Thursday, November 28, 2013

Week 17...

Well first off I want to say how grateful I am to all of my family and friends that support me.  I have been so lucky to get so much mail from you, thank you so much! It really means a lot to me.  I am so blessed to have such a great family and great friends. 

This week was really great.  Last Monday for P Day we made lunch as a district, it was way fun! We made enchiladas and taquitos.  The elders had to go to Orem to the Missionary Mall and they were giving us a ride (they are in a trio so they can give us rides) so Hermana Bumstead and I decided to go to the Sister Missionary Mall and we splurged and got ourselves a skirt haha, it was great!

On Thursday we went to the temple as a district and a lot of sisters from my old zone in Payson were there.  It was so good to see them again! Going to the temple that day was really good for me.  I reflected a lot about my mission so far and how I have had a lot of wonderful experiences but also have has a lot of tough experiences.  It made me think how grateful I am to be here serving a mission.  I have learned so much these past 5 months that have helped me to grow and gain a stronger testimony especially of my Savior. 

We also had out District Training Meeting which we have every week.  We each wrote 10 things we were thankful for being that Thanksgiving is coming up.  We went around the room and shared them.  It was really nice.  It felt so good taking the time to write down the things that we are thankful for.  Also I went on exchanges this week which was really fun, I got to be in a car and I totally forgot what that felt like haha. I am actually really grateful that we walk and bike, it sometimes stinks because its raining and cold but the members feed us so much here so its good for us to burn it all off haha.

Also this week our ward mission leader came out with us and we tracted this big trailer park that is in our area.  We found a lot of Hispanic people to teach and we set up a lot of return appointments, it was great! We also got a lot of referrals!

On Friday we had zone conference and it was sooooo good! We talked a lot about the "why" we do things as missionaries.  It was probably my favorite zone conference so far.  President McCune is amazing, its amazing how much he is aware about all of the 270 missionaries in our mission.  He knows and cares about each and everyone of us.

We had a Thanksgiving Fireside yesterday in our stake and they had a choir that sang beautifully.  Also the former President of the Nauvoo temple spoke with us, he was really good.
We have a baptism this Saturday for Amber.  She is 8 years old and we have been teaching her and her family and getting them reactivated.  We're really excited, it will be a good day for them.

In Provo there is a lot of Spanish people from everywhere not just Mexico.  In our Spanish ward there is people from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, etc.  I am started to point out the different accents from the different countries especially from Chile and Argentina.  People from Chile speak super fast and Argentina has a different kind of accent.  It is also really neat because we have been able to eat a lot of things from these different countries because we eat with the members in our ward. Our ward spoils us so much, its crazy!

For Thanksgiving we have to go to two dinners, I don't know how we are going to do it! We will probably fast the day before haha.  We are going to the Zavala family, they are from Chile and feel us a ton.  And we are also going to the Villalobos family, the family of our ward mission leader who is basicly like our second family.  They feed us a ton too! Hermana Bumstead and I decided that we are going to make some pies this week to bring so it is at least somewhat traditional haha.  The Villalobos family asked us to explain the traditions of Thanksgiving and how it all started because they don't know the story of thanksgiving so we are going to explain it to them!

Well I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving this week! Remember the things that you are grateful for.  Thanks again for all the support!

Family- Mom I am so happy you got called to be a ward missionary, you will be awesome at it! I can't believe I will be able to talk to you all in about a month for Christmas! Dad I will try to only talk in Spanish with you! :)

Hermana Veronica Garces

Week 16...

Well this week has definitely been an adventure, so many crazy things happened.  I will explain later in my email!

So last Monday for P-Day my district went bowling on BYU-campus.  It was way fun, it was weird walking on campus because I kept thinking that I was going to see people I know haha.  We also went to the BYU bookstore to buy some pictures of Christ for the Gonzalez family that just recently got baptized.  Shoutout to Hermana Sablan! I saw your sister Casey at the bookstore.  She asked if I knew you, and I was like O my gosh of course I know Hermana Sablan she was in my MTC district! She told me to tell you hi and we are now officially Facebook friends.  Small world that's for sure haha. 

We got 2 more people this week to be on date to be baptized! We are super excited for them! There is this less active lady that we see a few times a week.  She is so awesome, we really love her.  She has been through a lot in her life.  She is from Chile and has lived here for 3 years, she is a single mom with a 5 year old son.  We go over there to share a little thought with her, talk with her, and help her fold boxes.  She works for this oil/nutrient company.  I don't really know how to describe it and she just fold/puts together boxes all day and it takes her hours to do by herself.  So we come and help her.  She hasn't been to church in a very long time, we got her to come this past Sunday with her son.  It was great, you could tell she was really happy to be back.  Her son is so cute, he likes to play a lot.  So when we are over at their house, he always likes me to play cars with him and legos.  I try to speak Spanish with him so I can practice and he always responds to me in English, its funny haha.

