12.29.2015

Said Hermana March to Hermana Quist "did you see what I saw?!"

Did you sing the title to "Do You Hear What I Hear"? If not, read it again and sing it. Your welcome. 

Well what a week this has been... hold on you're in for a wild ride. Okay, here we go:

1. Christmas: a day of members fighting to have the missionaries over... well I'm sure that's true for other missionaries.  Two days before Christmas we realized that no one signed up to feed us or even offered. Ain't that awkward?! Well, so our zone leaders find out and they set us up with a nice family in their ward. So we became the awkward strangers at Christmas Eve dinner.. Luckily, one of our branch counselor asks if we have anywhere to go. We told him no, so he very charitably took us in for a Christmas lunch of tacos and tostadas. They were bomb.

2. Well after the Christmas Eve dinner with strangers, we headed out in to the wonderful world. We thought, "hum what better night to carol than Christmas Eve?!". WRONG. We had so many doors open and then close on our faces, or doors that went unopened while the party raged inside. I promise our singing isn't that bad. 

3. Imagine this: We're driving home all peaceful on Christmas Eve... jamming to our fave Christmas songs. We are cutting through downtown to get home because we've got to go set out cookies for Santa. I'm looking awhile down the street and think "hmmm, that's strange. That person is wearing all peach colored clothing.". Fast forward two seconds and I realize that there was no peach colored clothing... there was no clothing at all. It was a Christmas Eve streaker. I promptly scream "HERMANA DID YOU SEE THAT?! THAT MAN WAS NAKED... AHHHHHHH I NEED TO REPENT". She hadn't seen him and definitely thought it was a lot funnier than I did.

4. Okay, we're skipping Christmas for a second.... on to Saturday. We were on exchanges with some English sisters that we're responsible for. I'm driving the car on the freeway when all of a sudden a blizzard hits. I'm not exaggerating. The snow was horizontal. We try to escape off an exit, but find that the police had shut off the exits and were basically forcing people to press forward into the blizzard. I thought we were going to die. But yet, we continued to work.... we finally made it to our destination and then out we went. We got out of the car, nearly got blown away, and knocked on some doors. Yeah... the life of a missionary. 

5. We had Zone Conference yesterday! I won't bore you with all the details, but I will tell you that I was in a musical number called "Gesu, Bambino". I played piano, Hermana Quist played the violin, and our district leader sang. It didn't go down in flames, so that's a plus. I'd send you a recording of it, but email is lame and the video is too fat.

6. Okay, we're back to Christmas. I'm thinking of how to describe it and can only think of how when I was little, I used to ask if we were almost home and Mom would say "no"... I would then say "I hate when we're on another planet". Skyping is like being on another planet. It's so strange. It's like here's your family that you haven't talked to in 6 months... try to talk about your last 6 months in 30 minutes. Ready, set, go. But honestly, it was the best! So good to see those human beings that I love so dang much. 

Christmas on the mission was way different than I expected. Everyone always says that it's the best... and all of Christmas day I didn't really understand why. It just didn't feel like "Christmas". And then as I laid in bed that night, I realized that Christmas has always been about just celebrating the Savior's birth, instead of a day of serving BECAUSE of the Savior's birth. And well, this year, my focus had changed. I served others because I knew my Savior had been born so many years ago in humble circumstances. And His birth started a life full of service. He never focused on himself. Instead, He focused on others. As so I really think that this year, I learned the true meaning of Christmas. It's a time to have more Christ. It's a time to be more like Christ. 

I hope that we all had the real JOY of Christmas. 
J = Jesus
O = Others
Y = Yourself

As we focus from left to right, we will always find the most happiness. It's more important to look outward first. I hope that we can keep the JOY of Christmas in our lives throughout the year. Because the JOY of Christmas is really the JOY of Christ. 

Thank you so much to everyone who sent cards or packages. They meant and mean the world to me... you are all so kind! 

I love you all mucho mucho mucho para siempre xoxoxoxoxo

Hermana March

Pictures! (I know it's your fave part... I'm not judging)

 We swung by the temple for a quick walk during one of our lunch hours!

Ain't it beautiful?

                         Christmas morning present opening... I had to have reallllllll good self-control!

 The adorable New Mexico Christmas stocking from Mom

Christmas morning with the Zone

Branch Counselor and his cute wife

Outside selfie during the blizzard

The snow... fast and furious. 

12.22.2015

Feliz navidad... feliz navidad... I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Well hola there amigas, amigos, and personas del mundo. 


This week has been a strange one... I don't really have a whole lot to say, so lo siento! But here's as much as I remember:


1. So sometimes it is really dark when we're caroling... and yeah I know, that's kinda the prime time to carol. But when you can't see the words to the Spanish himnos, it almost makes it impossible. What's the solution? Wear a headlamp... Hermana Quist says she refuses to be seen with me while wearing it. I think I look pretty cool.


