Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another great week!

I need to do a little catch up.  Sorry I didn't do an email last week.  These past two weeks have been crazy but it has been a good kind of crazy. 

We had a baptism for Faith, a wonderful sister last Saturday and what a great day it was for her. There was a lot of craziness beforehand but it all worked out and she did get baptized.  Her mom gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and they have been less active for a long time so it was a big deal that she was giving a talk, she was really nervous about it.  She did such a good job, probably the best talk I have heard on the holy ghost.  She got really emotional.  She said something a long these lines "Faith I am so proud of you, I know we all say this a lot but you really do live up to your name, it is because of you and your desire to get baptized that we are back at church, I am so sorry I forgot how it felt, the gospel really does bless families and I know it will continue to bless ours". My companion, Sister Traini, and I were crying so much.  This family has come such a long way since we first started teaching them.  They want to start preparing to enter the temple to be sealed together as a family. 

We had a really great district training meeting.  My companion and I were in charge of the training and the theme for this month for our mission is "Making use of our time and making it more effective", we talked a lot about diligence and accountability in our training.  In Preach my Gospel it says that we need to be accountable our entire mission not just at the end of the mission, when we are set apart to be a representative of Jesus Christ we are accountable to the Lord.  We want to end our mission knowing that we were fully committed to the Lord and that we were accountable.  We ended our training listening to a song that was very fitting.  It is called "The hardest thing I have ever loved to do".  It talks a lot about the mission and just how we spend our time.  We told our district to reflect on their mission so far as they listen to this song.  One thing that I really liked that the song says is "the most sincere prayer I ever prayed, I thank my God each and every day".  The song starts with beginning the mission and saying goodbye to your families and all the other struggles that come from the mission that we deal with and then it ends with saying "the hardest thing I have ever had to do was getting on this plane and coming home to you".  Our whole district was crying by the end of the song, we all got very emotional.  The time that we have on the mission is so precious, we don't want to mess up that time.  We want to fully be committed to the Lord.  We closed with a scripture in Alma 36:24-25.  We invited our district to give an account to the Lord on our mission so far.  The spirit was so strong in that meeting, I know it was something our district really needed and they needed to feel that spirit again.  The spirit was not at our district meeting last week due to some things but this really helped our district come together and to be more unified.

We have been teaching a lot of people.  We have had a lot of work to do which has been great.  We are getting the wards more involved with helping with missionary work.  We have gotten a lot of referrals.  We have some really great investigators that could get on date for baptism soon. 

I want to give a shoutout to my niece Virginia, who is getting baptized this Saturday! I wish I could be there but know that I will be there in spirit.  I am so proud of the decision that you are making.  You are following the example of your Savior, Jesus Christ.  I will be thinking of you on Saturday. 

I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Another wonderful week on the mission

This week was pretty good. It was a little slower as far as teaching lessons but we were still able to keep busy. 

We had a really great lesson with Brother M's wife.  He is going through a really hard time and it has been really hard on his wife and she is starting to lose a bit of faith.  We talked to her about the Restoration with her and we felt very prompted to invite her to be baptized, so we did and she paused and didn't say anything for like a minute and I was like o boy what did we just do and she said "yeah, I will do it, I need some time though, but I know for sure that it is something that I need to do".  I was in shock that she said that, I thought she was going to say no and be offended that we are pushing her too much but she said yes.  We were so excited with her answer.  We didn't set a date for her but this week we are going to pray about a day for her to be baptized and we hope that she can have that strong desire to prepare for that day.

We are teaching this family that is so awesome, we love them so much.  The parents were baptized over a year ago and before I got to the area they just went to the temple to get their endowments and get sealed.  None of their kids are members.  They have 2 daughters, that are 10 and 14 and they don't want to be baptized.  No one really knows that reason why.  They go to church every Sunday with their family and they go to mutual and the one girl is going to girls camp.  A lot of the past missionaries have tried working with them but they haven't been able to get them to be baptized.  So my companion and I have just tried talking with the girls to get them to open up more with us and we even had them paint our nails haha so that they could see we are normal people.  They have opened up a lot with us and they say they love it when we come over. We were able to help Julissa prepare a talk about Baptism and Confirmation and we explained why we need to be baptized because Jesus Christ set the example for us.  We also had a lesson with the whole family last night and it went really well.  The girls participated and they have never done that before.  We are very hopeful for them.  We are going to pray really hard this week and see if we can commit the girls for a baptism date.  It is going to take a lot of faith with them.

