Monday, November 24, 2014

It's turkey week! even though we made the only turkey...

So this week we had a pretty solid week. We were able to contact a lot of people that 1. we've never met before or 2. that it's been a long time since we've caught them at home. On Tuesday we were able to meet a young women that lives in our area for the first time! We try her house all the time in various hours of the day but everyone seems to play the "pretend like we're not home" game. LAME. Anyways, she was home and she was SO EXCITED to see us. We had to talk to her outside because her parents aren't members and don't like when the missionaries come over. But she told us she wants to come out teaching with us and that she's missed the missionaries so much. Solid. Best thing ever. 

Later on that day we were at the church waiting for our meeting with the ward mission leader when we saw that Heyley and her siblings were running amuck around the church so we asked them if they wanted to play a game. We were able to play the word of wisdom game and do the temple puzzle and teach about them both. Heavenly Father definitely blessed us with being able to see her,  because we don't teach her anymore because.. well apparently to the mom we're the worst. Whatever I'm over it. (but not really ha)

On Wednesday we were able to make "chochinas"(?) with the Tacam's, they are Guatamalen version of tamales. So we were invited back on Thursday to eat them. YUM!! They were so good! We were finally able to see Hermana Rosa too. She's still crazy as usual but she was actually happy to see us, so that's really good. Later that night we saw Aaron and his sister-in-law Gaudi with a few members. They said they would come to the ward party and to church but still haven't done either. Sadly we think we're going to have to stop teaching them because they are no longer progressing. It really makes me sad, church attendance really kills who we think are progressing investigators. 

On Friday there was MLC and president gave this really awesome training on faith and I somehow have to repeat and aply to my zone this week at zone meeting. yay! It will be really good, they want us to focus on working with members and looking for people with real intent. There's also this really cool iniciative for Christmas called "He is the Gift" we watched part of the video at MLC and I thought it was really good. 

So remember how I'm not one to hang out in the Kitchen? Well we were asked to make a turkey for the ward party on Saturday. Remember how Hermana Call is less of a kitchen lady than I am? Well luckily with the help of Hermana Tacam we were able to bake a turkey and actually make it taste really good. Question though: does everyone crazy stab the turkey? Or is that just a Mexican thing? I just felt like a serial killer, that's all. But our turkey turned out fabulous! But the turkey juice got all over the car and our clothes. YAY. I totally looked like I threw up on my shirt (which doesn't help with the bollemic rumors going around about the sister missionaries, we're not I promise. We just don't eat as much as the elders) so I turned my shirt backwards. Fashion statement? I think yes.But it was really cool because Hermano Sorto (investigator) came to the activity and the next day, church! The ward party was awesome, except for the fact that it's super hard to stop one from dancing to the music they have playing at those things.. but with time.. I'll be able to do so again.

Last but not least, yesterday we were eating lunch at a member's house and she was just talking to us about her life and how she's single again and she wants to get married and all this funny stuff and then in English she says "what has my life come to? I'm talking to the missionaries about my lack of a love life" haha I was literally dying. Because after she said that, she just continued on with her story. I was loving it. 

Oh and to answer your questions about Thanksgiving we'll be eating with a member family. Also the question about the bike, my brakes stopped working, my back tire came off and my chain had something messed up. The list goes on, but I was safe, all of this was bad, but I didn't get hurt, so no harm done. Also I fixed the drain this week. I am my father's daughter. Also shout out to Hermana Bonhard (Megan) for the early Christmas present, my new scripture cases :) and to all of those who gave me a little thanksgiving note :)

So basically that was my week. Pretty enjoyable. I learned some real valuble lessons about life. Haha. I hope ya'll have a great week. Keep strong and carry on! :) 

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Are ya'll breakin' in?"

November 17th, 2014

Well another week has gone by here in good ol' Houston, Texas, transfer calls came and Hermana Call and I are staying together for another transfer. Houston 8 is a really hard ward to work in and our area is really rough so it's bitter sweet, I obviously love it but for once I would like to be in an area where it's already built up and I can just harvest. But I guess I'm good at planting the seeds so I'll probably doing that for the rest of my mission. I'm excited though, that means that my work isn't done here and there are more people to touch. So with that being said let me tell you all about this week. 