2. Well early last week I had one of the worst moments of my life. You may think I'm over exaggerating, but until you're sitting down at a kitchen table with a big bowl of who knows what in front of you, you just can't understand. Actually, I lied. I knew exactly what was in the bowl... that's what made it so bad. Can you imagine eating cow stomach lining soup? Me either... well until I had to. (Sorry to any of you that like menudo, but it's not my fave). To me, the smell is somewhere between asphalt and rotten socks, and the texture... well that's somewhere between a carpet on one side and a squished banana on the other.  Am I making you sick? Sorry.... it made me really sick too. After we left we headed straight home where I laid on the bathroom floor and every once in a while got to barf in to the toilet bowl... 


3. Earlier this past week we get a text from a member of our branch presidency telling us that the Primary children were no longer able to do a musical number.... so it defaulted to us. Aka we had 3 days to prepare with about 2 hours of total practice time. I bet you wish you could've heard that train wreck, right? Just kidding! I think it went fine! Well at least no one told us it was terrible 

4. We were walking by these 2 guys working on a car yesterday, and one of them goes "whatcha doin' in the hood? you don't belong here. You don't blend in very well... I mean I've seen you before and I'm like 'they ain't from the hood'." Well one thing you never want to be told is that "you don't belong here"... that's a little scary. But it turns out that he speaks Spanish and was raised in the church! Matthew we're coming from you... you can't hide.  

5. So I don't think I've told you anything about Edgar. BIG MISTAKE. He is probably the coolest person I have ever met. His mom was given to us as a referral from the English elders, but every time we went by, it was just him. Finally, one time he goes "you can teach me if you want". Well that was November 29th and from that point on we've seen him at least 3 or 4 times a week, he comes to church every week, reads his scriptures and general conference articles like everyday, and wants to go to BYU-I now! Oh and he has a baptismal date for January 16th. He is seriously a MIRACLE! He's only a senior in high school, but his desire to learn and come closer to God is unbelievable. He is so prepared to hear the gospel... he just didn't know where to find it before we knocked on his door! Don't worry, I'll keep you updated about Edgar!

Well this week is Christmas and I love this time of year. Christmas means more to me than it ever has before. Everyday that I spend 16 hours preparing and preaching the word, I come to know my Savior more and more - being so closely tied to his work really makes it inevitable. I am no where near close to understanding the full doctrine of what He did and sacrificed, but I understand better than 6 months ago and I sure do appreciate it more than ever before. And all of that sacrifice and love started with a little baby born in a stable. He came to earth because he knew that we'd need saving... we would need someone to show us the way. I love the Savior and I love all that He did for us. And most of all, I love the idea who we can become through his infinite grace and aid. Love and learn of Him... don't forget that He is the reason for the season.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Eat lots of cookies in comfy pjs for me! 

Mucho amor para siempre

Hermana March

Caroling with the brand new greenies!


 Caroling in the snow... I bet you're jealous

 The cutest little puppy either yawning or trying to bite my ear

And LAST, but not LEAST. There may or not have been some shaving cream in the apartment that went to good use…

12.14.2015

Hola…………………………...

Okay. Well wow. What a week. I can't even really comprehend how much has happened this past week, so be sure to stay with me... it may be a little long, but I promise it'll be worth it. Okay, it might still be boring.... sorry, but not sorry. 


I'll jump right in to the GOOD stuff. And believe me... there's lots of that this week. 


1. Albuquerque ain't getting rid of me anytime soon! I'm here to stay for another 7 weeks! Oh and we also are covering 2 stakes and 2 branches now after before mentioned split. Holla for lots of work. 


2. Imagine this.... it's around 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. We knock on a door and begin to sing melodious strains of heavenly Christmas music. When wait... what's that? Nothing. No ones home. Okay, let's move on to the next house. Here we go again... well we're singing to a closed door still, but we see a movement to our right. We look. And well, well, well. If it isn't someone sneaking out of the previously "empty" house. We make awkward eye contact and she bolts for the car. Gets in and backs down the driveway in a matter of seconds. We stand in disbelief and then you know what?! It starts pouring rain. Instantly. Yup, that's our life. 


3. Fast forward like 15 minutes from previous story. It's pouring rain, but we keep on singing... Satan isn't stopping us from spreading Christmas cheer. We finally get a door to answer, and we're once again about halfway through the song, and the lady goes "What are you doing? I don't have time... and oh yeah, I'm an unbeliever" and closes the door right on our freezing faces. 


