Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So Hermana Bennett and I taught the Gospel Principles class in Spanish... that was an adventure haha 
We have the best investigator in the world! Her name is R and she's 19 years old. She's actually a referral from another investigator in the ward! She is amazing, so fun and we're already best friends! She's so so so SAD! She's struggling a lot and was just searching for happiness. I know I was sent here for this girl. She's amazing! We had set up an appointment with her but she wasn't home. So we tried to visit a couple other people over there in another town but I felt the Spirit tell me that we need to go back to R's at 4:00. We did and... there she was! We had a short lesson with her but it was powerful. We taught her that God is our loving Heavenly Father... the first point we teach to people, a line we say over and over and over that it seems to be robotic. Until R said "Wait.. He is my Father? I didn't know that.." I've been so accustomed to teaching this point that I feel like everyone knows. But for someone who doesn't realize their actual relationship with God, WOW! How powerful it is to know that He really is our Father. It touched her heart so much. She said it's great to know she has another Father figure looking over her because her dad and uncles protect and help her so much. We told her imagine how much you Father in heaven loves and cares for you? It was incredible. We taught her how to pray and she said "Thank you for sending these sisters to help me. I needed this because Ive been feeling really emotional lately.." She began crying and thanking God for all the trials she's had because she knows they are really blessings. I look at her and I see myself a few years ago. I'm going to help this girl find the peace and happiness I found through the gospel!  She came to a baptism on Saturday and the ward already loves her. The Bishop is her best friend now he's planning a Family Home Evening to do with her haha 
We had another lesson with her where we talked a lot about Christ and how we can receive answers through reading and praying. She cried again and told us some of her trials and how much she needs this right now. We decided we're going to spend our Pdays with her and we're gonna get Jamba Juice. When she prayed she talked about how excited she is for me to try Jamba Juice haha it was hilarious. But it's really beautiful because when she prays, she really is talking to Heavenly Father just like any father, or any friend. 
We are going to set a baptismal date with her tonight! Pray for her!!! :DD

Monday, October 28, 2013

So I went on an exchange with English sisters. So weird teaching in English! We didn't have a car so we had to walk all day. Got some new blisters on my feet, but it's worth it. People are rude sometimes haha a guy was walking towards us and the Sister I was with tried to talk to him but he ignored her so I stopped walking looked him in the face and said "Hi how are you?" and he kept walking! I wanted to trip him. :p

So what are you all doing to invite one person to hear the gospel between now and Christmas? Our ward is fasting this Sunday for missionary opportunities and then the missionaries are on assignment to go around to all the active members and then inactive members to pray with them about who they can invite. It's gonna be awesome! I know we will see miracles as we help the Lord hasten His work!

We have 4 investigators that are progressing very well. Every one of them are ready for baptism, we just have to help them see that. They are really awesome. I already love the people here and the area. Still getting to know everything but Heavenly Father is helping me learn it quickly.

We drew the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk using chalk and wrote Mormon.org under it. That was awesome. Hopefully someone will see it :) 

We picked up an investigator that Hermana Schwegler had taught when she was being trained here. She had a baptismal date and she still wants to learn. Seems promising! She's a sweetheart and it's a family of 5. Her and her husband, her mother and 2 sons. Hopefully we can start teaching the whole family this week!

So we decided to walk for awhile because we're getting close to going over on our miles... while we were walking a hobo ran out of the bushes, sat on the sidewalk to get dirt out of his shoe. Since we are to talk to everyone, we said hello to him and asked what he was up to. He said, I'm homeless, not much. I'm homeless because I hate the government. hahaha He had no shirt on and his clavicle was poking up out of his shoulder, it was pretty gross. But he was wearing pumas... fancy shoes for a hobo. So we walked and talked with him about the church and family history. He said his name was Frank Bottles lol weirdo. We were wondering what people were thinking about 2 girls in skirts were doing walking with a shirtless hobo man. Goooood times.

Another funny story. We went to see a family we haven't taught yet. We introduced ourselves to the mom and then the son came to the door. He had to have been like 12-14 years old. He shook Hermana Schwegler's hand and then mine and as he had my name he was like what was your name? Hermana Schwegler said her name and he said "No... her name.." and looked at me. Creepy 12 year old hahahaha We laughed about that for a good hour.

We did a huge service project painting house in the ghetto. That was fun. We got free donuts, chickfila, and tshirts!

My trainer had her exit interview with President Kendrick. :( We are going to work our faces off this week!! We're going to try to set 4 baptismal dates this week. We're going to pray like it all depends on God and then work like it all depends on us!

Monday, October 21, 2013

R is baptized!

I don't have a lot of time to email today but the most important thing is R is officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! YESSSSS!! :D I am so so so happy I was able to attend his baptism. It was beautiful. I started crying when I saw the Baptismal program, then again when I saw him dressed in white, then again when Bishop baptized him. hahaha Man! No greater feeling than watching someone you've come to love, dressed in white, entering into the waters of baptism. Taking that first step on the path that leads back to Christ. Used to be Atheist, studied with Jehovah's Witnesses for 2 years, chased us down for a Book of Mormon, took 5 months to get him here. Every tear, every scripture, every prayer, every fast was so worth it. He was mine and my trainer's miracle, and we got to witness his baptism together! Funny how God works sometimes... :)

I was transferred to Oceanside/Carlsbad California. It's beautiful here. Driving over one hill, once you get to the top you just see the vast ocean ahead of you. Paradise. So beautiful. I'm with my trainer again! This never happens in mission life! haha We are having so much fun and working hard! So goes home at the end of the transfer but she is the most consecrated missionary I know. I wanna be like her when i grow up! :D It's a blast! 

Emergency Transfer

This week has been pretty rough. Ive been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and perfection. Ive always been some-what of a perfectionist, I never feel like Im doing enough or reaching my potential. It's really hard in the mission field as we try not to measure our success to that of other missionaries. Struggling with these feelings we ended up having a Zone Conference about how President Kendrick is worries because performance level in the entire mission has gone downhill. So then I just felt even worse haha But it's okay, just keep swimming!
We had a lesson with R at a member's home and watched Finding Faith in Christ. Something beautiful that I just realized watching it that night was that many times, BEFORE Christ would heal someone, He would ask them if they believed. Faith is the first principle of the gospel for a reason. Without faith we don't have the power to do anything. But with faith we have power to do anything by the will of the Lord. One of my favorite quotes from conference, :Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"
The one day we planned a "car fast" to save on our miles, it rained. It never rains in California! So we went, step by step, walking for 3 hours in the cold rain doin our missionary thing. I didnt think it would stay rainy and cold so I wasn't dressed appropriately. Freezing! But it was worth it, we met lots of cool people to share the gospel with. :)
We went with a recent convert to help a less-active family move some furniture. That was fun! We thought we were taking this big entertainment center out of this little trailer until hermano got a hammer and just started whacking at it and tearing it apart piece by piece. Hahahaha On the drive home we saw a man on the side of the road, dead in a pile of blood... Dont know what happened but if we had been just 5 minutes earlier, it would have been us to find him there. :/
So we've been doing this thing called a Harvest Blessing where you offer contacts or door approaches a blessing on their home. We got a return appointment, went back and she actually let us in! We taught her the Restoration but Satan intervened and right when we got to Joseph Smith, her husband came home and she kicked us out! :( But then we started knocking the street and someone let us in their home to leave a blessing. She said it's not mormons knocking on my door, it's Jesus Christ. :D So we went in, kneeled with their family and blessed their home. Since Sister dont have the Priesthood, we have to say "By virtue of our calling as missionaries and representative of Jesus Christ..." How powerful is that?! I don't know what I'm going to do when I won't have the authority to just walk in a stranger's home as an authorized representative of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's such a privilege and blessing to be a missionary!
We had a lesson with the R family that I've been working with a lot because of how similar our family situations are. We're trying to help hermano advance in the priesthood. He told us it's because he doesn't have enough money to pay his tithing and he owes like $12000 or something. I testified to him about the miracles my family and I have seen and promised him if he would pay his tithing FIRST, he would have enough money for everything he needed. He just looked me in the eyes and said okay, help me. How much do I pay? So powerful.
The other Hermanas had a baptism on Friday night. R came but he was like "ive never done this before, Im missing Mexico playing soccer for a baptism. I made the right choice." hahaha It was a beautiful baptism!
R had his baptismal interview and passed! He's soooo ready! I'm stoked!
I found out on Sunday that I'm being emergency transferred. Broke my heart. I cried and cried. But I sucked it up long enough to keep working. I don't know how but those are the times when I know there are guardian angels all around to lift us up. I had to say goodbye to R but he said "Don't worry Hermana. We're under the same God and in the same church. you're in my prayers that all will go well in your mission and go with happiness in God, bringing people to our holy Gospel and God will protect and bless you." Greatest soon-to-be-convert ever!
Saying goodbye to the R family broke my heart too. Hermano shook my hand. looked me in the eyes and said "Thank you. You have helped us so much. If you come visit and we're not here, search for us. You're a part of this family now." His 8 year old son hugged me like 5 times and made me pinky promise to find them. I love them so much. It feels good to know that I have helped so many people. I did what I was sent to Escondido to do. i helped who god sent me here to help. And I know I will do the same in my new area.
Yesterday a guy contacted us. We were walking and he called us over asking what we were doing. He asked us to read from the Bible with him. Im still not a pro at the Bible so I was flipping through with no idea what to share. I wanted to use the Book of Mormon somehow but I didn't know how. I've been tabbing my scriptures but it didn't seem to be helping in a time of need in which I didn't know what I needed exactly. I flipped and a page opened to something I had marked and tabbed previously. It was a scripture about how with two or three witnesses my word will be established. Still right now I couldn't tell you the reference. But because I had put in my effort beforehand to study, the Spirit guided my hands to find that scripture so I could introdcued this man to the Book of Mormon. He accepted it and is excited to learn more. YES!!!
The mission has it's ups and downs but it's all about learning and growing. I'm so blessed to be here. Every day is so precious.
The church is true!
-Hermana Gutknecht

