Monday, March 30, 2015

We just think you look great in White! :)

Hey there family!

     Well I keep saying it was a crazy week and that's because it was and then the next week is still crazy or gets crazier.... so maybe I should just stop saying that. Well I already did this time we'll see what this week brings. 

     On Friday evening we were supposed to have a lesson with Debbie and a couple of our other investigators.  Angela, who is the recent convert who got married last week and her husband Guillermo are the only ones who showed up. We had totally planned a lesson for our other investigators. So we were going to watch the Restoration video I decided that we should just watch it since that was our plan. Sister Castleton and I were whispering trying to figure it out. So we watched it in Spanish because Guillermo understands that better. Afterwards he said he loved all of it and he felt it was true. During dinner, out of no where, he told us they were moving to Orlando on Wednesday. WHAT? So Guillermo said he wanted to be baptized before he leaves. As soon as we left, we called the elders and threw a plan together! So, we had a baptism this week which was crazier than the wedding last week. It was AMAZING! He speaks Spanish better which is why we were team teaching him with the Cumorah Spanish Elders and so the Baptism was half in Spanish and half in English. The best of both worlds. It was the best. It was a good test to see how much I understood. I had to give a musical number.  The Branch President was talking to me afterwards in Spanish and I somehow knew what he said... YAY! The gift of tongues....? Or what he said was really easy to understand. Choose the last one then you'll be right. The baptism didn't start on time of course, because we are Mormons, and not very many of us know what ON TIME means. Guillermo was so happy. It was crazy how it all happened  God definitely has his hands in their lives and continues to work many miracles. We made it through all the craziness of the week. 

     This week I have been thinking about the Easter season. Yesterday at the baptism the Branch President said a baptism on Palm Sunday is the perfect way to start your new life to follow the Savior. The church is doing an Easter initiative very similar to the Christmas one. This one is called "Because He Lives" it is amazing. It talks about how he truly changed EVERYTHING. The people who were distraught at his loss, that seemed so permanent, experienced profound joy and once again as he changed everything. They received a manifestation unlike any other. He lives. He still lives. We are able to receive a similar experiences although it may not be the Savior standing in front of us asking us to gain a greater witness of his divinity through the marks in his hands and feet it comes in the peace that we receive through the spirit daily. "for what greater witness can ye have than peace?" Through his spirit that he left with us we can know who he is, receive help, and guidance and know that He does live. He is always here for us and ready to RUN to our aid. Those dark and along days that the people were waiting were hard.  We often experience those times in our lives but Sunday came. Sunday always will come.  We need not worry he is there. All #becausehelives. Discover, embrace, and share. Watch it and love it!  Here is the link. I LOVE IT. I am so grateful for what I learn about Jesus Christ - his forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Words cannot describe all that he has taught me here in Georgia through these people. But I do know that He lives and because He lives - we will also.

     We also met with Mary. She came to the Women's Broadcast and to church. She is one of the most sincere people I have ever met.  She is so close, if she could get her family to come it will happen in no time. Debbie is in the same situation she loves the church and believes that it is true and it is what she needs for her family, but she is scared to move forward and wants her daughter to be more involved. Please tell me how you get a 14 year old to have a good attitude about church? I haven't quite figured that one out yet. They are doing well though and I am so grateful to see the miracles that happen.

     Well everyone enjoy General Conference this weekend. Be looking for answers to your questions. God always answers, we just have to listen. Have a great week y'all are in my prayers. Happy Easter and remember the one who this season is about.

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks

BAPTISM TIME!!! The whole crew:  Bro Hirschi Sister Weeks and Castleton, Angela his wife, Guillermo,  and Elder Jensen and Elder Wood. Notice that they are about 2 feet taller than everyone else. 6 foot 7 inches is a birds eye view. I wonder what that would be like.... 

Bro Hirschi and Guillermo and then Guillermo his son.

Two Guillermo's and two sisters at a baptism.

Sisters Weeks and Castleton after a long day and a baptism.  Very tired but happy!

Sisters in the Marietta Zone after the Women's Conference broadcast.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Time for a bike ride.....Can you feel so now?

Hey there family!

