Monday, October 26, 2015

We take our weaknesses to the Lord, He makes up the difference

Sounds like our girl will be coming home on Feb.3rd!!!

Dearest Utah,

I seriously truly can't believe that October's almost over. September and October blew by as fast and as furious as a flying corn on a stick (aka helote), the unfortunate difference being a sad lack of mayonnaise and lime, which isn't quite so common here in my lil slice of paradise CLAVERIA 2. I'm over it, though - tamale sandwiches and tacos al pastor are way better in the DF. The "Series of Unfortunate Events" vibe has pretty much lifted and I like it here even more. I like it a LOOOTTT. Lots of hidden gems. A few dark horses. Tons of sweet spirits (in the least Sons-of-Provo-y way possible).

Fun facts of the LeSwerickson's week in general:

*for the third time in my mission a little kid took and drank my water bottle during sacrament meeting
*we committed three different Marias to church this week. classic.
*we needed to drop Alberto as an investigator - the eccentric one with a baptismal date - so we had to have that talk with him, but somehow the hardest thing to break to him was the fact that we weren't going to be able to eat breakfast with him Monday morning. That got him sniffling.
*a lady who had been drinking a lot kept inviting us to this bar that's literally 10 steps away from our front door and was really really sad after we said no. but my companion got her name and address anyway. jeje.
*to celebrate Hermana Erickson's 9 month mark we had a 10 minute picnic on the roof of our building with a real pretty view of...the bar. jeje.
*the "sisterhood of the ring" just keeps getting more intense. This week, we involved peanut butter, soy sauce, an engagement ring box, and more sweet props.
*we're now teaching English class, Wednesdays at 7 in Calzada Camerones on the corner with Yuca. Be there.
*Mexico is collectively letting out a huge sigh of relief for the hurricane that never was. Thank goodness!

Enimia was confirmed a member of the church, Salvador is still pending. He's going to be living most of the time with his daughter now, so i guess every other week he can come with us.
A miracle found us this week. A less-active guy who just moved here found us in the street and said he wanted us to come talk to his 20 year-old daughter Tania, who's not a member. They only had time for one lesson this week, on Saturday, but we focused on the Book of Mormon. She said she wouldn't be able to come to church because of some tests she had, but her dad said he would. Well, we kept praying for her, but sacrament came around and we didn't see the dad. After sacrament we were running around trying to get everyone else all situated and we ran into Roberto and Tania! They had accidentally gone to the other ward which also starts at 8 and is in a different chapel in the same building we're in. They came with us to the class of gospel principles - which was PACKED ps! with investigators, less actives we've been working with, recent exciting - and afterward her dad told our mission leader that he thinks that Tania's time has finally come to be baptized. He told us that after we left their house on Saturday,he felt something different in their home. He asked her if she felt it and she said "yes," like a calm
and happy feeling but powerful at the same time. Even though she had tons of homework, he said she read the Book of Mormon most of the night, "preparing for church" she said. Also we thought she'd been to church only once before, but the dad says he's actually been about 10 times! She was talking to her dad a little about being baptized already. If all goes as planned, this week she'll be baptized. Another significant investigator is Mario, a guy who was super interested in Christ's visit to the Americas and really really liked church. He stayed way longer than he originally said he was going to. Actually, the same thing happened with Maria Leonor, another investigator who is the cousin of Salvador and has a baptismal date for the 8th. She came even though she felt way sick and told us she would leave after the first hour but before we knew it she was commenting and taking notes and just loving life for a whole hour more. She's a cute little grandma. This might be my cambio of baptizing old people I'm thinkin.
We found an active member named Mari Elena who goes to a different ward even though she's in our boundaries, and because of that, the missionaries haven't' visited her in about 5 years. We had a regular lesson, she told us about her awesome conversion and later re-activation and she drove us to the church for our English class. Saying bye, she suddenly started crying and saying that we had no idea what the visit meant to her. The same thing happened with this other member we found in the street named Liliana, and we're helping her get up the courage to share the gospel wiht her new boyfriend. The funny thing is, we aren't finding these forgotten members by the church lists or things like that, just in the street or by some other random way that just has to us being in the right place at the right time. Lots of that happened this week.
We had some cool experiences saying specific prayers this week. We talked a ton about the Book of Mormon and the Sacrament this week. I was thinking about how we can let the ordinance of the sacrament, followed by baptism, seriously change our natures. I'm sure I've said it before, but God has given us the perfect system of progression within His church. Every week, we are preparing ourselves for baptism - renewal of our baptism, that is. That means week by week we strengthen our faith with the word of God, the Sunday classes, etc., we truly repent, but also we take our WEAKNESSES to the Lord on Sunday, an offering to Him, being able to honestly say that we did what we could with them. During the Sacrament, He makes up the difference. He promises us the strength needed to make sure the changes we tried so hard to make that week will be more like "cement" than "paint." Doing good works in the week but not going to church to complete that ordinance is like making the wood frame of a staircase leading to the Celestial Kingdom but not filling it in with that solid cement. I guess what I'm trying to say is: without the sacrament it's harder to keep building upward. We NEED the Sacrament to make lasting changes in our nature. It's not just a pretty, ceremonial thing we do. It's an ordinance. It's what fills in the framework we built throughout the week. The atonement doesn't just erase sins, it helps us slowly overcome our weakness and become better, as obvious as that sounds. Although all too often we become comfortable in our weaknesses and accept them as "just who I am." Weaknesses are meant to be overcome, because in the process of changing our deepest habits we gain godly qualities - especially humility. When I am weak, I am strong - like the Bible says. We become strong through our weaknesses as we use the sacrament fully as the wonderful tool it's meant to be. As the way to be cleansed of specific sins but also to slowly change facets of our character, so-called unbreakable habits and such. I know these are things you all know, haha. My mission is just a huge process of realizing what all the little things I've heard all my life actually mean. I love it. I love you guys. Every one.
Beeeeeeg Keeeeeees Leeeeeetle Keeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Their bathroom....

