Monday, March 30, 2015

River of Tears

Kind of depressing, I apologize!!!!
I’m gonna try to make this upbeat and exciting but I haven’t slept in two days so the banging in my head is crazy getting to me!!! I guess the biggest news of all is that they took all the American sisters out of Guerrero.....and now I think you understand just about everything.....

The call came late Saturday night and was soooo unexpected that we just sat there crying for 2 hours straight (and Hna Garcia NEVER cries!!) We sent a text to inform the bishop, who then instantly called (sad, angry, and confused all at once) and could barely put a sentence together.  Basically, the whole thing was like a really bad dream. We had a baptism planned for this Saturday...and the next...and the next...and the next....and the get the point, things were about to get SOOOO good! Apparently are reaction was sad enough that the zone leaders called the sister training leaders to make sure everything was okay.

The next day at church was emotionally horrendous to say the least.  First off, let’s just remember back to that one time when we stressed out more than necessary about the fact that Elders were coming to our ward....well I think this Sunday just was meant to make us know how much the ward loves us.  They passed around the food calendar last week and we had a food appointment for everyday of the month of April (even with women who NEVER feed the missionaries) and the Elders had two.  Not saying anything bad about the Elders...just feeling super loved! Everyone kept coming up to us all excited about how they were going to feed us and then we would have to tell them the bad news.  We had an investigator who couldn’t make it to church, his wife is an inactive member, when we told them that we were leaving they started laughing and said good one.  You can only imagine our faces, AND THEIRS, when we had to tell them it wasn’t a joke! All of our investigators cried through church, but the worst of all was saying goodbye to Guri (who should have been baptized a month ago but still doesn’t have permission) who couldn’t stop crying and had me crying for a good 20 minutes.  Everyone wanted photos, everyone wanted to hug us, everyone wanted to march to president’s house and protest (there were a lot of jokes made about marches and camping in tents, but they’re not really funny to those who haven’t experienced Chilpo), and more than anything everyone wanted to know when we’re coming back! We told everyone to keep going and that we would be back for all their sealings in the temple/mission call openings REALLY SOON!

So I won’t go into detail about my day of tears...I think you’ve all got the picture by now. To end the night we went to the FHE on the privada! Then it was picture fest with all the Calixtos and way too many tears.  The bishop took us into his house at the end of the night for a private goodbye and said the nicest things! After the hundreds of missionaries that have passed through that ward, we go down as “the greatest duo of all” :( it was so heartfelt that I just shattered! The kids couldn’t grasp the fact that we were leaving and just kept asking "cuando van a ir a nuestra casa, tias?" (When are you coming to our house, aunts?) The other half of the privada, still Calixtos, but in the other ward, were also crying saying that they felt like we had been their missionaries.

And then we left.  We closed the door, we jumped in the car, and we drove away....and my heart is shattering right now just thinking about it all over again. I broke down at the bus station, I broke down on the bus, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never forget my family in Chilpancingo!!! More than anything I’m just grateful for the knowledge that I have that the Lord has a greater plan for us.  He is so aware of what we need that He is willing to cut us down at our highest just to make us better.  From the moment we got the call to entering the bus I’ve found myself on my knees whispering prayers for strength and comfort.  I know this is all for a greater purpose and though it hurts now, I can see how my prayers were answered in so many ways all over the place.  I think one of the greatest answers to prayer is that I got to stay with my best friend, Hna Garcia, to take on our new area together.  I don’t think I could have gone on without her and for that tender mercy I am truly grateful!

So where am I know?? I’m back in Cuautla in a little nothing town called _____. I swear everyone and their mom is a member and the ward only likes hermanas (they just throw out their Elders) so they’re super excited to have us.  Crazy side is that our bishop is inactive.....LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!!

The mission is a spectacular thing!!!!!
Plus Hna Garcia’s grandparents and aunts and uncles all live 20 minutes away soooo I think Prez is trying to make us as happy as possible ;)

You know I love you!

Hermana Neuberger

Monday, March 23, 2015

His Day

This week was a roughy.....that being said, the Lord truly provides!!!

