Monday, December 15, 2014

Hump Day!

Week- 38
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

hahaha i am excited to skype too :) right now it is 2:26 here, we aren't sure yet at what time we will skype, but probably in the afternoon after comida, we still have to confirm the hour. 
yes, I think I won the award for biggest package in the mission hahahaha we were in Puebla for a Christmas devotional and the elders were passing out letters and packages and the elders were like "wow, they must really love you" jajajaja
Im glad Addie is ok, that sounds really freaky. If you see Tabitha before she leaves please send her my love.
ah, yes, it feels so strange to know that i am on the returning side of the mission, but it isnt too bad yet because i know hna zarate is leaving in only three weeks, so i am grateful for 9 more months haha. 
Like i mentioned, we had a Christmas devotional with the president and his wife on wednesday and it was AMAZING! We played alot of games and talked about traditions, it really got me thinking about what I want for my future family and what we do as a family. I hope you have your puzzle ready jajaja the president shared some of his traditions with us and i really really really hope they put the video online of what we sang because it is too darn funny jajaja. We sang christmas songs while some of the missionaries played music pipes, it reminded me of moms and mine love for handbells jajaja
Also, when we got to the reunion the president pulled us aside and told us that he had been looking at our numbers and asked us how we were having so much success. he asked us to right him a letter and i would like to share it with all of you too.

Dear President,
We feel really blessed with the success we have had here in Xicotencatl 2. The truth is we aren't sure if there is just one thing that helped contribute to our success but as we pondered and compared stories of different investigators we came up with a few conclusions.
First, with all the baptisms we had or are about to have we did a fast specifically for them to help with their addictions or probems and we saw incredible transformations after each fast. 
Second, and I feel this is probably the most important, is that we were and are in constant communication with the investigators. We would have lessons several times a week, members were going by to pick them up for activities o teach small principles, and we would bring them small gifts of love and encouragement. as we looked at the investigators that weren't being baptized we noticed that they were people we could only visit once a week or less. consistency and verification play a huge part in conversion, we feel. Also, we have correlation meeting and ward counsel everyweek and we have great attendance from all of the organizations. Also through this we plan lots of missionary activities (we try for every Saturday) so that investigators and less active members can mingle with the members and so that the members can feel more excited about serving them. We wouldn't have had the success we did and continue to have it were not for the members help and support.
finally, we taught many families where only part of the family were members. As we taught the family the less active member would begin to remember their covenants and would share powerful testimonies. They also were constantly with the other members of the family to help them with their progression. 
One last thing that I believe helped us is that we always pray for miracles. I love praying for miracles because we always recieve them.
Thank you so much for your faith and confidence in us President Christensen, I hope this list helps you, we are always here to serve you if you need anything. Thank you so much for your love and for the christmas devotional you shared I have been thinking alot about traditions since that point and what i want in my future family
love you so much
hna ibarra

Like i have been saying MEMBERS ARE SOOOO IMPORTANT!!! I hope you are continuing to show the CHRISTmas spirit and sharing the gospel with everyone. I feel like this will probably be the best Christmas of my whole life, we are sooo busy and happy, we have Dantes baptism next week too :)

love you all so much, thanks for the packages and letters
con amor hna ibarra

Don't need words to share

Week- 37
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

Dear Family,
This week were were pretty happy because our 2 investigators with baptism dates were at church! They are both making huge changes in their lives, but are loving the gospel!
I hope you all had the opportunity to watch the Christmas devotional, if not its your family home evening for tonight hahaha. 
This week we are going to be having a Christmas zone conference with the president and his wife and i have been asked to play the violin, que miedo haha jk
speaking of music, buying a violin was one of the best things i have ever done on the mission. almost every week i play prelude in sacrament meeting with the other missionaries singing to help invite the spirit and start the meeting on time. also, it is a great way to find new investigators, that and English, because lots of people want lessons. The bad news (not really) is that we have a ward Christmas program next week and now i'm writing a version of silent night for piano, 4 guitars and singers in the free time (BHAHAHAHA) I have plus i am helping to organize 2 other pieces but hna zarate and i hare super happy to do it because the bishop after all of the baptisms we had now has a lot of confidence in us and so he has given us many assignments so we cant let him down!
thank you soooo much again for all of the Christmas cards, they make my day, i still have a few more to go, i'm trying to read one a day, but at times i have read 2 haha.  i laughed at Nathans hahahaha so much "broski" and i was sooo glad that someone finally told me about the IMPORTANT stuff like the status of Belles behind.... thanks bro. jajajaja
Ana Lilia is doing soooo much better, thanks for asking and thanks for sharing the story! one of our investigators who has a baptism date is actually her niece :)
I attached the video of El es la Dadiva, I hope you can share it with all your friends (of course in English jaja)
you have no idea how much power you have as members, i was so happy to hear of all the plans you have to share the gospel this Christmas! I can promise you more happiness than you can imagine by being an instrument of the Lord
con amor,
hna ibarra
17 MORE DAYS till SKYPE :)

P-Day Soccer

Hermana Zarate and Hermana Ibarra

Hermana Ibarra and Hermana Zarate's Christmas tree with Marissa's Christmas cards.

The hand print garland that the primary kids sent to Marissa

Forget yourself and go to work

Week- 36
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

i hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. I couldn't help but think about the ward turkey bowl and preparing the meal, but we also had a great day here! some of the elders took pictures with wild turkeys to send home, i'm sad i didn't think of that too haha.
i would like to share somethings i learned from the conference with Elder Torris. Wow, is he a powerful human being.,... As you know, the world is rapidly changing and so the work must change tool. of all the people we teach which are contacts in the street only 15% will be baptized. obviously contacting isn't so successful anymore... from all the people we teach who are references from member 90% will be baptized! 90%! Jacob is really good at math, he can tell you that that means if you help 10 of your friends listen the the missionary lessons 9 of them will be baptized, so why aren't we as members and missionaries working harder together? well, now we are. For the past month all of the missionaries have been studying this topic and Elder Torris, as well as other speakers, taught us of some of the great ways we can work together. 
Also, all over the world missionaries and the church are taking advantage of the Christmas season with an initiative "He is the Gift". if you haven't heard of it already i'm sure the missionaries in your area will soon be sharing these pass along cards that direct you to this video. it is very similar to the "Because of Him" video. This is where you come in. I know how much you all LOVE facebook, so what you need to do is share this video with EVERYONE! invite your friends over for family home evening and share why this gospel makes us so happy and how it can bless their lives. I can promise you that if you share this video and reach out to your non member friends you will have baptisms. Clarke is living proof that references from members get baptized (or sure darn close to it, i have no doubt that he will be baptized once someone reaches out to help him).
 I love you all so much and i want you to be able to experience the joy i am receiving from sharing the gospel. It isn't the missionaries job to find anymore... members are finding and missionaries are teaching and we are having sooo much more success. The Lord has given us a great responsibility, NOW is the day of repentance and work. If you are willing to accept a challenge share this video with our neighbor (you know which one). For some reason they have been popping into my head a lot, maybe now is their time. This Christmas season i hope you will give the true gift to all. He is the gift. Of this I testify.
Thank you sooooooo much for your Christmas package with all the letters, you have no idea how much i needed them in the moment that i got them. I also received the Halloween package during our district meeting and everyone thought it was pretty funny how late it was... jajaja
love you so much, miss you, can't wait to see you I CANT BELIEVE IT IS DECEMBER....
con amor hna ibarra

