March 6, 2017 Brownsville

 

This picture was sent from a member in Oregon.

darcie and comp jan 17  Dear Familia and Friends,

Another week has come and gone and with it came the wind. It is very rude actually. But I guess since the groundhog saw its shadow winter just had to stick around for another six weeks. (sigh)
Putting that behind us, this week has been really good. I love the people here in Brownsville. I got to meet more members and they are all so amazing. I also got to meet an investigator who has a New Orleans accent. Her name is Pattie and she is one cool lady. She was out of town until this past Friday but we were able to see her yesterday and she is a strong spirit. She has come through a lot of trials but she still has that firm faith in Jesus Christ and that is amazing to see. I kept hearing about her from the members and my companion but I finally got to put the name to a face and I am really excited to get to know her more.
I also got to meet Seth. Seth had been looking into the church before but for a little while the missionaries couldn’t get in contact with him. This past week though he called us up and asked if he could meet with us. He is another one who has a had a rough life, but I have found that as I have been out that everyone has their different struggles and trials but the Lord is very much aware of them and when we enter their lives it is usually in answer to them reaching out for help. And the gospel is such an amazing thing that it covers all the walks of life because it is a pattern which we live after. Anyways, we were able to meet with Seth and he is an amazing young man. He recognizes that he has to put in the effort to find for himself if what we are teaching him is true. I will just have to wait and see where it goes with him because I feel that in this case it depends very much on his decision to let the Lord in. He has that choice, that use of agency and I hope that he will let it change him.
I also had a Zone Training Meeting this week and that was really fun. It was strange though being back with other sisters because in my last zone me and my companion were the only sisters. We talked about having faith as we are going out as missionaries and knowing that God will lead and direct us if we show him that faith. We also talked about being joyful missionaries because our message is one of happiness and if we aren’t happy, who is going to believe in our message. It was a good reminder. I just love zone meetings because it seems that we all have the same problems but here we can address them and figure out solutions to overcoming these stumbling blocks. I got a lot of insight this week from ZTM.
I almost forgot but something really exciting happened for me this week. One of the things that we do in Brownsville to serve the community is volunteer at the library so for the first time in about thirteen months I finally got to step into a library! It was so exciting because I am an avid reader and the library is one of my favorite places to be. It was really awesome and I am looking forward to going back and serving there every week. Don’t worry though, I didn’t read or plan to read any of the books there. Just help in whatever way I can. Reading back over this I bet some of you were thinking that I was going to say that I turned 21 this week which also did happen and I got a milkshake. It was a good birthday.
I know that Heavenly Father gives us answers to our prayers and our pleas for guidance. It may not happen in our time though, it will always happen in His. But I know that they come. I also know that I haven’t gotten answers to some things in my life but I have faith that those will come too. I know that by focusing on the basics in our lives we can become more at peace with ourselves and with those around us. The world gets so distracting sometimes but when we remove those distractions and replace them with the simple ways of the gospel, we find Jesus Christ as our foundation and that everything else falls into place.
I love you all and hope that you find that the simpleness of the gospel is enough and the best way to live.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission
(I am missing the end of January and February – don’t know what button I hit wrong – Mom)

Mawwiage, Mawwiage is what brings us together today….. January 16, 2017

 

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week has seemed to go on for a long time. I had transfers at the beginning of this week and sadly, Sister Hart got transferred to Dayton. We got along really well and I miss her but she will do amazing things in her new area.
jan transfer
The highlight of my week though has really been Diana and Ed. They got married on Saturday and it was so cute. They are amazing people and they are so happy. They also both had their baptism interviews and they are cleared for baptism!!! I am so excited for them and they should be getting baptized this Saturday if all goes well. They are looking forward to this so much and it has really been amazing to be along for the ride with them to see how they have changed. They are so excited.
diane and Ed
This week I had Fast Sunday because it was new year’s the first week, church was cancelled the next week and then the Stake asked us to hold Fast Sunday still. So it was yesterday. The whole testimony meeting was about the priesthood and the blessing it is in our lives and the miracles that come from it. It was powerful and I loved it. A couple of them were about change in our lives and how the priesthood plays a part in that. I really liked one shared by a Sister in the ward about how we are afraid sometimes to change because we care more about what the people around us are going to say or think more than we care about what God will think. Those changes that we resolve to do instantly, not over time. She also talked about how sometimes it does take time for change, it just depends. I really liked that testimony because as I look back at where I started when I came out and where I am I can see that I have changed but I still have things that I need to change and some of them are scary, but I realized as she was speaking that I just needed to turn it over to the Lord and he would take care of the rest, as long as I did my best.
I know that this gospel is the way to everlasting happiness and that by living and abiding by the commandments and counsel given to us by God that we will see rich blessings in our lives. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet today and that he guides us in things of the present and the things to come. I know that the Book of Mormon is a marvelous work and a wonder and that by reading it we may not have the perfect life, but we will have all the tools we need to combat the things of the world. I love this gospel and I leave this testimony with you.
I hope you all see miracles this week, even the small ones.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

January 9, 2017

 

I am not really learning Marshallese anymore because the
Elders have really taken over that part of the work. I have retained a
little bit so that I can converse with them and just let them know I
care about them. It has been fun though.