Well  this week was so crazy. So many things happened I don't even know where to start and I am pretty sure the craziness hasn't ended yet... Yesterday we attended a wedding as well. O
ne of the recent converts in the ward. Hopefully her husband gets baptized soon. That is our goal. She told us on Wednesday that she wanted to get married and told me like she just bought a gallon of milk from the grocery store.... So then we thought it was going to be in a little bit the Spanish Elders are working with her now husband and so I texted them while we were in the car with her. Their reaction was priceless. I'm just 20 y'all... I have experienced so many things that I did not expect.... did I sign up for that?? They just got married in the bishops office and afterwards we got stranded at the church for 2 HOURS. OH man oh man. Then our ride finally showed up and when we were about home we got a call from the Elders who were standing in the POURING rain in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant saying that they got a flat and they couldn't find a ride. So we went and picked up their bikes and put them on our bike rack. Then because of being stranded at the church we were so late for our appointment and dinner We finally made it through the day!

On Saturday night I had a brilliant idea to ride our bikes to Roswell which is 7 miles away... It was so fun! My yellow friend didn't fail on me and we did not get any flats. Yay! Then we did service and then rode back. Making it 14 miles in all.... (that isn't that much for anyone else but I consider it an accomplishment)  Well the next day aka Sunday I thought I was going to be so sore but I woke up and I was fine. My legs didn't hurt at all but sitting on a hard chair at church after a delightful bike seat was um.... well that was sore. haha. The elders called us on the perfect day I had empathy for them because of my sore rear end. There were so many people mad that we rode our bikes.... and I told them the Elders do it everyday and they say "but they are boys" Okay well I am a girl and I can ride a bike. The end. :)

Also for comp study this morning for our role play I taught my comp how to play red light green light.. she had never heard of it before I almost cried.

For District meeting this week since we got a new district our district leader and a couple of the other elders made us an all green breakfast. haha. One of the elders from Brazil who doesn't speak English very well wasn't wearing green and a couple of the elders pinched him and he said I am not Catholic. Not understanding the if you don't wear green part you get pinched. Catholics have a saint for everyday so they don't celebrate them in predominately catholic countries because then they would have a party every day. So we explained to him and he said "oooohhhh I did not know that!" Then he companion who is also from Brazil found out too chased him down to pinch him... We created monsters. hahahaha

 This week Elder Zwick who is a member of the 70 came to  our mission. He met with us and all the ward councils for several stakes on Wednesday night and then on Friday we met with him as missionaries all day long and it was AMAZING. He is such an inspired man. At the end he was bearing his testimony and he said "As a special witness of Jesus Christ I know that he lives..." And as he was saying that I just had the feeling that he has SEEN our Savior Jesus Christ. He is an amazing man and we were stuffed spiritually. His wife talked to us as well and that is what I wanted to talk about. She focused what she said on my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon Alma 5. It has like 41 deep soul piercing questions. Every time I read it it is like a "check yo-self" moment. She was talking a lot about vs 26 "if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" This stuck out to me a lot. As we go through life with the trials and hardships receiving the strength of the Lord and witnesses and a change of heart can we feel so everyday? Do we allow our change of heart to continue to take place everyday? The help of heaven is essential for our spiritual life. But we have to acknowledge our dependence on him and allow him into our lives. This is about giving your heart to him. There is a Mayan word that she talked about that I do not know how to spell or say that means "how is your heart?" and she related it to the question "can you feel so now?" I think they are very similar. Never let a moment pass us by where we are not letting the Lord change us and mold us into what he wants us to be. He cannot change us unless we let him. CAN YOU FEEL SO NOW? HOW IS YOUR HEART?

Debbie came to the wedding too and we taught her The Gospel of Jesus Christ this week. She is so close! Pray for her please. And Dakota, Mary and Skylar. Debbie also came to church again this week. There was a young women's fundraiser for girls came and she went around and knocked on doors and asked for donations... Then she called us and told us the she was practicing for our job. She said she told them oh by the way I am not a Mormon yet but I sure love them a lot. haha Oh Debbie. I told her that we could fix that.. They are all so close.

Well I think that is all for this crazy week. Have a great week and y'all are in my prayers!

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

A little easter egg decoration

Lighted fountain

New haircut

The Elders and us with Angela and Guillermo after their wedding.

Rachel and Sister Castleton at the wedding

Monday, March 16, 2015

If we can laugh at it we can live with it!

Hey there family!

