Monday, February 29, 2016

Have I got NEWS!

Just have to let you all know, I am working with one of the greatest sister missionaries in the world!  This week I met my new companion, Hermana Alvarenga from Argentina, and we had one of the best weeks ever on my mission. We accomplished so many things and found so many people! I'm going to take up Sister Smith's advice and basically type my whole week out since I haven't had a wink of time to write in my journal.

So on the day of transfers--Tuesday that is--we were able to visit an investigator we have been trying to visit for the month and a half I have been here. Her name is Mirella and she desires to investigate the church a lot more and attend church weekly but her husband doesn't want anything to do with us. She recently found out she's pregnant and is so scared that she won't be able to raise her children well without a steady home situation. We shared the family proclamation with her and it brought her a world of comfort. She desires to make Jesus Christ the focus of her home. We also visited that day with a recent convert of less than 2 years who is struggling to be consistent in her attendance. We've been trying to have a heart to heart with her and it finally happened! She felt so frustrated because she feels like she is trying to do the right thing and doesn't feel good. Her son, Christofer is rebelling against all the church activity and she wants to feel peace because she is trying to make good choices. We talked to her about trusting in the Lord and continuing on even when it gets hard and promised her that the Lord will make it known to her why these trials are happening. Our last visit was with a less active who was the pension of the hermanas before, and she also has a son who prefers attending the Catholic church instead of the church of Jesus Christ. Ah! There were so many great people we visited that day.

 Ok, so I gotta be more brief (: Wednesday, we found out that 3rd times the charm. We contacted for the 3rd time a reference from the gospel principles teacher, Silvia Holguien. The reference's name is Sonia and she was pretty closed off because she had doubts about the BOM. We gained her trust though and delivered a powerful lesson and when we came back on Saturday, her son joined us and we watched the 20 minute video of the Restoration that melted them. They have agreed to pray and read the BOM to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God and expressed their understanding of how to recognize an answer. I can't wait to follow up with them! That same day, we finished our intercambio calendar that's got all our divisions with the sisters planned out along with the study visits; we also did a small service project with Silvia and she talked about some mission stories and we discussed the beautiful things that teachers experience. She is an incredible example to me!

Thursday we found 3 new investigators that have been SO prepared by the Lord. We invited each of them to baptism and we were able to help them recognize what the Spirit is in their first visit. We also got some great help from the ward in obtaining some references and we met a less active who prayed with us for his first time in 15 years. He teared up after praying and we talked to him about how that's what it feels like to "come home to God" after so much time of being away. 

All the weekend went well and we met up with our new mission leader who has great plans. Unfortunately, I've got seconds on the clock and gotta go. Hope everyone has a great week and I invite everyone to share the gospel with a loved one! 

Sister Furness

p.s. this is a photo of our new district eating at our pensionista's house. Happy P-Day!

Last of many Changes

Solamente quería escribir y decir discúlpeme por los que leen mis mensajes de grupo y no hablen ingles X) Pero me gustaría a mantenerlas actualizados con mi misión entonces sus nombres están en la lista (: ¡Dígame si quieren ser quitados de la lista! 

Wow. Can't believe the time. My time with Hna. Smith in Villa del Mar has been an incredible experience and just have to thank her for the amazing and priceless life lessons she has taught me. This ward is truly growing and I hope to see some more growth with my new companion, Hna. Alvarenga! She is from Argentina and I have met her before; she is a very hardworking, obedient, and joyful servent of the Lord. I know we are going to see some incredible things happen in the next 8 weeks and will be keeping all of you updated! (:

So for lack of time--sorry everyone!--I just have to say that having the Smith family here was a privilege and honor to serve with a faithful, gospel-centered family. They were a hoot as well and Dad better get the tractors ready for a spin when they come to my homecoming 😆. As well, I want to mention a great scripture that I found in D&C 121:41-43 today in studying for a family who can't feel the "harmonizing sound" of the "gospel music" in their home, who we will be teaching later today. Read it. Gotta go!