The English family that we are teaching has been going so well, their daughter Faith just had her baptism interview and passed! She is so excited to be baptized, she has such a sweet spirit.  This family has come such a long way since I first started teaching them, they have progressed so much.  They now are talking about working towards being sealed together in the temple, that will be such a special day for them.  Faith is getting baptized this Saturday and we are very excited for her and for the whole family.

We got a lot of referrals this past week that we need to contact which is awesome because we need more people to teach! We are very excited for what the rest of this transfer has for us.

I love being a missionary, it is the best thing that I have done.  I never want it to end! It will be the saddest day when I have to take off my missionary badge.  

I love you all, thanks for all the support.

Hermana Veronica Garces 

Transfers and Baptism

This week was pretty stressful but it still was amazing!.  I was a little nervous about this past week because I was taking over the area and getting a new companion and we had 2 baptisms on Saturday and it was just a crazy week. 

Transfers can be a little crazy.  We wonder who our new companion is going to be or what area we will be in.  We wonder what Heavenly Father has in store for us.  President McCune said "ok Pleasant Grove Spanish area, Sister Garces you will be serving with.....he paused for a couple of seconds and said Sister Montanares! Sister Montanares and I both screamed a little bit and ran and gave each other a big hug.  I know Sister Montanares really well, we were in the same zone when I served in Provo.  She was companions with one of my former companion's, Sister Smith when she was sister training leader.  I have gone on exchanges with her a few times and we saw each other a lot when we served in Provo.  Every time we would see each other we would say "I could totally see us being companions one day, it is going to happen" and guess what we are companions now! We are so excited to be serving with each other, we already know so much about each other.  The end of our first day together we could tell that this was going to be a good transfer and that we would get a long very well!

I am the designated driver which has been interesting haha.  Its been good though, I actually know my way around Pleasant Grove more than I thought.  Also they changed our zone boundaries a little bit.  American Fork is now in my zone, so my old area is in my zone now which is pretty cool!

We had a lot of miracles happen this week, the first week of the transfer is always crazy.  I didn't think we were going to be able to teach as much but we did! We met all of our goals and taught 23 lessons and had 2 baptisms!  There was a little bit stress before the baptisms, we didn't think the font was going to be filled in time and then we thought it was going to over flow and all this other crazy stuff that happened.  The baptisms happened though, it was so great! After over 10 years investigating the church, brother F finally got baptized.  When he went in the water, I started to tear up because I knew that this has been a long journey for him and he finally did it. Anderson got baptized too, when he came out of the water, he smiled and looked so happy.  All the stress and craziness that was happening before the baptism didn't matter anymore, what mattered was that they were getting baptized.  A ton of missionaries were there, about 7 companionship's of sisters were there.  Brother F has been through a lot of set of missionaries.  My old companions Sister Smith and Sister Traini were there.  Sister Traini and I went through this whole process with Fabian and Anderson together and I will be pretty straight up, Sister Traini doesn't like to hug but she gave me a big hug.....and said "we did it, they did it, they are baptized, I love you Hermana".  We both had tears in our eyes.  I was kind of emotional through out the whole day because 2 other investigators that I taught in Provo and American Fork were getting baptized at the same time.  I was so sad I couldn't go to them but I was so happy for them that they were finally taking that step. 

We also got some referrals this week for new investigators and that is exactly what we need.  We just baptized 2 people and now we need to find more people.  We are so excited for what this transfer has in store.

We have another baptism coming up the 26th of this month for a 9 year old girl.  We got special permission to teach her and her family because there are English speaking and felt more comfortable having sisters.  The family has been less active for awhile and want their daughter to be baptized.  The whole family has progressed so much since we have taught them.  Their daughter, Faith is so cute.  We are really excited for her to be baptized. 