     This week was a great week here in Georgia. It was overcast all week long and then yesterday I looked out our door to check the weather, because that is how we do it when we don't have access to technology and there was SUN outside and I leaped and screamed because I was so excited. Sister Castleton thought something was wrong. Nope I just love warm weather. :)

     Well I have gained such a greater testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Especially what it says in Mosiah 24 about their burdens becoming light so light that they couldn't even feel them even though they were still there. Heavenly Father has this amazing ability to strengthen our capacity to deal with our trials and weaknesses and I KNOW that I could not do it with out him and I am so grateful.  

     We had zone meeting this week and the Bennion's came and Sister Bennion said "You have to do my nails!" haha. She is hilarious. Zone Meeting was so good though. A lot of the trainings were based on conversion and how THIS IS FOREVER. We must have it written in our hearts and be truly consecrated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

     This week I have been remembering something that I have thought about a lot and my favorite scripture is about. D&C 123:17 God promises to reveal his hand in our lives when we do things cheerfully.  I have noticed several other scriptures that talk about the happiness that God wants us to have. This week we were visiting someone and we shared a scripture about happiness with her and she said the gospel doesn't make me happy it gives me peace. I have thought about that all week long because it confused me and her statement just felt not right. And I know why because if you aren't' happy you aren't doing something right. This is the gospel of happiness and God wants us to live it fully. In 2 Nephi 5:27 it says:
 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." and King Benjamin in his last sermon to his people ends one of the chapters with "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
      Not only are they blessed and at peace but they are HAPPY. And it Hebrew the meaning of enduring to the end it to "press forward joyfully with purpose." It seems to me that God when he set his Gospel up and organized it every time he wanted the gospel, our life, and his son Jesus Christ to bring us JOY. We receive blessings when we do things cheerfully that is a part of the commandment. The Lord wants me to show others how happy this Gospel makes me, the light and the joy that comes into my life is something that is with me FOREVER. This is the Gospel of Happiness because of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful. For the love of all that is good on this earth don't be a lifeless walking Mormon robot....or any kind of robot. Laugh and feel joy. Laughter is one of the best medicines it truly helps me to recognize the grace of God in my life. Laugh along the journey of life. Feel happy.

     We had a lesson with Debbie this week at the church during mutual and we were trying to get her daughter Dakota to play human Foosball with the rest of the youth.  It took a bit of time but she finally jumped in, Sister Castleton jumped in too and played  in her skirt. haha. I stayed out for the sake of everyone else and talked with Debbie. It was such a great opportunity to ask her some questions and her not feel hindered in answering them. She said she loves the path that she is on right now and doesn't want to go anywhere else but she is also scared to move forward. She said that she really wanted to learn about the Plan of Salvation again so we retaught it at a members house and she was tearing up as we told her some experiences and stories. I shared with her about Jose - he is in the spirit world as a missionary right now. The spirit was so strong and the next day she texted us and said "I finally understand. I do believe that the gospel you are teaching me is TRUE." It was amazing. We have been praying for the Lord to soften her heart more and more and her to have a desire to make promises with the Lord soon, so she doesn't get comfortable. The Lord is amazing  - she is so close. Any prayers for her would be amazing! She is sincere in her quest for truth I am so grateful to be able to see her change and grow.

Then we met with Mary again. She is such a Christlike person her desire to do service and help others is so amazing. She is scared of the change but she will get there. The bishop always says she is the future relief society president and to hurry up and get her baptized hahaha.  She is so close as well!

Then on Saturday, we are running out of miles on our car because of the meetings that we have had to drive to lately, so we decided that we were going to do like Jesus and walk. We walked for about 5 or 6 miles. I am so grateful to have a car and once again to not be in a bike area. I am so blessed. But it was fun. Sister Castleton kept telling me to slow down because she couldn't keep up, but we needed to get there sooner rather than later. haha We made it. Victory!

Well I think that is all for this week. Remember to laugh! Thanks for all you do.  You are in my prayers!

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks

Rachel will be home April 16th and her homecoming address with be on the  19th of April.  Our Sacrament Meeting starts at 2:20 pm.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Character of Christ turns outward.

Hey there family!