Side note: Like 20 minutes later that rain turned into snow.... coming down on our heads... while we were singing. I was miserable. 

4. We're sitting at our investigators table. Everything is going completely a-ok when his little brother runs up to me and says "why are you here?". "Uhhhhh well we're teaching your brother about Jesus". Little boy: "oh well... my mom hides from you in the bathroom... she thinks you're weird". The look on our investigator's face was golden. It's okay... outta the mouth of babes. #proudtobeweird


5. So every week as a zone we go to the local food bank  to help out. Ya know, some good ole service. Well we get there are sorting through some nasty food. I mean like poke the vegetable and your finger goes right on through. Well the camera crew from the local ABQ news came to interview the workers... and bam. There's 20 missionaries in the background. HOLLA for good publicity for the church. And oh yeah, we're famous. 


6. A group of like 16 of us went caroling in the Target parking lot this week. (Target, I've decided, is like my own personal great and spacious building... so beautiful and slendid). Well, we sing and sing, and someone threw a bag of Hershey kisses at us, so that was cool. 


Caroling in the Target parking lot

7. We had a branch Christmas party this week and WE HAD 6 INVESTIGATORS SHOW UP! It was seriously the best feeling ever. There was pasole y tamales and everything good food. And good music... oh the day that I can listen to Mexican music and not feel guilty? That'll be the day!

Pictures from la fiesta!


8. CHURCH GOT CANCELLED BECAUSE OF LIKE 5 INCHES OF SNOW. LIKE WHEN DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?! The people in ABQ are a little wimpy when it comes to snow. 
the snow that canceled church

Okay enough with all that... here's some of the other wonderful things about this week! 

We had the chance to hear from Elder Randall K. Bennett of the 70 this week. Because of the leadership meetings before and afterwards, I had the chance to listen to him for 13 hours in one day. I can't even begin to describe the things that I learned... I mean I could try, but that would be an essay. I have 7 full pages of notes. 

So I'll spare you a little bit, and just briefly talk about my favorite part. He talked about how "if we're not giving our whole heart to the Lord now, when will we ever?" and it made me feel a new sense of gratitude to be serving a mission and a determination to do it right - to not let anything get in the way of my service to my Savior. I think even though most of yall aren't on a full time mission, it's applicable. What can we each be doing better to more fully give your heart to the Lord? Is it keeping the Sabbath day a little more holy? Is it giving up that favorite tv show that might have questionable standards? Is it being a little more patient with others? Is is serving someone because you want to instead of being forced to? Whatever it is, I pray that we can achieve it. And with the Savior on our side, OF COURSE WE CAN. 


If only I could tell you all the miracles that I've seen this week, but I think I've written too much already. I wish that each and every one of you could spend a day with me in the mission field. I think it'd knock your socks off with how many miracles and tender mercies are packed into our 16 hour work day. Just know that I am so humbled and grateful to be here... here are 2 scriptures that perfectly describe my feelings lately. They're from Alma 26 (yes again, okay I love that chapter.)

15 Yea, they [(the people of their mission field)] were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
 16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! 
Hermana March 

 my snow angel…. 
   
My snowball and christmas treeeeeeeeeeeeee

The complete christmas tree... ain't it the cutest?!

12.07.2015

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

If I'm being honest, there wasn't a whole lot of exciting stuff this past week... just the normal hitting the streets and preaching the good word. I'll try to remember some of the highlights for your sake (because I know ya'll would be devastated without a glimpse into my glorious life).   


1. I CHOPPED MY HAIR. WELL KINDA... I GOT BANGS. SOS WHAT DID I DO?! The mission does strange things to you because after so much rejection you just don't really care what others think of you. (I mean ya do, but you don't at the same time). You do you and that's all that matters. So I did me and cut my bangs. (pictures to come... don't worry). 


2. Okay, so ya know the little hermana who always calls me gordita? Well for some reason during daily planning, I felt like we should go and see her... I had no idea on earth. Did the Spirit want me to get called gordita once again?! Well we did. And we had an awesome lesson with her and she gave us the name of a friend she wants us to teach! But best part?! She didn't say one word about gordita AND she told me that my bangs were "bonita".. aka apparently she thinks they're beautiful. SWEET VICTORY IS MINE. 

3. This Wednesday, we knocked this trailer park... one of our favorite pastimes. Knock knock knock. The door opens to a man and I hate to admit it, but at this point I'm terrified. He is completely tattooed up. I mean like across the face and everything. Well his wife (very tattooed as well) invites us in and we begin talking about the gospel... it turns out he was baptized in prison and has been wanting his wife to learn about church! He kept saying that this HAD to be a sign! I couldn't help but loving these complete strangers... so much so that I started crying. Imagine that: little ole me crying in some tattooed strangers' front room. #ohwhatalife

4. Once upon a time, there were 3 stakes in ABQ. Now there are 4. And the Alvarado Park Spanish branch lived happily ever after with 18 active members. Yeah... that's our life now. We lost 75% of our active members to the new branch in the new stake. We're going to be working our tails us to get this branch back up in size. (don't worry... the Lord knows what he's doing. Like a good gardener, He always cuts us back to let us grow even stronger). 

