I love Easter Sunday! April 17, 2017

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week has been really awesome. I don’t have too much time today but Sister Phelon and I have been able to see the Lord’s tender mercies a lot this week. We were really excited yesterday because we had 7 non members at church. It was awesome because many of them were family members of branch members. It was really awesome to see that and the number of less actives that came was amazing too.
Later that day we had a member text us and say her friend, who had come to church that day, was interested in learning more and wanted to set up a lesson with us. Member missionary work is awesome! I have found in the Brownsville Branch that many of the youth invite their friends to activities and to church and they come. I love it. They are such a great example and they are making an impact in their friends lives. The members here are really awesome too and missionary minded. They are constantly looking for ways to share the gospel with their friends. Sister Phelon and I feel that the Lord has much in store for this area and we are just seeing the beginning’s of it.
I have to go but I just wanted to testify to all of you that I know Jesus died on the cross but that he rose from the grave on the third day. I know that because of his resurrection we not only will be resurrected and have a perfect body after we die someday, but that all things that are broken can be made whole through Him. I know that Heavenly Father created a plan because he loves us and part of that plan was Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Easter may have been a man made holiday but one of the members here pointed out that Christmas and Easter are about 6 months apart. We are reminded to think of Jesus in both of those events. It is to remember Him. I thought that was really cool.
I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission
P.S. If you didn’t get to watch the Easter video that the church released I would encourage you to do so. It was quite powerful and the Principle of Peace videos are really great too. 🙂

Easter – April 17, 2017

Dear familia and friends,

I am doing great this week! The work here in Brownsville is going forward and I am excited because there just seems to be a feeling of change in the air that Sister Phelon and I are excited to see what is to come. I will tell more in the other email. We had many Investigators and non members at church yesterday. There were seven and that is the most that I have ever had at church. 

I loved sacrament meeting yesterday. The spirit was really strong. It was super cute because the primary kids sang a song and it was adorable because you have to understand in our branch our primary is about ten kids. It was super cute. One of the speakers I absolutely loved because he talked about feeling God’s love for us and that we are here to become like the Savior through the atonement. It was an amazing talk. 

The wind was really strong on Friday. . . April 10, 2017

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week has been up and down and all about. 🙂 I got a new companion and her name is Sister Phelon. She is pretty awesome and I am excited to see all that we can accomplish together.
My whole district actually got shook up and one of the crazy things for me is that one of my past areas, Sweet Home, just got whitewashed this transfer. That means that the missionaries there were both taken out and two new ones put in. And this time it was Sisters they took out and Elders that they put in. I am excited to see how these Elders can help the area and see the miracles that come. On my district meeting on Friday I was really excited about all of the new missionaries that I got in  my district and I am really excited to get to serve around them. They all seem amazing. Also, it is really cool because one of the Sisters that I came out with that I haven’t got to serve around since is now serving in Lebanon so I am excited about that.
Brownsville has been doing awesome. I love the members here. And those that we are teaching. There is one lady that we are teaching and her name is Pattie. She has come a long ways and this week it was super exciting because usually we call her to remind her about church but this past Sunday we forgot until the meeting had started and we thought she might not come but she did! It was awesome! The members have really taken her in and then, one of the families in our ward has started a break the fast activity every fast Sunday and we invited her to that and she came! She even brought her daughter. It was really awesome to see that.
Then there is Olivia. Olivia has such a strong testimony of the gospel but she just has some things holding her back from coming to church. We had a lesson with her yesterday, which was a miracle, and she was talking to us and while she was talking we were trying to figure out what was keeping her from progressing. And she basically told us right then and there. Answer to our prayers, the Lord really wants her to progress. We now are striving to help her overcome these things.
Other than that we have just been doing a lot of finding and phone contacting, which had some really interesting conversations, and some possible leads from members of friends that might be interested in taking the discussions.
On a different note, Easter is next week! Can you believe it? Time flies so fast and I am so excited for Easter. I hope that as we all prepare and remember that Christ rose on the third day and that he does live we can find that our testimonies are strengthened. I know that Jesus Christ does live and that he truly overcame death so that we can too someday. I love this gospel!
I hope you all have a fantastic week and that you are able to share the message of our risen Savior with your friends and family.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

