Monday, December 29, 2014

Being a missionary during holidays is the best ~ Fairdale Week 15 ~ Mission Week 25

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all had a great Christmas :) I really, really enjoyed mine. Being a missionary during holidays is the best! You literally only think about serving other people. I wasn't focused on anything material and solely just wanted to serve my Savior. It has definitely been one of my favorites. We were able to go to a member's home, the Thorns, for the whole day with the other missionaries. It was so fun to play games and to eat food all day :) I wish I could be a missionary every Christmas! It really has made me realize all that I have to be grateful for.

This week has been good! I don't have a lot of time to email this week, so I will be short. The highlights of my week have been serving my savior and bringing people closer to Christ. It really is that simple. We have been teaching Flor, and were able to teach her whole family with a Hispanic member named Juana! She is absolutely amazing. On Saturdays she takes us to appointments and we do visiting teaching and visit less actives with her. It has been so amazing! She truly is incredible. She is a single Mom, works so hard, and has every excuse to not do her visiting teaching or go to church, and she does it, and gives it 100 percent. She really has taught me so much. She literally only thinks of others, and it has meant the world to me.

In addition, we have been teaching Cira, an investigator that we had lost contact with. An absolute miracle happened with her! Hmna Barajas and I both felt prompted that we should teach her the Word of Wisdom instead of teaching lesson 3, which focuses on baptism. Cira struggles with the idea of baptism because of her catholic background, but she still reads the book of Mormon and has a testimony of it. We taught her the word of wisdom and had the most amazing lesson! She agreed to completely live it, and has even stopped drinking coffee every day! She absolutely loves it! In addition, she now wants us to start teaching her husband as well. It was so inspired! God truly does inspire us to know what we need to teach people!

Anyway, have a good week! Merry late Christmas!

Hermana Failner

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ ~ Fairdale Week 13 ~ Mission Week 23

Hello everyone!

Man oh man has it been a crazy week! I don't even know where to begin. This letter might be a little disorganized, but hopefully I can get my points across.

First is Flor!!! I love her. We ended up finding her in an area that was just given to us and added to our area. She had been seeing missionaries 7 years ago but had lost contact with them. Her step son is also a baptized, less active member. In addition, she has actually been to our ward a few years ago and remembers it! She is absolutely stellar! She is also one of the easiest people for me to understand... and to communicate with! Praise the Lord!  We had the most amazing lesson with her last week. We watched the restoration video to see what she remembered, and then afterwards she had lots of questions for us to answer. It was incredible! Somehow we were able to answer every question and doubt she had. At the end, we asked her if she had more questions or was confused and she told us that everything, every doubt or struggle she had had in the past was answered. It was such a spiritual lesson that was truly guided by the spirit. I don't know her needs, but God does. It was so evident in that lesson. I feel like through God I truly know her. She also has an amazing family and we are going to be teaching all of them! Yay for families!

Next is our crazy near death experience. These actually happen pretty frequently, but we won't go into that :) But this one is worth sharing! Through this experience, I truly have a testimony of revelation and receiving it even when we don't realize what it is and being obedient missionaries. It was a bizarre experience and had Hermana Barajas and I had decided to do anything different that day things could have turned out differently. So, we now get a car Wednesdays and Saturdays and we drop it off at the elders at night. We were on our way to the Elder's and had left a little bit earlier than normal. In addition, for some reason we decided to take a different route than usual to get to their apartment. While we were driving, we witnessed a car accident, directly in front of us. It was with a huge truck and a small car, and the truck hit the car pretty hard, the car spun out of control, and then hit the lamp post. It was pretty obvious that it was truck's fault, and that people in the car could be hurt. We stopped to go check on the people in the car and to see if they needed witnesses for the accident. The side that was hit the hardest had a women inside who was pregnant. It was obvious that she was scared and hurt. While we were out there, the driver of the truck came up. It was very obvious that he was wasted. It took all I had to be Christ like towards him and to not tell him how angry I was with him for deliberately breaking the law and putting someone's life in danger. I then remembered my name tag and whose name was on it. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I needed to act like it, and Christ would have still treated him with love. I was able to be peaceful about the situation because of that. I am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ! It helps me remember that I need to be Christlike at all times. Afterwards, they asked us to stay to give a statement to the police. The drunk man was arrested, and we gave our statement. We left the sweet family with our phone number on a card and asked them to call us if they needed anything. Everyone in the accident was okay, although mildly injured. Before we left, the pregnant women's mom had arrived at the scene. She came up to our car in tears, and told us how grateful she was that we had stayed with them and for the statement we gave. It was a truly humbling experience, and one that I won't ever forget. It also makes me realize how grateful I am to live and how precious of a gift it is to have life. Had we done something any different, Hermana Barajas and I could have been hit, and we wouldn't have been able to witness the accident and help the family through the ordeal. I am so grateful for this experience.

Lastly, we found a new family last night, the Estradas, and had an incredible lesson. The highlight for me was kneeling down with them in prayer. With the husband, wife, and their three children. It was incredible. Enough said.

Hasta la pasta!

Hermana Failner

Monday, December 8, 2014

In that moment I truly felt the love that God had for Judith ~ Fairdale Week 12 ~ Mission Week 22

I don't have a ton of time this week, so sorry for the shortness.

We had a really good week this week! We worked hard and saw some miracles. The highlight of my week was having a lesson with an investigator Judith. She has been going through a really hard time and I have known her over my last two transfers here. She was really hard to get ahold of, but we felt like we still needed to try her. Now we have been able to start officially teaching her! We had an incredible lesson that really alleviated a lot of the worries that I have encountered being a Spanish speaking missionary. We took an English member out with us. In the past, the language barrier between everyone can be hard to navigate, but we decided to try something different. Before each of the lessons we had that night we prayed specifically with the member and that we all could find a way to communicate and bring the spirit in the lesson. It made all of the difference! Somehow we were all able to understand each other and we had some of the most powerful lessons I have ever had. With Judith we watched the Restoration video and asked her questions about it. We found out that she truly believes that God does not love her and that she is alone. We were all able to help her. The spirit was so incredibly strong. One of the most amazing parts of being a missionary is that I have never felt God's love for others as  much as I have. In that moment I truly felt the love that God had for Judith. It was overwhelming how much love and peace I felt. It brought all of us to tears. Moments like these are the reason why I keep going. Missionary work is extremely difficult, but the tender, sweet moments we have make it all worth it.

Love you all!
Hermana Failner

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mexican Thanksgiving is filled with turkey tacos and pasole! ~ Fairdale Week 11 ~ Mission Week 21

Hello all!!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We had a really awesome one! A family in our ward, the Thorns, had a big Thanksgiving at the church for all of the missionaries and other people who were single or didn't have family. It was so much fun! After we got to play games... and just eat more! In addition, we were also invited to a less active's house for another Thanksgiving dinner. I was so full! But it was a great experience! Mexican Thanksgiving is definitely a bit different. It's filled with turkey tacos and pasole! Yummy stuff. I thought I was going to die from all of the food we were fed, but it was very worth it!

This week has been a week filled with lots of service. It has been really nice! First, we have helped a recent convert Emanie and his family paint their house. It has been quite the project but has been a lot of fun! In addition, we helped a less active member and her husband who isn't a member move into their new house. They had 11 people help move everything into the trucks... and then no one showed up to help move it all into the house. So us and two other sets of elders took on the project. We had a great lesson with both of them and was so powerful. Her husband is starting to get taught by the missionaries again! In addition, we also helped one of our investigators set up her Christmas decorations and lights. Service is such a powerful way to spread the love of the Savior and to bring others to Christ. It has allowed me to truly forget myself and has brought me a lot of joy.

In addition, we found an amazing new investigator and a less active! First, we found Mareny, a less active that we have been trying to track down for months now! It was a miracle that we found her. We had a great lesson with her and can't wait to keep seeing her! Furthermore, Hermana Barajas and I were looking in potentials for people to go teach and found Francisco listed several times. Both of us have felt so strongly that we needed to try him and find him again. We recently found him and found out that he had been taught by missionaries previously, but they had lost contact due to moving. He is so prepared and is so awesome! We will be teaching him and his family!

I love you all!

Hasta la pasta.

Hermana Failner

Monday, November 24, 2014

I am finally starting to feel that my Spanish is no longer as a big of a language barrier ~ Fairdale Week 10 ~ Mission Week 20

Hello everyone!!

This email is going to be very brief this week, I have been really sick and I really just want to sleep. I have had a fever for the past four days, my voice has been completely gone, and I have a sinus infection. Being sick as a missionary is awful! But we have seen some blessings this week for sure!

The highlight of my week was finding a new family to teach. There names are Marisela and Mario! I contacted Mario on an exchange and it was really, really powerful. They seem to be very prepared for the gospel. We taught them the restoration and it was really powerful! Marisela, who is catholic, asked a question about why little infants need to be baptized and that she really felt like they shouldn't. It was such a perfect question to ask! Were able to use Moroni 8 to show her that her kids don't need to be baptized until they are 8. This is usually one of the hardest concepts for us to teach and explain to catholics, and it made complete and total sense to her! It was an amazing experience. This lesson was also the first time I truly felt that I could express myself and use the exact words I wanted  to in Spanish. I didn't feel like a robot, and am finally starting to feel that my Spanish is no longer as a big of a language barrier. I can't wait for it to continually improve!

