Monday, August 18, 2014

Last email from Tali in Texas!

Joke of the Week: Why do seagulls live by the sea? Cause if they lived by the bay they'd be bagels!
Quote of the Week: He peleado la buena batalla, he acabado la carrera, he guardado la fe. 2 Timoteo 4:7
Hijole. l never. ever. thought this day would actually come! lt's one of the strangest feelings l've ever experienced. Ever. lt's not happy and it's not sad. Just kidding, it IS happy and it IS sad. lt's pretty much every emotion that l've ever felt all put into one!
Haha that sounds real dramatic.
One thing l will be sad about is the fact that emailing won't be so cool anymore. :P Mondays were always so fun as we pulled up to the library and we logged in to our accounts! l remember sometimes l would even get butterflies in my stomach waiting to see what my family and friends me habian dicho. l hope that every monday for the rest of my life l have that same excitement to talk with my family (FHE?) hehe l think the church does that on purpose :) 
This week was great :) We had an amazing lesson with an amazing new family! The daughter is the one who went to teh baptismal service last week and wanted to get baptized. We ended up moving the date. But as we taught about the Restoration with a sister from the branch, the Spirit filled the room so strongly! Hna. Melendez shared her own conversion experience and how important it was that the Spirit touched her heart in that moment. The mother who we were teaching started crying, and told us that she has never really felt the desire to look for God, but that in that moment, she felt like it was HER time. Which was a complete change from the last time we met. Last time she was super supportive of her daughter learning, but she wasn't really interested for her own self. Man. it was a sweet lesson. l wish l was staying to see how they progress! 
We had another really cool family lesson! They're a young couple and the brother. The brother looks like he's had a rough life, but as l watched him playing with his little 5 month old son, l was filled with the impression to ask him what he thought about baptism. (we'd just taught them the plan of salvation) He said he's down!!! They're aLL DOWN! :) 
Hna. Fotu will be training a new missionary here..... l know that the Lord has sent them to this area, and He's going to guide them through this Whitewash....
Hna. Lopez and l are awful at saying goodbye..... we've been crying for about a week straight! but it will all be alright. She's headed up to Lewisville! 
We had an exchange with the Gatesville sisters last week! Haha english exchanges are the best. "What's your name?" "Jose." "How do you spell that?" hahahahahah
Thank you for everything that you've done to support me..... l'm so excited to see you all this Thursday :) Yesterday in sacrament meeting the song Families can be Together Forever brought me to tears as it hit me that this week, l'll have a family again! lt's so weird.
Hurrah for Missions! Hurrah for families! and HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!! :)
-Hermana Gomez
Thanks for the plaquitas :)  They got here! (Future missionary tags)


Eddie's baptism! He went to the temple to do baptisms last week!!! :) WOOHOO!!!

Martha's baptism! :) 

The district! :) minus one of the lame camera shy zone leaders :P 

We made pupusas!!! jajaja y fracasamos. pero ni modo. intentamos. y eso es lo que cuenta verdad?? :)
Funny story: in the middle of making them (night before last district meeting) the stove exploded. So we had to stop making them, and then take them to finish cooking to the church before district meeting. So we were studying and flipping the pupusas and suddenly the kitchen of the church filled with smoke! jajaja adventures of being stupid.

one of the many goodbye photos... l'll steal the rest from Hna. Lopez' camera and send them. 
UGH this was the worst time for my camera to break down! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

a great week of baptisms!

