Monday, September 28, 2015

Perfect faith and knowledge is not necessary

Well, I got transferred, yes I did! I am super excited because I'm here with Hermana Erickson from Arizona and we are pretty much twins. From how we look to how many sisters and brothers we have and how old they are and just the fact that we both have been in BYU and know lots of the same people and we think all the same things are funny... I'm way happy! I'm in the DF again, in a part called Camerones, and my area is Claveria. I can't believe I spent 4 1/2 months in Morelos, and I loved it so much. For sure my favorite area. It was so so hard to say goodbye, I cried lots yesterday haha especially saying bye to the Martinez Family. But we'll be seeing them soon, in Utah! I got so close to so many members and investigators alike and made so many close relationships. It was such a good day yesterday. Stressful, but so good. Rossy got too nervous and didn't get baptized but came to church with her mom and son, Saturday night we had a really good talk and she cried and she expressed her appreciation for us being there for her at a rough time of her life. She made me a bracelet and her son gave me this really funny stuffed Mexican guy that has a machete and a bottle of beer in his hands, haha. It was hard to say bye to her, but she will for sure be getting baptized in a week or two. I loved looking around me on Sunday and seeing the fruits of our labors - Domingo, content as ever and progressing toward the priesthood, Hermana Blanca, the lady we helped completely re-activate, the Familia Duran, another family we re-activated, the Familia Suarez, the family I found in the street 4 1/2 months ago that are now pretty much the most active, knowledgeable non-members around (argggg), Ada and Jorge - the couple we BAPTIZED yesterday at 7. Yep, that's right - they got baptized yesterday! They have plans to move to Utah so their future kids can go to BYU and they want to serve a mission as an older couple. It was such a happy day. Pictures to come. We had a stake baptism service, in the zone there were like 10 baptisms or something like that. Of course, something ALWAYS has to happen before an awesome baptism - Ada found some dumb information via internet about 3 hours before the time of the baptism. We had tons of people praying for them and we were able to help her minimize her doubts and remember why she wanted to get baptized in the first place. With Jorge, her husband, the trick was helping him to recognize that perfect faith and knowledge is not necessary before baptism - he is one of those people who has to let that desire to believe work in him. I'm so glad he acted on that desire, because the promise is that with action his faith will grow. They're such a cute couple and it was also hard to leave them. Citlali is also doing well, she got her first hymnbook and moved with her family and now lives closer to the church building. Toni is still struggling, but I know that Hermana Harmon (the Hermana that's now with Hermana Travassos) is the person who can help. Gabi is also doing great, we ate with them last Monday and she is the cutest. I know that there are lots of people who will be getting baptized in Morelos in the next few weeks and months, and even though I won't be there my happiness is the same. 
I met so many angels in Morelos. Just as Heavenly Father sent an angel to help Jesus in Gethsemane instead of taking away his trial, in the mission he always sends me angels instead of taking away the thing that's hard. The Familia Martinez/Maldonado has been a family of angels for me, along with the family of the bishop, various other ward members and investigators. There aren't words to express my gratitude. I'm so happy to have the chance to be here in Claveria, and even though changing areas is still hard, I know I'm here for a reason. This area has apparently been passing through a rough patch for a bit, and I'm excited to get out there and inviting everyone to conference. Last conference I was thinking "wow, next conference I'll be in the end of my mission!" Thank goodness - I'm here and I still don't feel like I'm in the end. Which is such a good thing. I'm so incredibly excited to hear the words of the Lord's chosen servants. The light these men carry with them is VISIBLE, and it's so obvious that they KNOW with all of their hearts that the great plan of salvation we teach is real. Find someone to invite to watch conference this week! Pay attention to the small details, don't busy yourself writing down every single word they say - remember that these are men who converse with God. Look for the difference in their faces, in their smiles. It exists. I love you guys, have a great week there at home and I'll do my best to have some success here in my first week in Claveria!
Beeeeeeeg Keeeeeees Leeeeeeetle Keeeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Who I was then and who I am now

