Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 37 - We Walk By Faith

Hi everyone! I hope you had a good week! :)
This last week was a little hard for me, I was tired of the stresses and hard things of missionary work and I just wanted to run away from all of it! I felt like someone else could be doing a much better job than me. So I took it to Heavenly Father during my personal study on Friday morning. 
I decided to study about faith in Jesus Christ, and I came across something that I had studied and written on the Fourth of July. It was from a talk called "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" by Gene R. Cook:
"Expect trials of your faith. Life is all upstream-all uphill. You may at times desire to remove yourself from the swift current to rest awhile, but you must go on. If you are on a plateau, you need to be on your way. Challenges and difficulties that many of us resist are the very elements which refine us and make us godly men and women. The Lord will try you in every attribute possessed by man and at all stages of development in your life. He will try you again and again until you know that you are able and will serve Him at all costs."
AND THEN I opened up the Ensign from last month, and read an article where callings in the church are compared to private piano lessons. It said: 
"Accepting a calling was more like enrolling in private lessons--with the Lord. Knowing both our strengths and weaknesses, He places us in situations where our unique gifts are needed to bless a ward member, a class, even a Primary. Although the former Primary president [or in my case another missionary] may have just finished performing a concerto, the Lord knows when it’s time for my simple sonata. Through our callings, He gives us the experiences we need to become more like Him."

I know this is the work of the Lord, and that this is His church. I love you all so much and I am grateful for you! Have a good week! 
Hermana Fowlks 
Also, we did have one crazy thing where this guy asked me if I was afraid of getting robbed and then he was like "because I'm going to steal your heart" and it was hilarious.  Also, Noah's date for baptism is set for November 5th!  Jose moved his date back to December 10.  Sad that I won't be here for that, but that is what he needed to do.
One morning we realized we accidentally left our window open overnight and woke up to a freezing apartment!  So we ended up studying in our bathrobes until it warmed up.  Quite the adventure!
San Diego temple (and my little self)  Oct 18, 2016

The sisters needed a ride somewhere, so naturally we took a selfie.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week 36 - Everyone makes mistakes