Not gonna lie, this week started out a little rough, I'm gonna spare the details of that because we only want to remember the good in all the people we come in contact with, especially our companions. Also my bike fell apart so shout out to Grandpa Lloyd cause he payed for the unexpected bike expenses. Also I'm a Texan cause I'm freezin my buns. But besides the zone activity where it was superheros vs. animals (it was supposed to be an animal activity but.. our district coincidentally bought superhero shirts so we all wore them.. no regrets) obviously my disctrict is the bomb haha but we had a run in with a member at dinner and she told us some concerns she had with an elder so unfortunately we had to report it and now Elder Jarvis is being transferred :( but he didn't do anything bad just the members in the ward... basically it's the telenovelas (hispanic soaps) in this ward. 
We were able to teach this part member family this week (finally) and we're really excited to just continue working with them. We were also able to meet with this woman who just moved into our ward.. from Guatamala, she's super pregnant and this random family took her in. It's really sad though she's like 9 months pregnant and she's basically living in a closet. She moved here cause her baby daddy fled the scene but he wants nothing to do with her anymore. It makes me really sad. We talked to the bishop yesterday and he's looking for someone to take her in, so hopefully that works out. It just makes me really grateful for the chance I had to be born here in the states to "goodly parents" haha but really, a good support system makes a huge difference. 

So here's the funny of the letter the other night we went to go visit our investigator Carmen and she wasn't there so as we were walking to the car we heard a "umm excuse me can you help me?" (all of this in spanish) so we went to this lady who was basically trapped in her porchish thing from her sliding door. She went outside to water her plants and she locked herself out so she asked us to go to the office to send someone to come open her apartment. Too bad it was right when the office was closing so they didn't have anyone to send. So we told her she had to get it herself but she said "how? I'm trapped" so, me being the problem solver I am... got on my hands and knees and told her to climb down... All of the sudden we hear these guys yelling "YA'LL NEED HELP? OR ARE YOU ROBBIN THE PLACE? Cause we ain't gonna help if you robbin' the place" so they came and lifted this lady over the fence. it was probably the most hilarious thing that happened this week.
Not much more is going on, but we're having the thanksgiving party this week. How exciting! Well hope ya"ll have a great week. Love ya!
Hermana Groves

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Put your hands up like some single ladies!"

November 10th, 2014

Hola! Como estan? Espero que todos estan teniendo una buena semana! I'd be lying if I said this week was easy. It was not. But there were some really good ups to this week. So let's start with that. Well I'll finish with that too, I won't put any bad in the middle. haha 
So let's start with Tuesday, the day of my dreams. I went on exchanges with Hermana Hull back to H1 West, my first area! :) We were filled with people that I missed and got to visit. It all started out with my Yolanda. We were waiting at the door and she walks up with orange roses (because she remembered orange was my favorite color. First time to ever receive flowers from someone? Totally worth it :) She told me that she was about to write me and then she found out that I was coming to "visit" so she postponed it, she also had a scarf ready to give me. This woman cracks me up. She's my grandma in disguise. I love her. Next stop the familia Poza, only Hermana Poza was there but she was SO happy to see us, the hermanas haven't visited her since before Hermana Bonhard left.. so it's been a while, but she was doing really good and she said that she's working on  reading her scriptures with Sofie, but her husband isn't supportive of them going to church anymore :( so that was a shame. 
Remember how I always used to talk about Wilson and how much I love him? I love him even more now, and I got to see him too. He's super active in the church and like every week he brings a random friend to church. He's on fire and like the coolest ever. Hermana Hull told him she was going to surprise him with something and when I showed up he was like  freaking out and just kept saying "best surprise ever" holy cow, he's definitely the coolest fake cousin I have. He has another girlfriend but he said he's gonna bring her to my new ward so I can meet her (probably so he can get my approval haha) but he's doing good!
We also stopped by to see Margarita's family (she was working) but her baby Ivan is so big now, he's definitely in the terrible 2 stage. But they are preparing to go to the temple next month and I'll be able to go with them!!! I'm so excited! We stopped by the Avalos as well but the parents weren't there but I did get to see Oliver and Jashly. So that was really good. 
We had a really awesome lesson with Aaron and Monica on Wednesday and they committed to read the scriptures and pray daily, they didn't come to church cause Lesley had her quinsinera so... they didn't come. This week though! We have a lesson with them tonight so it'll be really good :)
On Thursday we went to the temple as part of the mission. SUPER GOOD!!! I wish that I could write all of the great things that I learned but it was like when the prophets would say that so great were the things they beheld that they couldn't write them. That was my temple experience. Every time I go I just learn so much, the spirit is truly the best teacher. But it also was super cool that president Crane (the temple president) his wife and President and Sister Ashton had a meeting with us afterwards in the temple to answer questions and to discuss things they had asked us to consider in the temple. It was sick. But super sacred.
On Friday we went on yet another exchange, me with Hermana Christensen, the senior sister training leader. and it was really good! Their area is boomin' and she's a super awesome missionary, I learned so much from her in the day I was there. 
Saturday... I had this massive migrane that resulted in blurred vision so I stayed in for a few hours.
On Sunday it was the primary program. Let's talk about not getting trunky. It's hard when they hand out things that say "families are eternal" and members make comments about how my future family is forever. Trunky girl right here. Get thee hence! 
That basically sums up all the good of my week. Hopefully I didn't bore ya'll to sleep. I love you and hope you have a great week. Keep strong and carry on!
Hermana Groves 