Until next week.

Hermana Failner

Monday, November 17, 2014

It was one of the most effortless yet most powerful lessons I have ever had ~ Fairdale Week 9 ~ Mission Week 19

Hello everyone!

Well, this week was interesting. It has been really cold here! But it is good for us! We have really been blessed and it's been awesome to see!

Cesar is still doing well! He is coming to church and we will be starting addiction recovery with him on Saturday with the help of a member family and also the bishop. It's been awesome to get so much support for Cesar so he can overcome this! I am excited to see what happens with all of this! He is doing amazing.

Next, we had a great lesson with Isabel, another investigator who has read the Book of Mormon twice and has an incredible testimony, and who comes to church... she just needs to figure out how to get married to her boyfriend. We had a great lesson with her and related the issues she has been having to the brother of Jared. How we need to come up with a plan when we have a problem, take it to the Lord, and then He will provide. The spirit was so strong in the lesson! We committed her to searching the scriptures and to come up with a plan that she could take to the Lord about what to do. It was a really powerful lesson and she related to the brother of Jared so much. She is amazing.

We also had a great lesson with Aroceli, another investigator who is amazing! We also had a member, Hermana Perez, out with us who speaks Spanish! It was such a powerful lesson about the plan of salvation, and then about baptism. We read in 3rd Nephi about when Christ explains to the people what baptism is and what she needs to do. The spirit was so strong. It was one of the most effortless yet most powerful lessons I have ever had. It flowed and was more of a conversation. It was amazing. I want to have more lessons like this!

We have had a great week, and I cant wait to work hard and to find more people to bring to Christ.

Love you all!
Hermana Failner

Monday, November 10, 2014

I have learned to not be afraid and to truly act on the promptings of the spirit ~ Fairdale Week 8 ~ Mission Week 18

Hello everyone!!

This has been one of the craziest, most bizarre weeks of my mission thus far. I don't even know where to begin. I'll talk about investigators first.

Cesar is doing great! He wants to start another addiction recovery program and we are getting that started with him this week. He is doing amazing! He came to church and went to the fireside we had that night as well. His ability to understand the scriptures and to apply them in his life really amazes me. The ward has also been incredible about fellowshipping him. I have so much hope for him! It's exciting to see the growth that he has every day!

Next is Eva! She is amazing. She had been taught by the missionaries before, and we found out that she was all the way in Alma! We had such an amazing, spirit driven lesson with her. It truly was one of the first times I felt completely in tune with the spirit and did exactly what it told me to, even if it was a little crazy. The impressions I got during the lesson I really questioned, but I decided to act on them. I'm so glad I did. She has a baptismal date now and is doing well. it was really amazing because after Hermana Barrajas and I came out of the lesson she told me that things I said and the direction I took the lesson were the exact thoughts and impressions she had! It was such a cool experience. I have learned to not be afraid and to truly act on the promptings of the spirit. Every day I am learning more and more of how to discern the promptings of the spirit.

Lastly, Saturday was the craziest day. I don't even know where to begin. We got a call from the APs saying that they were going to take our car. They broke news using the story of Job and how all of his property was taken... and yet he still was faithful. They then announced to us that they would be taking the car in the next hour. So, our car was taken and moved to another area that needs it more right now. it was sad. And it's winter. And freezing. Haha. The joys of missionary work. Next, we had an appointment in a place where we can't ride our bikes to because of the gravel. We called our appointment to see if he would be there and he said he was there with his whole family waiting. The ride we had with a member fell through. So... we walked the 5 miles to our appointment. Once we got out there, he told us that he had to leave to get medicine for his daughter. After our long trek, we decided to work in another trailer park. In this trailer park I was bitten by another dog. yes, another dog. Even with my boots and leggings it bit the skin that was out of my boot. Luckily the leggings did protect it and the bite is just red and bruised. Luckily this time there was no broken skin and no ER visit! I have no idea how we would have gotten there since our car was taken. Later, as we went to another trailer park, a car stopped us and told us that there was a coyote about 20 feet away from us and that we needed to turn around and run. 10 long miles later, we still here and alive. It was a crazy day!

In addition, in this past week, we were also informed that Hermana Barrajas and I would be trying out something that the mission is thinking of implementing in other Spanish areas. Now, in the area we are in, any English people we come in contact with we are permitted to teach and no longer send English referrals. So now we are teaching both English and Spanish people. It has been an interesting change and has made us a lot busier. I have also realized how rusty my English has become! It is so much harder for me to teach in English than Spanish. But we have faith and have found some great people. It is a crazy change, but Hermana Barrajas and I are ready for just about everything after the week we've had.

Nos vemos!

Hermana Failner

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grandma and Grandpa came to visit me ~ Fairdale Week 7 ~ Mission Week 17

Hello everyone!!

Wow, lots of changes have happened this week! La Hermana Wilbur se fue! My companion was transferred and now I have new one, Hermana Barrajas!! She is awesome! She is a native from Mexico, but she has been living in Brooklyn. Seriously, her Spanish is so awesome. I could listen to her talk all day! She is really helping me with Spanish, especially with my terrible accent. I'm hoping she'll rub off on me :) We have lots of fun together and have been working so hard! We have so many ideas for the area that we are in and I can't wait to see how it will grow. Our area is tiny and it's looking like expanding is going to be possible now! We can't wait to see what happens.

I was so nervous about leading an area, but believe it or not, it has actually been great! Everything just continues to function and we have seen so many miracles. We have prayed so much for inspiration and have been doing a lot of finding in some different apartment complexes and neighborhoods that I haven't been to a ton. It's been awesome to see!

In addition, probably one of the biggest highlights of my week was Cesar. He has been doing so well and is now calling us again every night again. He tells us about his reading in the Book of Mormon and applies it to his life. He has a desire to come to church again and we even got him to Stake Conference! It was so perfect for him and he said it was exactly what he needed to hear. In addition, we had the most amazing lesson with him on Saturday about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how he can live his life and overcome his addictions. We have always wanted Cesar to get into the 15 step program, but he has always said no and that he wanted to overcome his addictions on his own. Now, he has officially accepted to do the program and says that he truly has the desire to change! It's amazing to see. The ward has also been so incredible in fellowshipping him. Cesar is doing so amazing right now and I am so relieved that we haven't lost him. He is going to do amazing things. He has strengthened my testimony so much and always makes me want to teach by the spirit and teach my investigators what God wants them to hear. I don't know what the people's needs are that we teach, but God always does. I have really learned that while being out here.

Random thing of the week: Guess who is the designated driver now?! Me!!! Haha. It's been great to drive :) Hermana Barrajas is a little scared of me and my driving, but it's been a fun adventure :)

One last thing I forgot that I will add pictures for this next week:

Grandma and Grandpa came to visit me! We got to go out to ice cream and just talk! It was such a fun surprise and so great to see them! Transfer days are so crazy and ice cream was just what we needed :) I got to show them around the apartment and my area. It was so great to see family!! :)

Hasta la proxima semana! Les quero mucho!

Hermana Failner

Monday, October 27, 2014

Church truly is a place for sinners ~ Fairdale Week 6 ~ Mission Week 16

Hello all!

It's going to be a crazy week. My companion, Hermana Wilbur, is getting transferred tomorrow morning. This means that I will be leading an area after only being in it for six weeks. Oh... and I also have to speak Spanish. And translate church. I am feeling really nervous about it, but at the same time I am really excited. I am excited to take this area in the direction I want it to go. I will probably get lost along the way, but it will all work out according to God's plan.

Well, Cesar, our investigator that dropped us came to church yesterday! There is still so much hope for him. The ward has been incredible in fellowshipping him. His main concern has really been that he feels guilty coming to church because of the addiction that he has. The ward was so good to him and helped him realize that church truly is a place for sinners. It is not a place for perfect people. The reason why we go to church is so we can become better and repent of our transgressions. I'm not entirely sure what will happen to Cesar, but there is still hope. He has righteous desires and he has a testimony.

A family that we have been teaching is also progressing. I'm not sure if I have included them before, but they are the Rumbo family. We have really been teaching the Mom, Cira. She is incredible. She is reading the BOM consistently and wants to know of it's truthfulness. Although she is still hesitant to accept a baptismal date, she wants to learn. We have had some great lessons with her and her family this week. We had an amazing lesson with her and her husband about faith and about coming to church. It was really powerful. Cira said that she believes that like faith, the Book of Mormon is a good seed and that when she reads it she feels the desire to continue to do so. We are excited to continue to teach them. It's cool because when the Rumbos were first taught, it was the Dad that was mostly taking the lessons. In the beginning, Cira didn't like us at all. But now her heart has softened and she has talked about how excited she gets when we come over and teach her.

Speaking of the Rumbos, there is a funny moment I want to share. In the Rumbo's trailer, there was this horrible smell. We decided to go over and help her figure out where it was coming from. We searched under her entire trailer and couldn't find anything. A couple days later, Cira texted us and told us that they found a dead squirrel in their insulation and that was the cause of the smell! Got to love Kentucky. And trailer parks.

