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