November 3rd, 2014

Okay, Texans are such babies. Haha I kid you not. Saturday we had some awesome weather (like 75ish) and I was rejoicing because I could just wear a short sleeve and not sweat. But we were leaving a member's house and she basically refused for us to leave her house because it was "cold" haha she was not having the fact that we weren't willing to wear a coat. Haha so honestly, this is gonna be short because I forgot my planner and all the things in it contain the things that I did. 
So last week we had a zone activity and we played volleyball. I got super competative and ended up with these giant  bruises on my forearms. Talk about battle scars, pretty cool I guess.
On Tuesday I got to go to MLC and be with all leaders of the mission and Hermana Call went on exchanges. It was a pretty good day. 
On Friday it was Halloween but we had zone meeting and I had to do a training on inviting people to be baptized centering it on Christ. Not gonna lie, it was probably the best training I've ever given. Not a dry eye in the house. Well that's what I thought because I was looking through tearful eyes. haha it was a really good zone meeting though, we went over what we talked about in MLC about making sacrifices when it comes to the sacrament and the symbolism of it. I've totally been doing the sacrament wrong. I took the sacrament prepared yesterday and it made a huge difference. 
On Friday night we had to be in early at 7 so we would be safe and all that jazz. We watched this video that we can give out called "Solutions for a better family life" hey, I give this video an A+ for real. Contact your local missionaries for a copy. 
On Saturday we had a ward activity for Halloween. I did dress up. As much as you can as a missionary. I wore a hat and gloves and claimed myself a mime. Too bad everyone flippin thought I was a robber! Oh the HORROR! They didn't recognize my costume! Haha it was whatever. I just put it on last minute because my companion decided to be a barbie.... It was really fun and we were able to make some more friends in the ward. 
I'm so glad for daylight savings. We got to sleep in yesterday. Holla! It was great, we were so tired though. I also was so tired after eating (I kid you not) 10 papoosas yesterday because the member told us we couldn't leave unless we ate all the food. Here I am, always taking one for the team. 
I love being a missionary. It's the time of my life. I hope you all have a great week. Keep strong and carry on! LOVE YOU!
Hermana Groves

ps. everyone keeps asking me when my release date is. Feb 10. Now let's stop speakin about it. Gracias. 

Happy Halloween :)

October 27th, 2014

Time is just flying by isn't it? This week we had an emotional roller coaster of events. It was one of the best weeks of my mission but also the hardest. So get ready for this. 
On Monday we had a super fun zone activity (we're actually going for round 2 today) we played volleyball and scatter ball. I have no idea what was up with me but I was ready to take on the world so I was bouncing off the walls hitting everything. If my friends saw me they would be so surprised at my participation in these games, I know I was. And you know what? I'm super pumped to go back today. They weren't kidding, you come back from your mission a changed man. 