Their fashionably mixed-patterned room

Her little desk

Toluca Zone

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

God doesn't call perfection, He calls potential

Hey Family LeSueur!

So we had another awesome week, and Hermana Erickson and I had another miracle baptism! Enimia wasn't really progressing, but as she started reading the Book of Mormon something changed, and she accepted YESTERDAY as her date! This is the first time in my mission I've baptized a former Jehovah's Witness, and her son (who is still Jehovah's Witness) was really, really against her baptism- and from the second she said yes he was just yelling at her all the time and calling her a traitor. It was hard but she stuck it a out, and her baptism yesterday was super beautiful. We had a little miscommunication about filling up the font, and her water ended up being pretty cold... but she said that when she came up out of the water she couldn't feel it at all. She was so happy. She's been going through a lot of things, and the second she decided to be baptized I started seeing such a light in her eyes, a difference in her attitude. I'm so happy for her. Salvador is doing great, and his cousin came to church with us yesterday! He's psyched as can be with his new Gospel Principles book and is lovin life. We had a great week and we found lots more people who have already been to church a few times and are totally willing to start up listening again. Like every week, we had some rough times listening to people who just are so close to something so great but for some reason or another just won't open their hearts. It's such a heart-wrenching thing, that kind of situation, and you go home just so emotionally drained after something like that. Something small but cool this week was Saturday, running into this less-active guy on the street who basically started ripping on leadership in the church and a few other problems that were causing him to distance himself. As answers to his doubts just flowed into our minds, I realized/remembered so many things. Just like Elder Hales said, God doesn't call perfection. He calls potential. And sometimes that potential is not realized. Not even close. Or maybe something awful happens. But that doesn't mean a mistake was made in the calling, at all. Heavenly Father can't touch our agency, but He does know our character and exactly how we need to grow and the fact that we all have strong points that He'll put to good use in a certain calling. There's a lot more to it, but that's the basic idea. Also, our unworthy participation in sacred ordinances might make it look from the outside like everything's okay, but salvation is individual and it is our duty to prepare ourselves best we can to do things like take the sacrament or go to the temple, and we have to be completely honest with ourselves and Heavenly Father's worthy servants who help us. If not, we simply cannot receive the promised blessings, the ultimate blessing at the end of it all being eternal life. We definitely can't look at others and try to judge their worthiness either. I don't know, I've explained these things to people before but this time the same message reached my heart a bit more.

Also, this week I got that dreaded call...telling me that February 3 I will be going home, to the Salt Lake airport, and they asked me at what time of day I wanted my flight. I said "WUTEVVS" and the elder told me they'll get my ticket bought! Crazy. Let's see, what else... oh yeah, today this awesome member that's not actually from our ward but knows Hermana Erickson got us permission from the assistants to go take us back to my old area of Palmas but to do some sweet things, and we went to this museum called Soumaya (dad if you wanna look it up it's in this place called Polanco). I realized I've never really used my P-days to do things like sightseeing, I usually just eat and read if I have time, but today was super cool and needed. Super nice lady.

