Monday, December 28, 2015

12/28/15 Group Email

Ah my heart is so full.  Christmas was UNREAL up here in Canada.  Words can't even describe how much I love these people and being a missionary.  This last week started off amazing with our Christmas Mission party.  It is always so much fun to see all my mission friends and to hear from President and Sister Miles.  We had an amazing dinner and devotional.  President Miles gave us all Books of Mormon and said that as an entire mission, we are going to start on Christmas Day and finish it on Easter.  It has been so fun reading it from the beginning, and where I am reading it in Spanish.   
My companion was pretty sick on the days surrounding Christmas, so we were inside all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Which was awesome for me because I got to wear my sweatshirt and sweats all day and study! I read the entire book of Mateo and wow... so amazing.  It was so incredible and my testimony has been strengthening more and more with every chapter I read.  By the end, in Mateo 26-27 I was crying when I read the verses of his Disciples denying him. The spirit was super strong as I finished up that book, and I'm excited to continue reading the rest of the New Testament!
Christmas Day, as we drove around from visit to visit, it was -22 outside... FREEZING... but with all the people we would see outside, I would roll down my window and we would scream "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" and wave. Hahaha it was the best thing ever! You can get away with doing stuff like that when you're a missionary :) 
We visited the family Perez.. my favorite couple in the world.  We were supposed to spend Christmas Day with them, but they were too sick, so we surprise visited them and sang carols at their door (I bawled... haha I'm such a baby) But the spirit was really strong and Hermana Perez was crying as well. It made me realize that that is what Christmas is all about!
Skyping was so much fun! It was good to see the fam and hear your voices. These last 6 months have flown by though... I feel like I was just with you! 

Well the work is going oh so good and I'm loving my time here.  We were sooooo very loved this past week, especially with having Hermana Ratliff sick.  We got tons of presents and visits and everyone told us if we needed anything, we could call them.  I just love the people up here and I know I'm exactly where I need to be :)
Abrazos y besos
Hermana Dean 

12/28/15 Pictures

Christmas party with the mission... SO much fun to see all of my friends :) 
Valerie and Javier: we spent Christmas Eve at their house with their families.  We played games and they gave us TONS of presents
Sister Miles 

 Here's our cute Christmas Tree(s) that our neighbors gave us, and all the presents that we got from our members! We were soooo spoiled :) 
Javier and Valerie went to Mexico last week and brought us back these suuuuper comfy pants. 
It was a cute -22 Christmas morning
Christmas Eve we played hand and foot and it was SO fun !
 Everything is sooo icy here! 
Driving over the bridge... the river was steaming like crazy because it was so cold outside!
La familia Perez... they have such a special place in my heart.  They're too sick to go to church, so we visit them.  We were going to spend Christmas with them, but they were too sick, so we stopped by and caroled instead :)
McDonalds haha
La Familia Dardon :) They are my favorite family in the world.  Their daughters are the cutest.  We stopped by and visited them on Christmas Day.
 La Familia Fernando... we are with them A LOT, they are the cutest

Monday, December 21, 2015

12/21/15 Group Email

Ah I just love being a Missionary during the Holiday season! Seriously, I am just so happy and absolute love it out here.  This week was really good!  

Last week I was praying in the morning and asking how I could strengthen my testimony of the Savior.. To really really know that He lived and suffered the Atonement.  So as I was praying, I was asking to know what I need to do to strengthen my testimony.  And it was just like a huge wave come over me, and the thought entered my mind : Read the New Testament.  So I started reading the New Testament, along with my couple of chapters en El Libro de Mormon cada dia, and wow! It has been the most amazing experience! It was such powerful personal revelation and I know without a doubt that it was the Spirit telling me what I need to do in order to strengthen my testimony the way that it needs to be strengthened.  Personal revelation is REAL.

Last Tuesday, we got a call from the Spanish sisters who are down in my old area, and they told me that Luis, my recent convert who is SO dear to my heart, was losing his visa and was leaving to Mexico, that day.  I was so sad! We hung up the phone with the sisters, and I just kept getting the thought "call him." I kept pushing it out because I kept making up excuses of how it wasn't going to work, but the prompting was too strong and I ended up calling all these different people and got his number, and I was able to talk with him and say good bye! It was so sweet and even though he told me how sad he is to leave Canada, he knows that the Lord has a plan for him and he'll go wherever the Lord sends him.  It was emotional as I sat in the bathroom of our Less Active's house crying and saying goodbye, but he will do so amazing in Mexico and I'm so lucky that I was able to talk with him one last time.