Most of our lessons this week were with our investigator Heyley. Which was really awesome, but ends in a sad story for us. Heyley is 9 years old and both of her parents are members. She lives in the elder's area but we teach her because the ward mission leader thought that we could apply to her better. So we've been teaching her since I got here. Her parents work out of town a lot so she spends weeks living with members that live in our area. Up until last week I had never met her parents, so I had been teaching her forever and we've formed a relationship. Well this week her parents came back so we stopped by to visit them. Let's talk about the awkwardness there was. It was just weird. But they told us that their nephew was living with them and he wanted to know more about the church. Awesome. We took that opportunity. We had a really awesome powerful lesson and Heyley and Louis (the nephew) both accepted baptismal dates. So we set up a time to come back and we came back a few times more that week. The elders went over to visit and apparently Heyley's mom has a giant beef with me :( but I'm gonna spare the details that I was given. Let's just say her mom doesn't want her to get baptized as long as I'm teaching her. So we have to give Heyley back to the elders, it would break my heart if she couldn't get baptized just because I was teaching her. So that's something really sad that happened over the past few days. 

Something cool that we were able to do was to teach the seminary class (that's right, 5 50 in the morning) and we were "special guests" to help them learn the scripture mastery of the first vision. These kids are killer, like all of them learned it in the time we were there... I wish it would have taken me 1 hour instead of 6 months. Haha jk. But seriously. But it was so much fun. I fit in SO much better with the youth! Probably cause I'm super immature haha
We also had a really inspired lesson with Carmen and Juan. This house was a mad house, okay? There were like 3 kids running around screaming and hollering and I wasn't even sure if they could hear what we were saying. But we read in 3 Nephi 11 about when Christ comes and visits the Americas and I had the strongest impression to just ask them what they thought of the chapter and Carmen said "I need to get baptized correctly" so then I invited her to be baptized and she was hesitant, but then I asked her "Okay we've talked about prophets, do you believe that God still talks to his children through prophets?" "Yes" "do you believe that we all chose to come to the earth before this life?" "Yes." ect. she said yes to everything! SO then I whipped out Moroni 10:3-6 (I think) that talks about if it is good it's of God and told her that the good feelings she feels is of God. She and Juan accepted a date and they're now preparing for baptism :)

It's so awesome how sensitive the feelings of the spirit are. I am so blessed to be able to share that feeling of the spirit with others and to help them feel joy. 
Other than that my breaks completely stopped working on my bike yesterday so I was going ape grabbing on to poles and things like that to stop myself. We were going down this hill that leads to a few intersections and I couldn't break and I just starting saying probably the strongest prayer of my life (Obviously I was safe) but I am so grateful that Heavenly Father is watching out for me! I hope you all know how much I love my mission. It's one of the greatest decisions I have made/will make in my life. Thanks for all your love and support. Keep strong and carry on! LOVE YOU!!
Hermana Groves

Trunky Trainer

October 20th, 2014

That line is basically describing my past week. "Trunky": a term used by missionaries when referring to other missionaries that are basically packing up their "trunks", thinking about what they'll be doing after their mission, overly missionary tired. There is a reason that I didn't train earlier on in my mission because these guys are fresh out of the world. They got all the information of things going on in the outside world. And when they talk about it a lot, you can't help but think about it. So I'm back to working on keeping my thoughts diligent and not about movie quotes and all that. But don't worry, Heavenly Father helped me out as I was in my personal study in 2 Nephi 4. If I just trust in the Lord, follow the commandments/keep mission rules I will be prosperous in the land/prosperous in  my mission or in keeping my thoughts focused where they need to be. 

So last week I told you about Aaron, our investigator who accepted a baptismal date. We've seen him a few times since then and he's progressing SO MUCH!! He has prayed about what we've taught him and he feels like it's 100% true. It's so awesome. He's keeping all the commitments we leave him with and he's just so legit. Just 18. I can't get over it. Haha that rhymed. Anyways we're going to see him again to teach him about the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost) and we're really excited! We have this cute member named Jesenia coming out with us and we think she'll be a perfect friend for him. 

On Saturday we had a crazy day. We literally spent the whole proselyting day biking. But of course my brakes stopped working (cause they always seem to do so) we called the elders to come help us, but we weren't patient enough so we biked over to the Tacam's. A family in the ward who I knew Hermano would be home to help me out. A little background on Hermano Taccam. This guy is the NICEST guy I've ever met. He's from Guatamala and he's just so nice. But because he's Guatamalan he has a certain trait... he's super short. I'm short, but he only comes to my shoulders, if that,okay? So we go to the Tacam's and ask for help, they invite us to sit and we talk with Hermana while Hermano is fixing my bike. But as I'm watching him through the window from my seat I can't help of think of how great this scene would have been in a movie. Every time he gets on my bike to try it out he has to turn it over to the side because it's too tall. He did this multiple times. and then he'd just ride past the window and slam on the brakes. Haha I had to hold in my laughter but after we left I basically died of laughter. But turns out he tightened the brakes too tight, so for the rest of the day I rode my bike around with A LOT of friction. But because of that I'm probably gonna have the buffest legs/butt ever. Sweet. Seriously. I'm super grateful for them though, I would rather have too well of working brakes than not working brakes. You take what you can get. :)