Hna. Furness

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Letter to Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad:

 The work is sweeter and greater than ever and I love teaching more and more with each visit. I know that when the time comes for me to go that it's going to hurt quite a bit. I love these people so much. They are so incredible. They have so much to offer even when they don't own anything because they are so wise, so sacrificing, and have a different perspective than us. It does require a heck of a lot of getting out of your comfort zone and trying very new things but if you put your faith in the Lord to learn about and love a different culture, you receive so much!! 

 I think I mentioned this, but I have a list of people I want to talk to and visit after the mission. How selfish of me to never have shared the gospel with as many people as possible. I really want to challenge you and Dad to start praying a looking for opportunities to share the gospel. It IS the greatest joy, Mom. I love you so much and when I have something that is precious and I love it, I want to share it with others. Imagine eating the yummiest cake ever--and maybe you have feelings to eat it all yourself because we have those craving moments, but if you could see the expression on someone's face when they taste it and fall in love with it, you'll see that you would never want to keep a cake to yourself again. I thank you for making the us, your children, the best converts I know.  Hna. Marler, our President's wife, said that--"the most important converts you (me and hna. smith) will ever have will be your own children. Whether you realize it or not, you signed up for a mission for the Lord upon having us children and raising us in the gospel. Your example has been an amazing form of missionary work but I really challenge you to pray and ask the Lord to help you recognize the people that need this gospel to heal the wounds that come from life. He will lead them to the living water through you. Being an instrument in the Lord's hand doesn't just reach the lives of others; it helps refine us as well. 

As far as news about when I get home--WHAT THE FLIP! WHAT in the world. It's so crazy to hear about that news and just gotta ask you, how'd you find out? It's ok if not many people come to the airport. I do want a picture though and as long as you and Dad are there, that's all I can ask for. Tell Dad he's a rockstar and the funniest and smartest man I know. Tell him to get in shape as much as he can in the next 2 months because I'm going to try to whip him in basketball with all the energy I've got know. You two are the best folks I know!! (:

Tell hi to Hannah and all the Egberts, to Lee and Lori for the sweet Christmas card, and the Grovers as well. We have a great ward, we really do. I don't know if I'll be attending our home ward or singles ward or a college ward when I get back, but if I'm at home, tell bishop I want a calling upon stepping off of that plane. I'll leave with you for visits or any other sisters that need it as well. We're going to have so much fun building up Zion!!

Last note, I think I've avoid thinking about it but I have to face the reality of setting up jobs and signing up for classes. I'm going to talk to President this week about signing up for classes but what is your opinion on looking for work? I think I told you awhile back about going into teaching, but I don't know if you remember about that. I'm trying to work with a counselor about my options on changing my major and everything but it's difficult to start everything anew. I don't want to make a rash decision and want to be sure that teaching is what I want to do--because Jessica Evans and Christian Garcia have made it clear that those who aren't serious in the teaching program get booted out basically. So. Any ideas, thoughts, or inspiration? Thanks for helping me with my life decisions.😁 

Well, I've got ten minutes on the computer left and want to look for a talk on called "becoming a consecrated missionary" by Tod R. Callister. Love you so much and give my love to dad with a big hug that lasts for 10 seconds. haha. 