Family- So I heard that Germany won the world cup! That is awesome! Mom, I bet you were so happy! Charles and family, that's so great that you will be here for the summer...you all have fun together!

I love you all, thanks for everything.

Hermana Veronica Garces

Grateful to serve in Pleasant Grove

Well, we have transfers this week and I am staying in the area and my companion, Sister Traini is leaving.  What an incredible transfer we have had together.  These past 6 weeks have gone by so fast but we have done so much together.  The beginning of the transfer we were only teaching about 7 lessons a week and this past week we taught 25 lessons this week, that is the number of our standards of excellence for our mission!!! So we were really excited last night when we reported numbers to our district leader and realized that we reached that number!

4th of July was so much fun!!! The entire mission walked in a parade in Provo.  I got to see all of my old companions and all the missionaries that I have served around.  It was so nice to catch up with everyone.  During the parade, I also saw a lot of people that I knew from my old areas! After the parade we had lunch with the entire mission and watched our mission slideshow.  Also later that day we were locked in a chapel from 5-9 with our district.  We watched Frozen, what a cute movie! We also played a lot of games.  We also saw some fireworks from our house but nothing compares to the fireworks in DC!

Brother F and Brother A had their baptism interviews and they both passed! They are ready! Keep them in your prayers this week.  Satan likes to work extra hard on investigators when it is close to their baptism! There is going to be at least like 15 missionaries there who taught brother F!

Tonight we have a lesson with big Brother M and his wife.  We are hoping to put his wife on date for baptism, we are going to have to trust in the spirit a lot for this lesson.

I am so grateful to be serving here in Pleasant Grove, it really is a great area! I am excited to take it over and a little nervous at the same time but I know that I need to still be in this area and that my new companion needs to be here too!

Shoutout to my Mom, I hope you had a great birthday this past week, I love you so much!!!

I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Miracles and David Archuleta!!!

I don't even know how to start this weekly email. So many things happened this week.  I have come to realize that being a missionary is seriously the best thing in the world! I hit my year mark this week and have done a lot of reflecting.  I have come such a long way this past year, all the experiences, trials, etc have changed me into a better person.  I know what it means to truly love my Savior.  I have such a strong testimony of Him and His Atonement.  I can't believe I only have 6 months left, all I know is I am taking everything in and enjoying every second of it.

So Thursday we had a zone training meeting that was awesome! We talked a lot about setting goals.  We set a goal as a zone for how many baptism we could get for the month of July.  We set a goal of 30, we are all committed to it.  There is a lot of great things in store for the month of July.

That night we had a lesson with Anderson, we were on splits so I taught the lesson by myself with a returned missionary who just got home from Guatemala.  We talked about prophets, why we have prophets, and that we have a prophet today, Thomas S. Monson.  We watched a Mormon message with the prophet speaking and I told brother A to pay attention and think in his heart is Thomas S. Monson is really a prophet, watching him watch the video was neat, I could tell by his face that he really was feeling the spirit.  He's a little 12 year old boy and after the video, he said, wow, I believe he really is a prophet.  It was a great lesson.

On Friday we had such an amazing lesson with brother M's wife.  She was not interested at all at first, she would never sit in on the lessons.  She vented to us a lot about what she is going through with Miguel, he is a drug addict and he is still using.  He is up and down a lot.  I thought about my Dad a lot, I told her about my Dad that he used to drink, and take drugs and he met my Mom and she helped him overcome it and that the Gospel helped him and our family so much.  I told him, My Dad is so strong now, he knows this Gospel is true, he wouldn't have it any other way, and he needed my Mom by his side.  I told her brother M needs you, I know it is hard but he needs you by his side, you need to be there to life him back up again.  I was crying, my companions was crying and she was crying.  We invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon, we testified to her that reading everyday will help her to feel peace and that it will give her the strength to help brother M.  She told us that every time we come to her house she feels the spirit and feels so good.  It is amazing as a missionary that we carry this special spirit with us that people can really feel.