Anyway, love you all! Thank you for your support!

Hermana Failner

Monday, October 20, 2014

It was a week of miracles! ~ Fairdale Week 5 ~ Mission Week 15

Hello everyone,

It's been quite a week filled with lots of ups and downs. In short, it has been bitter sweet. It was a hard week with our investigator Cesar. We had found him and started teaching and contacting him again and he stopped talking to us. Yesterday, Hermana Wilbur and I went to his house to try and find him. He didn't go to church and he ALWAYS shows up to church regardless, so we were worried. We weren't sure what to do at first, if we should go and see him or not. We prayed about it and we both got such an overwhelming feeling that we needed to find him and see him. The lesson we had with him was not what we wanted, but it was the will of the Lord. We felt so much peace afterwards that we knew it was what we needed to do and say. He told us that he doesn't have the desire to change anymore and he doesn't think he can continue. We were sad, but told him that the only way he can figure this out for himself is if he does it for the Lord, and if he couldn't do this, there was nothing more we could do for him. We told him to pray and to wrestle with God until he found his answer. And when he did, we told him to call us. It was hard. He has been to church so many times and has made so many changes. There is literally only one more Word of Wisdom substance he has to overcome. But we can't do anything for him, only the Lord can. Cesar has taught me so much about accepting the will of God. I will be grateful to have known him.

Next, it was a week of miracles! We had an amazing training about using the pamphlets to teach lessons 1, 2, and 3 and only using questions to allow the investigators to teach themselves. It has been so effective! In fact, every lesson we have taught with the folletos (pamphlet is the word in English), we have set baptismal dates with people! It simplifies the gospel so much, and we are able to be so much more effective as teachers. It has been incredible and I can't wait to continue teaching this way!

Lastly, I was asked to teach the Relief Society lesson yesterday. It was such an incredible experience. It was all about prayer: the whys, the whats, and the hows. I decided that I only wanted to teach it using questions, while just lightly outlining what we would talk about in each point. It ended up working really well. Literally, it was an organized discussion about our experiences with prayer. The women had such incredible experiences about prayer! Everyone shared something. It was so incredible! In addition, I was able to include the Spanish sisters and translate their answers to the rest of the women. It was so guided by the spirit, I literally didn't have to do anything. We really grew closer as a ward. Everyone felt comfortable to share their experiences. There were also some investigators there and it was the perfect topic for them! It was just an awesome experience. Afterwards, several of the sisters told me how much they enjoyed the lesson because I didn't read out of the manual once and that it was a discussion. In addition, several other sisters said that participation in Relief Society has really been lacking, and it was the first time the women in the ward truly opened up about their experiences. Some who hadn't ever participated spoke up. It was incredible! The spirit was so strong. It taught me a lot. I have learned that I need to use more effective questions, especially with  my investigators.

Anyway, nos vemos!
Hermana Failner

Monday, October 13, 2014

Once she was taught how to pray, her life changed forever ~ Fairdale Week 4 ~ Mission Week 14

Hello all!!
It's been a good week! It's starting to get cold and I'm learning the hard way that skirts are not the warmest or the most practical articles of clothing to be wearing out here. But it's alright, I'm going to adjust and 30 layers of tights every day. Quien sabe.
First, I got to go back to my old area, Hurstbourne, for the whole day on Wednesday!! It was so amazing! Hermana Wilbur had a leadership training to go to, and, with the help of the Zone leaders (or maybe a little begging... haha), I was able to visit and work in my old area with the other Hurstbourne Hermanas! It was so awesome! Honestly it was really good experience for me. I truly realized that I was not meant to be there anymore and that I could no longer receive the revelation that I had received previously for investigators I worked with. One of the most progressing ones, Arturro, had disappeared for several weeks and the Hermanas weren't able to contact him. Miraculously, we found him while I was there! it was crazy, he had broken several of his ribs and was in a really bad place and was angry at God. I had never seen him in such a low place before. But, we had a great lesson with him. We were able to talk to him about how he can still overcome his trials and set backs and that God is truly there for him. It really showed me that I was not meant to be the one to help him anymore and that the other three Hermanas are the ones that he needs to get him through all of this. It's really strengthened my testimony of being the places that God wants us to be, even when it all doesn't make sense.
Also, I found out that one of the other investigators I had taught, Tamie, was so upset about me leaving the area that she was having a hard time being taught about the gospel and didn't really want to be taught anymore. I was also able to find her and just talk to her. I absolutely love Tamie, but the important thing is that as missionaries we are solamente, or only, mouth pieces or instruments in God's hand to preach the gospel. It doesn't matter who teaches her because as missionaries we all teach through the spirit, we are simply the mouthpieces. I told her that she could always feel that same spirit and confirmation, regardless if I was there or not. This experience has really strengthened my testimony of the power of teaching by the spirit and realizing that we truly aren't teaching anything, especially in the way we want. We teach in the Lord's way through the spirit. If we do it this way, then the spirit will always convert and testify. It was a powerful experience. The spirit has humbled me so much. I have realized how weak I am. I am nothing without the spirit. Without it, I can literally do nothing as a missionary.
Honestly, it's been a whirl wind of a week, but it ended really well. We had lost contact with our investigator, Cesar, since Tuesday. It was really hard and we were so worried. We literally talk to him every night and have a lesson with him over the phone and just check in and see how he's doing. We told our bishop and some of the other ward members about it. It has been amazing to see the support the bishop and other ward members have for us and also for Cesar. The ward literally loves him. Although it is an English speaking ward and we translate for the few Hispanics that come, even the English speaking ward members have grown to love him and have seen his spirit and influence. Long story short, our Bishop ended up finding Cesar yesterday and we are going to be able to start teaching him again. It was a miracle! It has been so amazing to see the support that we have received from him. Everyone sees that Cesar is meant to join the church and that there is so much hope for him. This could not keep on going if it weren't for our Bishop and for the others in the ward that love Cesar. It's been incredible to see. I am so relieved and excited that we can continue teaching him. We know he is meant to be a part of this gospel.
Another touching experience we had this week was with a new investigator Francisca. She can't read and has had some hesitations about learning because of this, especially when it comes to the Book of Mormon. We had a member who is a recent convert named Katie come out with us. She doesn't speak Spanish, so we would translate back and forth. It was so incredible how meant to be it was that she was there. Katie is so amazing. She had also had a hard time reading and understanding the Book of Mormon. She said that while she was investigating the church, she would read and pray and go to church because she knew it was the right thing to do, even though she couldn't comprehend it or understand why she was doing all of those things. But eventually, one day it all made sense to her and she received her answer. After that, she was also able to fully comprehend the Book of Mormon. Katie was able to share this with Francisca and the spirit was so powerful. In addition, we also taught Francisca how to pray, and she was very uneasy and nervous about the whole process. Katie also had similar experiences about prayer and how she didn't know how and how once she was taught how to pray, her life changed forever. It was so incredible. Despite the language barrier, Katie and Francisca were truly able to understand each other through the spirit. It's amazing how their paths have crossed and how perfect they are for each other and how much they help each other!
Anyway, it has been a good week! Hasta la proxima semana.
La Hermana Failner

Monday, October 6, 2014

With the Lord and the atonement, I know he can leave it all behind ~ Fairdale Week 3 ~ Mission Week 13

Hello everyone!!

It's been quite the week!!

First, I had an exchange with one of the Hermana training leaders, Hermana Binks! All by myself, in Fairdale. I had only been there for 2 weeks! I was terrified  because I'm still trying to learn the area and know where everything is. But to my surprise, it went great and we experienced so many amazing miracles! We found six new investigators and taught all of them!! It was so cool. In the Spanish world this NEVER happens. We have to search for needles in haystacks to find Hispanics around here! We were so excited. One of the coolest experiences we had is that we found a family! I LOVE teaching families. They are the greatest. We had a member out with us and were out contacting. She decided to contact this man outside of his house. His name is Fernando and he knew enough English to talk to her. She asked him if we could offer a prayer with him. He immediately agreed and invited us in to pray with his four kids and his wife! It was so incredible! Most people don't randomly invite weird missionaries and members into their houses like that! We had the best lesson with them and just talked to them about prayer and the feelings they can get with it. Sister Sorrenson, the member that went with us brought the spirit so strong! By the end we were all so overcome with the spirit, just talking about prayer. This family has something special. I don't see it often, but there was such a good spirit in their home. I can't wait to teach them again on Tuesday!

Thus, my exchange went well aside from the fact that I forgot which apartment number we lived in and tried to break into someone's house, it was great! Also, during a prayer we were offering with a Hispanic woman, I got attacked by a bee and was running up and down the street during the prayer. It would not leave me alone! But I made it back to the prayer before Hermana Binks finished it. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm crazy and deranged. But we got a good laugh out of it :)

We also had a great lesson with Cesar this week. It was good, but emotional. He is still struggling with the Word of Wisdom. He had every Word of Wisdom problem in the book and has gotten rid of all of them except one. It  has been hard. He is so close to baptism, he just needs to dejar, or completely leave behind all of his addictions. We had to have a do or die lesson with him. We had to tell him that if he relapses one more time that we would have to completely stop teaching him. It was a very emotional lesson. We all were crying. It was very guided by the spirit. We had to be firm and direct. I am grateful for Spanish because the only way I know how to say things is by being direct. I can't beat around the bush at all, and that's what he needed. We had an incredible lesson about repentance. He has committed to leave it all completely behind. We hope that he does. We pray so hard for him and work every day to try and help him. I hope he can do it. With the Lord and the atonement, I know he can. Pero, solemente if he allows the atonement in his life and if he truly uses it.