I can't think of a lot more that happened but we both had our first TEXAS BBQ this week. YAY!! I hope ya'll have a good week and hope to hear from you next week :) Remember to keep strong and carry on :)

Hermana Groves

Momma Bear

Another successful week in the Texas Houston South Mission completed. I'm just going to start off with transfer meeting because that's really where my week began. So we showed up early to transfer meeting to meet our babies and I received my lovely new companion, Hermana Call, straight from Provo, UT. (I'll explain more about her later) So we start transfer meeting and we're singing the hymn and President Ashton starts looking around the missionaries sitting there with a  very serious look on his face. He then stands up and starts looking around more. All I was thinking was "man I feel bad for whoever president is looking for, looks like he's got some news for them" so I just look up to the front and Elder Jones, one of the AP's makes eye contact with me and mouths "Hermana Groves, he's looking for you" I point to myself and with wide eyes he nods his head. So obviously I was thinking bad news. I get out in the hallway for president to talk to me and he says "Hermana Groves I'm sorry forgot to ask you before hand, but the Lord has called you to be a sister training leader(which is the equivalent of a zone leader), do you accept your calling?" I grabbed his arm and said "President, I thought you were going to tell me someone died!!" but then I realized what he said.. But it was too late, I had already accepted it! 

Haha. here I am training and an STL. Definitely didn't see that coming. 
I'm loving this transfer so far though. Hermana Call is a hard worker and doesn't get discouraged which is super awesome. She's willing to just get out there and learn, and she's confident in what she does know. It's great! Our first night together we were walking and we said hello to this man and he said. "Wait, where are you from?" and we told him that we're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and he said "I could tell you were messengers sent from God, you both have a glow around you." and we thanked him and told him that we taught more about Jesus Christ and how we can grow in our faith in him, also that we teach about how we can have our families forever. His response? "Do you have time right now? I would love to have you over to talk more about this" Unfortunately we had an appointment to get to.. So we set up a return appointment. How crazy right? I love when prepared people are placed in our paths :)

On Sunday we ran out of toilet paper. We couldn't break the Sabbath so we called the elders and asked them if we could have some. That is the missionary life. 
So on Monday I had the privilege of going to my first MLC (mission leader conference) and not gonna lie. It was awesome. I mean it doesn't help that we had Elder Schwitzer a member of the 70 there. We talked about how we can better help the mission purify their hearts and it was a really great conference. 

Yesterday we were able to have zone conference again with Elder Schwitzer and it was so awesome! We talked a lot about bringing Christ back into the center of our messages. We applied it yesterday with our investigators Aron and Lesley. You could cut the spirit with a knife it was so defined! They accepted a baptism goal! And they were like crying. I definitely felt the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ during that lesson. There is no way that it could by anyway be denied. Oh my gosh, the power of the message we bring is so real. I am so grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary and spread the Lord's word on the earth today. I hope you all have a great week. Remember to keep strong and carry on! 
Love always, 
Hermana Groves

1.Toliet Paper delivery Boys
2. First comp picture. Haha she was cleaning off her shoe cause she got mud on them
3. we actually do like each other haha

by the way I have a new address 
10575 westpark dr. #529 
Houston, TX 77042
stop sending my stuff to my old one, because it will take me 6 weeks to get it. Thanks :)

and now I have a bun in the oven?!

October 6th, 2014

Hello everyone :) how was General Conference for everyone? I don't know about everyone else but I thought it was super good. Saturday morning was my favorite session. I remember at the intermediate hymn I leaned over to Hermana Nath and said "Man, they're bringing out the big guns this session" and personally I think it was the best session (for me, I was able to receive a lot of revelation) I had 3 talks that really stood out to me, Lynn J. Robbins' about fearing no man, Tad R. Callister's about teaching in the home and Henry B Eyring's about personal revelation.  I think they were all helping me with the questions I felt like I needed an answer to. If you haven't heard those talks I encourage you to do so. :)