So another amazing thing!! Big Brother F (eternal investigator that has met with missionaries for over 10 years), he is getting baptized the 12th of July....it is happening! We met with him Saturday and he was like ok I am going to do it, the 12th it is!!! We are so excited for him.  We finally started telling members and missionaries about it, there is going to be a ton of missionaries there about 12 if not more!!! The members are so excited for him because they know it has been such a long journey for him.

So last night we had a missionary night fireside with one of our Spanish wards that we cover.  2 returned missionaries who just got home talked about their experiences, the purpose was to get the ward more excited about missionary work.  Anyways, someone walked in and I almost freaked out.  It was DAVID ARCHULETA!!!!!! Apparently he is friends with the Bishops family and they invited him.  I always knew he was a really great guy and all that.  I watched him on American Idol and I love his music...meeting him in person was really neat.  He is so humble.  He came up to my companion and I after the fireside and shook our hand, we had a conversation in Spanish. It was awesome, and he said my Spanish was really good haha.  Never thought anyone would say my spanish was really good and having David Archuleta say that to me was unreal....I asked him about his mission in Chile....he loved it so much, he told me these last 6 months of my mission is such a precious time that I need to take everything in and enjoy it because it will go by fast...he said you are blessing so many lives because you decided to serve.  I could feel the spirit so strongly when I talked to him.  I felt like I was talking to a normal person that I have known forever.  You can tell he has such a strong testimony of this Gospel.  I would of asked for a picture with him but I felt like that would have kind of been inappropriate since we were at a church event and I am a missionary haha.....so yeah never thought in a million years that I would meet David Archuleta on my mission...but then again I serve in Utah haha. 

So yeah that was my week, pretty awesome stuff!

We have transfers next, who knows what will happen.  All I know is that I don't want my mission to end. 

I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Pleasant Grove parade

Well I don't have much time this week, so this email is going to be a little short.

This week was really great! We had some great lessons with our investigators.

Fabian has his baptism interview tomorrow, he is so ready! We are so excited for him to finally take this step.  He has been investigating the church for over 10 years and he is finally going into the waters of baptism!

We had a parade in Pleasant Grove this week.  All of our zone participated in it and passed out programs, it was really fun to talk to people and be seen.  There was a ton of people there.

We had some great lessons with brother A this week, we are continuing to teach him so he can be ready for his baptism.

Miguel is doing pretty good, he has gone through so much in his life.  The day he can finally get baptized will be such a special day for him. 

Also we found out the movie we get to watch for July 4th is Frozen!! The whole mission is so excited!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

An Amazing Week/Happy Father's Day!

This week was amazing! We had so many miracles happen.  We were able to exceed our goals.  When you work really hard and with more diligence, we can see the fruits of our labors.

First off, Dad, I hope you had a Happy Father's Day! Also to my brother's Mike and Charles, I hope you enjoyed your day.  You all are great Fathers.  Thanks for being such great examples. 

On Tuesday, Sister Traini and I went to the temple.  We can only go every quarter now so we were really excited to go.  Everything just comes into place when I go to the temple, I love it so much. 

We had some pretty great lessons with the brother we have been working with.  The desire that he has is so amazing, he wants to get baptized so bad.  His wife is not really interested and never sits in on the lessons but a miracle happened.  For the first time she sat in on a lesson and we were teaching about the Plan of Salvation.  We are hoping with time, she will want to have that desire as well.

We had a lesson with the good brother F.  He is doing so well, he has been praying and reading the Book of Mormon every single day.  He says he knows he needs to be baptized but he just feels like he hasn't received that answer.  He said he has faith that he will receive it soon and that it is something he wants to do.  We told him to keep reading and praying and his answer will come.  He goes to church every sunday and knows so much, he just needs to get in the water already and get baptized.  His kids are members, we told him.  Your kids are going to need you, you can live with your son and daughter forever.  He had tears coming down his face.  We are so excited for him when he finally does get baptized.  So many people will be there for him.