It's been a crazy week filled with some great miracles!

Hasta luego!
Hermana Failner

Monday, September 29, 2014

The spirit I felt in that moment was so overwhelming ~ Fairdale Week 2 ~ Mission Week 12

Hello everyone!!

It's been another crazy week here in Kentucky! It's been fun getting to know the area and getting to know the people that we are working with. I'm trying to prepare myself to lead an area in about 4 weeks which will be scary, but somehow the Lord will carry me through! Hermana Wilbur has been so great and has taught me so much. The chances of her staying in this area are extremely slim, and so we are preparing so I will be ready to lead it in a month. There is a lot to do and a lot to prepare for. I'm hoping my directional skills will continue to improve... haha.

We had a great week. Cesar is doing amazing. He has a baptismal date for Oct. 25, and he should be keeping it! Our mission president and our bishop are very on board with helping him to be baptized. Their support has been amazing. We just hope that Cesar continues to use the atonement in his life so he can overcome the Word of Wisdom issues that he has. We had an incredible lesson with him yesterday with the bishop there. We centered it all completely around the atonement and how he can use it to overcome the trials that he has. It was such an amazing lesson. The spirit was strong. At the end, Cesar asked for a blessing. It was so incredible. It said that Cesar would one day receive the priesthood and that he would bring thousands of people to the gospel. The spirit I felt in that moment was so overwhelming. We were all crying, including Cesar. It was such an amazing moment. It has given us the push we need to continue to help Cesar, and to never give up on him. He can do this. We know he will be ready. One thing that was said that really impacted me was to never forget the Savior, because he never forgets you. I have learned so much about the atonement on my mission. It has been an incredible process.

There are so many miracles that have happened this week, but I don't have much time to write them all. Entonces, nos vemos! Les quero mucho!

Hermana Failner

Monday, September 22, 2014

I can say that I gave my last area and my investigators EVERYTHING I had ~ Fairdale Week 1 ~ Mission Week 11

Hello everyone!

I am officially in my new area! I love it here. It has been wonderful!! It was so hard to leave Hurstbourne, but I couldn't ask to be in a better area now! I also LOVE my companion Hermana Wilbur. She is amazing! We get along so well, and we teach well together. We both feel like we've known each other for years. I literally just came in and we were able to work effectively and easily together. I love her because she doesn't put the "greenie" label on me. I feel like as a companionship we are equally yoked. She values my input, and I value hers as well. We just work so well together. Things just flow. It has been wonderful. She is the perfect companion for me. I really, really needed her.

Last week was hard to leave my investigators, especially Arturro. He is our most progressing investigator and has been going to church. The last lesson I had with him was very emotional and sad, but so incredibly spiritual. He told me that I teach from the heart and that when I speak he feels like it is exactly what God wants him to know in the moments he needs it. It meant the world to me. I gave that area and my investigators everything I had, and hearing that from him made me feel like I was doing my job as a missionary. The goal is to teach through the spirit and to tell our investigators what God wants them to know. It was an incredible experience. When he found out I was leaving he was almost in tears, and of course, I was crying. But it was an amazing moment. I can say that I gave my last area and my investigators EVERYTHING I had.

Next, in my new area Fairdale, we have an awesome progressing investigator whom I have grown to love already! His name is Cesar and he has the cutest little son named Oliver. Cesar is so incredibly strong, he goes to church every week, and he calls us every night to tell us what he has been reading in the Book of Mormon. The only set back he has is the word of wisdom. So we are really trying to help him overcome that. It has been an incredible experience to teach him and to get to know him. He was so welcoming towards me and is so kind about my Spanish. We feel that he will progress more as he continually gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have really learned on my mission that the Book of Mormon and praying about it is the key to everything. If that is true, everything else makes sense. That foundation is so essential, and is the only way an investigator can be truly converted.

I am grateful to be serving in the great area of Fairdale! Exciting things are happening here and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Nos Vemos!
Hermana Failner

Monday, September 15, 2014

Emergency Transfer ~ Hurstbourne Week 5 ~ Mission Week 10

Hello everyone.

I don't even know where to begin. These last 24 hours have been filled with a lot. A lot of sadness, hurt, pain, and frustration. Long story short, I am going to be emergency transferred tomorrow. This was not the original plan. Originally, we were going to be put in a trio, Hermana Adams, Hermana Hearne and I. I was so excited! Hermana Hearne works the area right next to ours that is in the same Spanish Branch. We were going to run two areas as a trio, then Hermana Adams was going to go home after a transfer, and we were going to go back to our areas and lead them, Hermana Hearne and I, with other Hermanas. I was so excited, this is exactly what we have been wanting. This is exactly what the ward needs. We were so excited to take on this challenge. But that won't be happening anymore. I am getting moved to another area tomorrow. I can't go into detail, but after discussing it with my district leaders, zone leaders, and President and his wife, we all feel that it is best for me if I leave. It is frustrating and hard because I don't want to leave, and because of the agency of someone else, I have to. We finally have progressing investigators that our going to church, and our numbers have been awesome. I don't want to leave. But I know that the lord is in charge and I am excited to see what else is in store for.

Anyway, we had investigators come to church this week! The area that I am in hasn't had investigators come to church in over 4 months, and we got 2 to come! It was amazing. Arturro is our most progressing investigator and he came. Arturro is just great, he gives me a lot of hope that there are still good people in the world! During Sunday school when he introduced himself, he said that he hoped that the moment with all of us in church could last forever. He loves church and is progressing so well. He has a baptismal date, and we are so excited for him. I don't want to leave him. He is amazing. I have learned to love and care about the people so much, and it is hard to say good bye, especially when it was so unprecedented. But I know that he will continue to progress, and I can't wait to see what else is in store for him.

One last experience I want to share. I have had a break through with my Spanish! For the first time in awhile I was able to fully express myself, my feelings, and say exactly what I wanted to say without such a significant language barrier. I contacted this man named Antonio, by myself. He has seen Hermanas before and never will set a return appt. He started to ask me some very deep questions, questions that I don't get very often. He asked me how I had personally come to know of the truthfulness of the gospel and my experiences with how I knew I could see loved ones again. He talked about how he didn't want to know doctrine, he just wanted to know my experiences. I was able to share with him my experiences that I have had with death, and losing people I love and care about, especially with what has happened recently. Somehow, it really touched him. So much so that he started to cry, to sob. Somehow, even with my imperfect Spanish I was able to speak to him, and to speak by the spirit so his heart was touched. He completely opened up to me about how he had lost his mom and how he always wondered why God lets bad things happen to good people. It was amazing to be able to help him and to let him know that I had had the same questions. This has been one of the greatest moments on my mission thus far. We even set a return apt with him after refusing for the last 7 months. I have learned that I am learning Spanish for a reason. Spanish has taught me to teach with the spirit, and to not rely on my own personal skills or speaking abilities. I have to completely rely on the Lord when I teach in Spanish. If I would have gone English speaking, I don't think I would have learned that as much. I would have relied and my own skills, rather than on the spirit. Spanish has taught me so much and has really, really humbled me. I am so grateful I am Spanish speaking, I need it more than I ever knew.

Anyway, I love all of you. Thank you for your support. Who knows what will happen next week.

Hermana Failner

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dropped by both investigators, Met two wonderful investigators Arturro and Teo!! Former friend was just given six months to live... ~ Hurstbourne Week 4 ~ Mission Week 9

Hello everyone!

Sorry for no email last week, things have been crazy!

This week has been filled with ups and downs... but also some miracles! We got dropped by our progressing investigators with baptismal dates, two days in a row. It has been hard, but we have seen some miracles from it!

After we got dropped, one of after the other, we literally found a hispanic, taught them lesson one, and challenged them to baptismal dates! It was crazy! Wasn't even planned at all!! They were amazing lessons.

The first was with Arturro. He is amazing! He has had a Book of Mormon and has been reading it for the past four months when we found him. He talked about how much it has helped him make changes and how much he wants to have more peace in his life. We taught him outside of a gas station. Haha. But it was the most amazing lesson I have ever had. My companion and I were able to teach in unity, and my Spanish has never been that fluent. It's amazing what the spirit can do. When I told him the first vision, it was one of the most incredible and spiritual experiences of my life. I always feel the spirit when I say it, but never like this. I felt like I was staring into his soul, and him into mine. When I finished we both had tears in our eyes. It was something I will never forget. There is something so different about him. It was so amazing to be able to look at someone and to know of the truthfulness of all of things, to testify, and to have it have such a an effect on someone. He is amazing, and I have so much hope for him. He told me at the end that he knew of the truthfulness because his heart and his soul had been touched, and that he knew of it's truthfulness. The spirit is so amazing. We don't convert, the spirit converts. I learn that every day.