Hi everyone!
This week was awesome. We're working really really hard and we are definitely seeing the results! (Both in teaching and in how tired we are haha) 
Tuesday was pretty good! Sunset cliffs was awesome. The Elders took us on all these crazy adventures up and down rocks and cliffs just to get us to the best view of the ocean. And they definitely got us there. :) it was awesome. Then we went and found Estela, and she's doing good.  We didn't see her at all last week cuz she was super busy. But I really like her because she's honest with us. If she didn't have time to read or if she did have time but she just didn't read then she just tells us! And I love that. Because a lot of people in this culture just tell you what you want to hear and it drives me a little nuts. But anyways we didn't have a lot of time with her so we just read the Book of Mormon with her.
But then Wednesday was so awesome! We went to Mira Mesa and tried to find some people, and we met Bernardita and her 8-year old son Bryan. Who we added as investigators! Hooray! We also met Maria, who we weren't able to add but she seems really interested so when we go see her again we will add her. Then we went and visited the Rincons, who are a less active/recent convert family, and it's frustrating because they're not making like any changes to come to church. But we'll see. Then we went back, and tried to go see Rogelia which fell through, then we did like 15 minutes of work on Facebook and then went and saw Elsy. She's so awesome. Her faith is so strong! And her daughter wants to get baptized but her husband won't let her so they do little things together to keep their faith and it's so cool to see.  Every morning when Elsy goes to wake her up for school, they go and kneel down in the bathroom so her husband won't see and say a whispered prayer and get out before he  notices! Yeah. Crazy. Then we had dinner with the Magadans and they are just the most special little things. We're teaching Noah, who is not necessarily our investigator but he is preparing to be baptized and his family just barely started coming back to church. They're so cute and I love them! 
Thursday we did weekly planning, which is most definitely not my favorite thing but it's important. One really cool thing that happened is our less active named Bonifacio who has been in the hospital for some time decided to make the best of his situation and offered to pray for people who were in pain there. And through that we are now teaching 2 more people! It's amazing what the power of prayer can do! :)  They're super cool. One is named Alejandro, and the other is named Zeferino. Zeferino has actually been taught by missionaries before but because of his health condition had to stop. We didn't have a lot of time, because they were waiting for a specialist, so we basically just sang "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" (Nearer My God To Thee) and prayed with them and left. Bonifacio had already given Zeferino a Book of Mormon so we gave one to Alejandro. It was a good lesson though!
Friday was long, we didn't teach that much. But we did have a really good lesson with Jose! Brother Ahlstrom was also able to come with us so that was awesome. Then we had district meeting, which was good then we finished weekly planning and did some finding but it was unsuccessful. 
Sunday we had church, Sis Speigner had to speak so that was a little stressful but it turned out okay. We also went and taught Jose after church and talked to him about why it's so important to come to church and read the Book of Mormon (because he is doing neither of those right now) and it was good.
Monday we did some good stuff on Facebook, then we went and taught Alejandro. He's super cool! We taught him the restoration and Sister Speigner did her first baptism invitation! Finally! She's been so scared to do it and finally after 6 weeks of practice and coaching she finally did it. And he was like heck yeah I'll be baptized! Then he goes and tells us he lives in Escondido. So we'll be sending him to the missionaries there. But hey! At least he's getting baptized.
Then Tuesday we went to the temple! It was so awesome. It was like extra clear today and I think it was because I prepared more. I was able to read my patriarchal blessing in the celestial room as well which was awesome. 
Also, one of the little boys in our branch named Owen was showing us something about how he can draw, and he made a mistake. And he just looked at me and said "It's okay, everyone makes mistakes." And it's so true! Sometimes we feel like we have to be perfect, but we really don't.
Heavenly Father loves us as long as we try to be the very best we can be. That's a big thing I've learned on my mission. And I'm very grateful for it! 
I love you all, have an awesome week! 
Love always, 
Hermana Fowlks
email - mckell.fowlks@myldsmail.net
Mailing address -
Sister McKell Fowlks
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Pl
San Diego, CA 92111-4912

A picture of the cute family we are teaching.  We're helping Noah get ready for baptism so we spend a lot of time with them.  (Noah is the one right next to me.)  Then Owen is on the other side of Noah and Eevi is the baby.  They are all so cute!!

Sister Speigner and I at Sunset Cliffs last week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 35 - No mucho este semana...

Not too many crazy things happened this week! But it was wonderful.  :)'

Wednesday we did exchanges! Oh my gosh, it was so fun. I went to Santee, so Sister Speigner had to stay here and hold down the fort in Poway all by herself. Sis Castellanos (our sister training leader) came to Poway while I went to Santee with our other sister training leader Sister Klopfer. Sister Speigner did pretty good here by herself, and now I know what we really need to work on with her. But when I went to Santee we had such a good time! We started off the day with service at this guy named Kory's house.  Apparently for months now missionaries have been helping him build this giant stone wall at his house. Every Wednesday they go over from 10 AM to 3:30 PM. So we got to go do that, where we ate lunch and then went to work. It was so nice to just do some hard physical work! It basically consisted of shoveling dirt and rocks into wheel barrels and then taking the wheel barrels up a ridiculously steep hill and dumping it. I only attempted the wheel barrel once, and had to be rescued by Elders twice, before I tipped over (it was heavy!) but I made it! They said I was the only sister that had ever been able to do it.  But needless to say I was very sore afterwards. But anyways, after service we went and contacted a few people. Got rejected pretty solid a few times. But we also met this guy named Jorge who we were able to teach on the street and invite to be baptized right there. I love it when we can do that! And yeah, that was the highlight. But it was just fun to be able to experience a different area and different companion and also be not so stressed for a day. 

