Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Has Arrived!

Linnea's most recent letter announced that winter had officially arrived.  She also shared that riding a bicycle in the snow is NOT very fun.  Linnea has been in Salt Lake City for 3 transfers.  (Each transfer is 6 weeks).  At each transfer there is the possibility of being moved to a new area.  Linnea was excited that she was able to stay in Rose Park.  She has met many people that she has grown to love.  Her companion transferred and she is with a new companion and 2 additional sister missionaries who are waiting for their visas to is headed to Spain and the other to Brazil...when their visas arrive.

In December Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke at the Salt Lake City Mission's Devotional.   Linnea is in the center of the photo right above and to the left of Sis. Oaks (in red).

Elder Oaks and his wife

Linnea at the Mission Home.  Sis Winn, the mission president's wife is next to Linnea.

Linnea, having breakfast at the mission home.  She loves her beanie!

Here is what Linnea had to say:

I am still in Rose Park! Yesssss. I love it here in the hood where it smells like carne asada every day. This is the area EVERY Spanish speaking missionary wants to serve and I'm super lucky to be here still. Anyway, here is a little run down on how transfers went...My two visa-waiters...Hna Marshall and Hna Johnson are still with me and I love it! They are the best and we get a long SUPER well. We work together great. Its the best. My new companion is Hna Magdaleno, originally from Guanajuato, MX but came from California. She is a convert of just around 3 years and is the best. This transfer is going to be awesome. I love her. This is going to be so different from my last 2 transfers...a good different.

A Missionary's New Years

On to this week....just a quick glimpse on New 5:30 all the missionaries went to the mission office for a dinner and to play some games. It was pretty fun and super fun to be around all the missionaries. We played dodgeball and tug of war and other sorts of games against zones which was fun. Then Sis Winn passed around noise makers at 9PM and we counted down the New Year as if we were in NY haha complete with a New Year's kiss between Pres and Sis Winn. Then before we left the islanders treated us to a haka which I got on video especially for dad so the next time I send home my memory card you can see it :) That was my New Year we were home and in bed by 10:30! Partying hard as a missionary. It was super weird because we were allowed to wear jeans or Pday clothes to the party and the Elders also let us borrow their car to get there. It felt super weird to: 1) be driving in a car and 2 )wearing regular clothes. All 4 of us(my companionship) were like this is super weird we dont even feel like missionaries right now. Its been months since I've worn jeans.

 And finally this...

 This week we had some pretty crazy experiences some good and some not so good. Some of these stories will have to be shared after the mission :) but it just strengthens my faith and knowledge that we are protected by the Lord.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Best Christmas Gift 

On Christmas Day we were able to Skype with Linnea.  That was my best gift!  It was so fun to be able to talk to her and SEE her.  She had fun talking to all her siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles who were at our house for Christmas dinner.

The next day we got our weekly email from Linnea and she shared this:

This week we had a miracle baptism. His name is Joaquin. We have been teaching Joaquin for about a month or so and he is the definition of a changed man. His wife and 2 oldest kids were baptized Dec 2 and he wanted to be baptized with them but he had not been to church and we hadn't taught him enough for him to be ready. Joaquin was someone who NEVER let the missionaries in before and even made it uncomfortable for his in-laws who were living with them to receive the lessons in his home. The thing that made the biggest difference for him I think was going to Temple Square. We took his wife and kids before their baptism and he decided he wanted to go, but on the condition that we don't ask him any questions. We showed him the temple model and the movie God's Plan. He got teary-eyed when he watched the movie and we asked him if he'd like to have an eternal family and of course he said yes. We took our time with him and really made sure he felt comfortable and felt the Spirit. It was hard to get him to pray or participate in lessons at first because he felt embarrassed but through much help from the Lord we were able to overcome that fear. You could just tell from the look in his eyes that he was learning something that he was searching for his whole life. We even helped him quit smoking! (a long-time habit for him) Joaquin definitely made a complete turnaround and was a golden investigator with a dusty exterior at first, but with lots of hard work and prayer we helped this family become more united through the gospel of Jesus Christ and there is really nothing better than that. Joaquin is the sweetest man ever. He always makes sure we have a water bottle or food. He invited us over for a special lunch before his baptismal interview and made us delicious quesadillas and frijoles! So good.
     This Wed is transfers and I will find out tomorrow if I leave. Either Picuasi or I will leave here I think. I doubt we will both stay again for another transfer. I don't want to leave because I love the people but I at the same time I am okay and ready to leave if thats what the Lord wants.  It has been freezing here but no snow! Not even a white Christmas! I want it to snow because everyone says it will be warmer but at the same time I don't want it to snow because I hate the wetness, but we shall see.

Linnea and her companion, Sister Picuasi...from Ecuador!

Linnea LOVES getiing letters from all of you.  Please don't stop writing her even if she doesn't respond.  She keeps so busy and has little free time.  There is not a weekly email that comes that does not mention how much she appreciates hearing from home...