....then she asked, "so can I be baptized?!"....wait what....I guess we could pencil that in! The work here is just incredible!!! The members are amazing and just bend over backwards to help us!

This Sunday, my comp and I were leading Josefa's kids to their classes when we entered only to find a room of about 12 kids without a teacher.  BUT, unlike most kids in this same situation, they were all seated, had offered an opening prayer and were singing an opening song.  My natural love for children came out, plus the fact that I knew all of them and loved them even more, and I asked if we could teach them.  There was a resounding yes and then it was spur of the moment games and activities where we talked about the roll of God, Cristo, y El Espiritu Santo.....basically it was the most fun thing ever and all the kids were soooo happy. Basically I couldn't stop laughing the entire time and when the primary president knocked on the door to tell the teacher that there was only five minutes left, she was first surprised to find the missionaries teaching and then the resounding "NOOOOOOOO WE DONT WANT TO GO TO PRIMARY!!!" that the kids screamed out! 

I'm just so grateful for all the people who are surrounding me, the crazy amount of ready people here and the great growth that I receive everyday when I put my faith in the Lord.  I don't think I've ever been happier in my life and I'm trying to make all those around me fully aware of the joy they bring to my life and how happy I am for each of them!

So much love,
Hermana Neuberger

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Man-Eating Monsters

I'm pretty sure I am currently serving in the craziest of all missions ever but I won't go into details! Life is still super good and I've never felt safer in my life.  Mexico is amazing!

Recently there has been, well they're calling it a plague, of mosquitoes.  But let me be completely honest with you, these are not mosquitoes!!! I've never seen a bug like this.  They look like gnats and they don't just stick their little straw in your skin, they bite, and then stick their whole head in.  I don't know how so little a body can take in so much blood but they hurt like the dickens and when you shoo them away you re left with a hole in your skin that doesn't stop bleeding! (and one just bit me as I wrote this soooo the irony).  Basically my already too white skin was quickly covered in quarter size red bumps, over a hundred, and i only have lived to tell the tail thanks to my comps 100% deet bug spray.

'Because I know someone wants to know, my comp is Hermana Garcia and though her name can be deceiving, shes American. Born and raised in Utah, just about as Mormon as she can get.  BUT both of her parents were born and raised in Mexico and her dad's actually from Cuautla (a city in my mission) so she has a lot of family near by (REMEMBER THIS!). Shes done with the mission super soon so were hoping that she dies with me. Basically life is one big laugh!

It was Hna Garcia's bday this Sunday and it was a fabulous day.  We hit the streets early and went crazy knocking every MA and investigators door and teaching little spiritual thoughts because everyone invited us in.  We ended up being a little late to church because Lady wasn't completely ready when we showed up to pick her up.  We sat down and I looked around in sorrow cause no one else was there.  But then magic happened as little by little all the other investigators began to arrive.  I had huge smiles as I stood up to help them find seats and everything.  At this moment most of our investigators are teenage girls.  With our investigators we doubled the size of the young women's (11) and it was fabulous.  But the number one best part of sacrament meeting was when Hna Garcia turned around, gasped, and then turned back to the speaker with this huge smile on her face.  YUP, her grandparents were sitting right behind us!!!! Probably one of the funniest moments of my mission life.  We both had huge smiles on our faces and were slightly laughing and to make matters worse all this went down while the new elder who has threeish days in Mexico was trying to bare his testimony in front of an entire congregation.  We then had all the ward missionaries stand in front so that we could know who they were and Adolofo would not stop making faces cause he felt so awkward and my comp and I were just even more all smiles! The bishop's family had a special cake made for Hna Garcia that was probably the most delicious thing I've ever tasted and Pochi did a REALLY good job of smooshing her face in it which had us all laughing for a good 20 minutes.  The night was topped off by a lesson with a new investigator that we got the chance to teach with Angel Moroni, I don't think it gets much better then that!

Were looking forward to a great new week!
Hermana Neuberger!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Adolfo Saves the Day

Wow, wow, wow, what another amazing week! So many good things happened and I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to remember them all so I'll just try to highlight the greatest in a form that is not to "novelish" for all the readers.