So I have been praying and trying to decide whether I should extend my mission or not, and because I only have 3 transfers left, it's inevitable to think about. But I've decided after prayer and fasting that it will be best for me to not extend my mission. It's not that I don't love my mission, I do with all my heart! But I think that there are other things that I need to prepare for/need to do within that time. So it's official, I'm going home when I'm supposed to. 
We got the opportunity to watch "Meet the Mormons" in our zone meeting. Oh my gosh it was so good! Not your everyday documentary but super good! I encourage you to go see it in theaters. They want us to tell people about it because the church's major goal is to get it on Netflix, but it's gotta have enough views in theaters to do so. It comes out this week. It's really good, the last story will bring you to tears. 
Now for the big news. Hermana Groves is going to be a mom! That's right, I got the call on Thursday, I am going to be training a new missionary, starting Wednesday. The funny thing about this statement is we always make "mom" references to our trainers but I was making a baby joke about my food baby and me being pregnant from dinner when we got the call from president. So really I do have a bun cookin in the oven. Haha but not in the way you would think.. Haha how ironic.  But  Unfortunately that means that my short 3 weeks with Hermana Nath are almost over. (I don't like how temple square sisters come in the middle of a transfer) not going to lie, I'm really nervous, I just look back on when I was trained, I expected Hermana Carlson, Watkins and Bonhard (all my trainers) to know everything about Spanish and the gospel and to have solutions for everything. I'm really hoping that Heavenly Father isn't going to punish me for the horrible trainee I was! Haha I guess we'll see :) I'm shakin' in my boots but whoever it is we'll be companions for a reason, whether it's to call me to humility or what. But it makes me think of a talk by Neil A. Anderson where he says:"I have heard President Monson say, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.” I know this is true, and it gives me hope looking beyond my own inadequacies. I know that when we are on the Lord’s errand, he will be with us, he will strengthen us, he will build our capacities. I have experienced it. I have felt his lifting Spirit. In the months and years ahead, I will need him so very much.
I pledge all that I am to this sacred calling. I promise to be teachable, and I pray that I can be sufficiently meek that the Lord can mold and strengthen my spirit to accomplish his purposes. I commit to you and to the Lord that I will consecrate myself to advancing the cause of the Restoration."
I'm going to try to apply this statement to the best of my ability. I hope that I'll be able to be the best trainer I can for this missionary. How I train her will be how she is for the rest of her mission. No pressure, right? Haha it'll be fine. Heavenly Father is on my side and won't let me fail. 
I love being a missionary. I'm grateful for the opportunity I get to continually grow in my testimony of the gospel, I know that the Lord has a purpose for each of us and right in this moment, my purpose is to be here. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Keep strong and carry on :)

