Feb 23 "Ganadora, ganadora... cena de pollo"

Monday, February 23, 2015

In case any of you wanted to know the Spanish translation of "Winner, winner, chicken dinner". (Note: this has been confirmed by fellow Spanish speakers).

Once upon a time, it was another week of MIRACLES!I accidentally deleted my first draft of this email so I don't have tons of time left to write this. Ha! Oh well!

We were planning on Tuesday night, and we had discovered a promising part of our area the week earlier. The area is called Sloan Canyon. We had decided to visit some antiguos in Paradise Ranch, and then spend the rest of our time in Sloan Canyon. The next day, we drove up to Paradise Ranch and walked around for about 15 minutes, before both of us felt like we didn't need to be there at this time. So we got back in the car and opened up the map to check out Sloan Canyon and decide more of where we wanted to go. At soon as we found Sloan Canyon, the first street I was saw was Church St. In an instant, a though that I had had last night about this specific street (but didn't even know that it was an actual street) came back to me, and I basically shouted to Hna McGlothin "WE NEED TO GO TO CHURCH STREET!". She was probably really startled ha ha ha but I knew that was where we needed to go!! So we quickly look through our area book and find 2 antiguos who live on Church St. As we got there, we ended up visiting both houses. The first antiguo had moved, but we the person who lived there if she knew of anyone who spoke Spanish, and she pointed to her neighbor across the street with the sheep. So we headed over there and a lady came out of the house to throw her trash away!! We ended up teaching her the whole first lesson in her front yard, and as we were about the leave, we realized it was the house of the other antiguo, who then walked up and greeted us! She didn't remember that missionaries had ever taught her, but the lady we taught the 1st lesson to was her mother! We have plans to return later this week and teach her more, especially about family history! 

Another miracle: We had the opportunity this week to have dinner with a less-active member, Hno O. She wants to come to church, but doesn't have a car, so when her ride isn't available, she doesn't come. But she's been singing in the choir and so this week she came to sing in branch conference! Anyway, during dinner and the hour that we spent with her, this was the first time that I had noticed that I was able to understand the majority of the conversation, and speak freely in Spanish (about Mexico, about her son, and all sorts of things). My Spanish has come so far! I was so excited after our lesson.

For those of you who are wondering about my neck and back, well... let's just say this! I'm not better, but through our hard work, we've been able to do so much! I know that things will get better one day, and I just have to have faith that it will all work out. President told Hna M in her interview this week that he had never seen a companionship with the trials that we've had, see as many miracles as we've been able to see, and that he's surprised each week to read our letters and see how much success we've been able to have.

​These are the girls we gave those itty-bitty copies of the scriptures to (thanks Mom!) They just LOVE them!! They were SO excited and grateful. They want to be baptized so badly but they can't right now because of parents. We know that they will be able to one day, hopefully soon!

​​Sometimes... my umbrella and my outfit color coordinate. Ahhh I love it. 

The gospel is true! I have never been happier in my entire life than I am right now. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Hermana Steele
23602 Magic Mountain Parkway #207
Valencia, CA 91355

Feb 17, 2015 "Intercambios"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

(Transfer 1, Week 3, Area 1: Valencia)

What a week we had this week! Phew. The weeks tend to blur together, so sometimes I can't even remember what happened this week and what happened the weeks before. So I'll do my best to tell you these stories and I hope to be able to tell them adequately! 

So we've been working with a family of recent converts. I've told you in the past weeks about teaching Hna S about family history and how we were able to help her print names to take to the temple (yay!!) in a few weeks when the relief society goes. We are so excited for her! She made an appointment this week with Presidente Barrientos to get a temple recommend. I'm telling you, she is such an elect lady! Her faith is amazing. This week, we went over to visit her on Saturday night. The next lessons that we needed to teach her were the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity (mission bucket list: teaching the law of chastity on valentine's day: check). She was pretty sick, so we asked her if she wanted a priesthood blessing. It took a little while to help her understand that she wouldn't be inconveniencing anyone, so she agreed and we texted the ayudantes to come over and give her a blessing. While we were waiting for them to come over, we taught about the WoW/LoC and visited with the family. After the closing prayer, she ended up telling me about her life story. She has been through SO. MUCH. She was telling me these amazingly personal things about everything that she went through, her husband, her family.. all these crazy trials. But she has so much FAITH. She has taken situations that to anyone else, would destroy them. But the gospel gives her so much hope for the future and that she will be able to be blessed by the principles that we believe and teach. She is amazing! When the ayudantes, Elders Linford and Speth, arrived, they anointed her for the healing blessing, and gave her the most perfect blessing in the world, especially after what she had just been telling us (which the ayudantes knew nothing about at all). They blessed her to know that Heavenly Father knew all the trials she had been through and that He had been there with her through all of them, and He would continue to be there in the future trials she had and He loved her so much. Her face at the end of the blessing.... wow. Bien paz. Milagro.

