Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 14

How was everyone's Christmas?

     Mine was really good! I'll give you guys a play by play cause I know you'll all dying to know.. Well primero, we woke up, and I went to the bathroom (an important part of the plot haha) before exercise, and come out and Hermana Bonhard is stretching and cutting out snow flakes (we have to exercise daily..), and she says "I know you are used to having a white Christmas so I thought I'd do what I can." So we just cut out some snow flakes while "stretching" to count it as exercise time haha. Isn't she just the sweetest? So if you were wondering.. I DID have a white Christmas! haha So we opened up our presents (the ones that we didn't sneak open the night before), and headed over to the church to have a district breakfast. We had green animal waffles (some of the sisters have an animal waffle maker, and our District leader has a tradition in his family to eat green waffles) and we had a good time just had some fun with one another.

     We then returned back to our apartment to do our daily studies (which was the hardest day of studies ever.. knowing that we were going to be talking to our families) and then headed over to a member's office, but he thought we said 2 and not 12, so we called him, and he said he would be there at 2. So, the family knows I had to call from a payphone (because we're not allowed to use our phone to call our families) at a gas station to let the family know I'd be a while. The member had 2 computers, but one was his girlfriend's and she wasn't answering her phone, so I had to wait until almost 3 to call home. Whatever, it was fine, I just was having a panic attack hoping the fam wouldn't wait for me on the computer haha.

     So that afternoon we taught him and went to visit Yolanda, an older member in our area. We visited her at work because she was dog sitting and we got to walk around this really nice neighborhood with all their Christmas lights on. Suddenly it felt like Christmas! Haha but it was great. We then went to another member's house. Wilson and his roommate Rosaurio is also a member too, and she made us this great food (Guatemalan), and basically they loved me even more cause I shoved my face. They invited friends they wanted us to teach over and we did. It was great. I love Rosaurio and Wilson so much. They are legit. Hermana Bonhard and I are secretly trying to get them together. They're soul mates and secretly know it.
     This week was a slow one for the work. President said that we should be able to get a lot of members out with us because of the holidays, but unfortunately everyone had to work MORE, and all of the people we teach are out of town. That blew a little bit haha, but we found ways to keep in contact with them all. One of our investigators gave us presents. Or should I say Hermana Bonhard. She got the presents under the tree and was like "which one is Hermana Bonhard?" looks down at the presents... They both say Hermana Bonhard. So she just awkwardly just hands me the smaller present. Whatever, I've only been teaching you for 3 months. Haha it was super funny, my feelings weren't hurt.

    So I know that I had a goal to finish the BOM in Spanish by the end of the year.. But there aren't enough hours in the day for that. I'm still working on it and should finish Alma by tomorrow. so 2/3 of the way through. Not bad in my eyes.. Hopefully by the end of this transfer. Spare time is.. Sparse so I do it when I can.

    Also this week I had 3 or 4 members tell me that my Spanish has significantly improved since I got here. THEY CAN UNDERSTAND ME!!! It's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE (All caps for emphasis.haha) Before you know it this muchacha will be a little native speaker. (fingers crossed) 

   Christmas was really good this year. It was great to have Christmas completely dedicated to Christ. I want you all to know how much I love you and that I hope you had a great Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year! Thanks for all the cards/packages/todo
Love always
Hermana Groves