January 2, 2017!

Dear Mom and Family,

Happy New Year! Guess what!?! It is snowing again today so welcome to the weird weather system of Oregon. It’s the best.
 I am doing well. This has been a really great and busy week. Just to let you know I will probably not send out a mass email today. That isn’t a goal for this new year either so it will continue to be a work in progress. When I write one, I will send it.
The work is going well. We did have an investigator at church. It was Diane. She is getting married to Ed on the 14th and in our lesson on Friday we set a baptism date with them for the 21st! It was super amazing. I was on splits at the time with Sister Hart and I didn’t know if we would get them on date but it happened! They are an amazing couple and they really have put in the commitment and dedication to learning the gospel. We asked them in our lesson how they had come to know the truth of the things that we had been teaching them and they said through prayer and reading their scriptures. It is amazing to me that the basics are really what help us remain built upon the rock, which is our Redeemer. Sister Mickelson has actually used the phrase as “spiritual doctors” we check the basics first and going to church, praying, and reading your scriptures are the three that can usually be found are lacking that has weakened our spiritual foundation. My testimony was just strengthened though when they said that was how they came to know.
I am still in a threesome, which we have now labeled the Tri-Awesomeness, and will be at least until transfers which are on January 10. We had five sisters leave though and only one is coming in so we are waiting with bated breath to see what happens with these transfers. It is going really well though. We get along great and I think that is mostly because we spent so much time all together before because my companion and I and YSA are the only sisters in our zone. I don’t have those things to contend with mother, you are right, for which I am very grateful. The only thing I have had to contend with so far are spiders. We had a bunk bed and separate bed already because a trio existed right before I came in and we have two bathrooms.
Also, in the works this week we met with a man that YSA came across trying to visit a former and had a gospel conversation. He had heard some things about Mormons that weren’t true and we were able to correct them. We were also able to testify of truths that we knew and helped him come closer to Christ. It was a really powerful experience for me. All three of us were there and we heard each others testimonies. It was a really neat experience and I have loved being able to serve in a trio this week.
Also this week, exciting/ very nerve-wracking thing was that my mission president and his wife attended my district meeting this past Friday. Of course I was giving a training that day. It was good though. Our district meetings are all at the same time now because President wanted to be able to come by to any of them when he felt like he needed to. It just happened to be mine on Friday. It was weird to have them there but also really cool because their comments were really good.
This week I have been studying conference talks and the first was The Doctrine of Christ and the second was Repentance, A Joyful Choice. They are amazing and one of my favorite parts is from Elder Renlund’s when he talks about the atonement. It is from Elder Packer actually but it is as follows, “The Atonement leaves no tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed. … It just heals, and what it heals stays healed.
He continued:
“The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, [the Savior] has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. …
“… The Atonement … can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated.”
I loved this so much because in his notes it references Elder Packer’s talk and it talks about when our spirits are damaged the atonement heals them so that there is no scar left. There is nothing because it has been put back to a perfect state. I know that the atonement is real and that through applying it in our lives we can gain greater power to overcome our weaknesses and strength to carry on. If you find yourself struggling as this new year begins turn to the Savior because he is waiting to help and his help can make us whole, with no scars. I hope you all see miracles this week!
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

 

 

 

December 27, 2016 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Dear Family and Friends,