Beginning April on a Spiritual High April 3, 2017

Dear Familia and Friends,

Transfers fall on some strange days and we got our calls about transfers on April Fools. Sister Judd and I were positive that we would be staying together for another transfer but the Lord had other plans. Sister Judd is going to Amity and I am staying here in Brownsville. My new companion will be Sister Phelon. As my companion described it (because they were MTC companions) you pay a fee for the lawn. Phelon. There you go. Don’t forget.
Transfers aside, this week was awesome. I loved general conference and I learned so much from all of the speakers. I loved President Monson’s especially because he spoke about making sure that the Book of Mormon is a part of our lives and that we make sure to keep our testimonies alive by feasting from its pages daily. I loved that so much because in my life I have seen the influence that daily scripture study has in my life and I love it. It brings peace and added resources for contending with the things that come up during the day. I can tell now when I miss a day and if I miss in the morning I try to read in the evening. Feast upon the Book of Mormon because in those pages we find Christ.
Also, the new Easter message (#princeofpeace) was released on Friday and it is awesome! If you haven’t seen it yet I would encourage you to do so and then also watch the videos on the Principles of Peace that go along with it. They are amazing. As we go into this time where we celebrate the life of our Savior let us remember the amazing gift that he gave us. Resurrection and the joy of seeing our departed family members again someday. It reminds me of conference and our leaders encouraging us to bring The Living Christ into our studies. I will say that that is a powerful document and the truths that it states within it are amazing. Cherish those truths.
I hope you all enjoyed conference and were able to participate in Saturday’s session of sustaining and supporting our prophet, apostles, and other church leaders. I love the Saturday session because of that. Also, that you were able to listen to President Monson’s talk on Sunday morning. It was amazing!
I know that this gospel was restored to its fullness through Joseph Smith by God.I know that we have a living prophet today, President Monson and that he truly receives revelation from God for all of us to protect and direct us in these days. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that is testifies of Christ and that it truly does invite us to come unto Christ.
I love you all and hope you see miracles this week as you strive to follow the counsel that our inspired leaders shared with us this past weekend.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

Go forth in faith. March 27, 2017

Dear Familia and Friends,

I am doing good here in Brownsville and we are seeing miracles. This week I have been learning about receiving revelation and going forward in faith with that revelation. It has been amazing as I have listened to women’s conference and gained insight that had nothing to do with what the speaker was saying and even in zone conference. Our leaders are so inspired and are there to guide and direct us in this mortal experience that we are going through. albany sisters
This is a picture of our group that went to women’s conference in Albany this weekend and the girl in the middle on the right is Celia. She is friend’s with Grace, the girl to her right, and she invited her to watch the women’s conference with her. Celia is not a member but she is very open to hearing about what we believe. She is super sweet and when Grace invited her to church the following day she said yes if her mom would allow her. Her mom said yes and she was able to come to church. The awesome part about it is that many church members and young women know her and just welcomed her in. It was really cool to see the way that this Branch invites those in that are either visiting or investigating. It also happened to be our ward conference and that was an awesome meeting. Our new stake president spoke about following the promptings of the spirit and recognizing it and about how our leaders and parents are there to protect and help us. It was powerful.
I know that the Lord asks us to do hard things and sometimes we don’t want to do them but if we go forward in faith, trusting in him and being obedient, we will be blessed. I know that as we prepare for general conference this weekend that we may be able to receive a confirmation again of our prophet, President Monson, being called of God to lead and guide us in these days.
 I love you all and enjoy your week and especially enjoy general conference!
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission
Birthday wishes from Pres. and Sis. Tateoka

March 20, 2017 Green was in. . .

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week was filled with green. Let me explain. My mission is a technology mission and because of that we have tablets that have our area book on it. It comes in a nifty app. The color set for finding people (like contacting potentials, former’s, knocking doors,etc.) is green and this week is filled with green. Sister Judd and I have been going through our area book contacting those that we felt we should from our potentials, which are those who missionaries have met in the past and the person showed interest, and our former’s, which are those who were taught by missionaries but were dropped because they no longer were progressing or no longer were interested. Sadly, the field was not white in many of those we tried contacting this week but we now know that they are not ready and can move to those who are ‘white and ready to harvest.’ (That was paraphrased). At the beginning of my mission finding was not my favorite thing to do but as I have been out longer I have found a certain love for it. I get to meet many good people, many that are Christian some that aren’t, and talk with them about Christ. Or at least try to. I get to have some really awkward door conversations and even more awkward phone conversations (for those in our area book that only have a phone number) but somehow I have grown to love it. I can’t pinpoint when the change happened but I love those moments. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is still hard when I come across those who aren’t so nice when they tell you they would rather you not come around again but it was worth it. I was reading something this week that said that our purpose as missionaries is to open our mouths and tell as many people as possible about Christ and His message. And that is what I get to do in finding.
But with all this finding I have been able to see the Lord guiding us to people that we needed to see. Which means that we prayed a lot. One thing I think we can all agree on is that missionaries pray a lot. And when you find that another appointment has cancelled or that you just have a couple minutes left until you have to get to another appointment you pray. Or at least that is what Sister Judd and I have been trying to do more. Making sure that we seek the Lord’s will on how we spend His time. And in many instances this week I have seen the benefit of first seeking His will and then going to do the work. We contacted a potential within minutes of her getting home on one occasion and on another we were led to a less active that we were able to visit with and testify of the power of scriptures in her life. We did not see might miracles of mountains moving or the waters parting but we saw that God does care and he knows what we do not.
The power of prayer is real. I don’t know how many times this has come up in the past three weeks but apparently the Lord needs this message to be heard. He is there, he hears our prayers, and if we are willing to listen he can answer those prayers too. Prayer is the way we communicate with God and what a wonderful gift that is to us. And I will add that there are many times on my mission that I have prayed for something or someone and I have seen that prayer fulfilled. It amazes me every single time and sometimes, I’ll admit, I think was that just a coincidence or is this real? But it is real. God can do anything and as we trust in Him and His timing, we will see all the promises we have been given fulfilled.
I love this gospel and I know that it is true and that this church has the fullness of Christ’s teachings. If you don’t know this and you would like to I would encourage you to ask God in prayer and you will receive an answer.
I hope you all see miracles this week!
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