Guys, I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I say it's TRUE I mean that it is the church God has established. If you want to know all of the classic points of view we encounter every day, just go take a look at the last talk by D. Todd Christofferson about WHY THE CHURCH. In fact, PLEASE go read it. It's something I didn't understand before my mission, to be completely honest. It makes all the logical sense in the world, yes, but what I've seen this week is that that answer straight from God is the most important evidence there is...and forgetting that answer is almost impossible. I watched a video of Francesco Di Francesca, the preacher who found the Book of Mormon without a cover, read it and received an answer, and then gave up EVERYTHING to find the church it came from. I talked to that less-active guy in the street, and realized that for all of his concerns, he has continued going for more than 20 years for his experience with the Book of Mormon, which has always ultimately transcended every other little problem. I saw Enimia withstand the harsh opposition of her family for days on end for her loyalty to what she FEELS is true. THIS IS REAL. This is salvation. I'm the most imperfect person and missionary, I have so far to go, and I owe Him so so much more than 3 1/2 months more of full-time service. But I'll take it. And I'll do my best to use it well.

I love you all a lot.

Beeeeeeeg Keeeeeees Leeeeeeetle Keeeeeeees

Hermana LeSueur

Apartment in Claveria

Enimia's Baptism

Hermana Erickson's grandpa found out that Emma and Hailey are actually distant cousins!!! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

We're trying to get to the heart of WHY we do what we do

Family/ home slices of toast...
I wish you all the very happiest Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving... I hope you're all enjoying it to the FULLEST as Hermana LeSwerickson and I are. Special thanks to Momma LeSuarez for the calendar you sent me last Christmas, making sure the 12th of October didn't go un-celebrated :) As more than just sistas in Zion - cousins from a distance, as we say - my companion and I used our collective Eagle Powers/almost-twin-telepathy and had a serious MIRACLE this week. A lot of 'em, actually. But here's the thing: I got here 2 weeks ago, right? This area has apparently been "dead" for more than 4 months. That is, without a single baptism. And in the months before that, I guess there was just one - and the convert moved. So basically I don't know any recent converts in the area, and getting here, there wasn't an investigator pool, people who were coming to church, etc. Kinda scary. Like "we're going to have to start from Square 1 here." Which is what we've been doing, and we've miraculously been finding people who have already been to church in the past! So, for example we found a family in which the 15-year-old is an inactive member who the ward doesn't know is living here and her parents have gone a million times but never got baptized! Also, we found a family who is related to a few ward members who also has been a few times but has never taken the lessons! And then there are other people like Enimia, who has been to church lots of times and just never got baptized. And then there's a 72-year-old man named Salvador. Five times to church is what a person needs here in Mexico to get baptized. We found him, an old old investigator, he had been to church 4 times. We taught him on Wednesday, set a baptismal date for the 11th of October (yesterday), and he accepted immediately. So. WE HAD A MIRACLE BAPTISM YESTERDAY! Salvador found his Salvador, and was baptized at 4:30 in a sweet program our awesome mission leader threw together. Obviously there was a lot more preparation that went into it all, but there it is. Claveria has its head back in the game and its heart in as well :) We have these families that can get baptized in this cambio and lots of other new people who are accepting. It was a cool week all-around, a LOT of personal progression and learning discipline, and we had some sweet experiences, for example yesterday we prayed after the baptism to thank the Lord and ask for His help in completing our weekly goals and then literally we stopped praying, got up, and found in-a-row and one-by-one 3 different inactive members in the street that we had never met, and we were able to complete our "lessons to less-actives" goal for the week in literally a few minutes. Little little things like that in the mission are so motivating. I'll get into some "life lessons learned" of the week in a second, but first some general responses to this/last week's emails...
Dad's on the Jef Holms hair train and Hermana Erickson and I and I'm sure the whole family are proud. as. can. be.
The must-see movies for YOU guys when I get home are:
Together Forever
The Restoration
Finding Faith in Christ.
(Too good not to share)
I was telling everyone Elder Renlund was definitely going to be one of my new favorites... his talk last session was so good
My lack of iPhone has made it impossible to Ponderize(TM)
haha juuuuust kiddin
Hermana Erickson and I are both psyched the U is #5 in the nation becuase turns out we're both U fans at heart
Other important facts:
Hermana Hailey (oops tehe) and I found a ring in the dirt the other day and we switch off wearing it every day but the rule is we have to present it to the other person every morning in a creative way. Way funny.
I got kissed this week. By a dog. A big dog named Beethoven. Well, at least that's the name I instinctively yelled when he jumped on me and started licking my mouth...
2 little kids on 2 separate occasions this week came up to us and set up appointments in their houses and we're like "sweet" until we shoed up and both times they just needed to record themselves having an interview session with someone that speaks English for school. But, we go lessons with members present, 10 references, and quesadillas out of it so NOT TOO SHAB. Also we're hoping the videos will somehow make us Internet famous and that hope keeps me going when I feel like I can't go no mo.
Okay, more details on everything next week! My camera isn't working in this computer, so next week you'll get some pictures I promise!
More than anything I've been focused on goal-making this week. We've been analyzing our behavior and obedience and such, but more than anything we're trying to get to the heart of WHY we do what we do. We must do it for love, plain and simple. The talk The Fourth Missionary explains, along with the Book of Mormon, that our acts mean nothing if we do them grudgingly. The mission can only change us if we learn how to completely give our heart, our desires, everything to the Lord. En eso estoy, and so excited for the months I have left! I love you all so much, kay?
Beeeeeeg Keeeeeeees Leeeeeeetle Keeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur
So happy Emma's companion Sister Erickson's mom sent me some pictures this week!!! Salvador's baptism

