1.26.2016

Awkward dinners . . . and an invitation

Well another week has come and gone... I can't believe how fast the time is going by out here on the mission. I hope you enjoy these stories from the week!

1. Okay, so imagine me sitting at dinner with a family and we're having a nice conversation. They're asking about what instruments we can play and so on. I briefly mention that I used to sing in a choir and the Mom freezes, gets this look on her face, leaves the room, and comes back with a hymnbook. She then hands it to me and tells me to sing them a song. Mind you that they're all sitting around the table staring at me. I say that I can't and then she tells me that I either eat more food (she had already fed us a ton!) or I sing. This back and forth goes on for about 3 minutes and finally I cave... because, well, I couldn't take the idea of eating more. So I SING. JUST ME. SINGING IN SPANISH TO A BUNCH OF PEOPLE AT A DINNER TABLE. Talk about the most awkward thing I've ever done. 

2. The new branch was officially formed! So that means we have 2 branches to cover and that means sometimes 8 hours of church! Woohoooooo more blessings for us! Oh and I'm officially the branch pianist in both. In the new branch they didn't have any big Spanish hymn books, so I was forced to read the music out of my little personal one. It was awful and sounded terrible as well.... my companion said that my face was hilarious. 

3. This week we were sitting at our table in our apartment when I started drinking water and simultaneously saw the funniest picture on my camera which I hadn't noticed before. I then started choking and had to run to do a spit-take into the sink. Hermana Quist thought it was funny... 

4. Well, pay back for Hermana Quist laughing came last night, when she choked on a piece of chicken during dinner at a member's house and ran to the bathroom to throw up. The whole family somehow ended up in the bathroom to watch her get the piece of chicken unstuck from her throat. The mom kept telling me to stick my finger down her throat to gag her. I love my companion, but not that much. (She's fine, don't worry. Crisis adverted). 

5. EDGAR GOT BAPTIZED! That's probably the #1 highlight of this week's email! The baptism was Saturday morning at 10am and was one of the most spiritual baptisms I've ever been to. His whole family was there (they're not members), but you could tell that the Spirit was working with them. There wasn't a dry eye in the room... especially when Edgar got up to share his testimony and tell how the gospel has changed him. He received the Holy Ghost and the priesthood on Sunday in his snazzy new white shirt and tie that was our baptismal present to him! 

So that was my week! I'm sorry the stories/highlights are all over the place... hopefully you thought they were as exciting or funny as I do. Maybe I'm just turning into a weird missionary. 

Before I end my email today, I wanted to mention a little something about Allie. Today, I received lots of emails and notes with information about how her funeral went and how much they loved her. I too loved Allie and the lessons she taught me. She always was happy and I think that's because she had that faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Often times, she'd ask me "what would Jesus do?". She loved Him and I know that He loves her. I'm sure that their reunion was a sweet one.  

This week, with thoughts of Allie on my mind, I've really had to think about my purpose for being on a mission. As I walked the streets and talked to perfect strangers, I thought about the message I was sharing. Why is it important? Why would I give up 18 months of my life to do this? It's because it brings JOY into our lives - the joy that can only be brought through the knowledge that Christ lives and that we too will live again. We have a purpose and are known by the greatest being in the universe. He loves us personally and knows our deepest thoughts and desires. Allie is known by a loving Heavenly Father and so are we - what greater news could we ever learn?! 

If you don't have a relationship with your Heavenly Father, I invite you to start today! Pray to Him, talk to Him, and love Him. Tonight, kneel on your knees and ask "Heavenly Father, are you really there? Do you really love me? Do you know me? Do you have a plan for me?". I have asked these questions before and I have felt the sweet peace that comes over my heart, which is an obvious "yes" to all those questions. 
 
I love you all. Thank you for your support and prayers... I can definitely feel their power!

Love,
Hermana March

P.S. A couple people have asked about my birthday (February 12th) and what I want, so I'm going to tell you all in a group email, so I don't have to repeat myself a million times. This year I do want something... I want you to go out of your way to serve someone. Think of someone who could use a little love and then do something for them! And then when you're done, please write me a letter and tell me about your experience! The Lord came to serve and He asks us all to serve as well. Service is what makes us the happiest! 