This week we also had... exchanges!!!!!!!! I went with Hna Morse to Reseda! We had dinner with a family, and then taught a lesson to a recent convert, C! He reminds me of a hispanic Chase Dixon, seriously. He's 21, but he looks really young. He has so much faith! He's only been baptized a month but he's already planning on going on a mission!! We had brought another member with us to the lesson, and at the end of the lesson, C goes into his room and comes out with something behind his back and tells me and Hna Alvarada (our member) to close our eyes and hold out our hands. He puts a really pretty handmade scarf in our hands as a gift!! AHH MUY AMABLE. It was adorable. We took C to our next lesson with us, and it was really awesome. The next morning, we switched back out and I went back with my sweet companera, Hna McGeezy!! 

Yesterday we also saw some really amazing miracles too. We had cena con la Familia Byers, and earlier in the day, Hna M had made some comments about wanting Panda Express. And what did Hno Byers bring to dinner? Panda Express!!! For real. We were also able to talk with Hna Byers about some situations she's been in and the struggles she's going through, and last night was the first time I could remember that the Spirit really prompted me to say some very specific things to her. She is such a choice woman. Her faith is amazing. One of the things that I told her (that I have recently been learning myself) is this:

One of the reasons that obedience is most important to our Father's plan is because it brings the greatest blessings. If you think about it, our will and free agency is the only thing that we really, truly have that is our own. Everything else was given to us by the Father. BUT when we freely choose to align our will to the Father, or "have our will swallowed up by the Father" or basically, give in to the Father's will instead of our own, it is the ultimate sacrifice for us. We are giving the one thing that is truly ours to give- back to the Father. The greatest sacrifices bring the greatest blessings. Obedience brings the greatest kinds of blessings. 

I love this work so much. I am so so so grateful to be able to be here in California. These people are AMAZING. I love them with all of my heart. I am so honored to be a missionary and to be able to teach these people about the restored Gospel, about how much Heavenly Father loves THEM personally, and how the gospel will bless their lives for all eternity. 

This church is true and I am grateful every day to be a part of it. I love you all so much!

Hermana Steele
23602 Magic Mountain Parkway #207
Valencia, CA 91355

Feb. 9th "Semana de Milagros"

Monday, February 9, 2015

(Transfer 1, Week 2, Area 1: Valencia)

This week has been so amazing. I am beginning to understand my purpose here more and more, and seriously- it's the best. I can see how the things in my life have built me up to this point so that I can take what I have learned and use it to bless others.

Our focus this week has been working with members on family history. We have been able to set up FamilySearch accounts with a member, a recent convert, and a less active member, as well as talk them about the importance of doing family history work. One of the biggest things in keeping people active in the church is emphasizing temple attendance and worship. The Spirit of Elijah that touches their hearts as we teach them how to find their family... wow!

One sister, Hna S, a recent convert, was so excited about doing family history work, we actually taught her twice last week. She told us about a really tender experience that she had, where her uncle visited her in a dream and told her that he had been taught "la luz" and needed her help. She has been so adamant about beginning her family history, and she is so prepared! We are able to add a lot of her immediate family and grandparents. Not only that, but on Sunday, she was called as a relief society visiting teaching coordinator and her son was able to receive the priesthood and pass the sacrament to us! I don't think Hna McGlothin and I could stop smiling the ENTIRE sacrament meeting. We are SO proud of them!! Hna S is extremely excited at the prospect of attending the temple, and as missionaries, our goal is to direct them to the temple and help them develop a love for temple worship.

A lot of people don't make the connection between missionary work and family history work, but I can tell you (because I have testified about this a LOT this week) that family history and work in the spirit world is JUST as important as missionary work here on the earth. It is the same work!! We are all striving to bring our brothers and sisters to an understanding of Christ. Being able to do family history work actively is just another part of la obra misional. And it just as important.

It really has been like a huge neon billboard this week! FAMILY HISTORY- YOUR PURPOSE HERE!!!!!!!!!! I am so pumped. this is the best! even Hna M told me she had never seen another missionary teach family history before. So I'm excited.

Miracles are real!! And they are blessings God chooses to bestow upon us. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me!! 

We were able to see some awesome miracles this week too! It was a tougher week because (as some of you know) my neck pain has been returning, along with new back pain, and so I've been going to the chiropractor and trying to work hard without pushing myself to the brink, physically. So we didn't have the best numbers this week to report, but we did see some serious MILAGROS.

Milagro #1: We teach English class (seriously, best part of the week). On Tuesday, our lesson was on reading the scriptures. We decided to give each person in English class a copy of the Book of Mormon, to practice translating between Spanish-English or English-Spanish. We read a few verses together in English, and then let them choose between an English copy or a Spanish copy, and giving them assigned verses (Moroni 10:3-5) to read between lessons. Well, come Thursday, everybody read!! We have a married couple that is SO ready! Juan Carlos is seriously the most humble man I have ever met, and he always loves to pray and help us. We could tell that they had diligently read and practiced their English. They are progressing with English so much! We seriously love teaching everyone- they are all a hoot! We are planning on having the elders teach them (Juan Carlos and Ilda) right after English class because they are so prepared. We also told them that the prophet had promised, that as they read the Book of Mormon in their new language that they're learning (English), that by the time they finished reading it, they will be able to speak the language so much better. This is true for missionaries as well! Reading out of el Libro de Mormon daily helps us learn the language better. Oh man, though. You should have SEEN their faces. They were just in awe and amazement. We are excited to see their progress over the next few weeks.