     Well first off I just need to start with  little funny story that happened last Monday. It was all sunny outside and we have to clean our car every week. So we took it through the car wash, but the guy working there said that we aren't allowed to go through with a bike rack on the car and he needed the key because there is a lock on it to keep it there. So we gave him the key and the wrench and after about 10 minutes of him struggling and me holding up a whole line of cars sitting there he had me pull over and asked if I knew how to do it. Well I looked down at myself in a skirt and said "Well I have done it before but it has been a while." He proceeded to tell me that I was using the wrench wrong and tightening it instead of taking it off. After a couple minutes he walked away and I tried it the other way again and what do ya know? Sister Weeks in a skirt and using the wrench the right way got it off. :) YAY! I will try really hard to not be prideful. :)

     This week while we were tracting we met this cute little old man named Jim.  He was in his 90's and he answered the door. We tried to tell him who we were but his hearing was a little... off. We gave him a card to give to his daughter and he said where are y'all from again and I said, "We are from The Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints. We are Mormons". He said, " WHAT? Mormons." Then again, " What? You're in mourning?" No no no we are MORMONS so here I am on the front porch screaming at this old man telling him that no sir I am not in mourning we are representatives of Jesus Christ. Still to no avail, so I just screamed "HAVE A GOOD DAY!" Smiled and waved. And then turned to Sister Castleton well the whole neighborhood knows the Mormons are here now. 

      I have been studying a talk called "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. He quotes Elder Maxwell saying "There would have been no Atonement except for the character of Christ." he points out some pretty interesting things defining character and how poignant that statement is. If we want to obtain salvation through the Savior looking to him and just relying on his grace is not enough we must have faith in his name, character and atonement. So what is character? He defines it as the sum of the moral and mental qualities which distinguish an individual or race; mental or moral constitution; moral qualities strongly developed or strikingly displayed. But he also says that "Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us." It is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of others when we are suffering. The sadness of others, the hunger of others, discouragement and agony when we ourselves are being pressed upon by these same challenges. Do we have the ability to reach out and extend compassion and love to those who are suffering while we are burdened with our own struggles. While I was reading this talk a question came into my mind. What if Christ had not turned outward in times of crises and his struggling like Elder Maxwell says there would have been no Atonement. There would be no miracles nor an example to follow. But Christs character left a lasting impact to all. It is the tendency of the natural man to turn inward but "though the merits, mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah" (2 Nephi 2:8) he enables us to reach outward to go beyond ourselves, to overcome the struggles and challenges that will come day to day, and to earnestly plead with our advocate and Father in Heaven that we may be able to cultivate a Christlike character. I have the opportunity to have a front row seat of that change working in my life and the lives of so many others. We can all through faith in His sacrifice reach out to others and become even as he is. 

      There is a lady named Mary that we have been teaching, she was taught by sisters in the past but took a little break. She is amazing. She is one of the most Christlike people ever she does so much to try to help other people and she knows that what she is getting at her church right now is not fulfilling her and she said that many people she knows wear a brand of Christianity and do not truly try to be Christians. But her husband said you can go but I won't be going with you. He isn't against her doing it he just won't come. But she came to church today and she even commented in Relief Society!

     Angela is a recent convert in the ward and we are teaching her son Guillermo and his father Guillermo but mostly he is being taught my the Spanish Elders. But I have learned a lot of new Spanish words recently being around him. :) YAY. They are amazing they miracles that have been taking place in their lives in the past few weeks blows me away. It shows me how much God loves all of his children and if he wants something to happen he doesn't waste anytime for it. I love having a front row seat in the miracle theater. The best one of all. :)

     We have been witness to so many tender mercies and miracles in the lives of others and our own this week. God truly teaches me everyday of his love and compassion that he extends towards all. Being able to be an instrument in his hands brings the greatest joy of all. Through the hard and difficult times he is always there. To know God or Christ we must struggle. 

     I hope y'all have a great week. You are in my prayers!

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Our district before Elder Galvez went home and then we got combined with another district. 

 Us waiting for our ride to pick us up for church. :)

I may or may not have climbed inside the dryer this morning while doing my laundry... I'm still a kid at heart. :) And hey I still fit! Oh the memories.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"It's Desperation Ain't it?"

Hey there family!

     Okay well I hope you all catch the title reference and if not I'll just spoil it for you. "The Best Two Years" Elder Calhoun "It's humility ain't it?" Yep that too. :)

      So this week was an interesting one because we had snow.... Which I do not like, pretty much at all. It is pretty when you can be inside and warm other than that out with you I say! But good thing in the south it disappears pretty fast. And now today it is a nice 60 degrees and I am loving it. Georgia decided to finally realize what season it was supposed to be. Hallelujah. Blue skies! Maybe my ankles will see the light again. At last I have seen the light and the sun. YAY.