Friday was long, but also a day full of miracles! We had zone meeting where we learned a bunch of stuff about how to use Facebook more effectively. Then we had to finish weekly planning. Then had dinner with Hermana Wagner. She's so awesome! She was telling us about some problems she had and I felt the Spirit guiding me to be able to not only show her something that could help her but also connect with her on like a personal level. I think her and I will be friends after the mission. :) we then went to try to find an investigator named Esteban, who were not sure is really that interested. But then we went to try to see if we could time it right to see if we could get into these gated apartments and what do you know! The timing was right! So we made it in, and went to work trying to find people because we never get in there because we don't know the code. So we went and knocked on the door of the person we were trying to see, and he said come back in an hour. And on our way out, we met Carmen. She's super old, and she's actually from Honduras. But she was the sweetest thing! She told us that she believed in Christ, and that she was planning on moving this weekend. And after some convincing, she agreed to let us come help her move. So sweet.

Then we met Davíd which was cool, he seemed very nice. He seemed pretty open, but he was leaving on vacation and won't be home until the end of the month. That's okay though, we'll go see him then. He was super impressed with our Spanish and I think it was a testimony to him about how someone would learn Spanish so fast and talk to people just for the purpose of bringing others to Christ. It was cool.

And then we went and visited our less-active member Bonifacio who has been in the hospital for like over a month now.  What's cool is that he had been distanced from the Church for like years, then one day I just randomly called him and we went and visited him and now he's saying that after he gets out of the hospital in a few days he's planning to come back to church!  But wait, it gets better.  In this visit with him, he told us he'd been talking to the guy he shares a room with in therapy.  And that one night the guy was in a lot of pain, so Bonifacio asked him if he could pray for him, so he did.  And the pain got better!  And now Bonifacio has been teaching him how to pray and about the church and asked us for a Book of Mormon that he could give to him.  He then proceeded to tell us that his roommate had agreed to have the missionaries come talk to him!  He also asked us specifically if we could sing a hymn for him.  So we will be going by next week to see him.  I was so grateful for Bonifacio and the chance we had to meet him, that God put in him in our path, and now he's helping another one of our brothers get back to Heavenly Father. 
Then Saturday we had studies, then did some online proselyting with Facebook. It wasn't hugely successful, but we'll keep trying! We then went and did some visits, which weren't too successful. And we thought we had a pretty full day! But José,got called into work, Rogelia wasn't home, and neither was Sandra. I was super sad and discouraged. Then during dinner José texted us and told us he could meet that evening! So I started stressing to get a member to come with us because we are really struggling with member presence. And so I began to stress again....and none of our members texted us back! So I was like stressed and mad before we left from dinner so I went into the bathroom and knelt down (this was the second time I've done this on my mission) and asked Heavenly Father to help me feel comforted and help me know that things will turn out okay. I told Him how I was feeling and then asked Him to please shape me into the most effective servant that I can be. And after I prayed we didn't miraculously get a text from a member saying they could come or anything like that, I just felt better. And I l love that about the Atonement that we can not just make our problems magically go away, but that things will work out. We have that promise. So we went out after my prayer, and both of our appointments weren't home, but then we went and saw José. And as soon as he answered, I just felt a Christ like love for him that I hadn't felt before and just a peace coming from the Holy Ghost that this lesson was going to be good, and that things were okay. That Heavenly Father was aware of me and He was going to make things happen because I am doing my part. And amazing things did happen! It was one of the most spiritual experiences and lessons I've had on my mission and it was so special! José really is developing faith unto repentance and I'm so happy for him. He just can't come to church because of his job, so please pray for him that he is able to come to church. But he really is so cool and I hope he gets baptized before I leave Poway! 

Monday was a normal day, we contacted, did some work on Facebook (maybe you saw my post but you didn't like it so I am very disappointed.  haha just kidding ;)  Then we had fhe with the branch, which was so fun!  We played family feud, hombres against mujeres.  Ive never heard to many Hispanic people yelling at each other Book of Mormon prophets or stuf like that.. haha.  It's so fun!  This branch is awesome.  And we also made the cookie mix you sent me Mom, and everyone loved them, so that was good!

