Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Because He Lives, I Have Hope.

Hey fam!
Well, some sad news... Mary and Humberto didn't get baptized yesterday. Mary is planned for next week, though, after falling back on some of her old habits the day before she was supposed to get baptized! Super sad, but we have faith in her. Humberto is a bit tougher to tell, but if we can catch him with enough time to sit down and talk about everything I know he'll be good for next week as well. Some good news... I can't remember if I've talked about an inactive, Moroni. His dad is a convert, and he was obviously born in the church. He lives with his girlfriend and the three cute little kids he has with her. Well, Alexia (his girlfriend) wants so badly to get baptized, but every time she tries to talk about getting married with him he ignores her. Well, we finally got them all to come to church, as a family! They all showed up in their Sunday best, right on time, and the talks were literally right in their faces. Every. Single. One. Was directed toward Moroni and Alexia. Marriage, divorce, raising a family, setting goals, the Sabbath Day... it was truly crazy how much the talks and classes were suited to them. They were a little harsh, actually, but needed. So we had another great lesson with them yesterday, and they're working on some goals. We'll see in a few days what they're thinking. Also, the cousins of the Familia Franchini are progressing nicely, we had a lesson with the mom and son yesterday, super spiritual and they both want to get baptized. Oh man, there is nothing better than watching families come together as they come to Christ. All in all, a week of a few pretty devastating disappointments, but we're excited for the coming week. We got the chance to take Maria Guadelupe and her daughters to Women's Conference, I loved introducing them to President Monson, Bonnie O., etc. She loved it too, and she went to a Relief Society service activity in the hospital this week. All in all, progressing!, very exciting. Lots of rain this week, the weather is as unpredictable as Utah! We had an awesome zone conference, our whole zone is starting our own "40-day Fast." This means that for 40 days we will be trying to rid ourselves of bad habits, things that are stopping us from having the Spirit at all times. I love this idea, and it's already going very well. I also had a fun companion exchange with HERMANA TOONE, and it was seriously the best to just talk about everything that's happened since we arrived in Mexico together and parted ways. Crazy how much the mission changes a person! We talked a bit about how our testimonies have changed, how our testimonies of the RESTORED Gospel have grown and how much better we understand this perfect organization. I'm sure you've all heard of the new hashtag of the church for Easter, #GraciasaqueElvive. If you haven't seen the video yet, go watch it! We're handing out the cards especially for Easter, like "He is the Gift." So, with this, I've had the opportunity to share with so many people in the last week what I have "because He lives." Because He lives, I have hope. I have a reason to keep trying, because after all that I can do He has offered me eternal life. I love hearing what other people think of when they hear the phrase. Mom, Dad, Kate, Sam, Lucy, and anyone else who has a second, I would love to hear what your response would be, what does this mean to you, #GraciasaqueElvive" ? I love this special time of year, let's use it to get out there and share the good news that Christ LIVES! I love you all, thank you for your prayers!
Beeeeg Keeeees, Leeeeetle Keeeees,
Hermana LeSueur

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Ah, Mexico.