So craziness that happened this week, it started snowing/raining this past Friday and Saturday.  When it does start to snow and rain, we can't ride our bikes, we have to walk.  So it was very interesting for us.  On Friday we had to do the temple booth for a 2 hour shift and walking from the temple booth from our house takes a good 45min to an hour to walk over there.  So we walked over there in the cold rain and snow.  Also the temple booth is outside so we were there for 2 hours freezing.  There was this really nice lady that saw we were really cold and she brought us hot chocolate! Our shift for the temple booth was from 11-1 and we can't leave the temple booth until the next set of missionaries come to take the next shift.  It was like 1:45 and no one had come yet so we were like this is crazy, we have been here almost 3 hours and it is sooooo cold!! So we just left and called our zone leaders and they were like you didn't get our text and we were like what text.  They said they texted us and said that we could leave at1 and that the other set of missionaries would be coming late.  Well we never got that text haha.  They felt really bad.  We ended up walking to the mission office to go to the bathroom and when we walked in we looked ridiculous because we were so cold/wet/full of snow haha.  The zone leaders actually ended up being in the mission office and offered to take us home because they felt bad we have to walk and that we were at the temple booth for almost 3 hours in the cold haha.  They ended up treated us for lunch too, it was nice!

So we had other appointments that we had to walk to that were on the other side of our area.  Walking to the other side of the area takes a very long time.  This person that we were going to lives super up hill and we were super close to their house and then we get a call saying they have to cancel.  So we were like ok this is great, we walked all the way here in the rain/snow and they cancel on us.  So we decided to say a prayer to see what we could do on that side of the area.  There was a house that we felt prompted to stop by at so we did.  It was a lady who is a member but she's been going through a hard time. She has 4 little boys. We shared a thought with her and helped clean her house.  She was so grateful to us and really needed us in that moment.  It is amazing how Heavenly Father works in those moments! She also drove us home which was nice because the snow was getting worse haha.

So yeah I am still loving it here! I love my companion Hermana Bumstead! We really work well together and we find the humor in walking/riding a bike.  We complain that we don't have a car and the elders do but we keep going and that's all we can do!!

Thanks again for all the love and support! Family-I can't believe I will get to talk to you soon at Christmas! Dad, I will talk as much Spanish as I can with you!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Friday, November 15, 2013

15th week...

Well first off thanks for all the letters I got this week, I really appreciate them, keep them coming! Also thanks Dad for sending the Christmas CD's, we have listened to all of them already!

This week has been crazy but its been so good! We have had a lot of adventures walking and biking haha.  We have biked to the other side of our area for an appointment and they weren't there, we got a flat tire on one of our bikes, our skirts have gotten caught in the bike, there are some crazy hills in our area that are hard to bike etc.  Even though those things have happened we couldn't help but just laugh about them haha. 

Last Monday our district had dinner together at our house.  My companion, Hermana Bumstead cooked for us (she's a really good cook).  It was fun to bond with our district.  Today we are going bowling together on BYU-campus which should be way fun!

Its super nice serving in Provo because we are really close to the mission office so we go there a lot and I can pick up mail/packages I have gotten.  And we complain that we don't have a car haha
.  The mission hasn't given us a car but one thing that they did give us was a blender haha.  We were actually super excited about that, we make smoothies every morning now! If we can't have a car we can have a blender haha.  We harp on the Elders in our district so much that they have a car and we don't haha. Its ok though we make it work!

On Saturday we had the baptism for the Gonzalez family.  It was such a great day for them.  I love this family so much! It was Jaimie, Alicia, and their daughter Jasmine that got baptized.  Jasmine turned 8 this past Friday so we surprised her with a birthday party. Our Ward mission leader's mom made her a cake and Hermana Bumstead and I went a little crazy and bought her a bunch of stuff, we got her markers, coloring books, jump rope, puzzle, headbands, hair clips, bubbles, candy etc.  We also got her a big thing of balloons.  We wanted to make it really special for her because this family doesn't really have much money so we made a really big deal about it for her.  She was so excited when we came to surprise her, she is such a cute little girl!