(This is from last week, my modem died so I couldn't update the blog, sorry guys!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Next week we are going to the temple again! And we will be emailing on Tuesday, monday is a holiday or something. I dont know I just do what I'm told :p
R is so great! We reviewed the baptismal interview questions and he is so so so READY! He just needs to quit drinking coffee!
We had a fun lesson with C using dart guns and water bottles. Yes, we are fun missionaries! :D We went on exchanges and I was able to help a newer missionary with some of her struggles. It's crazy I'm not the new missionary anymore! Where is the time going?!
R asked us a long time ago to come to appointments with us but we haven't because he's not a member. But Thursday we had a lesson after English Class so we had a recent convert stay with us and R stayed too. Our investigator has a lot of doubts about the book of mormon and the church and R bore testimony to him that he used to be Atheist but has come to know for himself that this church is true. He even tried a different church just to make sure. He told him the only way he can know is to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and he'll know it's true and this is the only true church. It was so powerful! He's going to help so many people with his testimony!
I went to my first quinceanos! So much fun! Mexicans know how to party... ;p It was killing me not being able to dance haha I was dancing in my chair and the members were cracking up!
How much did you just LOVE conference?! So great! So misionary minded! The time is now! Step it up members! :D
R came to all 4 sessions of conference and loved it all. After the one about attending all Sacrament meetings he leaned over to me and said "After my baptism, I cant miss?" hahaha I listened to 3 talks in Spanish until my head hurt. :p
We had a lesson with E... sad. We found out she doesn't have a testimony of ANYTHING. A week before her baptism. Gah. :( So we dropped the date and are working diligently with her to help her overcome her doubts. 
This reminded me of something my mission President said. He was helping us learn how to do a new numbering system for baptisms and then reemphasized that we're not about numbers. The numbers represent real people, our brothers and sisters we are helping come unto Christ. He said if we were a church about increasing numbers then we would be like other churches. Go into any other church and ask the pastor to join, he would probably gather your information and get you registered in some way. If someone walked into our church and asked the Bishop to become a member he would say YOU CAN'T. You can not become a member of this church until you have a personal witness and testimony that this is the true restored church of God, that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Priesthood authority is again restored to the earth through a living prophet. After learning from the missionaries, attending sacrament meetings, THEN you can be baptized and become a member. What a beautiful truth. We don't want to increase the numbers in our church, we want to increase how many of our brothers and sisters gain a testimony of the restored truths and enter into the waters of baptism, beginning their journey home to our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. So, we will not baptize E until she had this deep and abiding testimony. She is reading the Book of Mormon and I trust in the promise that if anyone reads this book and prays sincerely, they WILL receive an answer.
I know this is the only true church on the face of the earth. I know it and I will not deny it. I cannot deny it.