I think hands down the most important thing I'm learning on my mission is how to listen to the Spirit and follow it's promptings - which in turn helps me to know the way of becoming more like my Savior. When we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we are choosing to follow Jesus Christ. But there's a danger with the soft whisperings of the Holy Ghost... they tend to come with an "expiration date". We only have so long to respond to the promptings before the good that we could have done might go undone. I've made it a lifelong goal to never let my promptings expire. 


Hopefully this week we can all be a little more in-tune to the Spirit and make sure that we're not collecting a bunch of expired promptings on some shelf! Feel it, hear it, sense it, and ACT. 

Love you mucho

Hermana March

okay... here are the pictures promised. It's a bad coincidence that all the pictures we took this week were of food and us eating it. I promise we really don't eat that much. 


12.01.2015

"My Great Thanksgiving"

Hola there outside world! I hope your week was full of thanksgiving. Literally. We have so much to be thankful for! Oh and I hope ya had lots of turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes... the whole shabang.

Well, while weeks of holidays are normally awesome and grand, they make missionary work a little bit harder because, well... no one is home and no one wants to meet with you. But it's okay, we carry on! Here are some of the funny stories from the week!


1. So this week, we're walking down the street and all of a sudden I hear a car door open and then I hear something clank on the ground. It's one of those little plastic tequila bottles. I think someone tried to hit me with tequila. Satan probs had a good laugh. 

2. We're walking to our investigator's door. I'm so excited for this lesson... ya know, because who doesn't like spreading the good word?! Well we get to the door and the son answers, and of course, the dad isn't there. All disappointed we start trudging back to the car. (read next part like "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree"). I look in the window and who do I see? Our investigator staring at me. This is such a sad surprise, I thought we'd be real good friends. 

3. Later that day we tried to go visit someone we had talked to on the street. We walk to his "apartment" and look in the front window. It's abandoned... like no one has lived there in months. People, why you gotta be so mean? All we're trying to do is bring you salvation...


4. MY LIFELONG DREAM WAS FULFILLED. Okay not really, but I got to ride a bike as a missionary while I was on exchanges with some English sisters. That was fun. The 37 degree weather with 21mph wind made it especially enjoyable. Until the wind blew up my skirt... good thing I had tights on. Elders, ya got it so lucky.


#bikingwhileselfiesticking
5. So there's this member of the branch who is my fave ever. Her food is like heavenly manna and it's what I look forward to every week. Well we get there, we sit down, and the table is spread. Oh how delicious. Wait, what is that? Oh no. This can't be happening. Big, fat, soggy, slabs of CHICHARONES. aka pig skin. Good ole' hunks of pig skin can brighten anyone's day #not. I start eating them and I know that, well, it's not going to be good in a little while... long story short: we were knocking on a potential investigator's door and I take off running down the driveway so I don't hurl in the nice lady's yard. 


6. Real quick: someone told me I looked Mexicana today... they said once I have Spanish down I can fool anyone into thinking I'm from one of the Northern Mexican states #lyfegoals


OKAY. So really this week was kinda tough, but that's normal to have some weeks like that. I think that the weeks when I'm rejected the most and people are the rudest I learn the most. I love part of the 26th chapter of Alma, which says:

 "27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictionsand will give unto you success.
 28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
 29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stonedand taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some."

The times I am rejected in the streets, in houses, or anywhere else, I realize that it's still all worth it. It's worth it to save some soul. And to be completely honest... this mission is saving MY soul. It's saving me because I'm learning how to be more like Christ. I'm learning more about Christ. He was the literal son of God and yet, he was still rejected. And how many times did those people see miracles and still reject Him? Rejection is part of the "terms and conditions" of being a disciple of Christ. But the funniest part? I'm joyous. I'm happy. I'm grateful. Like Ammon, I can say that "this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and will give thanks unto my God forever.". I can never express how grateful I am for these experiences I am having. I love the mission. I love serving the Lord.

Have a great week because ya'll deserve it! 

Hermana March

p.s. my p-day is going to be on MONDAY for the next 2 weeks. if you love me, email me then.

 Our fave little child

We made a gingerbread house for the mission home 

 the only man I need in my life right now....... a gingermissionary

 Our branch mission leader making us Quesadillas!

  
Sister Bowen