Their baptism was amazing! The day before we asked Jaimie and Alicia why they wanted to be baptized and they said because they feel like they have truly repented and they want to be right with God, that is seriously like the best answer you could say! A lot of people were there for the baptism, the ward has been really great about supporting them.  Our ward mission leader, Saul baptized Alicia and his brother in law who is one our fellowshippers for this family baptized Jasmine and Jaimie.  The spirit was felt super strong.  After the baptism we had like an after party to celebrate their baptism at the Bishop's house.  They made so much food, it was delicious!

On Sunday all 3 of them were confirmed and they invited us to come over for tamales.  They invited our ward mission leader and his whole family to come too!  I guess in Mexico when you have tamales it is a really big deal.  They only have them on special occasions to celebrate.  They were sooooooo good! After we blessed the food Jaimie got really emotionally and said you know we have lived here for about 2 months and we came here with nothing, we had no friends, no jobs, etc.  Now we have a job, we have amazing friends like all of you, and more importantly we have the gospel in our lives now.  I couldn't help but start crying too! It is seriously amazing what the gospel can do for us.

Our ward mission leader Saul is so awesome! He has only been home from his mission for 2 months.  His whole family is wonderful.  They treat us so well.  His parents feel like my parents away from home, they will do anything for us.  Its really nice!

I love serving here in Provo a lot! There is a lot of Spanish people here! There's a lot of work to be done here.  I am so grateful to be serving with Hermana Bumstead! We have been together almost 2 weeks and she already feels like my best friend. 

Thanks again for all of the love and support.  I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

14th week...Provo Slate Canyon area.

So I got transfer calls 15 minutes after I finished emailing last week.  I have been transferred to the Provo Slate Canyon area.  My new companion is Hermana Bumstead, she is awesome! She has been out a transfer longer than me and her Spanish is really good! We cover just one stake (Provo Stake). 

Tuesday was my last day in Payson and we had President Interviews that day.  My interview with President McCune was amazing, one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.  President asked me how I was doing and without getting into too much detail I told him that I have learned to be a lot closer to my Savior.  I said I know I went through this tough time so that I could gain that Testimony of my Savior.  He asked me if there is anything that I needed help with.  And I said I have struggled with listening to the Spirit and to feel it.  I have shared the first vision and every time I share it I don't feel the significance of it for myself.  I have felt it super strongly when I shared it in the MTC but it hasn't quite had the effect on me out in the field.   I have been studying it really hard and praying that I feel that strong spirit again but I haven't yet.  He then asked me if I had the first vision memorized in English and I said actually I don't, I just have it in Spanish memorized.  So he then pulled out his scriptures and turned to Joseph Smith History and asked me to read the first vision to him and he asked me to read it slowly and to read it as if it is the first time he is hearing this.  So I started reading and paused between phrases and halfway through reading tears were coming down my face.  I kept reciting it but the crying didn't stop.  When I finished I looked up at President McCune and he was crying too.  He said that was amazing Sister Garces, that was the most powerful reciting of the first vision I have ever heard.  You have power Sister Garces, you are an amazing missionary.  Share your strong testimony to the people of Provo Slate Canyon because this area needs you now.  I couldn't stop crying, the spirit was so overwhelming.  It finally hit me again in that moment, the spirit was brought back to me.  That experience was something that needed to happen to me, I will forever be grateful for that experience and to be able to share that with my Mission President was amazing!

Later that night our ward was having a trunk or treat so I got to say goodbye to a lot of the members in our ward.  It was a little sad saying goodbye but I knew that being transferred to Provo was going to be the best thing for me.  One of the less active family's we are teaching their daughter who wants me to play the violin for her baptism was so sad I was leaving.  She was like nooooooooo Sister Garces you can't go, I don't want you to gooooo.  I said Sammy its ok, I promise I will stay in touch and that I will be back for your baptism and play the violin for you. 

Wednesday was transfers! We met at the chapel in Provo by the temple and MTC and met our new companions! I also got to see Hermana Read, Hermana Sablan, Hermana Derges, and Elder Hodges! I always love seeing my MTC district! O also I have been out in the field for 12 weeks so I am officially done being trained as a new missionary! I said goodbye to Hermana Lish, she definitely has taught me a lot and we had some struggles but I know we learned a lot from each other! She is an amazing missionary! I met with my new companion Hermana Bumstead and like I said she is awesome! We relate to each other so much! After our first day together we were already like best friends.  So my area is a biking area which is interesting especially in a skit haha. It has been adventure that's for sure! We are hoping we get a car because its gonna start snowing a lot here.  The first day we taught a few lessons and I met with our ward mission leader.  Our ward mission leader just got off his mission a few months ago and he is awesome! His whole family is so nice, they were so welcoming to me! And I can already tell that I love the people we are teaching.  Thursday was Halloween.  We were locked up in a church building from 5-9:30 with our district!  We made breakfast burritos, brownies, salsa, and all other kinds of good stuff.  We also got to watch the movie Ephraim's Rescue, it is a lot like 17 miracles. It was such a good movie, we were all crying during it.  My MTC district is so much fun, I already love all of them.  We have 4 elders and 4 sisters in our district.  We are already like super close, it is going to be a fun transfer!