Hey sweet fam slash friends! 
What a week! We are getting super excited for the two baptisms that we have planned for next Sunday, Mary and Humberto. Mary is a 50-plus year-old lady who has totally turned her life around since we met her, and she has been on Cloud 9 for about a week now. Humberto is a teenager who was super excited and ready from just about the first moment we contacted him in the street my first week of this transfer. He showed up in a suit yesterday and was SUPER excited! Something exciting this week was that Andres, the husband of Maria Guadelupe, LOVED church and we had some super solid lessons with them as a family this week. We're planning on setting a baptismal date this week with him, the only problem is that he's in the military and he never knows until the very last moment if he's going to be able to make it to church. But we're excited, because they're finally progressing as a complete family, and Maria Guadelupe is obviously really excited. All the doubts her husband had when we were teaching his wife and daughter have all but disappeared! Also, remember the recent converts Familia Franchini? The awesome ones who got baptized a few months ago and are already in leadership callings, going to every activity, planning temple trips, buying every church book they can, etc? We might be looking at The Familia Franchini Story Part II. Their cousins, who live super close, are interested! We've been patient with them, it was the mom who didn't want to accept us all this time, but she showed up at church yesterday! So excited to see what happens with them this week. We've also found a few other golden individuals and families that we're excited to work with this week. Feeling good. Another weird dream story from Maria Guadelupe: she has this notebook of the dreams she's had that she hasn't been able to understand. She was reading through it, and found one she had about 5 years ago where she was in a taxi and the taxi driver handed her a book. She asked him if it was a Catholic bible, and he told her "Find out for yourself." She opened the book and discovered it was like the Bible, but with different names, short names, all with 4 or 5 letters. She told us the other day that now she knows that the names were Book of Mormon names... Nefi, Lehi, Laman, Laban...
I love seeing our recent converts progressing. It is the coolest thing. And to think that very soon they could be a full family of converts! If I could ask a special prayer for Andres, that would be so great. 
The rain is starting here in Mexico City! Not crazy excited for the rainy season, but I'll make it through. It's not so much the fact that we'll be wet all the time, but that it's so hard to contact people in the street when it's raining! One of those times where I really wish we could knock doors. I guess it will force us to work a lot more through the members! 
Ah, Mexico. The Mexico life is a crazy life. I still can't believe that this ended up being my mission! I truly never once thought that this would be my place before I got the call, but I'm so happy it is. It's always going to be part of me, Mexico. The way of life here is different, the attitude. I start thinking about how many hundreds of people I've come to know so well in these almost 8 months and it seriously blows my mind. So many different stories, so many different situations, so many miracles, so many experiences I truly will never forget. This is the mission. The greatest privilege in the world, and I'm serious about that. I know that this is the Lord's organization on the Earth. I know that we have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that life is hard by design, and our perfect and loving God only desires our progress and salvation. I love Him. I love my Savior, who satisfied the need for a balance between justice and mercy. I love the fact that I have a front row seat to the greatest miracle of all - what a true knowledge of His atoning sacrificing can do in the lives of individuals and families. I love you all, thank you for your words and your prayers this week! 
Beeeeg Keeeeees Leeeeetle Keeees 
Hermana LeSueur  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Heavenly Father answers every single prayer

Emma finally admitted to us that she left her camera charger in her last area-- we were wondering why we hadn't gotten any pictures for so many weeks!  Emma's nickname "absent-minded professor"  seems to still be going strong.  She is trying to get it back but we will have to just be patient.  It helps me a lot when I can see her smiling face, so hopefully next week.  Kate got the long letter this week, they had a lot to discuss since Emma found out that Kate got into BYU and they can live out their childhood dream to be roomies at the Y!! Her letter to us is short but sweet, just like Emma ;)

Hey Fam! 
Sorry, this is going to be a super short one! A good week, we were super busy! We found and set baptismal dates for a guy named Francisco, and also his friend Josue. And our investigator Mary also has a date! We had a miracle on Saturday, we found a family to bring to church - an older lady named Olga who's divorced, and her daughter Fernanda who isn't married but has a toddler who is actually the little kid who thinks I'm the Princess Elsa and always wants me to sing for them. Haha. And then their cousin Melissa, who's ten years old! So they came to church and are already progressing. Maria Guadelupe brought her husband to church, which is HUGE! Please pray for him, his name is Andre. Also our investigator Humberto came and that was awesome. Also, we are still hopeful that Estefania will get baptized...she finally answered the phone and said she'll come next week! Especially Mary and Francisco are struggling with a few pretty difficult things, if you guys could keep them in your prayers. All in all, a good week! A few pretty crazy encounters with some funny people, lots of rainy days... I'm content here in Palmas. It's a really small area in which we work, but I've come to know it backwards and forwards and I'm so grateful we have people progressing. I'm learning so much, each and every day! Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind words! Know that I love all of you tons, I miss you, but I'm creeping up here on my HALFWAY MARK! My time to do nothing but serve the Lord is short, but I'm trying my best to make the most of it! The church is true without a doubt, and our Heavenly Father will answer every single prayer. I know that with all my heart. Love you!
Beeeeg Keeees, Leeeeetle Keeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