Milagro #2: Last night, we were out trying to find inactive sisters to give invitations to a relief society activity this coming Friday. We had 0s in almost every key indicator this week, so we were definitely a little discouraged, but we decided to try anyway. We decided to stop by this house we had tried knocking several times. Finally, they answer the door- and let us in to teach them!! Well, they had been taught by the missionaries last year and the husband had such amazing faith in Christ! We were able to teach a lesson and add them as new investigators, and reach two of our goals for this week! Our Heavenly Father is SO aware of us and He was able to lead us to people who are ready to hear the gospel (again) and bless us because of our diligence. It was such a miracle. We practically skipped all the way back to the car.

So a lot of people want to know how the monkey farm went. Answer: it was pretty awesome. We mostly did yard work and pulled weeds/pulled up dead trees. The elders were particularly enthused about pulling up the trees and seeing how far they could javelin-throw them. We all left sore, exhausted, and scratched up, but it was really fun! We are thinking of making it a weekly activity, because President has emphasized that he would like us to try and do 10 hours of service per week. We also volunteer at a senior center, and we're definitely looking for new service opportunities in the area!!

Las Hermanas at our Zone Training Meeting on Friday

Monkey farm time!!

​Oh and can I just say that I am forever going to eat like a Latina?! This is the best.

"We are going (at 2) to a fiesta to celebrate Pedro's six month baptism mark! I LOVE PEDRO AHHH!! He sometimes will come to English class and bring his mother, but he is one of the most faithful priesthood holders in the rama (branch). HE IS THE BEST! HIS FAITH IS THE BEST!!!!! So yesterday in Sunday school he made sure to invite all the missionaries and plan around when WE all could go to the fiesta so we could all be there. Yeah!!!!! We're so excited for Pedro!!!! The church is true!!"

Pues... yo se que la Iglesia is verdadera y estoy muy agradecido a ser aqui en este area. Valencia es lo mejor!!!!! Y mi companera tambien. Tengo un testimonio de Jesucristo y Padre Celestial y yo se que neccesito a ser aqui ahora haciendo la obra misional!!

Les quiero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

​Hermana Steele
23602 Magic Mountain Parkway #207
Valencia, CA 91355

Feb 2nd "Don't Do Gangnam Style"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

(Transfer 1, Area 1: Valencia)

So I'm here in sunny, (relatively warm), California! My companion/trainer and I are in the Santa Clarita valley, covering the Santa Clarita 1st Branch. Our area is pretty big- we live in Valencia and cover a lot of the valley, including Val Verde, Sagus, Castaic, part of Newhall, Santa Clarita and Valencia. There is a lot of work to do! 

We had a chance to meet with a lot of members this week. We teach an English class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7, and it is always an adventure. We usually have been 4-6 people show up, and they are so funny! Our classes almost always run long, but it's fun to see the progress they're making with English. Wednesday we met with some recent converts, Peter and Rebecca, and taught them about the 10 commandments. They are pretty young (under 11) so we were doing some of those fun hand signs to help them learn the commandments. At one point, we were teaching the 8th commandment (thou shalt not steal) and we crossed our wrists to look like they were in handcuffs. When we asked them about which commandment that was, Peter looks at our hands for a second and then says "...don't do Gangnam style?" We probably laughed about that one for a solid ten minutes. Kids are the greatest!

We got the chance to teach some new investigators this week, Manuel and Susana. They are both from Peru and they are super sweet. Their friend and member of the branch. Hno Munoz came. The Spirit was so strong! Manuel received a priesthood blessing a few weeks ago, even though he is not a member, and it is amazing to see the faith and understanding that they already have. I was able to bear my testimony to them about how much our message and the gospel will bless their lives, because I know how much it has blessed my life. 

We also are able to teach some sweet teenage girls. The testimony that they have- wow. If we could have faith like this in the church, we would move mountains. We meet with Marili, Yousely and Rosie 1-2x a week and they want to be baptized so badly, but Marili and Yousely's family live in Mexico and didn't give them permission to be baptized. They live with their sister, who is Rosie's mom. We fasted yesterday that they could be baptized, and even President joined in on our fast. We are hoping that hearts will be softened and that they can be baptized soon! 

We also learned this week that a gnat, a TINY GNAT, is at least strong enough that it can control a touchscreen computer. That was fun while we were trying to show this video and it kept clicking out the video and onto other videos. Ha ha! Who would have thought? 

I learned some really amazing things this week. I was using my study journal to study charity, and in the bible dictionary, it says that charity is the most pure form of the love, the pure love of Christ. I was able to read a couple of scriptures, and it was so interesting to me to learn about how we can love others with the same pure, unselfish love that Christ had. Love inspires all righteousness. 

I love you all. I'm happy to be here and I'm working hard.

Make me proud!

Hermana Steele