Your daughter Hali                                                                                                                           

Monday, February 8, 2016

Righteous Traditions

In summary, this week was incredible. As is every week in the mission it seems ha. But you really can't complain when you see so much growth in yourself and others and see how many miracles God really puts in the path. We had the privilege of going to the temple before meeting for Concilio as sister and zone leaders. It was an amazing session and we learned so much during Concilio. Today, we will be headed up to Otuzco (the mountain area here) for Zone Conference. We will be talking about The Family Proclomation and the worldwide missionary broadcast that was viewed a few weeks back. Those two topics that were addressed have changed the way we prepared investigators to make their first covenant with Heavenly Father. The work is hastening!! (:

Congratulations to Hannah Egbert by the way who just got back from Canada!! Sister South and I are cheering you on for a great mission served with honor!! (: (*yes to the peanut butter bars BTW)

So in our work this week, we have started a ward tradition on Saturday nights from 6-7 to go visit less actives as a ward. We all meet up at the temple at 6 and divide out the visits. We saw how inspired this activity was from our own visit to the Chavez family. They are a family of about 9 people and 3 of them are members. In our visit we talked about prayer and the good and evil spirits that invite us to obey or disobey. The spirit was especially strong because of the members that accompanied us and invited the Chavez family to church the next day. They showed up despite their insecurities about their energetic children and stayed all 3 hours! For the first time in years they came and the members were great to make them feel welcome. Righteous traditions can provide a way for us to make the transition from being members of a church to followers of Christ. What are your family, cultural, or religious traditions?

Here is the scripture we shared with the Chavez family. It's from 2 Nephi 32:8--

And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
Well folks, that's about all that I've got this week! I attached photos from our trip to Laredo last Pday of me and my comp on top of the hill. The wind was blowing like crazy, but the view was so sweet! Until next week!

Hermana Furness

Monday, February 1, 2016

This week...

It was so busy this week that I haven't wrote in my journal ONCE. I can't believe how quickly January flew by and I have a thousand and five things on my mind. But today is Pday and we're headed up to Laredo as a zone to explore the "huacas" of Hna. Smith's old area. There apparently undiscovered to the public but her old bishop is willing to take us up there because he hopes to get more attention there to turn it a bit more touristic. Until then, I don't think I've got any fun pictures to send home this week! Sorry to be so boring :]

But even though it's a pictureless week, it was beyond priceless the experiences that we had. I've grown so much and learned a huge lesson about being more direct. We had a great intercambio with Huanchaco-my old area-and we will be going to the temple this week for concilio! On Wednesday Hna. Smith and I had the most incredible experience with a taxi driver who's listening to the elders in another part of Trujillo and this is what I wrote:

 We also had a great experience with a taxi driver this week named Mariano. He's receiving visits from the Elders and told us he feels like there is something missing in his life but he can't quite find it. He has been spending all his time working in taxi but wants to be closer to his family and show his love to them. We challenged him to keep the Sabbath Day and he expressed concern in being able to make enough money. I asked him "Hermano, ¿piensa usted que Dios puede efectuar cualquier milagro, incluye con dinero?" And he thoughtfully said "sí, claro." I then asked him "entonces, ¿piensa usted que si usted sacrifica tiempo para adorar Dios que Él no va a bendecirle en su trabajo?" So he understood at that point exactly what faith was. He not only commited to keeping the Sabbath Day holy by being with his family but he commited himself and said "i'm going to take up on what the elders have been asking me to do. I'm going to go to church on Sunday!" and we felt the spirit confirm that he really meant it and is really going to do it. 

As I mentioned, I learned a great lesson about being direct. Sometimes I, as well as others, tend to beat around the bush or tread lightly when we speak or act because we don't want to offend others. From that, however, we become too weak to speak for what we believe or don't say things how we really see them and then feel that others dominate our lives. But my comp has taught me an invaluable lesson in knowing how to boldly speak by the Spirit and be direct while still showing love. Just within 2 days, I have seen a markable difference in the unity of our companionship and spirit during our various missionary responsabilities. I feel liberated as well in being able to speak without hesitation and learn to lower pride when making a mistake. Learning how to be more like Christ doesnt mean spoiling others with all the things they want, it means doing the will of the Father through the Spirit's loving influence. I love the changes we can find in the mission!!

Because of lack of time, I've gotta call it good here. Hope everyone can kick February off to a good start and that we can develop Christ like attributes. Take care!! 

Sister Furness