Hermana Gutknecht

Monday, September 30, 2013

October is looking mighty fine... ;)

My companion's recent convert has got us 2 referrals, he's determined to baptized everyone he works with. Haha, we taught his young friend, W last week. Hes really quiet and shy and we made the mistake of not making sure he understood what prophets was. So I'm pretty sure he didn't hear anything else we said because he was stuck on prophets so when we shared the first vision he was like wait whos Joseph Smith? Whats a prophet? FAIL. Live and learn haha we'll clear it up tonight.
We ate sushi with R and he started scaring me. He told us he needed to tell us something but we would be mad. He made us pray first so we would be more calm... haha So he told us that he's not getting baptized.... but then said he was kidding. And then told us he went with his friend to a Jehovah's Witness church, and he hadn't been to our church in 2 weeks. :/ He said he told his friend he's happy where he is and he still wants to be baptized. So that's good! He hasn't smoked in 6 days but he's still struggling with coffee. We bought him some fake coffee I guess Utah Mormons use, but he said it'll still take some getting used to. Then he canceled our appointment later that night. I worry about him so much. I just know how hard Satan works the weeks before someone's baptism and I just can't let him fall. He's come to far and I've come so far with him. Both of my companions wanted to give up on because we could never get appointments with him but something was tugging on my heart not to let him go. He's grown so much since the day he chased us down for a Book of Mormon almost 5 months ago. I've been able to witness the changes in his life and how different he is, how much closer he is to the Savior. Sometimes I just watch him interact with others and I can see in him the light of Christ, I can see him doing the things Christ would do. He's not afraid to help people or share the gospel. He truly is becoming like his Savior.
I know that the years I had been preparing for a mission, God was preparing R to hear the message I would share with him. R was born Catholic, was Atheist, and recently developed a faith in Christ when he found us. I was the one to help him strengthen his faith and now he's just 3 weeks from baptism. I know I was sent here for him, Heavenly Father has kept me in this area for 5 transfers because of him and I'm doing everything I can to help him stay converted to the gospel.
We finished teaching him all the lessons and now we're just helping him overcome his doubts and fears. 3 more weeks! We fasted with him friday-Saturday to help him stop drinking coffee.
We finally had a lesson with E. We haven't been able to see her for like 2 weeks since we set her baptismal date. I was so worried that she would have changed her mind but she didnt! She has been keeping all her commitments but I know Satan has a lot of temptations to throw in her path. We have two more lessons and she'll be interviewed for her baptism this weekend and baptized the following. I love her so much! She is pretty much a dry-mormon, she goes to church faithfully without us bugging her about it. She reads and prays with her 3 girls every night, we just had to show her a lot of love and patience to build her confidence to overcome her problems. We fasted with her Saturday-Sunday for the health of her little girl. It was the first time she's fasted because she's heard a lot of different things about fasting from other religions. Yes, my companion and I fast one day, ate dinner with Reyes, and then started another fast. Not the healthiest thing in the world but hey, im willing to do anything to help these two amazing people!
Friday night the other sisters investigators, K, was baptized. Instead of watching videos or something while they are changing into dry clothes, our mission president has asked the missionaries to use that time to teach because that brings the spirit stronger than anything else. We were asked to teach during this time and i was so nervous. Im fine teaching in Spanish but i get nervous in front of a lot of people because... well, my Spanish isn't THAT good. Needless to say, I prayed a lot. I prayed for the gift of tongues, I prayed that the Lord would guide my lips to say what I needed to say, I prayed that the Spirit would testify to the people there, through me. And God answered my prayers. Although still a little nervous, my companion and I went to the front and began teaching. I was amazed at how fluent I was and I literally felt the Lord guiding my mouth. I know it wasn't me because I was saying things I had never even thought to say before, things Ive never said before, and the looks on the peoples faces confirmed that they felt the Spirit. One of the best experiences Ive had with the language so far on my mission. And afterwards, a little girl came to me and said "Hermana Gutknecht! Your pronuncation in Spanish is so good now! You don't have an American accent anymore!" hahaha gracias a Dios!
We have assignments to find less active people for Bishop so we can find out if they moved or not. We went to one house and no one was home. Hermana Moffit felt impressed that we should stay. So we sat in the car for a few more minutes when a truck pulled up! After he went inside we went to knock on the door (yes missionaries are professional stalkers) and the guy named F answered. He gave us some info about the member we were looking for and I felt impressed to invite him to listen to our message. He said yes I would love to! YEAHHH! We took down his info and we asked if there was anything else we could do for him and he said "how bout a handshake" haha we're teaching him tonight!
Sunday... oh Sunday. On the way to church it was bright and sunny, we had the windows down, listening to MoTab.. and I just had the thought, "today is going to be a great day." And it was! Three of our investigators were at church, one old investigator that we had dropped, a less active recent convert, AND a referral we've been trying to find for 6 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!! So F, we've had his name and address for months and it says "GOLDEN. Anxiously waiting for missionaries. FIND HIM! GOLDEN!!!" So obviously we couldn't just throw it away! So we've tried on and off for the past few months. Hna Moffit have tried every week since we've been together- Heavenly Father rewards diligence and persistence. F showed up at the church on Saturday looking for service times, our Ward Mission Leader happened to be there and told him all the information. Sunday morning we were sitting in the foyer making phone calls when the Elders come to us super excited rambling about some guy who showed up to church who's in our area. We met him, asked his name and when he said F, hna Moffitt and I just turned and looked at each other. I asked him if he lived in the apt complex of the guy we've been trying and he said YES! We told him we've been trying to find him but so happy he found us! A member shook his hand and asked if he was a member he said no and they said oh, but you will be right? He said yes! hahaha He stayed for all three hours and loved it. R made friends with him and showed him around. He's coming to watch General Conference this weekend! I can't wait to teach him! He's so cool! R asked us who he was and we told him and he said he must be good, he came to church in a suit! :p
MISSIONARY WORK! MISSIONARY WORK! LA OBRA MISIONAL ES LO MEJOR! :D Escondido... la tierra de los milagros!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Escondido Forever!