The next is Teo! We also just randomly found him, contacted him, and taught him L1 on the spot! He had the same kind of look about him that Arturro did. It was amazing, and we challenged him to a baptismal date! Teaching him was also amazing. The spirit really does work wonders with people. This week I have learned to really trust in the spirit, and to not be afraid to speak when the spirit tells me to say something, even when I know my spanish might be wrong.

One of our investigators that dropped us, we just found out yesterday has six months to live. This is why she and her boyfriend, Hector had dropped us. My companion and I just felt like we needed to go visit them, even though they told us to not come back for awhile. I am so glad we did. She told us of the news that she had received. Honestly, it broke my heart. She talked about how scared she was. I was able to share Jacob 3:1 with her, and she said it touched her heart, and the spirit that she felt was something so special. I don't know what will happen, and it's sounding like she will be moving away, but I am so grateful that we were able to tell her about the plan of salvation, and that there is no end to life. The love I feel for my investigators is something I have never quite experienced before. I am able to mourn with them when they mourn, and cry with them when they cry. It was a really bitter sweet moment with her, something I will never forget. I don't understand why bad things happen to good people, and it really hurts sometimes. The gospel has been my saving grace, and I'm glad I can share that with others. The concept of life after death has really been something I have used a lot while I have been out here, I run into so people who are scared to die, and who don't know if they will see loved ones again. This is why I do what I do.

Anyway, I love you all. Thank you for all of the support. It is needed, and I feel it!

Nos vemos!

Hermana Failner

Monday, August 25, 2014

A letter from the Mayor & the evil dog doesn't have rabies! ~ Hurstbourne Week 3 ~ Mission Week 8

Hello everyone!

This week has been quite the week, my goodness! First, you will all be so happy to know that I received a letter from the mayor this week saying that the evil dog who "attacked" me has been now released from quarantine and it doesn't have rabies! So I'm going to live! Haha. That poor little dog! The lady who is the owner of the dog was going to be an amazing potential Hispanic investigator. Now I'm not sure what we're going to do... that poor lady's dog was quarantined because of us! Not sure how that conversation with her is going to go... but we'll see. The Lord works in some... strange ways sometimes! Haha.
The other funny thing this week is that I just can't communicate at all. In Spanish or English. I'm so used to trying to talk in Spanish that when people will ask me things in English I will forget words and just can't remember English. And my Spanish isn't so hot right now either. So right now I'm completely socially awkward in both languages, and just can't communicate. But it's been a great way to break the ice with people! We laugh a lot about it and the members just feel bad for me and laugh, so it's been a good time haha.

Anyway, we had a great lesson with a new investigator this week, Yahima. She is also a fluent in English and is so understanding of me trying to learn Spanish. I wasn't afraid of saying something wrong, and she could at least understand what I was trying to say. The language barrier wasn't super bad in that lesson, which was a wonderful feeling. The spirit throughout the lesson was so strong. It's interesting because sometimes the spirit in lessons is strong like lightening and it just hits you so hard and is overwhelming. In others, the spirit comes more softly and is peacefully subtle. This was the type of spirit that was there. It was one of the most calming, peaceful feelings I have ever felt. I truly feel that different investigators need different types of manifestations from the spirit. Some need more of a deliberate confirmation of the truth, while others only need a still, small voice. Yahima just needed that peace.

Her concerns were that all churches are good, God is good, and that people are going to go to heaven. She is catholic (surprise!) and loves her church. But, she wants to know the truth and receive a confirmation. After talking with her about all of this, I got the impression to more bold and blunt with her. This can be a challenge for me, particularly in Spanish because if I don't quite understand what they are trying to say, and I boldly make a statement about it, it can go very, very wrong. But, I trusted in the spirit and just went for it. I told her that I understood that she was happy with her life, her religion and God, but that the restored gospel could give her even more of a happiness. I then told her that we could spend all the time in the world trying to convince her that the gospel was true and that it would mean nothing to her unless she read to Book of Mormon and prayed about it. I told her it was the only way, and she had to take action and do it. It really stopped her in her tracks and got her thinking and she said she wanted to start reading and praying. It's going to take time for her to know the truth, but I know she couldn't deny the spirit that she had felt, and neither could I. I have learned to trust in the spirit more and to not be afraid to be bold in Spanish. I speak the most fluently when I fully go by the spirit and trust in it.

Next, I want to talk about Hector. We taught him and his girlfriend Tamie together yesterday. It was funny because they would talk over each other and Hector would speak Spanish and Tamie wanted to talk in English. Of course, with my fantastic Spanish and all, I was left alone to talk to Hector, while Hermana Adams talked with Tamie. I was actually able to understand what his questions were. Granted, most of our conversation consisted of me repeating back what he said to make sure I understood him correctly, but it was interesting, and somehow it got somewhere. His major concerns were about life and death. He kept saying "tengo miedo" which means "I'm scared." He has been living his entire life scared and terrified to die. It broke my heart. He said that he wonders where the line is drawn between good works and bad works and where the cut off point is to whether you go to heaven or hell. He also wanted to know if death is a bad or a good thing. I am so grateful for the gospel we have and the plan of salvation so we can see our loved ones again and have eternal life. It was a little difficult for me because Hector asked such deep questions about all of this, and I didn't have enough Spanish to explain and answer his questions the way I would in English. That is why I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It explains everything so much better than we can. I gave him Alma 41 to read, he read it on the spot, and he said that it all finally made sense, and that his questions were answered. The look of happiness and joy, and realization on his face was something I will never forget. This is why I am a missionary. This is why I serve Jesus Christ. It's moments like these that make doing what I do everyday worth it. We brought one of God's children to the truth, someone who had been living his entire life afraid to die. What an amazing, priceless gift that is. It is something I will never forget.

Anyway, I love all of you. Thank you for support. The church is true!
Hermana Failner

Monday, August 18, 2014

Having some amazing experiences. Fransisco is getting baptized and Raul is also accepting baptism ~ Hurstbourne Week 2 ~ Mission Week 7

Hello from Kentucky!!

Wow, this week has been crazy!! I am happy to say that since I have been out that our numbers have doubled this week and haven't been that high in a long time!! My companion and I, Hermana Adams, are working so hard out here and it is starting to show!

This week has been crazy and filled with some amazing experiences. On Thursday, every single person that we contacted had either received news that someone close to them had passed away or someone close to them had passed away within the last couple weeks. It was so bizarre, but such an amazing way to contact. Bringing these distraught people the message of the plan of happiness and life after death was so incredible. We said prayers with them and were able to testify about baptism, the atonement, and that through this amazing message that we can see our families again. It was such an incredible day. I have found that I have an ability to feel the pains of the people that I come in contact with. At times it can be hard because I feel for them so deeply and want them to experience happiness and have joy. Somehow I have been able to do this through the spirit.

Next, I want to talk about Francisco!! This was an amazing experience!! We randomly found him outside his apartment complex and he invited us to come talk to him. He has been taught by the Hermanas before, but couldn't find the will to stop drinking. He told us about how hard of a time he was having. This lesson was the most spiritual lesson I have had thus far. We were able to testify to him that his is never alone, and that God is holding his hand through all of the struggles he has in his life. He said that he had been reading the Book of Mormon, and couldn't stop and was drawn to it. We asked him if he believed in the restored gospel, and he said yes. We challenged him to baptism, and he asked when the soonest time could be that he could. We challenged him to baptism in three weeks!! He is so ready for this, it is insane. He is willing to meet with us three times a week. We told him that he had to stop drinking, smoking, no coffee, and all of that. He accepted this and told us that he was ready. I have never felt the spirit more strong. Testifying of baptism to him was so incredible. He said that he wants to be on the front lines when Christ comes, and that he wants to tell him that he did everything he could. And we know that he will get there. It was incredible. I am so excited for him to have this amazing gospel in his life!!

I also want to talk about Raul. Raul has also struggled with drinking, but expressed that he truly wants to stop. We talked to him about baptism and the atonement and how all these things can help him. He said that he believed that he couldn't overcome these things. We were able to talk to him about the atonement and that he could only use it if he asked for it. As we were talking to him, he paused and just stared at me. He looked me in the eyes and asked me why I was looking at him the way I was looking at him. He asked, "why do you see me the way you see me? Why?" This really struck me. After a long pause, I told him that my Spanish wasn't perfect and that I could sometimes only understand the important parts of what he was saying. But that I would continue working hard and fighting until I understood him completely. I told him that I knew God loved him, that I cared about him, and that he needed to know that. He then told me that through me, he could feel that God loved him, and at that moment he knew it. It was so incredible. The gift of tongues is powerful. Raul has taught me to really listen and to understand, even though my Spanish is terrible and sometimes I don't understand what the people are telling me. But in that moment with Raul, I understood him completely, and I know that he felt it. He has really motivated me to learn Spanish, and to completely understand the people I am teaching. That I have the ability to understand my investigators through the spirit. The spirit is the perfect teacher, and understands all. We just have to listen.