Week 13 Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!
I am so excited to say that tomorrow is Christmas! A lot of you have been asking what my plans are and well... First we're going to have a district breakfast at about 8:30 at the church, and after that we go back and start our studies.  Somewhere after studies we get to skype our families (INSERT GIANT SMILE), and then on to proselyting for the rest of the day. We have plans to go with our cute member Yolanda to her work (she watches dogs), and she's going to make us dinner and stuff like that. We're really excited. Yesterday we had a mission wide "party(?)" where we had a zone conference in the morning, a huge lunch, watched a movie, had a talent show, did a live nativity (President's family), and then went our separate ways. It was really fun though. I got to see some girls from Cedar (Megan Pace, Samantha Kunzler and Marie Taylor), so it was really refreshing seeing some familiar faces.
There were some pretty great talents, the Polynesians did the "haka," and the sisters did a dance that goes with it. It was just great. It was nice to just be a little carefree for a few hours. This past week we've had a lot of success with the people we're working with.
We're teaching this girl, Sofia, who's 11.  She's getting baptized in a few weeks, and we're soul sisters. Seriously, we met in the prexistence. When we met we both felt like we had met each other before that. We haven't. She lived in Guatemala before the past few years, and they haven't left Texas since. We met in Heaven, and we bonded. It's awesome. Anyways I can't remember much else that happened this week but the fact that I have such great family who sent me lots of goods. Thanks for all you guys do. I love you all so much! I am so glad to be our here serving the Lord, Christmas is such a great time to remember him and put him in our lives. I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing, this is the will of God. I know that many blessings come from serving the Lord with all our hearts, might, minds and strength will give us eternal blessings and happiness. Keep the faith and have a FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Love you!
Hermana Groves

Week 12 - I'm a big kid now...

Hola Familia,

Seriously, I'm a big kid now. I'm officially out of the 12 week training program but I have good news. I am NOT being transferred, AND Hermana Bonhard and I get to spend Christmas together. Holla! This girl is the bomb, for real. I'm lucky for her cause she puts up with me and we're constantly laughing. 

Okay so we had a pretty good week this week. On Saturday we taught 9 lessons. Which is extreme. For us anyways because some weeks we don't even get 9 lessons.

I have a story that you will all probably laugh at. Hopefully. Because it made me laugh (at an inappropriate time). So we have this lady in our ward who is border-line blind, like she can hardly see anything. She wears sunglasses the majority of the time unless she wants to emphasize something, and she'll take off her glasses and hold them in her hand, shake her head and hold her hands in a "i don't know" kinda way (if that even makes sense), and this lady is bold. I mean, she has to be, if she wants things to get done, she's gotta be bold to get help. Anyways she's one of the only members who will come out teaching with us, and this week she's going to Venezuela, so we thought we'd use her while we can. We took her to this investigators house who has 2 little boys. I hope that's enough of an intro. 

Well we were sitting in on this lesson and one of Zenayda's sons starts crying, so she goes to comfort him, and the other one starts crying. So first of all it's a cry fest, plus the tv is on. Then Hermana Latorrre's phone was dying so it was doing that annoying ringing thing that it does every five minutes when it's dying. She doesn't understand that because she can't read. So she just whips out her phone and just pushes send which calls the last person who called her, us. And we don't answer it. So she slams it shut and starts talking about kids that keep prank calling her. This may not seem chaotic but it was. And the best way I could handle this stress? I busted out laughing. Well, good to see the maturity level on this one has improved, right? haha No. I was super embarassed. The lesson ended up being really good, and once the Spirit was there it didn't leave. 
This week we also helped Yolanda (an 86 year old member who lives alone :( ) decorate her tree. We've been visiting her a lot this transfer and she told us we were like the daughters she never had. I like to think her soul mate died when he was a baby, and that she'll be lucky to meet him when she goes straight to Heaven (cause she will). I know that God's a just God, and he will definitely give her the cream of the crop.

The thing about missionary work is the fact that it is so great and that I get to learn so much. Because no matter the setting you can always come back. I am happy to be a horrible Spanish speaking missionary because it's what God has called me to do. I love you all very much and can't wait to hear from you! And next week my P day is on Tuesday, and then I'll get to skype with the family on Christmas!!! YAY! Okay love you all! 

Hermana Groves

Week 11...BAPTISM!!!!!