O also the people I live with are so nice! They are an older couple (the Andersons).  They are so sweet and will do anything for us.  What is super awesome about being in Provo is that there is a temple booth by the construction of the new Provo City temple that is being built.  And we as missionaries get to take turns working at the temple booth and get to watch the construction of the temple and answer questions to people that are walking by.  It is way cool, I have already done it twice since being here!

Sunday I went to church and met our ward.  The Bishop invited me to introduce myself and bear my testimony to the ward so I did.  It went well with my broken Spanish haha. This ward is amazing! They are so sweet and welcoming! O and guess what Dad there is a lady is this ward that is from Quito, Ecuador! We bonded super well haha, she wants to know what part of Quito your family is from because she said she has heard of the name Garces.  So ask your Dad what part of Quito they are from.  Also there were these two young women ages girls that came up to me and they were like are you from Burke and I was like yeah.  These two girls used to be in the Little River Ward and recognized me and they knew all these people from the Burke ward.  I felt bad cause I didn't recognize them but small world, crazy! They said they moved to Utah this past summer!

We had dinner at our ward mission leaders family's house.  They are so amazing, I love them! They made us tacos and they were like real Mexican tacos that were to die for! And we had a FHE at their house with the Gonzalez family that is being baptized this Saturday! They are such a sweet family, I met them my first day in Provo and I immediately fell in love with them.

So yeah it has been an amazing first week in Provo! I love my new companion, my ward, my district, my area, and just everything! I know I am supposed to me here right now, it is amazing how Heavenly Father works and knows where you are supposed to go!

Anyways thanks for all the love and support! I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

13th Week...

Well I am still waiting to hear about transfers.  We should be getting a call anytime now! So maybe by the end of this email I will know haha! Thanks for all the letters this week.

So this week we went to the temple as a district, it was a great experience as usual.  Afterwards we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch.  We got it for free, I guess that's the perks of being in the Utah Provo Mission! That same day I went on exchanges with Hermana Derges (she was in my MTC district).  It was so nice to be with her for the day, it reminded me of all the fun times I had with my MTC district! They will forever be my family!  We were able to teach a lot of good lessons and just have a good time together. 

On Thursday I was on exchanges again and this time I was with Sister Harroff.  She is an english speaking sister and it was a good experience with her.  It was although a bit of a challenge because she doesn't know any Spanish so I had to pretty much teach the lessons by myself which was a little scary haha.  Surprisingly it went ok, a lot of Spanish came out which was good.  We also had members with us during our lessons so they could help me out.  Spanish has still been a struggle but I have faith it will get there eventually! That day we went by for this less active family that we are teaching the Godinez family.  They are amazing, I love them so much! We are teaching the whole family to get them back to church but we are also getting their daughter, Sammy who is 9 ready to be baptized.  She is so ready but we are waiting on her Dad, Miguel to be ready.  He wants to baptize her but he wants to do it right this time.  He doesn't just want to baptize her just to baptize her and then not go to church.  He wants to be serious about this and be fully committed.  This whole family is super close and they are so much fun! They are the one's that surprised me with cake and icecream for my birthday.  Before leaving their house Sammy said to me Sister Garces I want to get baptized before one of you gets transferred, Sister Garces I want you to play the violin for my baptism.  My heart just melted when she said that.  I told her that if I would get transferred that I could get permission to come back for her baptism so I could play.  And plus I definitely want to be there for that special day!

Tomorrow we get to have interviews with President McCune.  Each interview is about 15 minutes.  I am actually really excited to talk to him about how everything is going.  He is so amazing and I can tell he really loves and cares about each and everyone of us in the mission.  Also tomorrow our ward is having a Trunk or Treat and we are going to help our at it which will be fun!

Thursday is Halloween! So we can't proselyte from 5-9, so we are basically going to be locked up haha not really.  We get to a church building and hang out with our district.  We get to watch a movie and play games and just have a lot of fun! It should be fun!

Well I still haven't gotten the call yet about transfers so I guess you all will find out next week what happens!

Thanks again for all the love and support!

Hermana Veronica Garces