Lastly, I want to talk about Pablo, a Latino that I contacted completely on my own, my crappy Spanish and all! He started to talking to me about how he wants to repent, and that he is in the process of stopping his drinking. He asked me about repentance, I didn't ask him! It was a perfect way to talk about how the only true way you can utilize the atonement is through baptism. He said that he wanted that more than anything in the world. He wants to be baptized. It was an incredible moment. Somehow with my horrible Spanish, I was able to understand him. He told me about his life. How all of his family was dead, and how he wanted to feel cleansed in his life. He bore his entire soul to me. The amount of love I felt for him and the desire for him to have the gospel in his life was indescribable. He asked me for contact information and asked when we could meet again. It was amazing. He is so ready for this in his life. This experience has showed me that it doesn't matter how horrible my Spanish is, that through the spirit, I can somehow understand the intents and thoughts of the people's hearts that I come in contact with.

This week has been incredible. I know that this gospel is true. I have really come to understanding of what my purpose is as a missionary. It is to challenge people to baptism. To let them know that the only way they can make the necessary changes in their lives and to use the atonement to its fullest is through baptism. I have learned that I need to include that in everything that I teach, because it is my purpose. To bring people to this knowledge.

I hope you all have a good week. Thank you for all of the love and support I have received! I love you all, the gospel is true!

Hermana Failner

Monday, August 11, 2014

Attacked by a dog, ER, Wonderful experience with mission president and his wife, he gives her a powerful blessing ~ Hurstbourne Week 1 ~ Mission Week 6

Back row to front, left to right: Elder Chandler, Elder Jacobsen, Elder Hardy, Elder Money, Elder Gay, Elder Viehweg, Elder Hamilton.  Next row: Elder Larsen, Elder Stewart, President Brough, Elder Waite,  Elder Jacobson, and Elder Loveless.  Sister and Hermanas: Hermana Gamett, Hermana Butts, Sister Wagner, Sister Brough, Hermana Matagi-Magalei, Hermana Wade, Hermana Bennett  Front row:  Hermana Steele, Hermana Failner, Hermana Hearne, Sister Patterson, Sister Taylor and Hermana Farris.

Hello from Kentucky!!

I have hardly any time, so I will have to be quick. My hair is officially an afro, and I was attacked by a dog this week and had to go to the ER. Kentucky has given me such a warm welcome! Haha. We were out contacting and this lady's little chihuahua bit me three times and drew a little blood. It wasn't a big deal at ALL, but the church takes dog bites really seriously because it broke skin. My companion and I had to go to the ER and I had to get antibiotics. It was quite the experience. Believe it or not, the bites actually did hurt pretty bad. It was an evil little dog! When the doctor came in he started singing who let the dogs out, it was pretty funny. For little tiny bites I got quite the royal treatment! They cleaned up all my wounds and put band aids on them. It was so much hassle for something so unnecessary! Haha, but it was a good time. The mission president got word that I was "attacked" by a dog and was calling us and was so worried. I really was tempted to play a prank on him and give a big elaborate story, but I decided to give him a break, he's new :) When I got bit, my companion jumped up on ledge and just watched me. We now have a joke that if I ever get attacked again that I will have to fend for myself, because she is too afraid of dogs. I also learned the hard way that always having your insurance info and your id on you is always a good idea :) Haha

Anyway, my area is Hurstbourne. To be honest, its a pretty ghetto area, but I like it! There are a lot of Hispanics to go contact which is good :) Our branch is TINY, like 15 members at the most. Most aren't active. We really need to reactivate members, and get some member support. But the members in the ward are great. They are floored by how much Spanish I know and call me Hermana Fiona because my last name is too hard to say haha.

We found this amazing woman this week name Julia. She has lived such a difficult life, but has really been searching the bible and for a religion that sits well with her. The gospel was seriously made for her! I shared with her the first vision, and it was such an incredible experience. I have never felt so much peace in my life. Looking someone in the eye with all of the conviction and truthfulness in the world is something I will never forget. I feel so much love for her and can't wait to see her progress.
Yesterday we went contacting and made some amazing referrals for the English sisters as well as a whole apartment complex we have never knocked before that is filled with Hispanics! We contacted three solid people who all have been curious about Mormons and have wanted to learn more, three in a row!! One of the guys we found, B'shar, told us that right before we came up to him that he was praying to God for a sign or to send someone to him to get him through his hardships. The second he finished his prayer, we showed up. It was such a cool experience. We offered a prayer with him and set up a return appt. I know that we were definitely sent for a reason. The amount of empathy and love I have felt for people out here has been incredible. At times I am sad for them, and really feel what they are feeling. I am so grateful to bring this message to them!

Lastly, my mission president and his wife are awesome! I love my president already. During my interview with him I was talking to him about life, and how to find a balance between being a missionary and a human being with hardships and trials going on. During my interview, he felt impressed to give me a blessing. It was such a spiritual experience, I have never felt so much love from my Savior. It said that I was meant to be here, how proud the Lord was of me and that during many times in my mission that I would literally be held by the Holy Ghost in the many times of sorrow I will experience out here. I was such a comfort to me. He also felt impressed to tell me that I was meant to be in Kentucky at this exact time, that I would bring families to the gospel through the atonement, and that he felt that he was meant to be my mission president. In hard times, this always gives me comfort that I am supposed to be out here for a reason, even when it doesn't seem like it. After my blessing, he gave me something I have never had since coming out on my mission. He allowed me to have 10 minutes completely by myself, with no one around. I was actually able to cry and to feel what I was feeling without a companion right by me. I am so grateful for him, and for his understanding.

Now I am ready to go to work! I have never felt so much comfort or peace in my life since I have been out here.

I love all of you. I pray for you daily and hope that all is well.

Hermana Failner

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last email from Mexico. The gunshots outside sound like war. Leadership means service. Describes the reality of faith. Is learning more about death and how we are eternal beings, that's why death is so hard. ~ Mission Week 5

Hola everyone!!

First, this family email is going to be more short, I don't have a lot of time, so I apologize.

In all honesty, this week has been quite long. Leadership is exhausting. It is good and amazing, but exhausting. A lot of the hermanas have had strep and everyone is sick. Pero, I am so grateful for the Hermanas in my district. It has been an absolute pleasure to serve them. Without saying too much, I definitely know that I was called for a reason, and my companion as well, it has become evident in our zone meetings. It is amazing how much we rally together to help others. Leadership is such an amazing experience. It really isn't a position of leadership, it is a position of service. I have learned so much from this. I have really learned to listen to the spirit, and it has helped me so much in this calling. I have never felt so much love for the people I have served in my life. I have enjoyed getting to know the girls so much, and I hope I have served them well.

Guess what?? I leave early Monday morning!! It is so crazy that I am leaving so soon. Honestly, I still suck at Spanish, but I am definitely improving. I can actually have conversations with people, so I guess that's a good sign! Haha. I am very sad to leave my district. They have been my rock and have been so amazing to me. I could not have gotten these six weeks without them. All of the Hermanas in my district are going to Kentucky with me, so that's good!

There is one spiritual experience I want to share this week. I want to start off by saying how powerful the spirit can be, even during all of my lessons with my fake investigators. I receive revelation for them, and what I think I should share with them. Its amazing how the spirit works and how much of a tool and asset it is if used correctly. I couldn't do anything without the spirit.

During my personal study, I have really started to pray for the people I am teaching and that during my study I can be impressed to find things for them. One of our lessons was on the plan of salvation. To be honest, I have really, really struggled to teach this lesson with the things that have happened back at home. Death is such a tough pill to swallow. One thing I have learned is that by nature, we are all eternal beings, and that is why losing people, saying goodbye, and the concept of time is so difficult for us to handle. It is our nature to want a forever, and to not want an end to things. Sometimes I have found it so difficult to teach someone about being able to see their family again, and life after death, because in reality, losing someone is so hard, and can be so excruciating. This lesson really helped me to bring happiness and joy to others. The plan of salvation and life after death really does bring happiness, even in the worst times of sorrow.

This particular investigator had lost many children, and was angry with God, and could not feel Gods love. In my earlier study, I felt impressed to write down the reference D and C 121:7 through 9. I had no idea why, and I had a completely different lesson plan. Obviously, the spirit had an entire different lesson plan for my companion and I. As we talked with him about feeling God´s love, he asked about what he needed to do to receive it, and that he felt completely alone and didn't believe that God was really there for him. Before I shared with him this scripture, I gave him some background, and it was a perspective that I had never thought about before, but that spirit put into my mind and heart. This is the scripture where Joseph Smith was in liberty jail, and questioned if God was really there. Joseph Smith had seen God, and Jesus Christ. Yet, he was in so much turmoil and pain, that he was crying out to his father, and begging to know where he was. That fact impacted me so much. His pains were so excruciating, and even after actually seeing God, Joseph still didn't know if God was there, or if he loved him. My companion and I were in tears, and our teacher was emotional as well. It was such an amazing moment. I know that things can be hard that the pains and sorrows we feel can be beyond anything that we can describe. But God is always there. I know I talk about this a lot, but this is because of how much I believe in this. He is there for you. Your afflictions, your trials, and your heartaches will be but a small moment. But, the key is that we have to endure it well, and ask for God´s help. God didn't reveal any of this to Joseph until he asked for it, and asked for his love. As individuals, and for me, I have learned so much for this. God is always there, the gospel is always there, but we have to ask for it.