Joke of the Week: Why do seagulls live by the sea? Cause if they lived by the bay they'd be bagels! 
Quote of the Week: "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." -lan Anderson
That quote right there is the one that l wrote on every single one of my planners. lt's so so sooo crazy that l am going home. This last week l had my exit interview with President Ames. He started by asking me for any concerns or questions l had about going home. l honestly had nothing to say because l have honestly been blocking it out of my brain! lt was a hard interview because he made me face the fact that it's really coming to an end....
This weekend has been amazing. We had a baptism on friday and another on sabado. On saturday, we had an investigator come to watch, and afterwards, she told us that she wants to get baptized!!!!! So we're going to do all we can to make it happen on the 18th :) The baptism on Saturday was also awesome! Our investigator had been texting us to tell us how excited he was, and after the baptism, he said he "felt like he was floating" all the way home! 
We had the privilege to cook with some hermanas this week :) We made some empanadas de camote, gorditas de azucar, y some fetching yummy pupusas. Our "strict diet" failed this last week... But groceries are no longer in our budget and the members were feeling extra generous and gave us leftovers! :)
This week my diligence was tested! Last p-day l was playing soccer with the elders, but l had forgotten to bring shoes. Hence l was barefoot. Of course l left with a swollen toe. l didn't think much of it until the time came to put shoes on again. lt was SO PAINFUL!!!!!! Haha the morning after l was tempted for the first time to not run. But..... after coming this far without missing a day, l couldn't just quit cause my toe was swollen! Haha so l ran like a gimp with one shoe and cut out a few of the laps. lt brought a whole new meaning to "endure to the end!" 
The little missionary tags came!!! Yay!!
Also... my camera died yesterday. lt's been struggling for a while, but it finally gave out. So..... the last few days when we go to the temple with President and stuff might be photoless :(
Small world report: Walking on the street a random guy stopped us. He asked where we're from. l said Tooele. He asked if l new Sadie Johansen. Turns out it was Dani Johnson's brother!
A guy in the YSA branch gave a ride to one of our investigators. Al oir que soy de Tooele, me pregunto si conozco a Jared Mcbride! He was his roommate! Crazy stuff!
Y'all may have already told me, but do l have a topic for my talk on the 24th?
Man. l have so much to say and no time. 
Hasta la pasta. 
l want to hold Rosie soooo bad!
-Hermana GOmez 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Funny stories from Tali and proof of 111 degrees

Joke of the Week: Why do seagulls live by the sea? Cause if they lived by the bay they'd be bagels!
Quote of the Week: "Jesus wants me for a zombie?!"
Alrighty. Well l can only imagine how bored the few of you who read this are after tantas semanas.... so l decided to make it purple! 
People keep asking me what the first "non-missionary thing" l'm going to do when l'm home. And every time l tell them: Hold a baby. l'm SO excited to hold her!!!
l'd also like to thank Camilla for the taco scented chapstick. l have yet to try it out, but l'm sure it'll be wonderful :) 
Last night Hna. Lopez was telling me about one time when an hermana was cracking eggs into a frying pan and a live baby chick fell out! lt was alive!!!!!! lt dropped into the hot pan and got all burned, but they saved it. l made a joke about it having to wear a mask over it's face to cover up the burn scars, and Hna. Lopez cried out, "lt was the Phantom of the Farm!!!!" jajajajajaja lt was so. funny. So funny that when we said the closing prayer to leave the lesson, we were all giggling so hard the Spirit completely left. Hahahaha hilarious :)
Another funny story is about the Quote of the week :) We were singing in a baptism of a boy in the ward (he speaks more english). The kids from the primary were singing, and one of the hermanas (doesn't speak much english) nudged me and said, "Hermana! l've never heard 'Jesus wants me for a zombie!'" Jajajaja good old spanish accents :)
We're so excited for a baptism this weekend! While we were teaching him about the Plan of Salvation, we read the scripture in Alma 40 about how our bodies will be perfected in the resurrection. He sat and thought after we read it, and said, "THat makes me think of when Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus.... did they have that perfect kind of body?" We told him that they do have that body, and he got way excited! In his own words, "l like that! l LOVE that!!! That is SO COOL!" He made the connection that God has a glorified body, and so we need to get one too. lt's been such an amazing experience to be able to teach him. He also loved the story about the strippling warriors. lt made him feel more peace about his deployment. 
Well.... l think that's enough random stories for one day. 
Que sigan adelante en sus vidas. Les espero una semana muy feliz :) 

esta foto es de Isa and Maria :) They like to take our name tags and pretend to be us when we go. They even teach the lessons!

And their brand new baby sister Ali :)

One of the elders in my district's family history adventure!