God Weeps With Us

Mi dulce familia,
Once again, what a week! Quite a bit different from the last, but still pretty crazy. <our house is the house of every missionary that doesn't have anywhere to stay, so in my month and a half that <I've lived here <I've lived with LOTS of other sisters. for example, on Sunday night Hermana Mercaado and her companio slept here, and currently 2 sister missionaries who are extending their missions live here with us. So, the whole week I was basically getting used to 3 different companions instead of just Hna Nuñez, because we did lots of companion exchanges between the four of us. It was fun, we found a few people already willing to get baptized, not to mention a few more families who need to get married. We haven't been able to contact Estefania, we call her every night and even went all the way to her house at eight thirty pm and she wasn't there. The problem is, she already had a baptismal date and was all ready. But she started working in Walmart literally the day after we confirmed everything, and fell of the face of the planet. Anywho, the night we went to her house at the time that she supposedly was off  work, was after a day of working with Hermana Villegas, one of those days where no one was in their house and ready to meet with us, so lots of walking and street contacting - oh, Liliana flat-out rejected us. Not sure what craziness happened there, but she never wants to come back to church. Anywho, we finally found Estefania's house and she wasn't there, and Hna Nuñez was by this time literally doubled over with stomach pain, like she couldn't even stand up straight. So out in this really sketchy area called Palo Solo we called Hna Whitehead and the doctor who told us that it sounded like appendicitis and GO TO THE HOSPITAL. Well, it didn't turn out to be appendicitis, just a stomach infection, but Hna Nuñez and I were there in the hospital til five am, her in the hospital bed and Hermana LeSueur in the rollie chair in the corner, for 6 1/2 hours. The doctor gave her some super expensive medicines and told her to rest for a day. So the weirdest day of my mission happened on Saturday, Hna Nuñez sleeping all day. Me getting a few hours of sleep and going out to work and buy Hna Nuñez medicine with Hna Montero for a few hours, then cleaning and sleeping a bit more. Super weird. I was the only one who had any money left over for the month, so between all the taxis and medicines I'm super excited to get reimbursed haha! Well, yesterday Maria Guadelupe and Esmeralda and Ernesto got confirmed. Maria Guadelupe is reading the Libre de Mormon from the beginning. Visiting with the three of them this week, I have never seen them so happy. To be honest, Maria Guadelupe and Ernesto are by nature a little grumpy, haha. But this week was constant smiles and lots of progression. A pretty crazy moment - we were with Maria Guadelupe and I was showing her the relationship between the Book of Mormon and The Bible with some specific passages, she suddenly remembered this dream that she had awhile back, and she saw very clearly in her mind 1 Corinthians 1 15. So we looked it up and it literally says "also baptized the household..." I think that was the comfort she needed that her husband will be baptized one day, too. We have a few new investigators who we're super excited about: Huberto, Mary, Maxi, Edith/family. Baptism right now is in the plans for all of them! And we're keeping the faith that we'll find and baptize the once-golden Estefania. Also, if I could ask for a special prayer for Maria Guadelupe, that she'll continue to grow and continually remember the special experiences she's had. I continue to be amazed by how the mission is changing me. I have now passed my seven month mark, and at the end of this cycle I will be pretty close to my halfway mark. There's a quote I like from Presdient Eyring that says "think more about what you are becoming that what you have done. Then, what you do will spring from what you have become." I feel as if every week I try without success to describe what the mission is, how it makes me feel. I can say, right now, as a missionary of 7 months and 3 days, that I have become a believer. No, i can't say that I've ever been a doubter. But in this moment, my knowledge of the character of God has expanded. Phrases I often dismissed as cliche have new and personal meaning as He's shown me their truth. i recently found something I wrote when i had been in the mission for three months in total. i called it the truths of god, and i wrote it in one of my most difficult moments, but also a moment that was, for sure, a turning point. with three months in his service, here is what i had come to know: God weeps with us. God is incredibly patient. God is never too busy. God can literally speak peace to our souls. God is my Father. He is my family. God will never leave me. God understands. God expects that we give everything. God needs each one of us to learn to turn to him in our darkest hour. God has so much confidence in me. God's only motivation is our happiness. God gives us very obvious chances every day to improve our character in a major way. God gave us the sacrament so we could remember to hope, among a billion other reasons. God places every person ion our lives for a reason. God, in truth speaks to us through all of our leaders. He exists, He's there. This I do really truly know. I love you all, so excited for another week in PALMAS! Be safe, if there's absolutely anything i can do for you from over here let me know! Love you
Beeeeg Keeeees, Leeeeetle KEeeeees,
HErmana LESueur

And a quick note to Scott and I.  We spent the week in Mexico on vacation- we LOVED being in the same country as Emma and spending time with the sweet, humble, and funny Mexican people!