I don't have feeling in my feet anymore. Don't worry about it. haha

September 29th, 2014

Well this week I'm just pooped. And that is how this email is going to begin. You thought we were busy trying to contact people last week? Hahahaha then you have no idea what this week was like. We had 3 set appointments for the whole week. And we're supposed to be out of our apartment from 12 until 9 every day. You know what that means. We got out, and we worked our butts off. But you know what? I was definitely blessed in ways that I don't even know if I can explain. While we're out walking/biking it's usually so hard to keep my thoughts where they need to be (on the work, and on the people we teach, not on things or people at home) but I've realized that as I've been diligently working on that as we are out, that is no longer something I have to constantly worry about. It happens sometimes but not more than it should. And that's a blessing. We also went on exchanges, our sister training leader Hna Green came with me and we hit the streets(like always) we had a miracle day!!! We taught 7 lessons out on the street to people who were genuinely interested. It was incredible! Unfortunately only 1 of them actually lives in our area BUT those are still 6 people ready to learn about the gospel somewhere else! That was literally a miracle. I just kept saying "Our diligence is finally paying off, Heavenly Father Loves us!!!" Which obviously he does. But when you are walking around all day in the Texas heat with people being rude to you you need a reminder of it. 
Heavenly Father keeps putting people in our paths to encourage us to keep going. The other day, it was(or felt like) the hottest day of the week and we were just trudging along on our bikes and we hear "GOD BLESS YOU!!" like 5 times. we look across the street (about 8 lanes, mind you) and see this man jumping up and down at the bus stop saying "I'M TALKING TO YOU SISTAS. GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP SPREADING THE WORD!" We gave him a nod of appreciation and he yelled it again, but this time with pounding his chest with his fist and throwing up the "I love you" sign. I don't know about Hermana Nath, but that's EXACTLY what I needed. Haha. We also had this man come up to us and say "I just want you to know that you ladies are glowing, and not because you're sweating. Keep spreading the word of God." thank you for pointing out that we're sweating, but really, we needed to hear that. Haha
And for the awkward moment of the week, we were going to contact people (obviously) and there were these 3 people sitting at a bus stop. A Hispanic lady, a black man and an Asian lady. No this isn't the beginning of a joke. So I was just wondering.. "How am I going to talk to them?" and I'll have you know that this is something that I have mastered so I just stopped my bike and..(Now as a quick backround, we had a training once about if you don't know what to say, open your mouth and the Lord will fill it with what you need to say) sat on my bike, made some extreme eye contact with these people and just had my mouth wide open. In the 10 seconds (that felt like 20 minutes btw) that I had my mouth open I just waited. I got nothing. Except probably a few bugs in my mouth. Haha so I just said "uhh Have a great day" and biked off. Just in case you were wondering, I haven't lost my awkward on the mission. Just gained a different kind. 
I would love to talk about sisters conference but.. I understood very little of it. I was actually the missionary sitting in the back row who fell asleep because she was too tired trying to translate. Haha oh the joys :) But Elder Uchtdorf's talk was awesome. 
I hope you all got some sorts of laugh from this email. Haha I want you all to know that I'm in the right place right now. I may seem a little discouraged but honestly I know I have a purpose here. I hope you all have a great week. Keep strong and carry on! I love you all :)
Hermana Groves 
please don't zoom into the picture of my crusty foot. thanks. haha

Pioneer children sang as they walked.. and walked.. and walked...

September 22nd, 2014

Hello hello. Very eventful week here in the Texas Houston South Mission. So I'll just try to cover the goods to the best of my abilities. 
Because it was Hermana Vargas' last P-day last week we had a district activity(plus a companionship from our zone so we wouldn't appear that we were pairing off) and we went to the zoo! This time it was a lot more eventful than last time.. Mainly because elders are like little boys sometimes. Haha they would just get so excited, we spent a good 40 minutes with all the different monkeys. Correction, I spent all day with monkeys but they weren't locked up in the zoo, if you catch my drift. Haha. It was a good day to be there because obviously it was hot, but not Texas hot, like it was when Sister Piutau and I went. All in all, it was a successful p-day.
Wednesday was a rough day. Well, obviously because I sent my companion back to Utah, in the middle of the transfer. Not fair. But another thing that wasn't fair was the 2 temple square sisters (who were replacing the ones going back to the square) were sitting with us in the office for like 2 hours before we found out who our companions were. So we just awkwardly tried to not be more nice to one than the other... I was lucky enough to receive Hermana Nath. (Pronounced like gnat) she was born in equador, but raised mainly in spain. Two Hermanas from Spain in a row. That's pretty rare if you ask me.. But she's really cute and a super hard worker. And I know this because I'm putting us to work. 
 So yeah, suddenly I'm over this area that I've only been in for 3 weeks, where I don't know very many members and don't really know what they expect from missionaries. Basically white washing. Because of that, and our lack of people to teach we've been working really hard. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We're also basically out of miles. So one day we rode our bikes about 24 miles. (we live about 6 miles out of our area) and that was like Hermana Nath's second day here. I'm pretty sure she hates me. Haha just kidding, but I would definitely hate me if I were her. So for the subject of this email.. For 4 full days we had ZERO appointments and no one would open their door, so we walked. and walked. and walked. We were talking to everyone we could find in the street/complexes and it averaged to about 1 "street lesson" a day. My companion is a trooper. Did I mention that we're working on diligence as a companionship? Well we are, and Heavenly Father is definitely trying to help us grown in this attribute. Everyday something is put in our path for us to decide whether we want to keep going or give up. It's definitely worth it though, I know that only good will come from the trial of my diligence. 
We also had a ward party for this holiday that basically all Hispanics celebrate their freedom from "La Madre Espania" haha. There were a bunch of cool cultural dances and lots and lots of food. Hispanics know how to have good clean fun! And guess who was there? The Avalos family that I taught in H1. Whenever I see them I just get all choked up and so happy to see that their active in the church. I just love them.