Sunday morning I woke up wondering how we were going to have anybody at church.  We received a phone call early in the morning, from the elders that we share the ward with, calling to apologize that they had basically taken all the cars to pick up investigators for church because they had so many that wanted to come (talk about salt in the wound). We hit the streets early and tried to round up a few, but found door after door of nothing.  It was REALLY hot, which didn’t help much! As a last resort we stopped by the home of a MA (less active) family that we randomly found the other day.  They’re from Chalapas and moved here about 2 months ago but their records were never transferred.  So we drop in Sunday morning and they’re all barely awake and a little shocked to see us.  We share a quick thought and then ask them what they think about going to church in an hour. Awkward silence, (in which I should mention that this family is very very very humble and doesn’t have the money for the bus to get to church).  "Don’t worry, we have a car and a member that are going to pass by for you (HUGE LIE). Can you be ready in an hour?" The family was so excited and went right to did we as we crazy called everybody to see who could come get them.  In the mean time we stood on a street corner madly calling other investigators to see what we could rally up!

Well we got them to church!!! And the ward welcomed them sooooo well (I love this ward family!!!).  Then we just waited to see what else would happen in the next 20 minutes before church started.  Maritza was waiting for us in the chapel and I was so shocked I almost forgot to say hi. Guri walked in 5 minutes early with a big smile on her face as normal.  Pretty sure all the ward is super annoyed with her family because she’s basically a member just still can’t be baptized because she doesn’t have permission.  She participates more in Young Women’s then everyone else :) Next entered Damaris (a MA since age 8 who we’ve been reactivating) all smiles for her first day of real church in 10 years! And seconds behind her entered our fabulous investigator Adi, looking a little confused, but equally determined.  I think the biggest miracle of all was when another MA that we had magically found on the street showed up with her nonmember husband, her first time in church in 8 years! She was thrilled and a lot of the members remembered her from way back in the day! Lastly Bernadita and Andres walked in with about 20 minutes left in Sacrament Meeting.  (They’re so on fire and trying so hard to get everything together.  Bernadita bore her testimony about the importance of temple marriage during a lesson last week and it brought the spirit so strong I couldn’t stop smiling.  They have a goal to be sealed before the end of this year, and it’s for sure our goal too).  The elders came running over to us at the end of Sacrament Meeting with their jaws gapping wondering how many investigators we had at church that day.  We started laughing because really most of them were MA (soon to be just members, because they’re here to stay).  Everyone was just so happy and it was beyond perfect!

This week we’ve been sharing D&C 64:33 (Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great) with all the members at comidas because people have been really stressed.  They feel like our ward missionary efforts are falling apart, that the visits they are doing are for nothing, tension is high, desire is falling, and we wanted to let each of them know how much we appreciated all of them! This ward is truly the greatest ward I have ever seen! And it’s true, sometimes we feel like all of our efforts are having no effect and that nothing is progressing.  That’s when we just have to remember that this is the Lord’s work and to make a canyon the river has to flow for quite a long time!


Hermana Neuberger

Monday, March 16, 2015

From Coast to Mountain

Well first off, and in biggest news, MY BROTHER TRAVIS IS ENGAGED!!!!!!! We had a party for him Friday night because I just couldn’t stop smiling!
In other less important news, my hand is not broken (in my opinion). The very high tech medicine here said that it was broken (I don’t know what x-rays they were looking at) and then proceeded to wrap my whole arm in a mixture of popsicle sticks and one of those long cloth bandages.  I left the hospital with my hand in more pain then when I arrived and with my arm wrapped from elbow to fingertip.  After a day of the world freaking out that I had broken my hand only to find out that I had broken my pinky, I was embarrassed enough to refuse to wear the crazy contraption.  So now my hands no longer swollen and my finger works well enough and it’s no big deal (as long as Hermana Kusch never finds out).