I know that is a cheesy statement (my subject line) but it is truth.
This week has been filled with singing, great food, and spiritual upliftment. I started this week with a special Christmas zone conference type thing on Tuesday. My zone and the Lebanon Zone got together and we had a Christmas dinner, which was really good, and a talent show. My favorite was the 12 days of Christmas-missionary style. They talked about dogs barking, oyming (opening your mouth), walking, holes in shoes, new greenies, and so on. It was awesome. Two of the Elders in my zone and then me and my companion and the YSA sisters all sang O Come O Come Emmanuel. That was fun. Sister Hanna played the violin to accompany (she is one of the YSA sisters). It was a great time that we had to gather together and strengthen one another through our talents.
We also went Caroling on Wednesday with the youth in our ward. They were going around in a bus collecting food for one of the organizations here in Salem. It was fun and really cold because we had the windows rolled down so that as we drove around people could hear us singing. It was a really neat experience and we were able to get a decent amount of food from members in our ward.
Then on Friday I had ZTM. The spirit was really strong and the focus was on obedience and the power and strength that comes from being obedient. Later that afternoon we went over to a members home and helped them make cookies for their family function and cleaned her house so that she could come home afterwards to a clean home. It was really fun to do and their family is so sweet. Then we had a lesson with our investigators Diane and Ed and they surprised us with their marriage license! They have set the date for January 14 and Diane already bought a dress and they asked the Bishop to marry them. I am so excited and we are one step closer to them being able to be baptized. They have come so far and it is amazing.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas I did a lot of caroling and there was one experience where we sang to our Relief Society President’s neighbors and the one didn’t answer the door but there was a man standing outside at the house next door and we were able to talk to him about our beliefs. His were very similar and he has had some amazing experiences in his life that have brought him closer to God. You never know where the Lord will put someone in your path that needs you, but I know that that is where we needed to be.
As I have been out I have seen the way that the world can overpower the true meaning of Christmas and I have been able to share with people the things that my family has done to make Christ the center of Christmas and the strength that has come from doing that. I have loved being able to share the good news this Christmas. I know that this gospel blesses lives and that when we focus on Christ, we are headed on the path to peace. And that applies to all year, not just Christmas. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and that you all have a great start to the new year.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission

December 19, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week it decided to snow in Oregon on Wednesday. It continued
snowing on Thursday and I am pretty sure there were still flurries on
Friday. Snow equals lots of walking and me and my companion calculated
for at least two days this week we walked around nine miles. Good
times. On Thursday I was super excited because we went caroling at the
hospital as a district. We went around to different places and sang
and it was really cool to be able to see the joy it brought to people
and how it brought smiles to people’s faces.

On Friday our ZTM was moved because our cars were grounded so we had
district meeting instead and made waffles and then we talked about
Christmas traditions and read the story of Christ’s birth in Luke. It
was really cool. We also had a lesson with some of our investigators
and they are getting married! I am so excited because they have come
so far and after they are married they can get baptized. They are
planning to be married by the end of the year! Super exciting.

Funny story: Me and my companion were walking to our dinner
appointment which was up a big hill in our area. It was really awesome
because Sister Mickelson paused to gain her footing and she just
started sliding. There was no traction she couldn’t make headway. So I
stepped on the other side of the curb and braced myself to pull her
up. It was great. We hadn’t even started up the hill actually, we were
getting out of the jack in the box parking lot. It was really funny.

Anyways, on Sunday we met with a less active in our Ward and she is
the sweetest lady. She has a son who is very active and he has some of
the cutest kids she tells us stories about them. She has a good heart
and just some things that came up that got in the way but she believes
in God. She has a one of a kind personality and I absolutely love her
because of it. She says it like it is and then she is so big on her
family. Sometimes those in our life who have strayed aren’t as far
away as we think. They are rather close and have a great capacity of
love.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and that because of his sacrifice we
have the chance to change and become better. I hope you all have a
Merry Christmas and think of Christ and his gift this season. Love you
all

Sister Elizondo
Salem Oregon Mission

 

It snowed and this is when we had just gotten home! It was still
snowing when we took this picture and this was Thursday.

December 13, 2016

Dear Familia and Friends,

This week has been just the beginning of the Christmas season and it has been awesome. I had my ward Christmas breakfast on this past Saturday and that was really fun.. We had a great turnout and me and my companion got to introduce ourselves to some of the new move ins and get to know them better. There was also a Christmas musical devotional last night and it was amazing. It brought the spirit so strongly and it truly started feeling like Christmas.
This week was somewhat strange because my companion got invited to MLC this past week and on Thursday I spent the day with the YSA sisters. It was weird but I had fun. It was mostly weekly planning though so I didn’t get to explore some of their area. We were going to go heart attack some one in their ward but that was the day that it snowed and both of them are from Arizona. They had never driven in snow and it was really interesting. I loved that time though that I had to hang out with them because Sister Hanna and Sister Hart are amazing and Sister Hanna is going home this transfer. One of the big things that happened at this MLC though was that a change has been made to our mission with technology. We are now able to use skype and facetime to have lessons with members! We are really excited to get this going and with technology being a big connector today we are excited to see the difference it will make in helping our investigators progress.
I also read the whole book of Mosiah this past week and that was really cool. It covers so much but it shows the power of God in the lives of people and how much he cares and helps them in their trials. It also shows how the Lord is so merciful and helps his people find his gospel. I love the Book of Mormon so much.
That is all I really have time for today but I hope that you all have a good week and continue to spread the spirit of Christ this Christmas season. By the way, today is Jesus Taught Others and So Can You! Hope you have fun.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission