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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jennica's first week in Mexico. Heartache for the passing of her friend Reagan. Speak in sacrament meeting. The Spirit is strong in any languages. She feels like she was born to be a missionary. ~ Mission Week 1

Hola mi Familia!

I come into this first email with a heavy heart. I am so sorry and sad to hear about Reagan passing away. My condolences go to the Jensen family and to his wife Lauren. Please, let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I am praying for them every day. We are all so close to the Jensen family, and I'm sure that this has been hard on all of you as well. Let me know how I can help you all through this difficult time. I am somewhat at a loss of words for what to say. One thing I want to say is that God is a just God, and he knows the intents of our hearts. I know we will see Reagan again. The thing I have learned while being here is that the holy ghost is the world´s best comforter. If you ask for the holy ghost to be there for you, he will be there. He is a constant companion to us. In addition, Christs atonement is a real thing. It’s not just for our sins, it’s for our sorrows. We can’t do anything alone. Pray to God that he can help you and that Christ can help to bear your burdens. Mi compenra y yo have been teach our investigator about these concepts, and I know that they are true. Jesus Christ knows how we feel, he weeps with us. He can give you the comfort, seguridad, assurance, and security you need to get through hard times.

This reminds me of an experience I had with an investigator this past week. On our very first day here, we taught an investigator in English. It was a class about how to teach. The investigators name was Carry. The teacher asked for a volunteer to start asking questions, and to get the lesson going. Nobody spoke up, and I felt prompted to volunteer. I started asking her about her life, and her family. She said that her father had passed away. I felt so much sorrow and empathy for this woman, to the point of tears. I told her that I had lost many people close to me and knew how she felt. My companion was also able to talk about her experiences with death. The spirit there was so strong, and it was the first time I have learned how to teach by the spirit. We started teaching about the plan of salvation and how families can be together forever. That’s the beauty about this church; we can see people we love again. However, the circumstances of losing someone are so excruciating, and sometimes it’s hard to want to go on. But this woman was so grateful for what we said about how she could be with her father again. Her love for God was so incredible, and I know her knowing that has brought her much solace and peace. This is a difficult time, but what a comfort it is to know that we can see loved ones again.

I don’t want to write about myself this week. I feel that is selfish with all that is going on at home right now.  I don’t want to write about my problems with learning Spanish. My small little problems are so insignificant compared to this. This helps me to put in perspective the challenges I have faced here. They are so small and insignificant. However, I feel impressed to still share some of the things that have happened this week. 

First, I want to share a scripture that has helped me in times of sorrow, and when I felt that I couldn’t go on anymore. This scripture is when Joseph Smith was in liberty jail, and he questioned if God was actually there for him. I urge you all to read this scripture, it has helped me when I haven’t wanted to go on with life. Its in D and C 121:3 through 9. Joseph asks God where his pavilion is where he is hiding. Even the prophet Joseph Smith questioned where God was and why life gets so incredibly hard. Verse seven through nine is the Lords response: My son, peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment, and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high, though shalt triumph over all they foes. They friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. This has given me so much comfort, and I hope it will comfort all of you as well during this hard time. The lord is there for us, even when it doesn’t seem like it and all is lost.

Now, I’ll explain about how my week went a little bit. I feel so selfish for doing this, but I did have some good experiences I would like to share.

The teachers here are crazy. We had to teach an investigator completely in Spanish the second day we were here. Yes, we hadn’t learned anything. It was extremely challenging, but somehow we got through it. We teach a lesson completely in Spanish every day, and its started to get easier. I hope the language comes. Our teachers philosophy is to not teach us anything, and to through us into the deep. Sometimes, I question if that’s really the best way to do it. But, I’m going forward in faith. My companion is so incredibly good at Spanish, Hermana Steele, so she has helped me a lot.

On Sundays, we are asked to give talks, one Hermana and one Elder from each district. Of course, I was the one that was picked. I had to give a talk completely in Spanish after knowing it for only 3 days. Obviously, I was one of the worst Spanish speakers here; I am one of the slower ones. However, I have learned that teaching by the spirit is more important. I was so terrified, but it went better than I thought. I felt the spirit so strong. As I talked about baptism, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end, I talked about how I had my doubts and didn’t{t know if enduring to the end was possible. I gave my testimony without any of my notes en Espanol, and was somehow able to say what I wanted to say. I got so emotional to the point of tears. I don’t know why, but Espanol makes me so emotional. I think its because of how close I have come to the spirit and I have learned to teach by the spirit. 

To my surprise, almost everyone in the sacrament meeting was in tears. They were weeping with me and were feeling the spirit as I gave my talk. It was so incredible and humbling. It doesn’t matter how imperfect my Spanish is now, because no matter what language we speak, we all speak one universal language, the spirit. As long as I have the spirit, I am able to convey what I want to with emotion. The gift of tongues only comes through the spirit. It hasn’t been until I have gotten emotional that the words have come to me without having to think about them. I feel that I am able to express myself and be the most impactful in Spanish, far more than I ever will in English. I can’t wait till I speak Spanish fluently. 

When I ended my talk and was still standing at the pulpit, the mission president came up to me and was in tears. He grabbed my hands and thanked me for my talk and the spirit he felt. It was so validating. My mission president is a member of the seventy, has spoken in conference, and is a successful international attorney. To have him be moved to tears and to express the spirit he felt helped me so much. Once I sat down, some of the Hermanas wrote me notes and told me how much my talk meant to them and how strong of a spirit they felt. After the end of the meeting, the mission president and his wife came up to me again and told me about the spirit they felt. They said my talk proved that imperfect Spanish doesn’t mean that the spirit can’t be there and that everyone can still understand it. It was undeniable. 

This first week has been quite the week. We have had to teach an investigator completely in Spanish, no English. Obviously, the investigator is fake, but we still have to teach all of the discussions to him completely in Spanish. We had to give our first lesson on our second day at the MTC. It was so scary and crazy!! I’m grateful por mi companera, Hermana Steele. She is so good at Spanish, so I was glad to have her help. The language barrier was still definitely a struggle though! We teach a lesson in Spanish to that same investigator every day. It has gotten easier as the days go on. However, we have only learned how to say how are you, where you are from, how to pray, and how to give a basic testimony. That is it. We teach ourselves just about everything here. The teachers have thrown us completely into the deep end, and we are all trying not to drown. There is no mercy here! haha. They expect us to know Spanish completely, after only being here for a week. But I know this is good for me and it has been good for my zone and I! We are learning so much, and the gift of tongues, and the holy ghost have helped! I’ve found that when I get emotional about something, that is when the Spanish is able to come to me without me having to think about it. Teaching by the spirit is a true principle, and one I’m so grateful to have learned to early on.

I’m so grateful to be on a mission. I almost feel like I was born to do this. I love working so hard every day and using personal experiences to inspire. Now if I could just learn how to communicate in Spanish! Haha. My companion and the sister’s en mi casa are so incredible and amazing. I also love my district. The food here is delicious, and there is a nutella bar every day. Yeah.... I’m going to need to diligently work out to work that off! haha.

Anyway, thank you all for your love and support. I love you all so much. I'm praying for all of you during this time.

Hermana Failner