And that was pretty much the week.  We're going to sunset Cliffs today because its Elder Riley's last pday so we're going to hang out as a zone at the ocean.  I'm excited! :)

I did also get to use a jackhammer during some service so that was awesome.
But I do know that God lives. And that He Loves us. :)
Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Fowlks

Exchanges in Poway  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Week 34 - Hallelujah!

Hello everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day. :)

This week was good, we found some people that might have some potential! I will update you all if they start to progress.  Tuesday we played sports with the Elders, but we just kind of shot around. Nothing too crazy. Then we came home and I opened your PACKAGE MOM and it was awesome! Super duper thanks! We have now decorated the apartment sufficiently. Then we had a lesson with Estela, which I felt went super well. She still has a lot of questions, so I felt prompted that we should read Joseph Smith History with her. Not the whole thing of course, but just the first 17 verses. It was super cool. The Spirit was definitely there, I felt it. And that Spirit just confirmed that all of this stuff that I was reading actually did happen and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. It was a cool moment for me. :) I'm not sure if Estela felt it though. I hope she did. But from the looks of things ....not really. But, we did our job. We delivered it unto her, it's her job to let it INTO her heart.
We then went and taught some less actives, Lemuel and Rosario and their daughter Elsa. They're all super cool, but they can talk forever haha. But they love us, and we love them. They've just got to come back to stinking church!

Wednesday we had interviews with President.  They went well, he gave me some advice on how to help Sis Speigner and then Sis Schmitt told me how proud she was of me.  That was really nice to hear after these last few weeks!  I feel like we are just working so hard.  Then we had a Skype lesson with Jose.  He's doing well, it was a really tender lesson because we taught him how to pray and that he's literally talking to his Heavenly Father.  He began to cry and told us that he never knew that God actually loved him.  It was crazy.

Then Thursday we met these homeless guys who we talked to and they go to the Valley a lot so that was cool!  I reminisced with them about how wonderful and hot it is down there.  Friday we had district meeting which was good, I feel like I learned a lot about prayer from it and how important prayer is with our investigators.  Then we had lunch with our less active, Elsa.  Then we had a lesson with our less actives Sis Rincon and Hyrum.  They're awesome!  They just need to come to church. 
One thing that was really awesome that happened this week was when we were finding in this place called 4S ranch. It's a wealthier place, and my past experiences there have not been pleasant. People were just not the nicest and we didn't really see that much success. But I felt prompted that we should be there. So there we were, walking the apartment complex talking to people. We saw a man standing outside listening to music. I asked him what he was listening to and he just said "Chinese." And so I looked and there were some Chinese characters. So we started talking to him and found out he didn't speak that much English. So, I tried talking to him in what little Mandarin Chinese I have learned since being on the mission and that was unsuccessful. The only word he knew in English was "Chinese." So we decided to give him a card that had mormon.org on it. And I tried my best to explain to him that what it was. I then said: "And you can change it to Chinese."  And then he said "Chinese?" And threw his arms up in the air and said "Hallelujah!"  And it was just so great to see this man who I'm sure was horribly confused at what we were trying to say to him, but he found such joy in the fact that someone could communicate with him in his language and talk about God.

Conference was wonderful AND also if you ever stood and sang or sang when the congregation had the chance to sing, remember we were singing together! :) kind of cool. Elder Rasbands talk was probably my favorite.   This week I have noticed more of my faults, but it's okay because I know that Heavenly Father is patient and He knows what both of us need.   So I have faith that as I am working my hardest then things will work out. :)
So my invitation to all of you this week is to find something that makes you say "Hallelujah!" It could be small or big. But Heavenly Father blesses us in little ways always. We just have to find them.  I love you all sooooo much and am so grateful for you!

Love always,
Hermana Fowlks

General Conference with one of our super cute members.

District Meeting - Me, Sis Speigner, Sis Lau, Elder Riley (back), Sis Whitcomb, and Elder Byington.