On Saturday we helped with a move in -16.... yeah, it was freezing and nobody could feel their toes after haha, but it was fun and there all these Latinos there and we just all chatted while we moved and entire house from inside to outside

We had our big cena por la navidad on Saturday and it was super fun! I absolutely love the ward that I'm serving in.  Being in the Spanish program up here, there is only the Branch and the Ward that we can serve in.  I absolutely love the people in the Ward and it was so fun to have a big dinner together.  I was walking and all of a sudden I hear "Hermana Dean va a tocar el piano" haha so luckily I had some sheet music in my bag and I whipped out a nice long song.  Then after that, everyone started singing "Feliz Navidad" and wow that song is just so much better when it's actual Latinos singing it haha

My comp and I were reading El Libro de Mormon juntas and one of the verses really stood out to me.  It's in Alma 6:6 "No obstante, se mando a los hijos de Dios que se congregaron frecuentemente, y se unieran en ayuno y ferviente oracion por el bien de las almas de aquellos que no conocian a dios." Which is basically saying that God commanded his children to fast and pray for the welfare of the souls who don't know God. I told my comp that I loved that scripture and she said "Well let's do it! Let's fast every Sunday of this transfer, starting tomorrow." At first I was a little hesitant.... I mean, that's a HUGE commitment.  BUT we decided that we are going to do it! Yesterday was our first Sunday and ohhh man we saw soooo many blessings! It was so incredible! Our investigator came to church and a couple that aren't members came too... it was SO cool and I'm so excited to see how the rest of this transfer turns out because of it!

Hermana Dean 

12/21/15 Pictures

Don't have too many pictures this week... just basically me and the snow haha. I'll have some good ones to send next week with our members, after Christmas :) 
 Here's my photo wall above where I study, just to show you that I'm putting up all the pictures that you send me! :) 
 I bought this blanket with some of the money that Grandma and Grandpa sent me! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12/14/15 Group Email

Another amazing week over here in Calgary :) 

So on Friday, our lesson had cancelled, so we were thinking of who to visit.  I was looking through old record sheets and saw "Blanca and Cindy", two less actives.  We had tried to visit them at the very beginning of the transfer, but never got in.  So we headed up to their house, knocked on the door, and Blanca answered and told us to come in.  She told us that THAT day, she was going to call us because she needed help and needed us. She was so shocked when we showed up! It was such a miracle and she said "Dios hablo" God spoke, to us, and told us that she needed us.  We were able to share a message with her and lift up her spirit and hopefully we'll start meeting with her again! 

We drove up to Airdire, a little town outside of Downtown. It's pretty up in the boonies and is surrounded by farmland.  But the drive was BREATHTAKING.  Everything was sooo frosted and completely white.  I should've taken more pics (whoops) but we tried to capture it on one of the pine trees.  It was so beautiful and ah I absolutely love the snow and Christmas time and my comp and I were just so happy driving around Canada! :) 

This past week I have really felt the spirit of Christmas.  Last night, a member and her family did this whole thing for us; we ate dinner, crepes, sang songs, she had this slide show with all of our baby pictures haha playing along to Christmas music. It was so fun! She bore her testimony, she returned from her mission a year and a half ago, and just emphasized how important it is to "live in the moment." To focus on the people you are with, where you are, who you are serving, because soon enough, everything will have changed. As she was bearing her testimony, I felt the spirit so strongly! I know that this is exactly where I need to be; with my companion, in this ward, in this area, serving with these missionaries. I just felt so happy and at peace. Enjoy this Christmas season - focus on the most important things: the people you are with, where you are, who you are serving, and Jesus Christ.  This is such a happy season, full of love and the gospel! I absolutely love it. I love being a missionary and I am treasuring every moment I have here in Canada, during this season. 

Have a happy week! 
Abrazos y besos - 
Hermana Dean

12/14/15 Pictures

 One of our members gave us this HUGE bag full of Mexican candy.... it was all so disgusting! Haha but our favorite(looking) was las banderas 
We helped our less active paint her entire basement... we were there alllll day and my arms were so sore! But it was super fun!
This week has been foggy foggy foggy! 
 Notice the wind in my hair.... yeah, deathly cold 
 Trying to catch the fog on camera... you could barely even see in front of you, it was scary! 
 We drove up to Airdrie, about a 20 or so minute drive north, and it was a FROSTED WONDERLAND. It was BEAUTIFUL beyond words.  Every single thing was white, covered in snow. All the trees were white, the fields were white, the streets. It was breathtaking. We drove up, listening to Christmas music, just so happy and loving life. I absolutely love it here!
 Feliz Navidad from the Murdocks -  we absolutely love our decorations! And I'm so excited to open all the presents for the next twelve days from my familia! :) 
Last night had a Christmas celebration with the Menjivar family from El Salvador. It was so much fun! They put together this slide show with all our baby pictures... hahah very entertaining, and we had this big meal and sang songs! It was really fun.