Still not getting transfered, but i'm totally okay with that. :D I love it here! But pretty sure this will be my last transfer here in the dirty Dido.

This week was pretty rough, our less active members have gone crazy, been doing some family damage control with them but praying all will be well. Satan really is attacking families so much, guard your homes against the adversary. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to counter his efforts, we need to use it! We have power over Satan, he does NOT have power over us. 

Family Home Evenings are so much fun here. We've been bringing R and he loves it. Since Mondays are P-days I'm usually too lazy to do my hair so throw it up in a bun on the top of my head and go to Noche do Hogar like that. R called me Hermana Cebollita (little onion) haha
We taught at the NdH about Sacrafices as members of the church. R participated and said since he started investigating the church he doesn't watch as much TV anymore, now he's either reading the book of Mormon or thinking about church hahaha We ate some tacos and I put a bunch of spicy salsa on it and and Hermana in the ward said "Ella es mexicana!" (she is Mexican!) haha thanks family for helping me love spicy food before my mission :p 

R didnt come to church Sunday so we went to his house that night and what was he doing? Looking at pictures of temples online... how cool is that? :p 

We have 3 baptisms coming up Im super excited for. E Oct 12, R oct 19, and M nov 2

We taught a member referral last night and it was so awesome. It was in English, you know how hard it is to teach in English when you only ever teach in Spanish? We forgot to practice the first vision in english so we went over it real quick before we  went in and I thought I had it down but then when we were in the lesson and I went to say it, i totally blanked. But thats when I truly realized that im not the teacher, the Spirit is! Even though I didnt say it perfectly, the Spirit was there and M felt it. He said while I was reciting it, everything else tuned out and all he could hear was my voice and he felt a tingling sensation go from the top of his head to the bottom of His toes and he felt at peace and knew it was true. WOW!! It was incredible. We set a date with him in 6 weeks!

This transfer is gonna be the bestttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS. I think I broke my pinky by catching a falling banana... True story.