Dear Utah,
Writing a bit late today, we had to got to the mission offices this morning so I could renew my visa! Pretty loco I've lived here that long. On the 15th, I mad it to a year in Mexico, which was honestly crazier for me than making it to a year in the mission in general. It was also Mexico's Independence Day, which was fun because SURPRISE! They let us go to a bit of the ward party! I was assuming that we wouldn't be allowed, but the ward members said they weren't going to be able to feed us if we weren't in the party, so we got to go eat there and then leave. So fun. Ada and her husband Jorge (as shown in the picture) came and brought tostadas, that was fun. Ada also bought us some super cute handmade shirts from Merida. We had another trip to the DF this week, for the training of the new missionaries. The only other new hermana had already left for her actual mission, so Hermana Travassos and I were literally the only hermanas there, which was pretty weird, especially when President split us up between trainers and new missionaries and I was literally without companion for awhile. But it was so fun to be at President's house again, eat hamburgers, and think a little bit about all that's happened since MY OWN new missionary training. There's just such a huge contrast between who I was then and who I am now, I teared up talking to Hermana Whitehead about it. 
Rossy (Rosie - she likes to spell it like Rossy) is a little nervous about Sunday, her baptismal date, but she's progressing and and her family is supporting her a ton - I think I mentioned that her parents are also listening and coming to church, Rosillo and Gregorio. Her grandma even showed up yesterday to church! Ada had her baptismal interview yesterday and is really excited for her baptism Sunday, we're trying to figure out still if it's possible that she gets baptized with her husband. As for Vanessa, the 4th baptismal date we've had planned for the 27th, we finally found out the reason she's been really hard to contact - a crazy young adult in the ward has been flirting with her and making her really uncomfortable apparently. It's rough because before we found that out she had sent us a long but vague message saying that she isn't ready and basically doesn't want more. ]We tried to contact her for some details such as if she do9esn't want to learn anymore or if she just doesn't want to get baptized this Sunday, but she just hasn't been answering. Not too much you can do in that situation but respect what they've decided, even though it's hard because she's a reference from the bishop and he says she's still willing so we should keep trying. All in all, I know that my last week in morelos will be awesome. We'll baptize Rossy and Ada at least, and they're both adorable and will be part of my life forever. They are both leaving a party-lifestyle behind and they both have really strong testimonies of the restoration already. I love them, I love being here, I love my companion, and no I don't want to leave. But President dropped the bomb when we were at his house that YES, I'm headed off to what will most likely be my last area. Still, I'm doing all in my power to leave the area full of possible baptisms for the next cambio, let's see what my hija can do with her madrastra.
My conviction grows stronger every day that this is the true church. It's almost like, with a stronger testimony comes more grief and hard times because your heart seriously just aches when people don't understand. But at the same time, my joy is more full every day as I understand better and better why it is that God has placed His church here. Thank you all for everything you do, as always, I feel like the luckiest in the world. 
Beeeeeeeg Keeeeeees Leeeeeeetle Keeeeeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Mexican Independence Day!!

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Hermana LeSueur loves her cutest greenie!

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's just about being BRAVE

My sweet and cute family that I love and like,


So what happened is that at the temple dedication in the morning Hermana Titi told me, "at dinner we have some news about your family" and then when I got there she was like "your family sent you a little note..." and then they came out with like 4 grocery bags of pure American dulces and letters and shoes and clothes and I just freaked out and then they showed me pictures of you all together and oh man it was just the best day of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all of that. I feel like the luckiest in the whole world! 

The Martinez Family is very special to me, they're so Christlike and they're all such awesome examples here in the area. Yes, momma, I'm already wearing one of the sweaters and I'm so excited to have some tights! They're so expensive here! 

It was a good week here in Morelos, a few health issues with the two of us, but a good week all-around because we got to go to the temple dedication! well, the chapel to see the video :) but it was the most relaxing sunday i've had in a year because obviously we couldn't take investigators so we couldn't commit people to church all week. but, we found some great new people who will come next week! 

I got my package at Zone Conference, THANK YOU SO MUCH for that as well! i LOVED seeing your handwriting, like always, and it made me so happy. Man, I'm so spoiled it's a little ridiculous :)

Ada and Josue will be getting baptized together on the 27th, they're a married couple in their mid-twenties, super funny and stylin and really into it all. We're so excited. i'll take pictures of them this week! They're reading the book of mormon together and watching all the little videos and everything's going great. Rosie is also ready for the 27th, pray that things keep going so great! She knows it's true, now it's just about being BRAVE. Vanessa is having a few doubts, she's shying away from the church a bit and it doesn't help that we didn't have meetings yesterday. But i know that with lots of prayer and fasting she'll start to progress again. Apart, we found a family this week thats super cute with two little girls, let's hope they show up! 