My dear family and friends,

Hermana Groves had her first baptism this week!!! Can you believe it? It was great! But a little funny too. Margarita's husband (Sergio) was the one who got to baptize her. It was his very first ordinance and she was baptized 5 times. Yep that's right. The first time he did it right but she didn't go all the way under the water, the next time her clothes didn't go all the way under, and then the next 2 he kept saying it wrong. The last time under her breath, Margarita repeated to him the words that he had to say haha! It was really cold at the church, and I think she was just done being baptized! Haha I got a good laugh out of it haha. But we were there waiting for her in the bathroom when she came out, and she was so relived. Almost the whole ward showed up because she's been investigating the church for so long, she had already formed friendships and everything. It was awesome. But yesterday we ended up staying 13 hours at the church between meetings, the baptism and the Christmas Devotional, so we definitely crashed after planning last night.
This week it has been bitter cold. And by bitter cold I mean like 35 but let me tell you something, when you pack for hot Texas and not cold Texas well you're lacking a little bit in wardrobe. Haha we're freezing! We're supposed to be in proselyting clothes by 8 am for studies, but we definitely put sweats on under our skirts, \ because it's cold haha. I'm sorry to EVERY one that I bragged to about going to the heat. Talk about karma. Last week I went on exchanges with Hermana Lister in her area which is all bike, and we froze our buns off. Okay I froze my buns off because she invested in a coat. Smart woman! Haha okay sorry, this isn't supposed to be all about the weather. You guys have phones; you can check the weather if you want.
Like I said I went with Hermana Lister to her area, we're in the district so we see each other at least twice a week. Guys, I love her. Take back all the complaints I had about her. Let's just say in the MTC I was just being a homesick baby, and she had her own problems too. Apparently that didn't mix well. Because now we're like best friends? Weird how that happens. Anyways I go on exchanges in their area a lot (and we're in the same ward), and they have a golden investigator named Fransisco. He has been learning about the church for 5 months and has read the whole Book of Mormon and the Docterine and Covenants. This guy is awesome. The only problem is he's on probation for 4 years so he can't be baptized. He begged the sisters to let him talk to president. Now he and president are writing a letter to the first presidency to get special permission to be baptized. He's awesome and he has such a light. He says that he's sad that he had to wait 50 years to find the church but he's never going back. He's lost a lot of friends, but he says that "When you're on God's side you always have a friend". I want you guys to all follow in his footsteps and stand up for what you believe in. It's hard but God is always there with us if we just let him in. I hope you all have a good week and keep safe. Love you!

Hermana Groves
P.S. I ate an octopus this week. And sushi. And some Guatamalan food. Keeping it fresh.

Week 10

Here's a picture of my cat...

Hey everyone! How were your Thanksgivings? Mine was humble but great. None of the members in our area invited us to eat with them, BUT one of the ladies in the ward who feeds all the missionaries after church on Sundays invited us over, so we were fed. Hermana Galicia is great. She had over 20 people over in her little apartment and fed us chicken, salad, mashed potatoes, bread. Simple but good. 

A member (Jessica who came to Galveston with us), brought us a "gift" to the dinner, an investigator and we've taught him again since then. It's awesome! We also stopped by another member's house, and she had invited us to "stop by" but she had a couple for us to share a scripture with. She's been working with the wife a lot, but the husband has a hard heart; he's really abusive in all ways possible and so she is definitely looking for a reason to keep going. But she's prepared she told us she wants us to come and teach her some more. So that's really awesome!

We've really just been continuing on our former investigators trying to find more people to teach, most of them have moved a long but we've been blessed for our efforts with lots of different blessings. Margarita still isn't baptized we're still waiting on the OK of her husband to baptize her but she is ready and told us that she can't wait, she just wants it to be more special. I love the people I teach, Angelica reminds me of Grandma Glenda so obviously I love her but her personality is so similar so when she wants to hug me, I just bring it in for a big one! Haha but she has invited her whole family to come sit in on the discussions with her. Man she's ready. Honestly, we taught a lot this week and had a lot of success but I can't remember anything else that happened... Whoops. The schedule is the same on holidays. I know I was shocked as well. But holidays are the best time to find people at home. So teach on! Haha I hope you have a great week. Dad, shave your beard. Bub, get a haircut. Haha Love you all and think of you and pray for you daily. Have a great week :)

Hermana Groves

Thanksgiving Week

Oh my loving peeps. This week has been draining. And honestly I'm trying to remember why. I have been so bad at keeping my journal so I'm depending mainly on my memory which is awful.