We finally got to go on base!!!! lt's..... reeeaaallllly cool. (tone dripping with sarcasm)

ya l did get the familysearch info! l will have to look at it if we have time again this week. Most of our time will be used to make the 2 baptismal programs!!! :) We're super excited. 
Another good thing that happened is that our recent convert Trey just emailed me and said that missionaries found him at his  new house in South Carolina and they've started teaching his whole family!!!

note the 111 degrees outside :P 
l don't know if l ever sent you the pictures of our tamales? But here's one of them!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Most fertile parts of the wilderness :)

Quote of the Week: "Don't tell God you have big problems, tell your problems you have a big God." -Hna. Melendez
Joke of the Week: Como se dice 99 en chino? "Cachi chien!" 
Missions aren't about waiting for the storms to pass, but learning to bike in the rain!
Hna. Lopez and l have deemed this week as the. most. crazy. week. of our missions. l can't explain all of the reasons why, but just trust me. lt's been nuts. 
First of all, mom, if you could send me a story about my ancestors, l'd be very grateful. They're trying to help us use family history as a finding tool, and asked us all to get stories that we can share. l know you've told me a billion...... but l don't remember very many!
So last week was zone conference, and l was super nervous cause l was going to do 2ish musical numbers, AND the infamous "departing testimony".... AND l was just really sad that it's my last one. 
ln preparation for the conference, we always wax the car. So during our lunch break on thursday, we went outside to start. But..... lt WASN'T THERE!!!!!!! We freaked out. We ran up and down the parking lot and started to panic as we contemplated how to tell the zone leaders that someone jacked the car. Almost in tears, we call them, and the FIRST question they asked was, "was it towed?" A feeling a relief came over me as l realized that there was another option. Turns out, we DID get towed! Right there in our own apartment parking. So that complicated our lives a little. Thankfully, the very next day was zone conference, so people from the office would be coming down to Killeen and they could get the car back before the fine went up too much (it goes up every day it stays there). And a member just randomly gave us groceries for this week that are going to  keep us alive this month! Somehow God knows how dumb his children can be, and always looks for the best way to help us. Like Pte. Ames says, he leads us through the "most fertile parts of the wilderness." We are still facing trials, and we still make mistakes, but we have the PROMISE that Heavenly Father guides us through the best way possible. THAT is mercy.
Last night l was privileged to have one of the coolest experiences of my whole mission. Although Pte. Ames just barely got home from his trip here last friday, he felt prompted to come down again Sunday evening to do a fireside with the missionaries and the YSA branch. We invited one of our YSA aged investigators. The Spirit was very strong as Sister and Pte. Ames taught us about the blessing that we receive from living the Gospel. As the closing prayer was said, my investigator turned to me and said, "You know what? l think this IS the true church!" l asked him why, and he said that he can just feel it. And that Pte. AMes had answered a ton of his very specific questions that he's had! We set a baptismal date for the 16th of Aug. right there in the pew! And then he had the opportunity to talk with Pte. Ames and talk about how excited he was for hsi baptism! lt was literally a miracle. l was not expecting anything like that to happen. l'm so grateful for the Spirit that can literally soften and change the hearts of the people.
Time is running out and l have about a billion things to say. 
14 seconds. Adios amigos.
5 sec
Ok. l'm back. So the other crazy things that have happened have been dramatic things that..... can't be told exactly. But a dear family in the branch went through some crazy stuff and the next day we were supposed to do a FHE as a branch. Nobody showed up till about 5 minutes after it was supposed to start, and we had just been told that Hna. Lopez was getting transferred. l had already been bawling my eyes out that day because of zone conference, and when we saw all of the members we didn't know how to tell them that Hna. Lopez was going to leave. We cried a LOT that night. Hahaha
So we wake up Sunday morning, and a random awesome investigator texts us to ask if we could show him the way to church! So that's happy :) And we ALSO got a text from Pte. telling us that Hna. Lopez isn't leaving till Friday IF she even leaves at all! She was literally all the way packed. And we already said goodbye to EVERYONE! Hahaha awkward taco situation. 
But we went to church and guess what? SEVEN investigators went!!!!!!!!!! Speaking of numbers, we were #4 companionship in the mission this week :)
After church, we had the fireside and all of that cool stuff. 
As of right now, we're waiting the call from President to tell us if Hna. Lopez is going or not. lt's pretty much torture.
Speaking of torture, one of our investigators is a pilot, and he was telling us about his airplanes (we went to the airport and looked at them!) and he told us that in basic training, they practice being captured and tortured!!!!!!! sick right? They have to leave with at least one bone broken. lt took the edge off my desires to be in the Army.....
Well....don't worry about me. We are being taken care of by Heavenly Father. l was a leeetle worried about how we were going to survive, but then a member offered to take my bike to Utah the last week of August, so l will probably use some of that money to buy t.p. and stuff. And like l said, a member randomly gave us some fruit snacks and granola bars and yogurt! The Lord definitely is mindful of us. 
Tell Katelyn that l'm so excited for the baby!!!! Man that makes me happy! People keep asking me what the first "non-missionary" thing l'm going to do when l'm home, and every time l tell them: HOLD A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lt's pretty much torture to go visit cute little Ali (the brand new baby) and not be able to hold her! Haha last trial of my obedience eh? 
Alright this is waaay too long. PAz a vosotros.
-Hermana Gomez