     Well this week the classic response we heard with many of our appointments and while we were tracting was "Go home the weather is too bad." The Governor declared a state of emergency for the threat of snow. That's right an EMERGENCY. It snow alright and then melted like an day later. Well that was fun. So when they tell us to go home then we just find something else to do. I wonder if they actually thought we would go home...? haha. 

     Every week we do service at a Nursing home and we play trivia with the cute little old people. They surprise me sometimes they know so many things. And then sometimes I have to wake them up or repeat the question a million times. A lady this week walked right passed me and asked "Where is my school?" So me not knowing what to say I just pointed and say "That way ma'am." Then I accidentally let a laugh escape and she said "haha is that all you know how to say?" In a rather disgusted tone. She said she found her school though. :) There was one of the doctors there that pretty much knew all the answers to EVERY question. That reminds me of someone else. I felt like I was trying to play trivia with Pops. Yep no one else has a prayer of a chance. You are still the human encyclopedia to me. 

     In a talk by Elder Nielsen in the last General Conference he talks about our own personal "spiritual oxygen mask" and how that represents our testimony. We have to have our own spiritual oxygen mask adjusted before we help anyone else. In district meeting we had a conversation about the "fire" in our lives and what the different components are to create the fire. We came up with the oxygen is our testimony. The spark is our conversion and then at the end our district leader sent us on a quest to find out what the fuel is. So all week in my studies and throughout the day I have been thinking about it and I haven't been able to think of anything. Then on Sunday during my personal studies Heavenly Father helped me to understand so much. He taught me that the fuel is desperation. Let me explain because it sounds kinda strange like that. Each time I am desperate to achieve a goal I spend so much more time in heartfelt prayer I exercise more faith and the goals are accomplished. I am literally filled with fire. I don't know if this is true with everyone but the Lord taught me something about myself that desperation or passion or truly being emotionally involved in all that I do helps me to grow and even when I have experiences that knock me down I am that much more determined to get back up and through the Lords strength I can. Okay so this makes sense and relates in my head so just pretend if it doesn't for you... 
      I was reading a talk by Elder Holland called "The First Great Commandment" it is about John 21 and Christ asking Peter "Lovest thou me?" Elder Hollands expounds on the experiences of Peters response saying “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn't it obvious then and isn't it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.” then continuing he asks some questions "Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something like: “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?” I feel like in this exchange that Christ has with Peter and the rest of his apostles described by Elder Holland he is begging them to be desperate in their quest to go forth with as much fire and passion as they possible can. This moves Peter and the remaining apostles to do just that to live a "majestic life of devoted service and leadership" As I was reading in Alma 5 the perfect chapter for self reflection,  I think Christ is asking us similarly "Do you love me?" Are you desperate and passionate in my cause? And I want to be able to answer without hesitation "Yeah Lord thou knowest that I love thee."

     This week we fasted especially for our investigators and a softened heart for them. Debbie and her daughter Dakota haven't been reading as much and Dakota is a slightly moody 13 year old so she doesn't often like church... We aren't' sure what to do but yesterday night Debbie texted us and said  "I am enjoying the Book of Mormon stories. She was sitting and reading while her daughter was at cheer leading practice. Then she said that she has been praying regularly. I thought I could fly. It makes my heart happy. I realize how much I care about people when they don't do what will make them the most happy and when they reject the most important thing to me. And I am SOO happy when they accept it. :)

I am truly blessed beyond measure. Even when times are hard and Heavenly Father teaches us through trials I can't even believe the miracles that pour in. Especially that he is able to use someone as weak, simple, young, and inadequate as me to do his work. I am so grateful for that trust. The snow is gone and I hope the warm weather stays! It is bound to be a great week serving beside the best life who has ever lived on this earth, Our Savior. He lives. 

Have a great week! I love y'all and pray for you always. Work hard play hard and be happy. :)

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

No transfer for them this week so I guess she stays with this companion until the end.  This is her last transfer and then she is coming home! Six more weeks.  She is not thrilled to leave.  She loves being a missionary and doesn't want to come back to make decisions in real life.  But we are a little bit excited to see her.

What happens in the south when it snows. . 

 No scrapper...? Looks like we just use a water bottle.

I don't like being cold. :)That is fake excitement on my face.