Hi mommy and daddy! I got your handwritten note, made me so happy! actually baylee's boyfriend gave it to me... sad story there. he's in my district right now because he's the new secretary...but he got hit by a car, can't walk, has internal bleeding, and it seems that he'll be sent home. he's super sad about it. Crazy huh. but yeah, thanks for the note and the Christmas card that i finally got! My new area is a lot more crazy than lomas verdes, where we live is a lot more humble and there are lots of really scary people, haha. our ward is really sweet. mom i don't know if you got my email about the ward a few weeks ago? there are lots of normal American families living in Mexico for some reason or antoher. also, who would've thought that in Mexico city i would run into the aunt of Ryann! Sister Judd is the sister of Joe Loveridge! 
My companion is super gorgeous, her name is Siria Zarahemla, and she's wanted to serve a mission her whole life as well. I like her a lot, we have fun, especially with the 2 other hermanas living with us, who all call me "Hermana Elsa" from Frozen! Okay, confession, I left my camera charger in lomas ve4rdes on accident. so, hermana mercado is still there and is sending it to me, but in the meantime I'm trying to get hna bravo to send me her pictures so i can forward them to you guys! classic me... The people of Mexico are the best, and i feel so blessed to be at a time in my mission where we're teaching lots of people and the hard part is juggling them all right now! i love that you're here in Mexico and relatively close.  I'm so excited for Kate! She always wanted to go to byu! i want to room with my sissy and Jessica and Abby! How about that? Haha oh I am so happy. Helaman for sure, but honestly, Kate will thrive anywhere. Helaman is definitely more social and fun though! Yay, Linds for putting in her papers! I love here! Can't believe that in about 5 months I'll be hearing about the homecomings of my friends! Time is flying! OH, and daddy we actually have a mission rule that we can't eat dinner with members. But we do eat with members about every day at 2:00 because here in Mexico the ward members supply the missionaries with one meal per day. the members are super nice, and here I've definitely had a few of those experiences where a super humble family signs up to feed us and it's so sweet how they have so little but are so willing to help out. 
Well, I miss you both more than life and of course I still get homesick sometimes, but all in all times are getting better and I'm getting more and more wrapped up in the work! Thanks for your sweet emails, it is SO fun for me to print them off in the morning and read them throughout the day, I love getting your feedback and hearing about what you're doing. I love you i love you i love you!
Hermana Emmie

Old picture I'm forced to use since she left her camera chord in her last area. D'oh!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Missionary Work=Roller Coaster Ride

