Monday, August 26, 2013

Chicago is Amazing!

  President and Sister Fenn and missionaries
  Hermana Israelsen (Front Row Yellow Sweater) Hermana Davies (Front Row Pink Skirt, Black Sweater)

Hola Familia!!!!
Chicago is amazing!!! I love it, the weather right now is perfect and it is such an adventure! My companion's name is Hermana Davies. She is super, super good at Spanish, which is such a blessing! She also has the ability to connect with people very well, and knows how to be normal around them (meaning she can help them feel comfortable and not awkward) She also has a very strong testimony of the gospel and she is very obedient! Pretty much she is the perfect trainer for me! I hope I can be a missionary like her some day!
So we live in a pretty nice apartment, and there is even a gym right next to us that we go to in the morning. We live right across from the store and have a car as well. I feel kind of spoiled because it's all very nice. I am in the area of Bloomingdale. There are three sets of Spanish missionaries for our branch. The members here are amazing and are always so willing to help out. They also keep really yummy meals and are very kind to us. There are some cultural things that I'm still getting used to, such as just waiting for them to serve you, or having them give you the kiss on the cheek, and they always send you home with something. Which is so amazing! The Spanish people are so nice and willing to give you anything, even if they don't have much at all. It is interesting doing missionary work here because we are looking for specific people. We are looking for people who speak Spanish, and who are ready to hear the gospel, and in our area. At times it is hard, because we're not quite sure if they speak Spanish or not, but I think I'm getting used to looking for clues. It is fun though, because the people who do speak Spanish are from all over the world. Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico,....etc. It is fun to ask them where they are from! 
Right now we are teaching an investigator  M_____. He had the missionaries over a couple years ago, but then it kind of died off. We had him set for a baptismal date this week, but he's not quite ready so we have to push back the date. It is hard because what we are asking people to do, is no small sacrifice. We're pretty much asking them to change their whole lives around, which isn't always the easiest thing.
It's crazy all the problems people have. There are some pretty crazy things, even with members, but you can tell those who rely on Christ to get through them have such a strong foundation! It's one thing to teach people in the MTC, but out here they have real problems. At times it's easy to think that I don't even know how to help them, but then I just need to remember that I'm not supposed to. The Savior is. We're just here to invite others to come unto Christ. We'll be the guide to show them the way, but Jesus Christ is the only one who really can understand. It is such a miracle and blessing. 
Yesterday, we talked to a lady in a wheelchair, who couldn't move at all! She looked pretty young though, and she said we could come back and teach her and her family. I really hope that we can because I want to tell her more about living with her family forever. I can't imagine not having that knowledge. It brings lots of comfort to me. 

I think it is amazing to see all the miracles that Heavenly Father sends his missionaries. Just little things, like maybe an appointment falls through, but we are able to contact someone on the street who needed help or was ready to hear the gospel.

We had a really fun experience teaching a family yesterday. The mom is a member (but not very active) but her son (who is nine years old) and her daughter  (who is eight years old) are very rambunctious at times. Before going into the lesson we were a little bit nervous because they have a hard time sitting down and listening to the lessons. We decided that we needed to do something a bit more interactive and so we had a little object lesson. We set out a bunch of ingredients to make cookies (like flour, oil,...etc) and talked about how they wouldn't taste good without all the ingredients or just having one or two together. We than related it to the apostasy and how they need the all the ingredients to have the full gospel (cookie.) Afterwards we than gave them a cookie. It was a really fun lesson to teach, but you could still feel the spirit. It was a good reminder of how simple the lessons can be, but how powerful they can be at the same time. The best part is the Mom helped teach her kids as well, and she was into it as well. I love missionary work, it is so hard but worth it!

I think the thing that I am having the hardest time with right now is the language. I feel like it's hard to connect with the members or say what I really want to say in a lesson. I want to be sincere or participate fully in the lesson, but just don't always have the right words to do so. All lot of times we'll get out of a lesson or a contact and I'll just turn to Hermana Davies and say "What just happened? or What did they say"  But I know it will just take time, and even if I can't speak the language perfectly I know that Heavenly Father called me here to speak Espanol, and so I will do my best. If the Savior can heal people’s relationships, raise people from the dead, help heal a wounded soul, then I know he can help me speak Spanish.

My trainer Hermana Davies is amazing at Spanish. She is a really good example and helps me to be a better missionary!
At times I have a hard time sitting through all of study time because I just want to get out there and talk to people. But she has helped me to remember that it is so critical to study and to make sure that we know the doctrine. Which is good. I'm grateful that we have the time to study because the more I learn about the gospel the more I realize that there are things that I don't know. Also, I've come to realize how important the Book of Mormon is. It is such an amazing book. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without the gospel, and it would be very difficult. I realize that when I am having a hard time getting the guts to speak to someone I just need to get out there and open my mouth, because that's what I would want someone to do to me if I didn't have the gospel. 
I hope that everyone is still reading the Book of Mormon! Please do! It can change your life for the better!!

I love the work, it is such a miracle. I'm excited to get going with it, and I hope I can give the Lord everything.

I love you all!!
Hermana Israelsen

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