We have another investigator.  He is 12 years old.  He just came from Guatemala.  His Mom is a recent convert, she was baptized in December.  She wants her son to be baptized, so we have been teaching him the lessons with the family.  We want to make sure he makes the decision himself and that he doesn't just do it because his mom wants him to do it.  He seems to understand things really well.  He has been praying and reading everyday since we have taught him.  We asked him straight up, so Anderson when do you want to be baptized and he said can I do it today, I feel so right about it, I feel so happy when I pray and read.  We could tell he really genuinely meant what he said.  We put him on date for the 28th of June.  He seems really excited and his mom and the family are really happy.  The mom has a nephew that is living with them and he was baptized a really long time ago but he has been less active for years.  He has been sitting in on the lessons with us and he wants to come back, he went to church yesterday with the family for the first time in years.  It's so neat to see things like this. We are really excited for his baptism.

I am so grateful for all the miracles we had this week.  I am so grateful that I am representing Jesus Christ.  I am really learned to become a true disciple of him.

The gospel can changes people's lives.  I know this because it has changed me and has been the best thing for my family.

I love you all! 10 more day and I hit my year mark, crazzyyy!!!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Leaving American Fork/Transfered to Pleasant Grove

Well first off I want to wish my Dad a Happy Father's Day.  I hope you have an awesome day! You are the best Dad ever! Also a birthday shout out to my nephew, Peyton! I can't believe you are 4 years old now, I hope you had a fun day!

Well, I have been transferred to Pleasant Grove, its basically right next to American Fork so I didn't go too far.  I am serving with Hermana Traini, she is from Alaska.  She is so awesome, I can already tell that we are going to have an amazing transfer together. 

This area is a little similar to American Fork.  We cover 14 stakes but we also cover 2 Spanish wards, so there is a lot of members that I will need to get to know! We cover Pleasant Grove, Lindon, and Ceder Hills.

We have a golden investigator, seriously he is so awesome.  He has such a strong desire to be baptized but has to wait due to some personal things.  He has changed his life so much already.  He is such an example to a lot of people.  We are really excited for him for when he can be baptized!

We have another investigator. He has been investigating the church for over 10 years now.  He has 2 kids that have been members for awhile.  He goes to church pretty much every Sunday.  He has been through so many missionaries, he knows the church is true but can't commit himself to a baptism date.  We had an amazing lesson with him this past week.  We planned on just starting over with him and teaching all the lessons.  We started with the first lesson, we just wanted to go into the lesson and see where he was at.  We taught him lesson 1 about the Restoration and it went really well and then we talked about baptism.  He said he just doesn't feel ready to be baptized, he said he doesn't think he will ever be ready.  The spirit was guiding Sister Traini and I so much during this lesson.  I had something in my head that I wanted to say but wasn't sure if I should say it but I did it anyway "I said, Hermano, we can set a baptism date with you today and if we need to change it we can, it can be a goal for you, you know this church is true, this Gospel can truly bless you and I know you know that.  We can set a date for you and you can pray about it and ask specifically in your prayers if you will be ready to be baptized on that day.  Also to help you with your answer, you need to pray and read every single day.  I promise you Heavenly Father will answer you.  Sister Traini then looked at the calendar on her Ipad and she pointed to the 19th of July and I said yes.  And she said, brother...will you prepare yourself to be baptized on the 19th of July?  And he took awhile to answer but then he said ok I will do it, I will pray about it....I know it is something that I need to do.  I need to commit and just do it.  We continued to keep testifying to him that he will be so blessed for taking this step.  We came out of that lesson so happy, we were like jumping up and down.  So many missionaries have taught him and have never been able to commit him to a baptism date.  We were on such a high the entire day.  We didn't expect being able to put him on date at all, but the spirit spoke to us so strong.  It is his time.  We are so excited for him.

We are also teaching a lot of less actives.  This transfer our goal is to find more people to teach. 

We also had stake conference and it was amazing! Lawrence Corbridge of the seventy was there....he was amazing! He said so many great things.  President McCune and his wife was also there.

I miss American Fork but I know I need to be in Pleasant Grove right now serving with Sister Traini. 