I am so grateful for my experience at the MTC. It has absolutely changed my life. I have never felt so many sadness's, pains, or Satan´s influence, but at the same time felt the spirit and the power of teaching by the spirit so strong. I and all, missionaries have become enemy number one to Satan, and I can definitely feel it. At times it has been absolutely frightening. But God, Jesus Christ, and the spirit keep me going, carry me through, and give me the light I need, even when I feel like I have nothing more to give.I love this gospel so much. I love the Holy Ghost. He is the reason why I can be a representative of Jesus Christ. Through him, I teach and will teach what God wants me to teach. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. I have never felt so powerful and so close to the spirit in my life. I cant do anything without the spirit.

I love all of you so much. Thank you for making it possible for me to be here on a mission. It has been so amazing. Thank you for your words of encouragement, and your emails. I couldn't have gotten through this crazy ride called the MTC without you all.

Next week, I will be in Kentucky!! Talk to you then!

Hermana Failner

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sharing an inspired scripture that brings each other comfort. Answers to all of life's problems are found in the BOM. Jennica's last week in Mexico! ~ Mission Week 4

Hola everyone!

First, I want to thank all of you for your emails!! They make my week and it is so good to hear from all of you. Its crazy to think that I only have one more week until I leave! To be honest with all of you, the first thing I will be doing when I get back to the states is getting some fast food. I have missed it. Now more than ever I am SOOOO glad I am going back to the states to serve. Six weeks in Mexico is all I needed to realize that :) 

 I have been really sick and have been busier than ever. Sixteen hour days are not kind to the sick. But somehow the lord is carrying me through, and I am doing good! This week, as any other week, has been quite the week filled with a lot of experiences.I don't have time to share all of them, but I will share a few of the highlights of the week.

The experiences I want to share are about my testimony of the BOM, and that it literally has all of the answers we need to know in it.

First, my companion has been having a lot of nightmares lately, and a lot of sleepless nights. Sleep has also been something that has been difficult for me as well. She would have such terrifying nightmares, and it would be hard for her to go through the day because of how scary they were, and because of her lack of sleep. In class, one of the activities we did was to find a scripture in the BOM, and take ten minutes to teach our companion, keeping their needs in mind. I really wanted to find a scripture that would help Hermana Steele with her nightmares and something that would comfort her. I found Alma 35 through 37. These verses are amazing. I strongly recommend you all go and read them. They have given me and hermana Steele a lot of comfort, and I know that they can help all of you as well. It says to counsel the Lord in all they doings, and that he will watch over you in your sleep, and will give you peace, if you console him. It was such an amazing moment for us. The lord really does watch over us in our sleep, but only if we ask him and allow him to take the pains and hardships away. We all have our personal nightmares, but I know that the Lord can take them away. He is always watching over us. Even in the quiet moments when it seems that the turmoil, and pains we go through are unending. 

Next, hermana Steele shared with me an amazing scripture as well. It is D and C section 6 verses 20 through 21. It talks about the Savior, and that he is our light, and we are encircled in his loving arms during times of sorrow, grief, and absolute darkness. It was what I really needed to hear this week, and I know that this can help all of you as well. The Saviors arms are outstretched to all us, and he can be with us and take away our bad dreams and our tragedies, but only if we let him in. We were both crying and just hugged each other. It was exactly what we needed. We have had some hard times, not as a companionship, but in our personal lives, and the love we feel for each other is incredible. I hope that these scriptures can give you all some solace during hard times. 

Next story about the BOM. In one of our lessons, our fake investigator, Rodrigo, who is our teacher Hermano Ramierez, decided to really challenge us and give us a hard time. He asked about why Nephi was able to kill Laban and break the commandments. He was not satisfied with the answer of kill one man, and the nation will not perish answer. Some Elders and I were actually talking about how we would answer that, because they had been asked the same thing. With some research and asking, we found a really awesome scripture. It is in D and C 98 31 through 32. Once we got into the lesson, I completely forgot the reference. However, I knew it was in D and C but I didn't mark it. Somehow, I opened up my scriptures to the exact page where it was! It was one of those awesome moments where you knew the Lord was there to help you. I then had him read it. It talks about how Gods law is always consistent and that if others are intending to harm you, that you are justified in killing some one, and that it is the law that was given to Nephi when he killed Laban. After Rodrigo read it, he was literally speechless. I could tell my teacher was so surprised that we were able to give him such a deliberate and blunt answer to his question. It was a cool moment. Its not often that our teachers become speechless during lessons. The Lord literally provided a way and my faith in him has been strengthened. We had such a great lesson, and our teacher told us we did a good job. Getting a ¨good job¨ from Hermano Hernandez is not an easy thing to do, he is hard on us, and it felt good to truly teach by the spirit. 

I have learned so much. Especially using the scriptures to apply to others. I have learned that the scriptures should be taken spiritually and not literally, and that any passage can apply to any one if you use it in the right way. Our teacher told us to read and to approach the BOM as if it were a letter from God to us. It has completely changed my entire perspective of the BOm, how I read it, and how I use it to apply from others. I have learned how important it is to give background to investigators and make if part of them, and what is going on in their lives.

I am so grateful for the BOM and its profound influence in my life and its ability to apply  and to touch others lives. I know we all say this, but it literally has all the answers to any questions we have. We just have to search for them and have faith that God will provide an answer. God will provide the rest and make up the difference. This book is the most convincing evidence that we have of the truthfulness of the Gospel . Without it, we, our religion, who we are, and our purpose in this life would be nothing. I have never treasured a book so much in my life. My love for the BOM has tremendously grown. It is my rock, my source of stability, and my everything. I don't know what I would do without it.

If you're struggling with finding answers, the BOM has them. If we could find a scripture that literally testifies of why Gods law justified Nephi killing Laban, we can find anyone. Of course, some answers are more deliberate than others, but I promise you that if you search the scriptures and pray specifically to receive an answer you will. It is so amazing how many answers can be found in it. Everything have questions about are in the BOM, we just need to find them.

Lastly, we had another really good lesson that has strengthened my testimony of baptism. One thing I did that I haven't done before is I started to pray for my companion during the lesson. usually, I get worried about what we will say, if we will say it right, or will be inspired. Instead of worrying, I just prayed for her. It was the best lesson we have ever had. We literally finished each others sentences and were able to ask the right questions at the right time. We shared 2 Nephi 31:13, about how we need to follow the Savior into the waters of baptism. Christ is perfect, but he loved us so much that he set the example for us so that we can become completely clean and pure again. He was still hesitant about baptism. I felt impressed to ask him if he had faith in Christ, he said yes. I then asked him if he had faith in Christ, if he would be baptized. He looked at me straight in the eye and said at this very moment, I know totally and completely that what you are saying is true. At that point, I knew it wasn't our fake investigator talking, it was our teacher, Hermano cruz talking to us. It was such a precious, special moment. It made all of us emotional and we all just paused and looked at each other. I have never felt the spirit so strong. It was confirmed to the three of us that baptism is an essential ordinance and that our loving Savior wants us to be baptized and to be clean again. It was by no power of my own, but by the spirit. The power of prayer is so real. I know I say this a lot, but teaching by the spirit and feeling the spirit has been so incredibly amazing. In that moment with our teacher, the three of us could not deny it and could not deny the spirit we felt. 

I have never felt so loved in my life. My teachers here are so amazing, loving, and caring. I love my district and my zone as well. This experience at the MTC has been absolutely amazing. I still don't know everything about the gospel, but what I do know, and the witness I have received, I cannot deny. 

I love all of you so much. The BOM is amazing, and it has all of the answers. Please read it, I know that it will help you. 

Hermana Failner

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Called as Zone Leaders and she shares her love for her district. Describes living in Mexico City with armed guards and gunshots. Remarkably the CCM is a heaven on earth! ~ Mission Week 3

It has been quite the week this week. First of all, Hermana Steele and I have been called as Hermana Zone Leaders. Crazy stuff. We will start next week when the other zone leaders leave. My Spanish is terrible and I have no idea how I can help my zone with the aspect of the language. However, Hermana Steele and I have such a strong companionship and I know we can help out our zone. The District we are in is amazing, but the other districts in our zones have been having some problems. We have been asked to really be blunt, and I have no problem with that :) I hope that we can help the other districts to be more Christ like towards each other. We were called for a reason, and Hermana Steele and I are determined to help the districts make the changes that are necessary. We want everyone to have a good experience at the CCM.

That being said, my own district is amazing! Seriously, I thank my lucky stars everyday for all of them. We get along so well. They are literally my family. We love spending time together.  Even during our gym hour, we all play volleyball together. You all know how much I hate sports, but I love playing with my district! It’s not competitive at all and we have a grand ole´ time! They make me laugh so hard I cry. I've needed some laughter in my life, and my district brings the light in my life that I need. I have never felt such a love or closeness to a group of people in my life. One thing we all love doing is talking in Spanglish or speaking in Spanish with a super obnoxious Gringo accent. It drives our teachers crazy, but they can’t help but laugh with us and have a good time. It makes class more enjoyable and we have a great time. 