Beach in Acapulco prior to zone conference
Last week I’m convinced didn’t truly exist! Between the trip to Acapulco all Monday and then off to Cuernavaca on Tuesday until Thursday night my week was gone.  I spent a long time sitting in offices waiting on visa papers.  A highlighting moment went down when I was doing my fingerprints and went to do my left hand (broken).  I was supposed to start with my pinky but, due to its broken nature I was going to start with my thumb.  The lady, thinking I didn’t understand Spanish, said "no its this one first" while grabbing my pinky and giving it a good shake....I guess my face said it all on that one cause the scary immigration ladies never give hugs :)

The saddest thing that happened this week is that the Hermanas in Galeana were emergency transferred at the crack of dawn due to kidnapping threats.  First Obrera and now Galeana, and holy cow are we going to miss those girls! The scary part is that the theme is going from area to area....and my area is the next one in that sequence.  The best is that our members realize it too! The other day at dinner the dad, who looks like LeBron James, slammed his fist on the table and said "if they even think about coming after you, call me up and I’ll teach them a lesson or two!!!" So I feel super safe with Beto behind me :D

Happy with the children
I think the greatest part about this week is the little things that we ourselves didn’t have the chance to see or experience, but that we were told by other members.  Recently it’s felt like we have been pouring in all our hearts and souls and obtained very little but it all changed for me Sunday.  It wasn’t different because a thousand random people came to church.  It wasn’t because our internal investigator finally got permission from her parents to be baptized.  It wasn’t even because there were a lot of people at church.  It was just the gratitude in the voices and eyes of amazed members as they talked about the changes they could see happening in their inactive family members and investigators.  I think a quote from a man my friend Elder Junge was teaching this week sums up missionary work quite nicely, "Just think about it, your lives from the minute you leave the pillow until the minute you get back into bed, the sole purpose of all that time, is to bless and improve the lives of others. Have you ever thought on how much good you've already done? How many lives you've already changed? It’s got to be a giant number. And it’s something you should never take lightly."                        

It all reminds me of the council of my dear brother at the beginning of my mission.  The numbers are one thing, but the people are another.  We can choose to impact the lives of everyone we come in contact with every day or we can walk from appointment to appointment haphazardly.  What counts more than anything else is the effort we put into every moment and when you’re pouring in the whole energy of your soul the impact is unmeasurable.  It’s a number that we will never know, but it’s a number far greater than anything else on the mission.  I’m so grateful for this time I have to focus only on the lives of others, to make a child smile, to carry an older ladies groceries, to make our members smile and know we love them.  Reaching out truly brings an abundance of joy that we can all feel!

May we all reach out more this week and try to be a little better,
Hermana Neuberger

Monday, March 2, 2015

Not Like the Rest

A quick shout out to the Bezzant family for thinking of me and sending a Christmas card! The pop up nativity is now the center piece of our table! You guys are amazing!

It’s safe to say this week was the farthest from normal, one reason being that I spent over 6 hours on a bus and then two days on a couch, a second reason being that we had a make-up zone conference where we watched meet the Mormons :), and third because the week went by sooo fast that I don’t even know what day it is anymore!

On Thursday we were teaching a lesson when we received a call from the zone leaders.  My comp left me teaching while she answered the phone, but I found it difficult to concentrate because about a thousand possibilities were flying through my head! She scribbled down a note in her agenda, "You’re going to Cuernavaca in an hour." WHELP, thanks for the notification elders.  We ran home and made it to the bus station. So I spent 3 hours on a bus with Hermana Sturt (MTC buddy) to go sign about a thousand visa papers and then spend the night with none other than Hermana Chynoweth!!!!!!!! It was the greatest MTC reunion yet because I haven’t seen Chynoweth for real in about 7 months and I’ve truly missed her! The next morning we made it to the bus station....only to find that the tickets were sold out so we enjoyed three extra hours sitting in a bus station....followed by another hour waiting in a bus station for our comps to show up hahaha

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (Holland)
Every part of my mission has been incredibly different; from opening my first area, to the extremely Catholic Tepoztlan, and now in Chilpo.  With the ups and downs of each week, I often find myself asking the same kinds of questions.  We leave for the mission field hoping for success, but what we fail to realize is how many different forms of success exist! I’m truly grateful for the success I have had in learning more of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I’ll never come anywhere near to feeling as He felt, but I can do all with in my power to represent him every day and make sure that others can gain the same testimony. I’m proud of the name I bear and the message I get to share and through it all it’s something I will treasure for all my life! I know this church is true.  It is not simply another church among the res,t but it is the one literally directed by Jesus Christ.  He is carrying me through it all and lifting me at my lowest.  With Him I can truly do it all!