Monday, October 5, 2015

It was His voice that we heard

Hey United States of America! I have muy poco tiempo to write right now, so "bear with me." *fake laugh*
I love my new area and companion and we're finding lots of people and I kinda feel like I'm in the movie a Series of Unfortunate Events not because there are lots of unfortunate events but because the houses look like the houses in that movie. It's a really pretty area, but definitely taking some getting-used-to. Very appropriately, we are teaching a guy who semi has the style of the Volturi in Twilight, and he should be getting baptized around Halloween! He's super eccentric, but probably the nicest guy I've ever met and he's a painter! He bought us gorditas this morning, and while we ate he gave us a run-down of what he learned in conference, which was a LOT. Really sweet. All-around, we're trying to get this area on its feet. This area hasn't seen success in quite some time like I said before, so we're starting from scratch and so far we've seen some good results. A lady named Anemia has a baptismal date for the 18th, and we have a lot more possibles!
So. Conference. What we have just heard is what God needs us to hear, clearly, out loud. RIGHT NOW. It was His voice that we heard. Maybe some of them were things the Spirit has been trying to whisper to us for a time and we haven't been listening. These are not just inspired men who know how to write pretty words with some smart counsels. They are chosen men, visionary men. God's spokesmen have spoken loudly and clearly and they have given us specific instruction as to how to reach that eternal life. We just can't take conference lightly! I promise all of you there is SOMETHING in that conference that will immediately and completely change your life when really applied. As candidates for eternal life, we cannot become complacent or content with where we're at. The fact that we were baptized and continue going to church alone is not enough. I think of the talk by Elder Maynes and my favorite personal example of his important point, you've all heard it already: is our membership in the church, our faith in Christ and the sacred promises we made, a ROOM in the house of our life? Or is it the base? I've said it before and I'll say it again: it CAN'T be on the same level as all of those other aspects of our lives. It can't just be another PART of who we are. It needs to be who we are, plain and simple. It needs to be the base that holds up all those other rooms. In other words, our membership in Christ's church and our general belief in Christ need to govern every decision and action in every aspect of everything we do. Maybe it sounds overboard - it does - but literally EVERY little decision needs to be made with God's will in mind. We think, will making this choice help me complete the goals for which God has send me out in the world today to complete? I guess we need to start by knowing what these goals are - I can promise that they will ALWAYS be based on service to others. Like in the mission, where we have goals of numbers and such, if we're simply focused on serving others and being like Christ, the numbers fall into place by themselves. It's the same - the mundane things we need to have done every day fall into place as we focus continually on the most important things - service to our fellow man and being like Christ in general. These are all things that I've been learning over time in the mission. Anywhoo, I loved conference and I got all the answers I needed and they are men called of God. 
I love you all so much! Thank you for your words and examples! 
Beeeeeg keeeeeees Leeeeeetle keeeeeeees
Hermana LeSueur

Ada and George Baptism her last week in Toluca

Suarez Family- very special family to Emma in her last area Toluca