Next, I want to talk a little bit about what the CCM is like. It is a literal cielo, or heaven here. It’s crazy though, it reminds me of a prison. There is barbed wire around all of the walls in the entire CCM. The wire is there for good reasons though. I typically hear 3 to four gun shots a day. It’s amazing how blessed and safe we are here. Mexico City itself is so impoverished and scary and we are so fortunate to live in such a nice place with free food and all of our needs being met. It’s been quite the humbling experience and I've truly realized how great we have it in America. 

On another note about the CCM, I am somewhat of a celebrity here. All of the Latino Hermanos and Hermanas think my hair is the coolest thing they've ever seen. I guess they don't come by blond, curly haired girls very often! Whenever I go places, they'll just stare and point at me in amazement. They even will ask to get pictures with me! When a huge group of them were leaving to go to the airport, they all swarmed around me and all asked if they could get pictures with me. They all tell me that my hair is ¨muy bonita¨ and want to touch it. It’s been quite the experience! Haha.

Now I want to talk about some spiritual highlights of the week. First, I want all of you and the Jensen’s to know that you are always in my prayers. During personal study this week, I have been searching for scriptures of comfort with all that has happened lately. There are several I want to share with you all. The first is Jacob 3:1. It talks about how God will always console you in your afflictions, will plead your cause, and is a just God. What a comfort that scripture is. God knows the intents of our hearts and through the atonement of Christ, he will plead our cause. I know that Reagan is in the loving arms of our brother Jesus Christ and that all is well. What an incredible gift it is for us to know of the plan of Salvation, repentance, and the atonement. It blows my mind and breaks my heart that some people don't have that knowledge. I am so grateful that I am on a mission. My entire purpose is to bring people this knowledge, that the plan of happiness is real and that through the atonement we can be with loved ones again and see them again. I think we all, including me, take this for granted and sometimes don't realize how amazing it is that we know this. I can’t wait to share this knowledge and bring hope into families lives who think that this life is the end. This is not the end, and we should never forget how precious this knowledge is.

There is one more scripture I want to share that has given me a lot of comfort. I was talking to my branch president about the things going on at home, and he shared D and C 31:1 through 4. Joseph Smith received revelation for Thomas Marsh, who is called as a missionary. It talks about how he and his family who have many afflictions, will be blessed because of his missionary service, to lift up his heart and rejoice, and that his tongue will be loosed and he will declare glad tidings of great joy to this generation and that he will testify of Joseph Smith. This scripture made me so emotional. I couldn't believe how applicable this was to me. I know that all of you will be blessed while I am gone; I have a great work and calling to do here. My branch President also told me that because I am a representative of Jesus Christ, that all of my family and friends, all of you, will feel Gods love for you through me. This is by no power of my own, but by the spirit and authority I have been given by God. I want you all to know how special you are to God. If there is anything I could for you all right now, it would be for all of you to feel Gods infinite love for you. It makes me emotional even just writing this. The amount of love he has for you is so great and infinite. You are never forgotten. I testify to all of you that you can feel his love, comfort, and peace through this beautiful gospel. I hope this if you cant personally feel it for yourself that you can somehow feel it through me and the spirit and authority I have been given by God. I feel his love for all of you, and it is so overwhelming and powerful. Never forget that you are loved and that God and Christ are waiting with open arms for you if you let them help you.

One last spiritual experience I want to share. My testimony of Joseph Smith has dramatically grown here. I have memorized the first vision in Spanish and was able to give it in my lesson with Miguel, my fake investigator. The spirit was so incredible. I was surprised by how emotional I was. I was so overcome by the Spirit. An instant feeling of peace and conviction came over me as I told Miguel it. It was all I could do to not start bawling. I received an overwhelming witness that what I was saying was without a shadow of a doubt true. I could not deny it, and I knew Miguel knew I couldn't deny it. What I was saying was true doctrine. I've always had a testimony of Joseph Smith, but my knowledge and testimony of the first vision dramatically grew. I was able to look Miguel straight in the eyes and confidently testify of the truthfulness of the first vision. I was God´s, Christ’s mouthpiece.  It was such an incredible feeling. Teaching by the spirit has brought such astounding experiences into my life. I feel feelings I have never quite felt before. The conviction, authority, and peace I feel have all been amplified since I have been set apart as a missionary. I know my calling has made me more susceptible to the spirit and the spirit and God give me the ability to do things I never thought I had the capacity to do. I am so weak and insignificant; however, God makes up the rest. 

Lastly, I love all of you. Thank you for your support, you are all incredible. You can do this. Life is hard, but the Gospel is good. 

Hasta proxima semana. 

Hermana Failner

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bearing testimony of the plan of salvation, finding comfort knowing we will be friends after this life. Testimony of the priesthood, fasting and the gift of tongues. ~ Mission Week 2

Hola everyone!

Wow, it’s been quite the week for me. Who knew so much could happen in two weeks. It literally feels like I’ve been here for a year!

First, I want to thank everyone for their emails last week. It was great to hear from all of you. I heard that Reagan´s funeral was good, and that so many people showed up. Reagan had such an infectious personality, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that so many people came. Please, please, please keep praying for the Jensen’s during this difficult time. Also know that I am praying for the Jensen’s and all of you during this difficult time. Every day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and personal prayers. I can’t even imagine. Let me know if there is ANYTHING i can do to help. I don’t know all of the reasons why things happen. Sometimes its hard for me to know why the Lord puts certain things in our lives. To be honest, I really wish I could have been there for the funeral. I wish I could have been there for my family, and for the Jensen’s. I wish I could be with my best friend, who has just lost her brother. The Jensen’s are my family, and it was hard for me to not be there with them and with all of you. It breaks my heart. However, I find much solace in the gift of the Holy Ghost and the plan of salvation. I realize that these are very typical, primary answers to problems. But, I have never realized the true influences of these principles until I have been on my mission. 

It devastates me to know that people in the world have no concept of being able to see someone who has passed on again in the next life, and that they can receive so much comfort through espiritu santo y la expiacion. Oops, sorry, that was Spanish. The gift of the Holy Ghost and the atonement. I testify to all of you that these are real principles and that if we utilize them we can feel so much peace and comfort in times of need. There are SO MANY chapters in the book of Mormon that talk about all of these. The book of Mormon can also bring so much comfort and peace to people. 

In addition, my testimony of prayer has also been strengthened. Pray to God. I know it seems so simple. But pray to God and ask him and Jesus Christ to bear your burdens, your pains, your sorrows. The atonement isn’t just for sin, it’s for the pains of the entire world. We cant get through this life alone. Ask him for his help. You are NEVER alone. The atonement and the savior are the only reasons why I have been carried through hard times in my life, and this time during the MTC.

On another note, I am so grateful for my companion Hermana Steele and my entire district and zone. I have never felt so much support and love. I have learned to appreciate the little things in life. The support they have give me has been absolutely incredible. The day I found out about Reagan’s death, I was struggling. My companion handled it so well. She took me outside, hugged me, and just let me cry. My companion and I have become so much closer because of all of this. Throughout the day, I struggled, and people noticed. One of the hermanas in my zone, Hermana Ferris gave me a HUGE chocolate bar and would just hug me. It seriously meant so much. I never knew a chocolate bar could make me cry so much. 

In addition, two of the hermanas that are in the same room as mi companion y yo, wrote me the sweetest notes. They covered my bed with sticky notes and chocolates, with words of love and encouragement. They are so incredible, and it meant so much. In addition, one of the other hermanas in my zone wrote me a letter about friends that she had lost in a tragic accident and how hard it was, but how through Christ, the atonement, and prayer, she was able to get through it. Another Elder in my District gave me a book mark that said strength on it and a scripture in Philippians 4:13, which states that we can do ANYTHING with God and a package of tissues. 

I also want to testify of the power of the priesthood. The night I find out about everything that happened, one of the Elders in my zone offered to give me a priesthood blessing. All of the hermanas in my zone stayed for it. It was absolutely incredible. I felt so much peace and comfort. It said how proud the lord was of me for serving him, and we all completely lost it. I know that the priesthood is real. Receiving a priesthood blessing can help all of us feel the Holy Ghost, and can bring us so much comfort. I don’t know what I would have done without that blessing.

I have one last experience I want to share. The gift of tongues, and teaching by the spirit is so real. This past Sunday, we had a testimony meeting. I was a little afraid to go and share mine because of my poor ability to speak Spanish, but I felt inspired to do so, and went up and bore it. The experience was so incredible. I have never spoken such fast, fluent, and perfect Spanish. The words just came to me. I didn’t even stumble. I felt such an incredible power inside of me. When I finished my testimony and sat down, I literally felt electricity inside of me. I was literally shaking from the power and the spirit that I felt in that moment. My ability to give such a powerful, fluent testimony was by no power of my own, but through the Holy Ghost and the spirit. I know God is with me and all of us in all times.

Lastly, I fasted for all of you and for the Jensen’s this week. My testimony of fasting has been strengthened, and the peace I have felt has been so indescribable. In addition, my district and I sang nearer my God to thee in Spanish during sacrament. I sang it for the Jensen family, and for Reagan. We were all so emotional, and I know that spirits were with us.

I love all of you so much. You are all so incredible. Know that you are not alone and that you can receive peace and comfort through the Holy Ghost, the atonement, and through the power of the priesthood. Remember, you are NEVER alone.
Sorry for this scatterbrained email!! haha.

Until next week.

Hermana Failner