Marissa's bed

Marissa's study area

Luis Angel's Baptism

Guevara family Baptism

Marissa and Monse

Starting fresh

Week- 35
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

Hola Familia!
Well this week wasn't super eventful, we are searching for new investigators so we didn't have too many lessons, but because of that we had a ton of lesson with less active members and members to search for references and build their confidence in us. I am also receiving a bunch of violin playing opportunities, the elders have a baptism this week as well as hna lopez and hna eyring so i will be playing at both of those. we are also working on maintaining all our recent converts.
I just want to share a really heartwarming experience we had with Ana Lilia, a recent convert, and the relief society. You can share this experience with the relief society to help them be excited about doing missionary work.
Earlier in the week we received a text message from Ana Lilia saying that she was having lots of problems, that he would tell us when we could visit her again and that she didn't know when she would come back to church. As hard as we tried we couldn't get  a hold of her, but she came to church yesterday. In gospel principles the teacher was sharing a lesson about our agency and the consequences of our actions and she was crying a lot and asked to step out. We ran out after her and blocked the gate so she would talk to us and one of the relief society counselors who was in the hall ran out with us. She eventually told us what was bothering her, a very delicate and serious situation that I wont share now, and immediately the relief society counselor told her to come to her house for comida (big meal) and for a family home evening with us. Hna Zarate and I ran back into the building to ask a return missionary that was sitting in the hall for a priesthood blessing and afterwards she left for her house. The counselor proceeded to call as many relief society sisters as she could to invite them to the family home evening to surprise Ana Lilia. When we got to her house later that night the house started filling up with women, but Ana ilia never showed... But we still used the gathering as a time to help her. We each shared what sicknesses we had and my companion shared one of our favorite scriptures 3 Nephi 17:7 when Christ is in the Americas and he asks if there are any sick to bring them to him and he will heal them. We all shared testimonies and talked about the healing power of Christ and how we could help in this work. Everyone was in tears and I have never felt so much unity and love to help a person than I did in this moment. After we sang "as sisters in Zion" and we kneeled in prayer to ask for help with Ana Lilia in her delicate situation. After the prayer one of the women asked if we could all make a visit with her. The beautiful thing about this is that Ana Lilia lives an hour walk away and all the women joyfully replied that they wanted to do it together. 
MEMBERS ARE SOOOOOOOO IMPORTANT IN MISSIONARY WORK!!! I cant express this enough! I hope that everytime the missionaries are at our house you have a reference for them, i hope you can say you can do a visit with them, i pray that you can say that you are reading your scriptures everyday, that you are doing family prayer and family home evening so they don't have to worry about you and so they can have the confidence to ask you for help with whatever thing. it is really sad when our recent converts are working harder and experiencing more miracles than the members who have been in the church their whole lives and when it is harder to convince the members to change their ways then our investigators. I hope that when i come home (happy 8 months this week, almost halfway there!!!) i am not the only one who has changed. One of my companions once told me that I was 2 years more righteous than her because each year the world gets more and more wicked so God has to send stronger and stronger children, so Sarah, Jacob, and Nathan i hope that you are much stronger than I am, God has sent you here to the earth for a specific purpose in this specific time, so i hope you are searching for that purpose and that mom and dad and Sarah are always making decision that will lead you to the blessings in your patriarchal blessings.

love you all so much! yeah, i felt like my face was looking a little bigger, but I was choosing to doubt what my eyes were seeing haha. I come home exhausted every night, but I know it's because i am working with all my strength, but i'm not tired of the work, on the contrary i wish my body had more strength to work more and that the days were longer. we worked a little slower this week because my companion was sick, please keep her in your prayers, the mission i literally breaking up her body, we are going to the doc today to check out her hand, she fell a while back and her hand is really swollen, she was taking shots all week. also please keep hna herrera in your prayers, she is having difficulties with her companion, but this week we also find out if we have changes and we have 19 NEW MISSIONARIES coming in, so there will be lots of changes.

Thank you so much for all your prayers, next week ill let you know if i am having changes or not :)

Hermana Zarate and Hermana Ibarra

Hermana Zarate, Ana Lilia and Hermana Ibarra

Wah wah wah‏

Week- 34
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

HOLA querido familia!
I hope you had a great week and that Jacob had a super special day!
Well, this week we had the baptism for the Guevara family and we finished up all the confirmations for them and the Hernandez Lopez family. I am so happy to see the gospel not only bless individuals, but also families. We are very happy that the craziness with all the baptisms is finally dying down, but we have to work extra hard now because we baptized all our investigators, so now we dont have any hahahahaha but I guess that is a good problem to have :)

So some of our golden contacts for the last week turned out not to be so golden, but we recieved a bunch of references this week that we hope will be good. We contacted two of them and they are AMAZING! The one I want to tell you about is Dante. He is 16 years old and he started having lessons with the missionaries almost 2 years ago. He loved the church, but his parents wouldnt give him permision to attend, so he stopped taking the lessons. When the youth had their halloween party he showed up and talked with the elders telling them that he wanted to meet with them again, so we took him in and he told us right off the bat that he has permission from his family to attend now and that he wants to be baptized. He already knows about the first 3 lessons and he was asking us for a strength of youth pamphlet. We couldnt not believe it, we were almost speachless, its a good thing that the spirit does the talking and not us hahahaha. The Lord is seriously preparing people and they are literally walking up to us. 

We didn't have an opportunity to teach too many lessons or contact all of our references this week because of all the baptism craziness and because I was sick... I got another stomach infection and I was throwing up, my stomach felt like a rock, not fun, but I feel much better now :) 

This week was a very humbling experience for me once again. I always thought of myself as someone who was loving and patient with everyone, but Satan this week was really trying to put negative feelings in my heart and mind about my companion and it was difficult to change my heart with the pride that was trying to fill it. I am so glad my Heavenly Father knows me because this week as I was struggling with this, my companion was asked to speak on humility for a relief society class and I was asked to speak on loving one another. As I prayerfully studied and listened to my companion I felt my heart and mind begin to change. I also felt a much stronger spirit at the end of the week when we were teaching. I have an even stronger testimony now of the power of humility and love. I just want to testify that we need to amplify the good characteristics of others and not worry about the little things. I am realizing with this cambio that I have alot of pride that I need to get rid off, it hurts at times, but I know that Heavenly Father is helping me get rid of it through those hard challenges.

I am so happy to hear that in your conference they talked about the work, you have NO IDEA how much the members help! We had an activity the other day and is was sooooo comforting to see all of our recent converts there, talking with members and feeling comfortable. it is our job to bring them to church, but the job of the members to keep them there. It is so sad when we lose investigators or recent converts when the missionaries leave. Hna Herrera told me that Elizabeth has stopped going to church because she misses me, please keep her in your prayers and the members of the Serdan Ward. 

love you all so much!
con amor, Hna Ibarra

Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you

Week- 33
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

Soooooo many miracles happened this week, I wish I had time to tell you all of them, but I will try my best :)

OK, before I tell you about the miracles, I want to tell you a funny story. We were walking to an appointment the other day and I don't normally look at the ground right in front of me, but for some reason I did and there was a HUGE iguana! He looked just like Todd, but like 3 or 4 times bigger. We began to search for the owner until about 15 people were out in the Street looking at this Iguana hahaha someone brought out a leash and put it on him and we eventually found a house that had a cage outside the door, but no animal, and so we knocked and a Little boy answered at the window and we asked if it was theirs and the look on the moms face was priceless, like "MY IGUANA!!!" hahaha so the iguana was returned to its rightful owner and we were on our way. The scriptures testify of truth when they say we will save EVERY creature hahaha

This week we had 4 baptisms and we have 3 for the next week, and we have 2 new investigators with baptism dates. The people here are so prepared to hear the message and my companion and I are so much more in synch. One of the baptisms we had this week was a teen named Luis Angel. He is 14 years old and when I arrived to the area my companion told me that his mom really wanted nothing to do with us, so when this week came and we knew that she had to sign the baptismal records we prayed so hard that her heart would be softened. We received a text message from him late one night before his interview saying that his mom had signed the form and wanted to meet with us. Again, we prayed all day and practiced what we would say to her, preparing for the worst, but when we met with her she was so kind and supportive of her son and his decision and just wanted to talk with us to see how the misión Works and we taught her a summary of all the lessons in one hour haha so she would know exactly everything we taught her son. The day of the baptism, she was there too and we went to their house afterwards and she was so receptive to us. The next day Luis Angel bore his testimony and it was one of the most beautiful testimonies i have ever Heard. In all the lessons we had with him he always had some sort of doubt and in his testimony he said that before he had some doubts but the second he entered the wáter and was baptized he said all the doubts were washed away and that he KNEW the góspel was true and that he knew his mom and sister would join him in the church one day. It is amazing how in literally just a few days the hearts of many can be changed.
We also had the baptism of the Hernández Lopez family. They were late to their own baptism and we were FREAKING OUT, but they showed up and they said that there were no combis and no taxis and they knew that Satan was trying his hardest to make sure they wouldn't be baptized, but they made it. The baptism was so sweet, everyone was in tears.
YES, I GOT A VIOLIN! For Luis Angels baptism I played If the Savior stood beside me with a brother in the Ward and an investigator (cello and bass) it was AWESOME and for the other baptism I played Mas Cerca Dios de Ti
No, I haven't received my Halloween package, on Halloween day we had some kids trying to knock at our door, but we didn't have any Candy hahaha oops.  bad missionaries :)
I hope all is well and that you are doing your family home evenings, family prayers everyday and your scripture studies. I don't want to hear that my investigators are doing more than you guys, eh hahaha
My área and Ward is called Xicoténcatl, the city is Apizaco if you want to look it up on google
con amor, hna ibarra


Week- 32
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

HOLA FAMILIA! I hope all is o.k. with Sarah, I was thinking a lot about the surgery and hoping that all would turn out alright and that she wouldn't end up with the same complications I had. On Thursday it felt like someone punched me in the face, but whatever, i feel like this is something i will probably have to deal with for the rest of my life, but if it is in the lords will it is o.k. :)
No, I dont have changes and I am really happy. Hna Zarate and I are getting along really well and though we don't have a lot of investigators and we are slowly loosing the few we have we have lots of ideas for this next cambio. Also this week we will be having lots of reunions, 2 with area seventies! I am really excited for them to "plancharme" so i can be a better missionary jajaja
This week was super fast, like always. one of our great investigators is Jennifer Lopez (I know right, we are just that cool jajaja) she lives with her "husband" (not married) who is a less active member his mother (less active) and his brother who is a recently returned missionary. My first couple weeks her we had great lessons with her and he had a baptism date scheduled for this month, but then she went on vacation and then began working so we didn't have communication with her or the family for like 4 weeks but we finally found her yesterday! the mother and return missionary were in church and said we could eat with them afterwards. note: hna zarate was hoping and praying that Jennifer would be eating with us because she doesnt really like the mom... at all. haha. whenever we pass by her in different place she gives my companion strange looks but then just loves to talk to me so my goal was to try to make everyone as comfortable as possible haha. as we were eating with just her i felt impressed to ask her if she would like to do a musical number with me for christmas because her family has the voice of angels and shesaid yes! i pulled out my violin because she asked if i knew a hymn she really liked and we ended up singing and playing together.  We played Oh Mi Padre (oh my father) and it was the most beautiful thing i have ever heard. My companion was in tears afterwards and the spirit was so strong. Then the mom invited us to do christmas decorations with her! us and the whole family began to do decorations and she has invited us to come back the next sunday to help them with their tree! The spirit and music have crazy ways of changing hearts and refinding our investigators. 
I read a scripture the other day that really touched me and summarized this whole cambio that i would love to share with you. you all know the story, when nephi breaks his bow and everyone begins to murmur, including lehi. First amazing thing that happens is that nephi doesnt permit the negative feelings of others to affect his attitude and spirit and he decides to come up with a solution. he works with what he has and he make a new bow. the next part is what strikes me the hardest. after he made the bow he goes to his murmuring father to ask where he should go to find the food. Nephi showed incredible humility through this action, i know if it were me six weeks ago i would have thought i would follow my own judgement on what to do because everyone else is murmuring and probably doesnt have the spirit. nephi recognized that his father had more knowledge than him even in his weakened state and he knew his father could help him so even though in this instance he probably could have recieved revelation from god himself he choose to be humble and ask his father, which lead his father to repentance and feeling important and remembering who he was. 
love you all so much! the elders told me that they do have a package for me so i should be recieving it soon. hope you all have a great thanksgiving! eat lots of turkey for me please!
con amor hna ibarra

Getting a little wet this week!

Week- 31
Area- Tlaxcala, Xicotencatl
Companion- Hermana Zarate

Fwd: getting a little wet this wee

first, i will answer all your questions....

Are you collecting any recipes? I tried, but nobody writes anything down, they are just naturally amazing cooks haha
Are you writing in your journal? i try but there is hardly any time, usually once a week
have you developed callouses on your knees from praying? haha yes, i have dryspots on my knees and my feet have a bunch
Have you finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish yet? no
Are you riding taxis more than buses? lots and lots of combis (vw buses)
how far are you from the Mission home? like 2 hours
Do you get Pizza? when we go to puelba haha
is the chorizo and eggs better in Mexico?SOOOO MUCH BETTER
are corn toritillas now your favorite, or still flour? the corn tortillas are amazing here, the flour are really good, but corn is better
are my tamales even any good compared to the real MEXICAN ones? no comment haha
Are you tired of your clothes yet? yes, but i have 2 different skirts that were gifts
Do you ever see monkeys?no
Do you ever ride Donkeys? no, but in serdan there were a bunch
What is the next festival or holiday thats coming? dia de muerte (halloween)
Are they planning for Christmas already like the stores here are? no
DO you sing with the choir? yes
are you playing any violin? yes, we are trying to find a violin this week so i can play for our baptism
Are you tired of my questions?no comment hahahaha

This week we have a family being baptized, the Hernandez Lopez family! The mother is a member and her husband and daughter and son (9 and 10) will be baptized this week! They have already had their interviews and I have never seen anyone so excited for baptism! Also, Luis Angel will be baptized this week if his mom will sign his baptismal form, so please pray that she will. He is 14 years old.
The companionship was a whole lot better this weekend, we are feeling the spirit really strongly in the lessons and we had 3 of our new investigators come to church this week!!!! Please pray for Hna Zarate, she has osteoperosis and her bones have been bothering her. Please also pray for my hair hahaha It is super frizzy and looks like a barbie doll after 3 years of wear and tear hahaha i was loosing a bit of it the other day too, not to freak you out haha
Hna Lopez and Hna Eyring slept over at our place the other night because their house got filled with chinchis ewwwwwww poor hna eyring got bit up... 
Last night Hna Zarate and I watched 17 miracles, it was the first time i had ever seen it and i was bawling like a baby hahaha if you want to see a good movie, WATCH IT
As for my mouth.... still isnt normal, but it isnt bad. i dont want to freak you out, but on the back right side i have formed a little bump, kinda like the ones i was forming before it started shooting out crazy nasty puss, so i am keeping my eye on it, it is a little sore at times if i try to brush it too hard, but im not too worried about it right now. We have interviews with the pres and his wife on friday, so if it is still there i will talk to sis christensen, so you dont need to because if you do she freaks out hahaha 
it is very warm here, i like it alot, and we walk a bunch. we walked for an hour to visit a recent convert and then waited for 20 min for her not to show up and then we walked back hahaha so we wasted like 3 hours one morning, but I am so happy here, we had ward conference this week so we were in the chapel alot practicing with the choir and preping for our baptisms. I was one of the only sopranos and all the ladies thought my voice was amazing, we all not thats not true, but it made me feel dandy hahahahaha
love you all so much! All the crazy cool stuff is coming out this week for day of the dead (halloween) so ill try to take some pics if i see some cool stuff
con amor
hna ibarra

Hernandez Lopez Family baptism