P.P.S. My address might change, so hold off on sending anything by mail to me for another week. I'll know my address for sure next Tuesday... and I'll be sure to tell you all!

P.P.P.S. here's the start of the pictures of the week!

 We went to the temple with Edgar for a lesson... IT WAS FREEZING.

Edgar with his family!

Us + fam

 Us + Edgar

 You're jealous, aren't you?
(Note from Morgan's mom: No idea what this is!
There was no explanation…should be a good one!)

White shirt and tie


A cool kid from the branch

1.19.2016

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

Well this is one of those weeks and some of those days where the world seems to turn on it's head and it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But it's in those moments where you must turn to the Lord - having faith in His plan and in His purpose. 

Yesterday morning, I received a call from my mission president telling me that he had been informed that a dear friend of mine, Allie Garcia, had passed away in an automobile accident. It took a second to process, but immediately the emotions came in and I was overwhelmed at the grief I felt. There's hardly a childhood or teenage memory that doesn't somehow link back to my friendship with Allie. It seems like she was there through it all. The chubby days of elementary school, the terribly embarrassing memories of middle school (like her as peanut butter and me as a donut in our Odyssey of the Mind play), interpretive dancing, band, high school choir, graduation... it all has memories of Allie. 

Since I'm on my mission now, I haven't been able to be in close contact with Allie. However, I do remember her sitting in my living room as I opened my mission call and found out that I would be serving in the New Mexico, Albuquerque mission. I don't if she knew what my mission would really entail (because really I didn't even know what I was getting myself into!), but I know that she was so excited for what she did know - that I would be sharing the message of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She knew His role in our lives as the Savior of mankind and His ability to help us see the good and become perfected. Jesus Christ is the one who helps us in all trials - heartaches, hardships, and troubles. He also is the one that made it possible for us all to live once more. He rose from the grave, and in doing so, gave us all that same gift as well. 

If I told you that my heart hasn't been heavy and that tears don't frequently stream down my face, I would be lying. It wouldn't be the truth. I'm not sure why Allie was called home by our Heavenly Father so soon, but I know of the plan He has for each and everyone of us always leads us back home to His loving arms.

A scripture I have found a lot of comfort in is in the Old Testament of the Bible, in Isaiah 25:8. It says, speaking of the Savior, "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces". I know that it is because He came to earth to die for us and that he lives again, and so in turn, we also will live again. He knows this plan and the joyous news it is. It is us as mortal humans that forget that plan sometimes. We lose that eternal perspective that comes through knowing the Savior's role - as the Prince of Peace and Liberator of all men from death. 

My purpose as a missionary is to help those who may not know this hopeful message to understand the peace and hope in which Jesus Christ gives to us. I want to share this knowledge I have that we will all live again and that we will one day be able to understand the questions and trials we have now.

Allie is one of those "forever friends". Someone that you cannot forget because of the impact that she has made in your life. She taught me how to be happy always and love everyone unconditionally. One song that has been especially near and dear these past few hours is "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good". I think we can all say that Allie is one of those people who has been a great source of good in our lives. Here are 2 of the verses that are most dear to me:



When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

I know that Allie is with our Savior and that He loves her dearly. One day, we will all be able to see her again... I can't wait for that day.

I love you all. I know that there are a lot of unknowns in this life, but the gospel makes it a little more understandable. Please, if you have questions ask the missionaries where you live! They do exactly what I'm doing out here in ABQ and would love to help you. The gospel has changed my life - it gives me the peace that cannot be found elsewhere in this world. 

Hermana March

(From Morgan's Mom:  Morgan doesn't have access to Facebook right now so I've snagged a couple of pictures to include…good times, good memories, good friends)

Pretty girls…one of many, many pictures Morgan and Allie posed for!

Country Western Dance

Ladies First  Seniors

JAMA goes Gatsby

JAMA Graduates
(JAMA = Jessica, Alex, Morgan and Allie - always laughing!)

Taco Time…Allie and her hot sauce friends

Allie: "I look like a ballerina balancing on the post on one toe!"


Sports Day


The cupcake crew - Choir tour


The Golden Girls


After singing the national anthem with Ladies First at the A's game

Allie with Morgan when she opened her mission letter - Always supportive
Allie: "I can't believe one of my best friends is going to serve for 18 months in New Mexico!! I'm so proud of you Morgs and I'm gonna miss you so much! #mylilmormon"

We'll be missing you Allie…Good-bye for now, until we meet again. 

1.12.2016

"you with da church?"

I can't believe how fast time is flying. It seems like yesterday that I was writing about las cucarachas y los pajaritos. Here's some of the happenings of the week:

1. Well I'm sure you'll get a laugh out of the fact that once again the cockroaches struck. I think I'm turning into a cockroach magnet... like in the middle of a lesson one runs at me! 

2. I taught an English sister that I was on exchanges with to drive in the snow. It started blizzarding out of no where... and well. Let's just say that lots of prayers let me live. 

3. A member of the branch gave us some clothes that apparently didn't fit her. We take them home and we realize they're all XLs... seriously a fat joke to the hermanas.

4. We had MLC this week! It's such a great meeting... I always feel so spiritually fed after it. Well that's a lie. I feel tired. Real tired. It's 7am - 4 pm of straight meetings. So the day after is really when I feel spiritually uplifted! 

FYI sorry that this week doesn't have a ton of funny stories... I know you were probably expecting more from my exciting life, right? Well it doesn't have a lot of funny stories, but it does have lots of miracles stories. Those are better anyways, right?

1. EDGAR PASSED HIM BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW! He is flying towards baptism... the date right now is set for the 23rd of this month! It's coming up quick!

2. I am like 100% positive that I shared with you the story of the hermano who wouldn't pray in front of the missionaries for 2 years... ? Well guess who now has a baptismal date for the 30th of January?! HE DOES. We're hoping that his family will be able to come that weekend!


3. We were going around visiting less actives this week, when Hermana Quist and I both felt impressed that we needed to go to on a name on the list that we had never before met. We decided to act on the prompting and it was seriously straight inspiration! It turns out that he had been thinking that he needed to go back to church, but had been kinda putting it off. Well he said that that day, God had given him a sign. He had met a Mormon lady on his way to work and then we showed up on his door that same night! He even promised that he'd come to church! 

4. I'm on another exchange and we walk out of the lesson at about 6:30pm or so. So we're out on the sidewalk walking to our car, when this hooded man comes walking toward us with a determination that was quite scary. I had this bad feeling and I knew it was the Spirit warning me of danger. I froze in fear and the man kept walking toward us, hands in his pockets, and hood covering a part of his face. Well. he comes just close enough to see us a little clearer, and then he roughly asks "you with da church?". Unsure what to say, the Spirit prompted me to boldly say "yes, we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". As soon as those words left my mouth, I knew we'd be okay. Something must have happened inside of him because he didn't say anything else and walked quickly off. 


Okay, so here's the thing I learned this week. Well I learned that the Lord has his hand in my life all the time. He protects me and he guides me. There were lots of moments this week that I knew I was only safe because the Spirit was with me. I mean who knows what would have happened with the man asking if we were with the church... but I do know that I listened to the Spirit and therefore, nothing happened. The Lord watches over His children, but I think he especially looks over His missionaries. I've never felt the guiding hand of the Lord more in my life. He is always there... He is watching shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm with me. This is His work and I am just the instrument in his hand... and what a lousy instrument I am sometimes! But that doesn't matter to Him. The only thing that does matter is our desire to serve and I try my best to always have that. I want to bring the gospel to people because I know it changes lives - it's changed mine. 

I love each and every one of you, and I know the Lord loves you way better than I can! So turn to Him. He should be your best friend because He's the only perfect friend we could ever have! 

Con MUCHO AMOR!

Hermana March

 The snow! (on exchange #1)

My fave view in all of ABQ

 exchange #2 and my fave beanie like always

hot air balloons! the best thing to wake up to in the morning!

 plz don't laugh at how fat and ugly we look... the XL sweaters that we could swim in

I burnt the top to my water bottle in the dishwasher this week. rip contigo waterbottle. you were a faithful friend 

1.05.2016

La cucaracha y los pajaritos

Well if you couldn't tell from the title, this weeks email is going to have a little something to do with creepy crawlies and little birdies. Okay here we go:

1. As missionaries you tend to run into a lot of impromptu service opportunities. Well, did we hit the jackpot this week! We went to teach this little lady and when we got in to her house, it was a mess. There was stuff everywhere and the dishes hadn't been done in quite a while. It turns out that she's been really sick and couldn't do it on her own, so we jump in. That's a lie. Hermana Quist started cleaning right away, and I just kind of stood there in an OCD-like shock (you may or may not know that I'm kinda a neat freak). Well, I hit reboot and head on in. After a while I go to take the bucket of dirty water out to the front to dump it. I grab it and head on my way. I almost make it to the designated location when... what's that? Oh nothing, just a cockroach running up my arm. Well at this point I scream, drop the bucket, and begin to do probably what looked like a tribal rain dance. And to make it worse? I was standing on icy snow, so I was trying my best not to fall. I'm sure I looked graceful and not at all insane. But I'm sorry, little cockroach, we may not be friends. 

2. So we're cruising in the newest car in the mission... a 2016 Corolla. We park under our nice shady tree and the next morning we come out to lots of bird poop. Fast forward multiple days of this occurring, and we're now cruising in a literal poopmobile. We have every good intention to get a car wash, but it keeps snowing, so whatcha gonna do?! It comes time to do car inspections and we panic. They're first thing Monday morning and well... there didn't seem to be any car washes open that early. We have one last hope.... the Circle K gas station drive through car wash. We go and cry when the man tells us it has to be 40 degrees for them to open it up. It's 6:30am and it's 31 degrees outside... aka no war wash was going to happen. In an act of sheer desperation, I grab the little window washer squegie thing and begin to try to wash our car. The problem is? Well at 31 degrees the water from the squegie kept freezing on to the car. It was a hot mess, but my fingers were FAR from being hot. I think they were icicles. Watch out for us on the next episode of AFV.

3. Well we had quite the exciting New Years Eve. Hermana Quist and I thought we'd treat ourselves to some pizza (turkey, green chile, and pineapple... my fave), so we did. And then we went to bed at 10:10pm. Wooo. Quite the party animals. 

I feel like I say this every week, but this week has been so great! I'm so grateful for each and every day that I have out here on the mission - even the days with lots of birds and cockroaches! Here are my other favorite parts of the week:

1. Well I don't remember if I told you last week, but we helped Edgar apply to BYU-I and he's still continuing to work on the application essays! BUT EVEN MORE EXCITING is that last night we taught him about missionary work, and he told us that he's been really considering going on a mission! WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Well believe it! He wants to serve a mission and loves the idea that a mission would be a tithe of his first 20 years of life (2 years out of 20... get it?). Well, his progress and willingness to obey the commandments continues to amaze Hna Quist and I. He is so hungry for the word of good and eats every ounce of truth! 

2. The list of less active members in our branch is insane. Like unbelievable. Well this week, we decided to tackle the list (well we got like 30% through it), but we've already seen miracles! (1) We called a lady who said that she had a 10 year old daughter who wants to get baptized and has been waiting for someone from the Relief Society to come and visit her. (2) We met an inactive lady named Claudia on Friday and were able to share a spiritual thought with her and invite her to come back to church. She said that she'd been saying that she needs to go back every week, and that our visit was the little push she needed. She came to church on Sunday and made the vocal goal in Relief Society to go every week! Her husband is not a member, so we hope to see progress made with him as well! 

I love the work here... it's really going well! We still have 6 people with a baptismal date and they're continuing to progress in their faith and determination to live the gospel. 

I can't write everything that I feel, and you're all probably bored already, but oh well. I just can't express how rewarding this work is; it's hard, fun, sad, frustrating, and lots of other things, but it's all worth it. Every single ounce. I feel like this is the treat of a lifetime. And really, when I left on my mission, I thought I was going to bless people with the gospel, and yeah, maybe that's true. But this mission, it's really blessing me. Every experience. Every heartache. Every victory. I'm walking shoulder to shoulder with the greatest person who ever walked this earth: my Savior. And that right there makes it impossible to be anything less than something amazing. 

You should know that you're loved and appreciated and mean the world to me! 

Hermana March

p.s. here's a picture of Hna Quist and I with our little baby Jesus' that we found in our pieces of "rosca de reyes"... it's way too complicated to explain right now, so look it up! It's a Mexican thing to make people have a party and cook tamales hahahaha (don't mind that we look like a mess... its a long day haha #thelifeofamissionary)