Well I can't remember if the break in that I witnessed went in my last email or not. Don't be too worried, I am protected but the apartment above ours was broken into last weekand I witnessed it. But the guy breaking through the glass door so happened to be wearing a orange construction vest (and after going to Cedar High through 4 years of construction) I didn't question it and went on with it. Well the next day the apartment manager came knocking on our door and asked if we saw anything. Well obviously I felt like an idiot, I watched a crime be committed and thought nothing of it. Wow. I'm naive haha. I had to call the police and give my best description of the guy and all this fun stuff. Crime. Crime is actually a thing here. Who would have thought. 

I was on exchanges with an English sister, Sister Howard, this week in a complex that we have multiple investigators in and as we were leaving from Dulce and Jorge's (Dulce is a member and Jorge has been investigating for years but now he has a baptismal date) after they had opened the door and cancelled on us and as we were walking down the stairs this lady says "Do you remember me?" I said no, because I had no idea who this lady was. (apparently when Sister Howard came here before with Hermana Carlson this lady had talked to them about not knocking on random doors, which we weren't) and she said "I thought I told you not to go knocking on doors" and I said "Even if we have an appointment?" and she said "Yes, even if you have an appointment (insert snide rude voice here) I know what times you usually come wandering around here and I know your names, you are not welcome here, you are trespassing, I will call the police and have you arrested, and that is a promise" well doesn't that make things a little complicated? Yeah. But honestly, like who wouldn't want all this fun around them in their complex? Pft. So we are scheduling a meeting with her this week with our housing coordinator to get things settled. Wooooohhh. This will be super fun. (Please sense my enthusiasum please)

Here's another thing to hoot and holler about (sarcasm) I can't seem to hold onto a trainer because on Wednesday Hermana Carlson is being transferred to another area. Seriously. I will have 3 trainers in the time that I was supposed to have one. I am like the little puppy that people take in for a few days and then send it on it's way. I'm wondering if I'm a handful or something? And believe it or not I'm trying to not be sassy and be a really good companion. It's draining. So here we go, a new companion and I'm taking over the area for good. Woooohhooo. But seriously this work is great and I know that my favorite scripture is always applicable Alma 26:12 because in the Lord I have all my strength and can do anything in him. I want you guys to know I love you tremendously and hope you are all doing great. I love getting letters and am responding as fast as I can. Keep your heads up and keep the faith. Love you!
Hermana Groves 

ps we had a good hard rain a few days this week so, you know I was eager to wear my raincoat and have a photoshoot.. enjoy. haha