My sweet family,
I truly don't even know where to start. This has been one of the all-around CRAZIEST weeks of my whole mission, maybe my life! Haha. But really. I have seen millions of little miracles this week, but also some of the hardest times I've had here out on my mission, the most frustrating moments. I guess I'll start in the beginning... 
I don't know how much I've talked about Maria Guadelupe. She's a lady who we've been teaching these whole six weeks. She has two daughters, Esmeralda and Rubi. She likes to come to church, literally nothing more. We've invited her to baptism millions of times. Nothing ever changes. But this week, at the beginning, my companion and I had strong impressions that she was going to get baptized THIS WEEK. It was weird, because after five weeks of teaching and inviting, nothing was changing. But we had this hope, especially because her daughter wanted to get baptized. We had a lesson planned for Thursday, and we fasted and prayed. The lesson started like normal, shooting down everything we say, joking and such. We testified and testified and finally we told her a little bit about our special impressions, that this is what she needs in her life THIS WEEK. She started asking us if we had been praying for her this week. We told her, well YES. She said "I thought so." She had had a dream of us, telling her to come into the light. Our ward mission leader was there, too. Well, we continued in the lesson for quite some time, and ultimately, she agreed to be baptized. It was a super special moment, and my companion and I were just having one of those moments where we KNEW God exists and answers our prayers. Well, the Elders interviewed them and we filled out their papers. We were on Cloud 9. The next day, we went to see them. Suddenly, they told us they weren't going to get baptized. At least, not Esmeralda. Their dad doesn't agree, started putting lots of doubts in their heads. He told his eleven-year-old that she wasn't allowed to be baptized. It was pretty obvious that Maria Guadelupe wasn't feeling too secure about it, either. So, we left their house with another lesson planned WITH the husband for the next day, and with them telling us that they would not be baptized this Sunday. We went to all the members and had them pray for them, for the dad, that he would soften his heart and understand. We went the next day and had a long talk with him and his wife. He's a super good guy, and honestly felt that this decision would divide their family. We let them know that this is only something that will STRENGTHEN them as a family, we explained what baptism means, etc. We left on a super spiritual note, the little Esmeralda, when asked by her dad WHY she wanted to be baptized, and after about 5 minutes of silence, gave a powerful statement and testimony about how Jesus gave us the example of what we need to do in our lives. We left happy, and so super excited for the next day - the dad was going to come to their baptism. Well, we woke up the next morning and went to go pick them up for 9 o'clock church. They didn't come out for quite some time, which was abnormal. Finally, Maria Guadelupe rolled out of bed and came outside to tell us that they are most definitely never getting baptized. She said she felt uncomfortable and had doubts and sorry, but "no." We prayed so hard in this moment, Hermana Bravo and I, as we invited them to at least come to church with us. After a major struggled, they agreed and ran to get ready. We were already late to pick up our other investigators, Antonio and Ernesto (Ernesto is our 18-year-old who didn't believe in God when we started teaching him. He also had a baptismal date for yesterday, which was also a major miracle of the week. I'll have to explain more later.). So, we ran and got a taxi and squished all of us in and made it to church with a minute to spare. After testimony meeting, Maria Guadelupe still felt "nothing" and her daughter had a renewed desire to get baptized. The Assistants were at church with us, and wanted to talk to her. We had a 2-hour lesson in one of the rooms in the church, with her and the assistants. It was powerful, and so so sad. She was SO close to getting baptized, SO close. But she had more fear than faith, and with the Spirit testifying to her heart she continued with her millions of excuses. We left sad and frustrated, but the Elders told the daughter that she could be baptized that night, even if her mom wasn't. Honestly we were nervous about that, it's SO important that the family joins together, to support and motivate each other. We talked to the bishop, and he told us we could decide if she should be baptized. We decided that it was better to wait, and teach the family more. Still, the Elders went to talk to them a few hours AFTER church, and she was getting everything ready to be baptized, Maria Guadelupe was ready to come and watch. We went to pick them up, had to convince them again at least to come and feel the special spirit in the baptismal service, and then we went to pick up Ernesto. Well, guess what. HE had suddenly decided, in the hour that we hadn't been with him, that he didn't want to get baptized either. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but a few minutes later without explanation he got his things and came with us, apparently ready again to be baptized. We were walking with Maria Guadelupe and Esmeralda and Ernesto, looking for a taxi, and there wasn't any taxi to be found. We were all SO super stressed. Suddenly, the dad of one of our investigators, who has this sweet, HUGE restored car from the 1950s that I've always wanted to ride in rolled past with his wife. They asked where we were going, and Elder Bastian asked if we could have a ride to the church. Well, they said OF COURSE and we piled in their car, made it to the baptism just in time. I was playing the prelude when Hermana Bravo started talking to Maria Guadelupe, and suddenly Maria Guadelupe freaked out a little and said that she doesn't want Esmeralda to get baptized unless they do it together, and she doesn't want to do it. SO. She told Esmeralda that she would not be getting baptized. Esmeralda started to cry, and Maria said "We should just leave now." Someone convinced her to stay, though, and we started the baptism of Ernesto. The Spirit was strong. Our mission leader shared the same exact scripture I had read to her about three times in this week, the part BEFORE Joseph Smith's vision, when he wrestles with darkness and confusion and, in short, tons of opposition MOMENTS before he saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I had had the impression that I needed to share this with her during our lesson on Thursday, AND during our two-hour lesson earlier that day. Well, our mission leader shared it, too, with the same message that when we're about to do something GOOD, Satan will always swoop in to try to ruin it all at the last second. We just have to persevere a LITTLE more, and we will see the LIGHT. The light, the light Maria Guadelupe heard about in her dream. Well. Ernesto got baptized, all was well, he was visibly more happy and at peace right after he left the water. It was in THIS MOMENT that Maria Guadelupe and her daughter decided to get baptized. In THIS MOMENT. They told us, we told the mission leader, and he told everyone to stay in place because we're having two more baptisms. And so, Maria Guadelupe and Esmeralda were baptized. And right after, they saw the LIGHT. They felt it. They knew it was right, and it showed in their smiles. There are lots more little details, but it was a week of miracle after miracle after miracle. I can't even adequately explain what I felt, what I feel now as I think about it. I know that everything that happened this week happened for a reason, and that mental image I had of Maria Guadelupe in the baptismal font at the beginning of the week was placed there by our Heavenly Father to push us to the finish line. I love Him, I love how I've come to know Him so much better. I'm so sorry I don't have much more time, but I love you all so much as well. I'm staying in Palmas, my new companion is Hermana Nuñez from Mexico, Elder Demars from BYU is in my new district and Hermana Toone and Tameilau are in my zone. Wow, am I lucky! Have such a good week, all of ya!
Beeeeg Keeeees, Leeeeetle Keeeees,
Hermana LeSueur

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