A week all about accepting change – March 13, 2017

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week was one to remember. Filled with mice, interviews, and stake conference plus the over-encompassing knowledge that God is there, it made the cutoff.
This week Sister Judd and I have been going through our potentials and we prayerfully selected those we felt like we needed to try and contact. Then we went to and started knocking on their doors to find that some no longer lived there, some really didn’t want to see us (we saw them through the window and could hear them talking yet the door remained closed), and others had no way to contact them so sadly they could not remain in our areabook. We did however have a tender mercy from the Lord in meeting Corey. Corey remembered the missionaries that had come to his door before and he wanted to know about our beliefs and religion. It was amazing to see his openness and readiness to hear what we had to share. We ended up talking to him for about an hour and leaving him with a Book of Mormon. We extended Moroni’s promise to him and bore our testimonies that if he sought to know of the truth of the things we were sharing with real intent, that he would receive his answer. We are going back this week to see how it went but my companion and I were very excited. This was how our week began. Miracle blessed!
Fast forward to the end of the week where I received a witness again that the Lord knows me and through others he answered my questions, my concerns, and even, in a loving way, informed me that I needed to change. It started in district meeting where we talked about our true identity. We discussed who we really are as sons and daughters of God and what that means for us. We related that to knowing who we are as missionaries and what difference that makes in how we act, speak, and even think. It is so important to know who we are because we cannot go out and inform others who they are if we do not know who we are ourselves. (Did that confuse you? Hopefully not.) My district leader said that he had had the thought to do a training on this a while ago but he put it off, and it kept coming back.
How does this relate to me? I don’t know about all of you but sometimes in  our lives we cannot see how much we have grown and changed. How over time we learn new things, become better than we were and yet to us we are still that ugly duckling that doesn’t fit in so we leave and hide. We refuse to see that we have changed and become a swan, until we decide to look at our reflections again. In the story the ugly duckling sees swans flying overhead and follows them. When he reaches them and the lake they are at, he finds to his surprise that he is just like them. I have met some amazing people and missionaries as I have been serving and for me I couldn’t see that all this time I have been changing. I knew that I had changed but I couldn’t see it all. When I got transferred here to Brownsville it was almost like I looked in that lake and saw who I have become. Sister Judd has helped me see how much knowledge I have gained, how much I have changed, and who I am becoming. She has been out six months and I have been out thirteen and with her I could finally see the difference in me. I found that things that I had found hard or scary before were no longer scary or hard. I had gained through experience that confidence that I could do the work the Lord asked me to do. And I know just like me, that if we chose to look at ourselves now, compared to where we were before, we would find that we had all become swans in our own rights. Tender mercy of the Lord.
However, that wasn’t it. Yesterday I had stake conference and in this stake conference our Stake President was released and a new one was called. It was an amazing experience and the spirit was so strong. We had Elder Blunk(?) and Elder Keetch come. Elder Blunk explained how a new presidency is called and the process is really cool. I’m not going to explain it but I will say that the Lord’s kingdom is one of order and just like everything else, there was order to this calling. The whole conference was about conversion and being converted but not in the way that you would think. It was how through prayer, church attendance and reading the scriptures the leaders that spoke gained their testimonies of the gospel and the confirmation that it was true. But not just that. President Carlisle (he was the stake president that got released) spoke about change and how we cannot be satisfied with where we are at, we have to be ready to change. He said we need to “change our hearts to submit our wills so that we are obedient to God’s commandments.” I love that. And for me it was a reminder. The message I received this weekend can basically be summed up in that line. The Lord was telling me that I need to be ready and willing to accept the change that comes into my life so that I will be in line with His will. That isn’t the easiest thing to do. To trust the Lord, to know what he is doing is best for me is hard and I think for most it is. But this is the promise that President Carlisle gave. In Mosiah 5 King Benjamin is talking to his people and when they accept his words and gain that confirmation that they are true, it says “…which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”  When we submit our wills to God we will want to continually do good. That is an amazing promise. I know that in our lives we sometimes wish that we could have an easy road or even just a different path than the one we are on. But I also know that God knows best and if we put our trust in Him and go forward with faith and align our wills with his we will be abundantly blessed to continually do good.
I love you all and would encourage you all to put your trust in the Lord and see the good that comes into your life.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission
P.S. You are probably wondering about the mice. We found some in our apartment but with the help of our landlord they seem to no longer be a problem. But it added to the adventures this week.