First of all, I have the greatest family, friends, and ward members when the district leader brought the mail to church yesterday I had 6 packages and 2 letters, but in the packages I had over 40 letters. You guys are awesome. I was excited to hear from my siblings, cousins, young women and friends. I am still living up to my reputation of being loved the most by the people back home. (evil  hand rub haha). 
This week I took over my area, Houston 1 West, holy, what a task that is. I got a new companion from New Jersey named Hermana Bonhard. She's legit, she's been out for 10 months and seriously I'm already so close to her. She just is so loving, accepting and bold. She just says what needs to be said to the investigators and she's seen a lot of success in her mission. We actually took a trip to Galveston with 
 a recent convert Jessica and A member from Galveston to see 3 of her investigators (all kids) and it was really cool, they loved her and she really made a difference in their life, I know it. Also I heard Brianne and Alyssa got baptized. I was sobbing like a baby I was so happy to hear of the missionary work of all my young women back home. Hermana Bonhard told me that even though I may not feel like I'm seeing success here in the mission because of my obedience people I know and love back home are receiving some sort of blessing and I'm seeing that little bit more every week. She's so full of knowledge right? Haha yeah I like her. 
Mom sent me the conference ensign and this morning I read Thomas S. Monson's talk " I will not fail thee, or forsake thee" oh my gosh, you guys gotta read it, it's so great. It was exactly what I needed today. There's a quote in it that says "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?" I've been thinking a lot about going home lately because I have felt so inadequate and then I realized that that's not what God wants of me, he can't bless me until he gives me opposition. There is a living prophet today and he receives revelation for everyone I know this as a fact. Because this was revelation that I could apply to myself. I know that God gives me opposition so that he can make me stronger "Good timber doesn't grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees" I don't want to be a wimpy tree. I hate wimpy trees because dad has to tie them down to something in the back. But all trees start out week, but the ones who endure through the wind and the storm grow strong and set deep roots, that's what I'm doing right now. Setting my roots deep and holding on through the wind.
Another thing that Hermana Bonhard told me was that her mission president in Alabama (she was originally a visa waiter) said that our patriarchal blessings are Heavenly Father's father's blessing to us before we come to Earth. That completely made sense. I encourage you guys to read your blessing with that in mind as well, I had an overwhelming spiritual experience with that and just felt God's reassuring love for me. Guys I love you all and I know that you are put in my life to bless me, I am so grateful for you and your examples to me. I know that this church is true and that I am doing God's will. I love you all and hope you have a good week :) Keep the faith

Hermana Groves

Nov. 18 2013
Oh my loves, 
How are you doing? I hope all is well on your end of the spectrum. This week was a good one for me. We had a lot of success this week, and really taught by the Spirit. I think the book of my family was the best thing I could get to teach these people. Talking about eternal families is one thing, but showing them one puts a whole new reality to it. This week one of our investigators got married! Margarita is now one step closer to baptism, she wants to wait until Sergio, her husband is worthy to baptize her but she's there, she's now 100% ready to be baptized and we're super happy for her, she's been taking the lessons for over 2 years now. She's so ready and I cannot wait. 
This week we taught a lot of lessons and met a lot of people, we're working hard and the Lord is blessing us for putting our faith in him. 
Hermana Watkins came on exchanges with me so that she could be here for Sergio and Margarita's wedding but she was sick the whole day leading up to it so we just stayed in and I studied. And then when Hermana Bonhard came back she got up in the middle of the night and fainted in the bathroom and got a huge scrape on her face, so all night I was playing nurse taking care of her haha. We went to church and she recieved a blessing. Can I just tell you how I love the priesthood? A few weeks ago president made a rule that the elders aren't allowed to give blessings to the sisters because everyone is having a little trouble "locking their hearts" and a lot of it seems to come from giving/recieving blessings so Hermana Bonhard needed a blessing, Hermana Watkins and her companion Hermana Washburn went and found 2 random english speaking priesthood holders to give her a blessing. Well priesthood is true, these guys had never seen Hermana Bonhard let alone knew what was going on in her life and they gave her a blessing directly from God. It was fantastic. After that we went to go take the sacrament and were going out to leave and as we were walking by the kitchen to leave the church Hermana Bonhard threw up. All over. I couldn't even go get anything to clean it up because of the "sight and sound" rule so a kind guy from our ward happened to walk by and in his broken english said "we take care of you hermana" he mopped up all of her throw up and everything. What a great guy. We're totally making him cookies. But I then continued playing mom yesterday getting her everything she needed and that was our day. I wish I had more to report but I think I'm getting a little sick and my memory will be the first to go. I'll have you know that I am in Alma in the BOM in Spanish. I believe that I can reach my goal by the end of the year and I know that God will bless me with the ability to speak and interpret Spanish. The mission is great. I love you all and hope you are having a great week. Be smart, be safe, keep the faith.

Hermana Groves

Happy Week of Thanksgiving!