Monday, July 21, 2014

I love love love contacting people!

Quote of the Week: Do you love me? FEED MY SHEEP!
Joke of the Week: What Mexican food won't shut up? Talk-o's! 
What?!! Siera got her mission call??? That's sweet!!

Another crazy week has passed by. We walked about 1 billion miles this week. l love love love contacting people! 
So we were walking one day, and we were talking about how hungry we were.  Right as we turned the corner, there were 4 perfect pears sitting on the road. We almost cried from happiness! God truly takes care of his missionaries! Unfortunately we were right at the house of our investigator and so we went inside. And when we left, we walked the other way and forgot them. Haha. BUT the tender mercy was still there :) And IF we weren't such dummies, God would have provided us with lunch that day :)
We had a super cool talk with the mom (member) of two of our investigators. She said that she has prayed every day for YEARS that her kids would stop being so rebellious and change their ways. And since we've been visiting them, K. and D. have been asking to go to church! And K. even got rid of all of her bad video games! That is a HUGE step. l'm so so so grateful for the gospel that has power to change every single person.
l'm so happy to be here serving. Although sometimes people tell you that after we leave they're going to throw the Book of Mormon in the trash where it belongs, there are moments that are pricelessly amazing :) 
Have a good week!
-Hermana Gomez

l'm still awfully behind sending pictures! But here's a highlight from June :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

the many adventures of Tali

Joke of the Week: Why do seaguls live by the sea? Cause if they lived by the Bay they'd be bagels!!!
Quote of the Week: "Podemos mirar atras para reclamar las brasas de las experiencias brillantes pero no las cenizas." -Jeffery R. Holland
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NAOMI!!!!! l'm so sorry l won't be there to celebrate your quince.... ANd l can't even believe that you're that old! 
l will pray for the Breretons... that's so so sad. 
Well last week we had many adventures. We were outside our neighbor sister missionaries' door talking the night before transfers. They were doing a "sleepover" and had face masks on. Suddenly, a woman walks up to us, and asks if we have any ice. One of the sisters said yes, and the lady WALKED IN THEIR APARTMENT. (That's not kosher.) We were trying not to laugh ourselves to death as the sisters (in their p.j.s and ... blankets) hurried and got her some ice. But this lady wanted them to teach her! She started asking questions about the white boards, folletos, etc. WELL, it turns out, that this crazy innocent lady actually STOLE the wallet of one of the sister missionaries! So... ya. Never make exceptions to the rules. Even if it seems harmless!
We had a super cool experience with a part member family! THe elders de ingles had given them to us as a last resort. They said that the son (non-member) just wasn't interested, but that maybe a spanish branch would help them (son puertoriquenos). As we were about to leave the appointment (The son had talked a little bit) he stopped us before the prayer, and said that he had something to share. He said that he has been feeling like he lacks faith and that he needs help from God. His mom asked if he would like a blessing, and he started to cry (23 year old army dude) and said yes! God is definitely preparing him :)