This area is amazing! I already have connected to so many people here!

I love you all!

Hermana Veronica Garces

The Plan of Salvation

This week was really great! We accomplished all of our goals! We haven't been able to do that for a very long time so it was really exciting when we reported our numbers last night and realized we accomplished everything.

We had a super fun activity this week with the youth in our branch.  The leaders put together a very special activity about the Plan of Salvation.  They asked us to invite any investigators, less actives, recent converts that were youth age.  We invited some recent converts that we are teaching that attend an English ward.  It was a very good turn out.  I know my ward back at home did an activity like this a long time ago.  The youth didn't know what was going to happen during the activity.  All they knew was that they were going on a "vacation to Hawaii".  The activity started on a plane.  Everyone was on the plane heading to Hawaii and then the plane crashed and everyone "died".  We went to all of the three kingdoms, the Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial.  It was really neat.  The decorated the Celestial room so nice. It was all white and they had some people in our branch that work at the temple in the room with their temple clothes.  At the end of that activity they asked us to talk about the whole plan of salvation with the youth.  We basically just taught them the lesson that we teach.  It was such a good experience.  I could tell the youth really felt the spirit. They had a lot of questions but understood this is the path we need to take.  We can all make it to the Celestial Kingdom to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  It is all possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

On Saturday we had a Spanish Leadership training meeting in Provo with all the missionaries in the mission that are Spanish speaking.  That meeting was amazing!! We had a seventy come to speak to us, Elder Clark.  He said so many amazing things on how we can better work with Hispanics.  He said something that really hit me.  He said "We need to spend time with the people that really want the Gospel", we need to help them with their commitments.  A lot of them can't read and a lot of them don't have that much education....we need to help them.  They want something in their life that will bring them such happiness, we need to help them get there and progress".  He said "They need to learn to love the Book of Mormon".  They need to know that they can trust you.  It was such amazing meeting to be able to talk about Spanish work and how we can better help the Hispanics we are teachings and how we can in general bring forth more work.  It was so nice to be able to see everyone.  I saw all of my old companions that are still here Sister Bumstead, Sister Smith, Sister Figueroa, and I got to see Sister Derges and Sister Sablan (my MTC buddies), and a lot of Elders that I have served with before.  It is so nice to be able to catch up with everyone.

Later that night we had a really great lesson with a less active family we are teaching.  They have 4 little kids that are so cute.  We read The Book of Mormon with them and talked about the importance of reading together as a family.  One of the daughter's who is 7 started talking to us...she said "I love Jesus, I know that he helps each of us....I feel so happy when I read the Book of Mormon, it makes me feel more close to Jesus".  It was so sweet, her simple testimony touched us all.  She's only 7 but she gets it.  I almost cried when she shared that.  Little kids testimonies are some of the best!

Well it was a great week! Next week we have transfers....I have no idea what will happen.  All I know is I need to serve like its my last week here just in case if it actually is.  I have loved serving here in American Fork.  Only the Lord knows what is best to happen for next transfer.

Thanks for all the love and support.  I love you all.

Hermana Veronica Garces

Another Amazing Week/Talking with Family

This week was amazing, so many great things happened.  Before I begin telling everything that happened this week I want to give a shout out to my family.  It was so great to talk to you all yesterday! You all look great.  Mom, I am so happy you liked my present! Luke and Cailyn, you have grown so much, I can't believe it! Charles and Amber, I'm so grateful that I was able to talk to you even if it was just for a few minutes.  I can't believe next time I see you all, I will be home.  It is crazy how fast my mission is going.  Next month I will hit a year!!

