Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello friends and family!

I hope you all have had a great week! We have reached winter here! It
hasn't snowed yet but last night we had a pretty big storm! It is
beginning! I really do like winter in the city. Especially because I
am not a good snow driver. If I do get transferred this last cycle
upstate and have to drive, well, Heaven help me. ;) I haven't driven
for almost 15 months!

This past week has been pretty chill. We really focused on members
this past week to build trust and help teach them how to teach so that
we can help them be better member missionaries! It has been good to go
and visit the active members! Especially because they feed us. :) We
have been focusing on teaching them basically chapter 3 of Preach My
Gospel. When we all truly understand these themes, we can teach the
gospel simply and clearly.

So after p-day on Wednesday we went over to a members house. She is
Mexican and is so sweet! She always makes us yummy Mexican food. So we
sit down and she tells us she has molé for us and some soup. Then she
said the word mondongo. I knew I had heard that word before and I was
a little worried. From what I had heard it was either platanos or
stomach. Mofongo or mondongo. At first I didn't say anything, thinking
that the thought would slip from my mind and I would be able to chow
it down. Then Sis. Dodson started eating it and was like, what is
this? I was like, is most likely from a cow. So my
friends, we ate stomach soup. Okay I had a few bites. It was the
texture of chicken skin which I can't stand but, I couldn't leave that
place without trying it. Sis. Dodson was a lot braver than me!

On Thursday we had our last primary program practice! I play the piano for the
ward and offered my services to the primary back in August to play for
them in November. I thought for sure I would be transferred by now
but, alas, here I am! We practiced for an hour and just sang the songs
over and over and over again. There were only 4. La fe (faith), Con El
Salvador al lado (if the savior stood beside me), mi Padre Celestial
me ama (Heavenly Father loves me), and la oracion de un niño(A child's
prayer). It was such a good experience to work with them. We tried our
hardest to just help them have a good experience through all of it. I
am so thankful for all my primary teachers! Teaching the songs is so
hard! Props to all ya'll! :)

On Friday we went to the Reynosa's house. They are a less active
family in our ward. She is very sick with cancer. For the past 6 years
she has been fighting with it, which is also the same amount of time
she has been in the US. She is so strong! She has been such an amazing
example to me of strength and testimony through trials. I am so
thankful that I had the amazing opportunity to meet her.

After the Reynosa's we went to mutual at the YW presidents house. She
asked us to talk about the temple and fasting because they were going
to the temple to do baptisms the next day and invited us to fast with
them. We showed them the cover of the personal progress book and the
cover of the for the strength of the youth booklet. They both have a
picture of the salt lake temple on them. Coincidence, I think not! We
tried to help them understand that the temple is our goal. That the
temple is the place we should all be aiming for and that our decisions
now, will make or break us getting there. I have so much respect for
these girls. Life is so tough here! Good is evil and evil is good.
They have so much courage to stand up for what they believe!

Saturday was a crazy day! We had so much planned to do! It was
wonderful! We had correlation with our ward mission leader then at 12
we had a zone finding activity. Finding is when you find new people to
teach whether it be through tracting, contacting, basically just
talking to random people! My companion, being the artist she is, drew
a huge picture of the angel Moroni! Then we handed out chalk to people
to write down what they were thankful for on the ground around him. A
lot of people talked to us about the church and what we were doing.

Then it usually turns into talking about them. It is really so
interesting to just talk to people about their own lives. That is
something really cool I like about the mission, being able to just
talk to people about their lives! I think it is the history teacher in
me, I love hearing about people's lives. Even though it was cold
outside, this zone activity was so fun!

After the activity, the sisters in the other Spanish ward had a
baptism. We helped them teach a few lessons with him because they
didn't have a third female. His name is Joel. He is so awesome! It was
cool to witness him changing and seeing that the gospel was changing
him into the person he wanted to be. So awesome.

Later that night, we had a relief society baby shower for our relief
society president! She is so cute! She is having her first baby! It is
a girl! There were so many people at the party! It was kind of cool to
see so many members in one place outside of church! I love it. We just
chatted up with the members and they blasted bachata music. For those
of you who don't know what bachata is, google Prince Royce. I love
him. :)

Sunday was the primary program! It was so good! Hahaha I just love
those kids so much. They are so hilarious! They just scream the song
instead of singing. I love that I have gotten to stay in Concourse for
so long because I really did get to develop relationships with the
members here!

Later we went and visited a YW. She is having problems with posting
not good stuff on Facebook. I am so amazed by the world. We literally
are serving in Babylon. I think of all of the prophets who literally
cried because of the wickedness of the people and their love for them.
We have had much sorrow over a few investigators and members who are
choosing to use their agency badly. It it so hard to stay true to what
you believe in this city but, it is possible. I love the YW so much.
They have so much strength and are willing to stand up for what they
believe in.

After we went to a members house to talk about the Book of Mormon. It
was awesome because the members less active grandson was there too and
he was really into it! It is really hard because a lot of kids
grandparents are active but their parents are inactive. It's really
hard to see that, especially when the kids want to come to church.
Sometimes it motivates the parents to reactivate themselves but
sometimes it doesn't. We left him with the commitment to read the Book
of Mormon and to come to church on Sunday and he was like, "you'll see
me there!" It is cool to see the youth grow.

Monday we went to a recent converts house, Marta Santiago. I love her
so much. She is another one of the ladies that I am so happy I got to
meet in my life. She is probably 70 and was baptized last year. She is
going to take the temple prep classes in January! This next week she
is going to get her temple recommend so we can go down to the temple
and do confirmations with her. It has been so amazing to see her grow.
She was so prepared for this gospel and now only wants her family to
be able to enjoy it.
After we visited Marta, we went to another members for dinner with the
elders. Her name is Susie. Her husband just left to Peru for the
winter and she is here by herself! She is so awesome and a very strong
member. She leads me every Sunday as the ward music director!

Tuesday was the International Day of Merengue! If you don't know what
that is Google it! You will want to get up and dance though, so be
warned! We met up with Ceyline. She is a teacher of the 12-15 year
olds in Sunday school. At first she was having a hard time with them
because she doesn't speak much English but she said that now it is
much better. She is only 25 so when we get together it is always fun.
She knows the gospel really well too so when we get together it is
always a good spiritual experience.

Then we had an APF, which is an "area proselyting focus." We gave out
free hot chocolate and pamphlets. It is pretty cool how fast all the
Book of Mormon's and pamphlets go when you tell people they are free.
I am also a strong believer that even if we don't explain much about
the book, if they have it in their home, it has power. Isn't that
amazing? I just love that The Lord places people in our paths to get
the information they need to make the choice to change and follow the
gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can't believe that my time is coming to an end here in New York.
My time serving The Lord  is coming to an end. It is so crazy how
fast time has seemed to fly! I am so thankful for this opportunity to
be here. To have had this experience that has changed my life forever.
I am so thankful to all of my family and friends and people I don't
even know for their support. I can feel your prayers. I know Heavenly
Father is aware of His missionaries and their families.

I love you all so much! Thank you so much for everything you do for
this work! Keep being strong! Remember that we all have to take part
in this work. All of you know someone who is not a member of the
church. Share your testimony, share your example, share up the love
that you have for your Savior! Actions often speak louder than words.
:) Remember to share through Facebook! We can reach the four corners
of the earth with Facebook!

I love you all!

Love, Hermana Lancaster

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