I hate thinking that my days in Morelos might be ending, but I know that we'll go out with a bang! the 27th is a big baptism day in the zone, and we're going to baptize in one big group at the same time so it'll be fun. It'll be called "the snowstorm of Toluca" haha. Things are great in Morelos, the members are so so awesome as you've seen first-hand, and I'm so lucky i've had the chance to be here! 

I finally started getting that dreaded stomach sickness of Mexico missionaries haha along with the fever and aches and chills and all that, but I'm all good now! I've learned how to deal with mission sickness by now, how to kill it early in the process :) my companion got sick with allergies, she ahs REALLY bad allergies, it's sad because Ada has a dog that makes her eyes swell up really big. 

yes, it all fits and i love the shoes so much! They are SO nice and cute too! 

also, about the cookies... titi gave me the cookies and i immediately said, "Hermana, i think my mom meant these for you guys! I know my mom, and she wants to you to have them." And she was like "no, they're for you!" and we fought a little bit haha until oli got your message that they really are for the family, but they STILL wouldn't accept both plates! just one. i felt so bad. but don't worry, i knew they were for the martinez family immediately :)

That grandma is named Sonny, she is SO cute I love her so much! also, i've never once spoken english in their house, so funny to hear that they all speak english super well! i feel so connected to you guys through them. it's so fun because every week they eat as a big family, cousins and aunts and uncles, and it feels lke our house on sundays. i've gotten so lucky on my mission to find so many amazing families who help me feel at home. 

LOVE YOU MY FAMILY AND MY LITTLE BROTHER AND SISSIES! you are the best, i hear Sam and Luc are growing up SOOO much! have a good week, you're in every one of my prayers!