Adolfo is a YSA in our ward that returned from his mission about a year ago and has about 4 years as a member of the church.  He's basically the new Mohamed (a helpful member in a previous area), and wants to help us with everything with the extra added bonus that he knows how to do missionary work and knows everyone in all of Chilpo.  Basically, he's a huge help to two very lost missionaries who still can't figure out the labyrinth of streets that make up the 40 colonies in our area.  Long story short, this week we were a little ill (if you want to know how ill you can remember back to the story about the lady who didn't have a bathroom that lived on a hill....basically that ill) and when you combine ill and lost it doesn't always make the greatest combination.  As we were trying to make our way to an appointment, we found ourselves walking ovals and I thought I was going to pass out right there in the street.  I was trying to keep cool (as I was sweating bullets) but in my heart I was praying so super hard that there was a member who lived nearby who would miraculously open their door, see us, and invite us in.  In the midst of my agony, who else do we see then Adolfo walking down the street with a huge smile on his face.  We were slightly confused because he doesn't live anywhere close nearby, but I was just about ready to let out the Hallelujah chorus because he knows where every member in the ward lives.  He told us that he had been returning home when he randomly decided to try and find a faster route cutting through the colonies instead of taking the avenida (Yes, I believe in miracles). I'm soooo thankful that Heavenly Father hears and ANSWERS prayers....especially those of a "dying" missionary.  We began walking up the street with him to see the closest member, all under the pretext that that was who we were looking for, but then they weren't home (NOOOO!!!!).  Adolfo, the RM that he is, gets all excited and asks if we want to contact their neighbors.  At this point I'm grasping a car and trying not to show that IMO in pain.  After contacting three neighbors I just burst out, "I need a bathroom, NOW!" and Adolfo runs us to his aunt's house where both me and my comp die for an hour and then feel amazing! The whole rest of the day he took us everywhere and kept asking us how we were feeling (we got some quite delectable home remedies).  We went to visit a MA family that gave us the greatest agua of all time and as I was enjoying myself, eating the left over pieces of guanabana in the bottom I hear, "NEU, what are you doing!?" The whole room gets really silent and I look at Adolfo super confused. "Why are your fingers in your mouth, Neu I can't cure a patient that's trying to kill herself! Can someone get the poor thing a spoon, please?" The whole room bursts into laughter and I went super red, but holy cow I just love the people here and am so thankful for everyone of them!

Two other funny things that happened this week in short form:
We were really excited as we were walking home one night that there was a light on in the house of a reference.  So we ran around the corner to contact the reference in the five seconds we had before dark.  First off the door was wide open.  Second, there were a ton of people around the kitchen table.  Third (and easily the best part), the dinner was for the pastor of the church that she currently attends.  If I can just say . . . awkward moment;)
Yesterday, we forgot to answer the elders' question about what we were going to do today and then we went to an appointment so our phone was on silent.  During the entire lesson I just felt the phone ringing nonstop.  I was so stressed I couldn't even focus by the end of the lesson, by which point every member of the bishop's family had called us.  We finally got out of the lesson and called the bishop back.  "oh hey hermanas, the elders just wanted me to tell you guys that you need to call them" Really elders, you called our bishop?! So I gave my favorite elder a ring (the Mexican LZ is my favorite because he's already laughing when I answer the phone just waiting for my jokes) "bueno" "Elder, what on earth is going on?! Is the world ending tomorrow?! Will President Monson be giving a fireside?! Is President Kusch here and wanting to talk to us?!" "No hermana we just wanted to make sure you guys were okay...." and that sums up the elders! The bishop's family thought it was the funniest thing ever and laughed about it all through dinner.  It was only made better when the LZ actually showed up at the bishop's house to give him something and the whole family was trying to hide their smiles. If I haven't said it enough already, GOSH I LOVE THIS WARD!!!!

Which brings me to one of the greatest miracles of the week! The people here just seem to get it.  They understand how great a blessing the gospel is in their lives and they are so ready, so willing, and so forward in sharing it.  In my mission I've experienced wards that never give references, people who give them, but don't want you to say their names, but I have never experienced members who want to take us to meet all their neighbors or when were walking with them in the street just start pointing at 30 houses and rattling off names of people we should see.  It's truly a miracle and such a testimony builder to me! Recently we went with a sister to talk to her neighbor who didn't want anything to do with the church, as we were walking back to her house she wasn't depressed at all, as usually the members are, instead she had a huge smile on her face and said, "well at least we planted a seed!" She then went on to give us two more references. The way the ward here works truly makes me think about my own life, the one outside the mission, of what I've been failing to do.  Do we all look at everyone of our neighbors, family, friends, associates, and random people on the street and think "they need the blessings of the gospel, I'm gonna go talk to them so I can give their information to the missionaries" because that's how this ward thinks! How many are perishing in unbelief because I was too embarrassed, scared, or worried to give their names as a reference to the missionaries? How many people would have accepted? I guess those are things that I will never know, but I do know now the power of member missionaries.  It is truly only through our actions and are personal desires that we can accomplish our goals.  We cannot sit around hoping that someday, by some chance a pair of missionaries will run into or knock on our friend's door and they'll accept the gospel.  We don't need to wish because we can give them that gift first hand! The next time the missionaries pass by your house, don't leave them hanging when they ask for a reference, start listing off everyone you know, because here is the real question: Who doesn't need the gospel? And who are you to judge if someone is ready or not? The Lord knows their hearts.  They are children of God and He wants them also, not just you, to return to His presence once again one day.

In the words of my fabulous bishop (who entered the RS room agitated that there were very few people in church), "Where are those who you visit teach? Are they here? If they aren't here, why not? Vacation isn't a good enough answer! If you don't know their every need, you're not doing your job! This is where they need to be and they need to know that this is where you want them to be! It's not difficult, were asking for three hours of your time in the course of month at the minimum. But it's not me that's asking, this is your Heavenly Father that's asking! And I wouldn't be surprised that if on the day of judgement He looks at you and says, "well I'm glad you made it back, but I'd like to ask you something, where is so and so, why aren't they here too? Was it too much to ask for you to go and see them?!" Think about that sisters. What are you going to say to the Lord?! Repent!!!! And go find them that are lost!" May we all heed my bishop's call.  This isn't the work of a few, it's the work of many, and it's the work of God!!

Love you all soooo much,
Happy Neu Year ;)
May we all try, and not just try, but be a little better this year!!!
Hermana Neuberger