On Tuesday we has zone conference and it was on the best! We talked a lot about working better with leaders, our ward mission leaders, Bishops, stake presidents.  We talked about how we can be effective in ward councils, stake correlation meetings, etc.  Out mission is unique in the way that we work a lot with leaders because we cover multiple stakes especially with Spanish work.  President McCune then had a few people that were recently baptized come and share their conversion stories.  Their stories were amazing.  Hearing their stories reminded me of my mom's conversion story.  It took her a long time to join, the gospel changed her and my whole family and it has been the biggest blessing for my family to be a part of the gospel.  President McCune then said to us "Wasn't that amazing, that is why you are on a mission.  It's not about how many lessons you teach, how many baptisms you have, making sure the area book is updated, filling out the progress records, etc.....it is about what you just heard.  You are here to share the gospel and the happiness it can bring to others.  Hearing President McCune say that was another reminder tome of why I am here.  A lot of times we get caught up in the technical part of missionary work, we stress about little things.  Covering 14 stakes can be pretty stressful and it's easy to stress more about numbers etc.  We have to focus on why we are really here, we will be more happy that way. 

We had a great lesson that night with an investigator! We decided to go by this investigator's house we have been working with.  She has 3 little kids.  The last time we taught her was when Sister Holladay and I had just gotten to the area, so it had been awhile.  She opened up a lot to us.  She said she had read a few pages of the Book of Mormon but was having a hard time understanding what she was reading.  We read a little but with her.  We read part of 1 Nephi chapter 1 with her.  When we got to verse 12, "And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the spirit of the Lord", we talked about the importance of feeling the spirit.  She asked us an interesting question.  She asked us how does it feel to feel the spirit, I don't think I have ever felt it before?  There was a point on my mission where I felt like I was struggling recognizing the spirit.  I testified to her that we can feel the spirit.  When we feel the spirit we feel calm, we feel peace, we feel happy, we feel good.  I told her that as she continues to read the Book of Mormon that she will feel the spirit and that it will testify to her that it is true.  It was such a great lesson with her, at the end she said she felt like she was feeling the spirit as we were teaching her.  We have an appointment with her tomorrow, we are so excited for her! We hope she can continue to progress.

On Thursday there was a dance performance for all Mom's and girls ages 8 and up.  It was in the stake that our Spanish branch is in.  We invited so many people to it and it was an amazing turn out.  What a wonderful program it was.  They were professional dancers from the group Diamond Dance Company.  The program was called "Shining the Light of Our Saviors Love'.  Between each dance performance they had a sister bear testimony about the Savior.  A lot of people really enjoyed it.  It is so amazing that dance and music can bring such a great spirit, I love it! "It is meant for us to have trials and sorrows.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, every piece of coal in our lives can be refined in diamonds, and place on our heavenly crowns".

This week we also had the opportunity to share the "it was mom" video with a lot of people just like we did with the Easter video, "because of him".  We had a lot of great experiences sharing it with other people and encouraging them to share it as well.

This week we had a Spanish leadership training meeting.  All Spanish speaking missionaries in the mission have to go.  It is supposed to be really exciting, there is a seventy that is coming. 

I am so grateful to be here and the experiences I have been having.  I love it here in American Fork, so many great things are happening!

I love you all, thanks for all the support

Hermana Veronica Garces

"His Grace is Sufficient"

This week was pretty good.  It was a little slower than some past weeks but we are still working hard to find more people.  We have been meeting with a lot of relief society presidents and ward mission leaders from English wards to find more Hispanic people to teach.

We had a really great family home evening with three wonderful people.  We talked about the power of prayer with them and shared a Mormon message with them called "Origin".  It is a Mormon message for youth but I highly recommend everyone watching it. 

Gonzalo, who got baptized about a month ago got the Priesthood this past Sunday! We are so proud of him.  We are working now to get him to the temple.

We have a lot of upcoming events this week that are really exciting.  Tomorrow we have zone conference which is always so good.  Everything that is said at zone conference is so inspired. 

Thursday, the American Fork stake is having this really nice event for mothers and girls ages 8 and up.  Professional dancers are coming and putting on a show that depicts the Light of Christ.  We invited a ton of people.  We are really excited for it and hope that it will be a great turn out. 

This Saturday our branch is having a party. There will be lots of good food which will be great! We are hoping it will be a good turn out with a lot of non members and less actives that come.

During one of my personal studies this week, I read a talk called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox.  It is such an amazing talk.  Everyone should read it.