Sunday we felt the need to stop by the house of one of our active members who wasn't at church. She's pregnant and so it wasn't too weird that she didn't make it. As she opened the door, she started to cry and invited us in. There are a LOT of things going on in her life right now.... her husband is about to leave to Korea (army) and will be alone with her 2 year old to have the new baby. Also, the doctor just found some cancerous tissue in her uterus. Listening to all of it, l just wanted to fix her problems! My heart was breaking for this poor lady, and l had no advice about marriage, family problems, or life threatening diseases. l prayed with all my heart that the Spirit would help me know what to say. lmmediately, Mateo 11:29-31 came to my brain. l know that GOd really is there to share the load of his weary and tired children. 
Another cool story happened in the branch!!! A home teacher went to give a blessing to a sister who had asked for it. He didn't know exactly why, but he followed the Spirit, and in her blessing, he specifically mentioned that her "eyes, lungs, and knees" would be blessed with health. Everyone was a little surprised at the specificness/randomness. After the blessing, the hermana called he and his wife and demanded to know WHO had told him to say that. He said that he had no idea! ANd that he had even surprised himself when the words came out. But it turns out, that this lady had just gone to the doctor for problems in her eyes, lungs, and knees. Crazy huh? The priesthood is real!!!!
Well, that's about it! l have a ton of pictures to send but l dount l'll actually send any.... :P l shall put them on a flash drive.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tamales in the summer !

Joke of the Week: Cuantas vacas en Tejas hay? Cin-cuenta. :)
Quote of the Week: "That little urchin is going to steal my stuff."
Man what a crazy week. We got transfer calls this morning. And....... WE'RE BOTH STAYING :) The silly zone leaders tried to trick us and say that Hna. Lopez was going to a zebra (spanish-english) in Hillsburo. They even gave her the new address and everything! We were freaking out a little, and then he told me that my new companion is going to be SISTA LOPEZ (he is from New Zealand). Haha we screamed like little children we were so happy. 
Well.... this last week was pretty crazy! l had forgotten just how sweaty and gross  we get on the bikes this time of year. lt's gross! But we've seen so many tender mercies. My very favorite tender mercies are when we teach a great lesson. Teaching a man named Eliot, the Spirit was so... there! l never cease to be amazed how we are directed to teach exactly what these people need. We'd already taught the first lesson to him a few times, but this time, we were asking inspired questions that would help him understand. As we read Moroni 10:4-5, he was struck hard. He was amazed at how the words spoke so clear and direct. l LOVE the Book of Mormon. l have truly watched it change lives. At the beginning of my mission, l was always worried that people would get lost in the big words and weird  "vosotros" language. But as Eliot stopped and felt the words hit him, l was just so so grateful that God gave us this tool.
Another humbling moment was last night as we began with the new member lessons with our recent convert. We had decided to give assignment to him and his friend to teach us the first one. They studied and prepared to teach us about the Restoration :) As they stood up and began to testify to us about prophets, the apostasy, and Jose Smith, the Spirit was so strong! l felt so blessed to be able to the change in these two muchachos. 
Hahaha so we decided to fulfill a promise that we made the zone leaders long ago to make them tamales. But the chiste was that neither l nor hermana Lopez had ever made tamales without the help of someone older/wiser. But.... WE DID IT! We even spread the maza on the hojas with a cuchara! lt was a waaaaay bigger project than we had anticipated! Haha but we finished almost all of it. The last part of the chicken, chile, and maza are still in teh fridge waiting for us to gather up the ganas to finish. We even invented our own tamalera with two pots, a bowl, and a plato. One crazy adventure l will enver forget!
l certainly felt the fasting and prayers from you all! l will keep praying for you too. l hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!
Also, l want to see pictures of Katelyn's stomach!!!!! 
-Con amor, Hermana GOmez