How is everyone doing? We had an interesting week here in THSM. First on Monday, it was Hermana Bonhard's Birthday, so we tried to celebrate a little but she was still healing so we took it easy. Members Jessica and Yovani surpirsed her with a cake:) But with the age change there seem to be more and more missionaries who are getting crushes on one another so in Zone Meeting on Tuesday we were "lucky" enough to talk about "locking your heart" which I was scoffing at because I'm not having any problems with this. No seriously, my heart is not towards anyone here (romantically). Well, Heavenly Father thought that He would make me pay for my words by putting flattery in my path. Yes flattery. It's interesting how one week as a missionary people are avoiding all forms of communication with you, and then the next you scoff and have foreign men flattering you. This guy from Morrocco tricked us, he asked for directions, and then said he was interested... But not the interested I thought so I gave him our phone number. Only after he had it did he pull (as Hermana Bonhard likes to call it) his "suave" moves and was asking for us to hang out and all of this stuff. He then was harassing us with phone calls and text messages saying how pretty we were and all this. Fear not, I was flattered, but we immediately got his number blocked. Challenge accepted and achieved. Haha moral of the story, if someone approaches you don't just assume he wants to learn about the gospel? Haha I don't know. Hmmm.. What else this week?

We were able to truly explore the part of the area that we had never even been to before and found about 8 complexes that we didn't even know existed. I know that there are people prepared there, and even though we took up a few full days driving on every single road in our area I know that it was a test of patience and something that we really needed to do. An appointment fell through and so we decided to go to the northern part of our area to go back to a street that we saw with a former's address on it.  In that time we were stuck in traffic and passed by a car on the road pulled over with their hazard lights on and we ignored the prompting we had to stop and continued driving because we had an appointment we had to get to after we were to try this former. Because we were stuck in traffic we knew that we wouldn't make it back in time for that appointment if we didn't turn around, so we did, that car was still there. Not 5 minutes later we got a call from our investigator saying she had to cancel so we decided to try the former once more. The car was still there. So finally after receiving that prompting once more, we didn't ignore it we pulled over, and luckily we did. This woman had been taking care of her mom for 4 days straight with no sleep, she blacked out at the wheel and drove off the curb hitting a speed limit sign and a mail box and she was really shaken up. We were able to help her by just calling the people she needed called. We then gave her a Book of Mormon and a pass a long card and left after she had found someone to come get she and her mother. No, we didn't get a new and no we didn't teach her a lesson, but the fact of the matter was she needed to come in contact with her and because we didn't listen to the Spirit the first time God made a way for us to come in contact with this woman. She needed to see and feel the love of Christ and I believe she did.

Also my beloved investigator Angelica came to our ward party and brought her two teenage daughters who want to learn from us now too! Angelica is really set in her Catholic ways, but she really loves reading the Book of Mormon and found a copy of the "For Strength of Youth" and read the whole thing to her daughters. I LOVE HER. I don't understand her much but she's really patient with me (she always looks at me when she's talking and Hermana Bonhard says she's always seeking my approval on the things she says haha), but we totally are supposed to know each other. We definitely knew each other in the Premortal life.
The Spirit speaks to us in different ways, but is present if we are just listening for it. I want ya'll to know I love you with all my heart and pray for you all by name. I am blessed to know you and know that you are all doing your best. Keep it up, and keep the faith :)
Hermana Groves

"Now that's what I call Texas toast"- Me thinking I'm the funniest missionary around. 

The next few lines are things the Moroccan guy said to us, so if you don't want to be laughing don't read them. Also only funny if read in Moroccan accent. :)
"So you are students or.. working?"
"So I only live in this area for 5 days and I need friends, you want to be my friends don't you?"
"You want to get coffee sometime? You like a starbucks?" 
"Here, what is you name? I add you on facebook right now" 
"Oh so you're seesters?"
Basically every pick up line in one meet up. Also he made sure to wait 24 hours to call us after the first few texts were sent. Smooth.