Some things that I liked from it:

"Jesus doesn't make up the difference.  Jesus makes all the difference.  Grace is not about filling gaps.  It is about filling us."

The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment.  Its purpose is to change."

Grace isn't just about being saved.  It is also about becoming like the Savior".

Family: I am so excited to talk to you this Sunday! It will be so great to see all of your faces! I love you all very much and hope everyone has a nice Mother's Day!

Hermana Veronica Garces

Easter Week in American Fork

Sorry I wasn't able to email last week, I was really short on time.  These past two weeks have been really great! We had transfers and I am not in a trio anymore, Sister Figueroa got transferred and now it is just Sister Holladay and I! It was sad to see Sister Figueroa go because we had so much fun as a trio!

First off, I hope everyone had a great Easter! It was a great Easter week in American Fork! I mentioned this in my last email about the Because of Him video.  We shared that video with everyone that we were in contact with whether it was a relief society President that we were meeting with, less actives, members, EVERYONE! We shared that video and bore our testimony of the importance of Easter and what Jesus Christ means to us.  We had many great experiences sharing the video.  I loved watching people's expression's as they watched the video, I could tell they were feeling the spirit.  I loved seeing the light in their eyes.  I loved that the video applies to each and everyone of us that Because of Him we can start a new life again, Because of Him we have the Atonement, Because of Him we can live again.  Word cannot express how much I love my Savior.  I am so grateful for this time that I have on the mission that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and can share that with others.

Sister Holladay and I have been working really hard to keep track of 14 stakes that we cover.  We have been going to a lot of correlation meetings, looking for more service opportunities, talking to more people whether it be at Mexican Markets, parks, yard sales, we are trying to find more people.  We have been meeting with a lot of leaders especially relief society presidents to try and work more in their wards and to find the Hispanic people!

We have taught a lot of less active lessons and recent convert lessons which have been amazing! I love teaching less actives, they know the difference of what they are missing.  It is so neat to be with them through their process of getting reactivated and coming back to church and helping them reach their next ordinance. 

I had an incredible experience with a less active lady we are teaching.  She honestly is actually pretty active now but she still lacks a little bit in her testimony.  She goes to church regularly now and reads and prays everyday.  She is going through a divorce right now that had been really hard on her, she loves him but she knows she doesn't deserve what he has put her through.  She wants him to change for himself not for her.  We talked a lot about the Atonement with her and something came over me that I felt really prompted to share a really hard experience that I went through my last transfer in Provo.  I had to really rely on the Atonement in this experience.  I knew I needed to change but not for other people for myself so that I could become better.  I cried a lot telling her this experience, she cried too.  It was a pretty powerful lesson.  She is such a strong lady and I told her that we can get through anything with the help of our Savior.  He doesn't want us to have a cloud of darkness over us, he wants us to feel his light. 

Another family that we are teaching that I mentioned before.  We actually teach them in English. They are 3 kids and we teach them in English.  I love them so much, I have grown so close to them since I have been here in American Fork.  They are such a joy to teach and they are so funny.  Every lesson we have with them is an adventure.  This past week we taught them tithing and fasting.  And we read the Book of Mormon with them.  We are having a Family Home Evening tonight with them.  We also have been helping them a few times a week with their homework.  They usually want help with their math homework, my companion is a Math Education major so she usually takes over with that haha.  I help them with other stuff like spelling or writing papers, history, science.  That's more my speed haha. 

I love it here in American Fork, it is sometimes stressful keeping track of 14 stakes but the work that we put forth makes it all worth it.  The members here are really great! I already feel like I know every member in the branch since it is smaller than a ward.  I have no idea how long I will be here, one thing I know is that I am going to take each day at a time and each every second of it.  I hit my 10 month mark this past Saturday, I only have 8 months left, crazy!! This time is so precious.  Serving a mission has been the best decision for me. 

Family- I can't wait to talk to you all for Mother's Day! It will be great to see all of you! The next time you will see me after that, I will be home, crazy right!?

Charles-Thanks for sending all the pictures when Mom was in China. I am so glad you all had a great time!

Thanks for all the love and support, I love you all!

Hermana Garces