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