Emma, Sis Travassos

Emma, Citlali

Emma got her surprise package at Martinez's house

More package surprises 

She LOVES Citlali

One of her old companions, Sis Garber

Her Zone

More American goods from home

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

He didn't even feel the rain

Dear Family del Sur (literally how our name is pronounced here ps)
All of the little seeds we've planted here have suddenly sprouted up and are growing way fast! Just might be due to the crazy amount of AGUA the heavens have been dumping on us... gaping holes in the "durable" shoes I bought a whole 4 weeks ago wouldn't bug me if every street we had to cross wasn't a rushing river, haha. It's really funn, suddenly realize, "Hey, here I am in the cold pouring rain with about three miles left to walk in 15 minutes. How come I'm so happy?" Hahaha. Our recent convert Domingo told us yesterday, between comments about discovering that bugs have faces too and Obama is the greatest there is, that in the rain the other day he saw a guy with no coat and decided to give his coat to him, and when he walked away he felt such a great warmth and satisfaction that he didn't even feel the rain, even when it started coming down harder. I testify that any physical discomfort of the mission fades away if we're lost in the work. In a more general sense, really our circumstances should never have any affect on our happiness if we're doing all in our power to follow Jesus Christ. There is just no amount of pouring rain, no temperature too freezing, no sun too blazing, no hail too big, no amount of pain in your feet or head, no backpack too heavy, that can't be overcome or ignored completely through what the Holy Ghost brings us as we serve. The Holy Ghost is stronger than ALL that. In a similar way, the evidence that the Holy Ghost gives us is infinitely stronger than anything we could ever see with our eyes. We could be standing in front of Jesus Christ himself, looking right at the marks in His hands, and still not be any closer to knowing that He exists and died for us if we don't allow the Spirit to enter our hearts. It's a matter of being humble. The "happiness" matter aside, my body definitely has taken quite the hit in the almost-year I've been in Mexico, jeje. It's super sweet though because I feel kinda like I have robot legs or something. I can be walking or I can be sitting and it's almost the same feeling! Even though we walk probably 7 or 8 hours per day, I end up more exhausted in my mind than in my body usually. Fun fact for ya: somewhere along the road I think I permanently lost some of my toenails to the Mexico streets...they just kinda faded away and aren't really growing back... #WhatILeftinMexico. I also think it's time to finally come clean about what happened to me 4 months ago: I accidentally burnt off my eyelashes and eyebrows and hairline turning on the water heater. More on the "Parable of the Burnt Eyelashes" will come later (in 4 months), but until then, there's at least one more addition to my new favorite hashtag, #WhatILeftinMexico. But don't worry mom. The rainy Toluca weather has also provided the perfect environment for fast hair-growth...water, sun, the nourishment of the word of God have all handed me a hefty little hair-garden.
So 13 months have come and gone and I have some new additions to my list of "Mexico Is" (please excuse me if there are repeats)
Mexico Is:
doors without knobs. Tapping on windows. Candles, always lit, in front of the virgin. Long braids. Nylons and black leather shoes. Hand-juice-squeezers. 2-pocket aprons. Street-herb-vendors. The guy that walks around yelling "GAAAAAAAAAS" at 8 in the morning. Brutally honest people. Calling your kids slash family members "fatty" as an affectionate and very common nickname. House numbers that make no sense at all (#5 followed by #3006 would be normal). The honk/stare tactic of every taxi driver. Calling KFC "Kentoooooky." Pemex jumpsuits. Tipping every grocery store bagger. People adding "ation" to the end of every word and then laughing hysterically because apparently that makes everything sound like English. Meat that's green, on purpose. "Fue Asi." Julion Alvarez. Bonafont. Big men on little girl bikes. Mopping your porch and the street in front of your house, always. Random fireworks all throughout the day. The sound of a million dogs fighting at night. 
I love Mexico.
In other news, my bishop is still probably the funniest person I've ever met. He either answers the phone every time saying "Kentucky Fried Chicken," "Hello Kitty," or "HOW ARE YOUUU" and when I didn't recognize his voice one time and asked who it was and he said "Batman." The best. 
In other other news, my companion is suuuper funny and her favorite place in the world is Korea. At home she only watches Korean soap operas, listens to "K-Pop" Korean music (like in that episode of the Bach where they went to Korea with Juan Pablo), and wants to marry a Korean guy more than anything. Sometimes when she thinks I'm not listening she sings her K-Pop songs really quietly, which means she's singing in English with a Korean accent. The best.
As far as the work here in Morelos, IT WAS SUCH A GOOD GOOD WEEK. We have seen like three straight miracles in these last few weeks, and in the weeks that come we have 3 for-sure baptisms planned and 5 hopefuls. We contacted a reference named Rosie who had been listening to some missionaries in Arizona, accepted baptism in two seconds, and came to church with her son and her parents, Rosillo and Gregorio, who are also interested. Rosie will be getting baptized on the 27th. Also, our investigator Ada woke up at five with her husband on Saturday to go to the temple open-house and came yesterday with him. She's supposed to get baptized on the 19th, but if her husband wants to get baptized with her she'll have to wait fo the 27th as well. Vanessa also came and we had an awesome lesson with her, her baptismal date is officially the 27th but we'll see where we're at when the 20th comes around, that's a strong possibility. Also, an old investigator Alicia randomly texted me that she had gone to the temple with her family and loved it and so she'll be progressing again soon! Also, we've been teaching the husband of a member who told us "I've never told my wife or any other missionaries that have come teaching me this before, but I think I'm going to join the church. Not right now, in this moment, but soon." So that's some major progress because he's super closed. He came to church too. We found lots of new families as well this week, like Carmen's family and Magdelena's family and people that really have some potential to progress fast. I'm so happy. I'm so happy that Hermana Travassos is so happy. I love this church, and I feel as if this week my testimony progressed a lot. I just know without a single doubt that this IS the church of Jesus Christ, and THIS is the way to happiness. Us four missionaries in the ward bore our testimonies yesterday and it was such a good meeting, I loved hearing the testimony of a new missionary (Hermana Travassos) and a missionary about to bo home (Elder Evelyn). I'm so excited for all these new people and I KNOW that there are lots more out there waiting. I have at least three weeks left in Morelos, gotta make the most of it. I love you guys. So muuuch. t
Beeeeeeg Keeeeees Leeeeeetle Keeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Citlali, Sis Travassos, Emma

Emma's whole mission when Elder Christofferson visited

Suarez Family at Mexico City Temple open house

MTC batch at 13 months