I wish I had some funny stories or something, but this week we will see the blessings of our hard work. I hope you guys have a great week. I love you all! Keep strong and carry on :)
Hermana Groves

I would just like you all to look at the awkward missionary space between the elders and the sisters at the zoo. that's it. haha
Also I have the best district in the world. 
Me and Sister Nath :)

September 15th, 2014

Buenas dias! I hope ya'll are having a great week and that you're seeing the hand of God in your lives every day. This week started out on the rough side.. For 2 full days we didn't teach anyone. Oh my lanta, that was so hard. But we were patient and eventually the Lord blessed us. There is this family that's on the ward roster that lives in our area that says "doesn't want contact with the missionaries" written in, but you know what? We tried it anyways, the family opened the door and said "Oh my gosh it's been so long since we've seen the missionaries! We're busy right now but PLEASE come back." What the? We weren't even gonna go visit them and what would have happened if we didn't? I don't know, but that was a miracle, that's for sure! 
We visited Hna Rosa, this less active member twice this week. Oh my lanta. Kids say the darndest things, but so does Hna Rosa. Haha she kills me. We were talking about prophets the first time and in the pamphlet she saw this PAINTING of Isaiah and was like "how handsome wow how handsome this man in this painting."  and then later on we were talking about how the prophets now still receive revelation for the world. We used pornography as an example and she misunderstood and started talking about how the people back then were "caliente" which means they were hot temperature wise, but my companion told me that when you talk about people being caliente it means they're like really... hormonal.. Haha and so she was saying basically "oh course the prophets prophesied of that cause the people back then were really hormonal" haha when Hna Vargas told me that I was dying. Because when we were teaching her I agreed! I was thinking a long the lines of like they didn't have AC or whatever. But I was like "Oh yeah of course the people were hot, why wouldn't they be?" just hand me the dunce hat already. Haha. But then as we were leaving she noticed I had a few mosquito bites and I told her I was fine because I put on.. (couldn't think of the word for bug repellent) so I was moving my hands trying to.. I don't know physically force the words out of my mouth? Anyways she was like "what? are you going swimming? were you going swimming? Can mosquitos swim?" haha another phrase I wasn't familiar with so of course I just agreed. This girl needs to learn her Spanish better. Haha. I'm bringing shame upon the family name. 
OH! This story is nuts. Prepare for it. So we were walking in this complex trying to contact some of our referrals that we've received and we met on! So we were talking to her outside and our phone kept ringing with this number that wasn't in our phone. They left a voicemail so after we taught this lady we went to the parking lot to listen to this message. This creepy guy like walks up near us so we just avoid eye contact and walk to the car. We listen to this message that says "You guys are little gossips you cancelled your appointment with me but I see you walking around my complex, you say you spread the word of God but you're lying" it's from a guy we contacted on the street that we had to reschedule our appointment because we got held up at someone else's house. and so we called him back apologizing and he says "really, you just walked by me and ignored me" oh man we felt so bad. We were like "man we didn't recognize you, when we met you it was dark, would it be okay if we came and visited you right now?" and he said "you know, I'm a little drunk right now so maybe not" but that's not it, Hermana Vargas starts trying to set something up and he says "I really want the American to teach me English, but I want her to come alone" "Well we stay in a pair so where she goes I go" "Well can I take the American out to dinner and have you sit at another table?" oh my lanta. This conversation went on forever. Until he asked if I was married or engaged. Hna Vargas said that saying I was married was too much so she told him I was engaged his response was "well engagements can easily be broken" This guy is such a creep and I'm definitely never going back there again and we blocked his number. Haha but it was the creepiest/ridiculous thing I've ever witnessed in my mission. Also you know how we Americans love accents? Apparently other countries like gringo accents. Go figure! But all is well in Zion, we're safe we're not going back to that complex with out someone. 
But on Wednesday Hna Vargas goes back to temple square. It's been too short, I love her and will miss her so much! 
So that was my week. Hope everyone else had a good one. I love you all. Keep strong and carry on :)

"Doctor, doctor, give me the news I gotta bad case of..."

September 8th, 2014

So quick opening: if there is anyone receiving this email that would no longer like to receive it, just let me know. I have an automatic list and it's really easy for me to take you off. I know that it's kinda annoying if you don't have the desire to read it. Talk about immediate spam mail, haha so just email me back if that's the case. If not, disregard this message. :)

So as my email from last week said, I was a little sick. But that night, I was trying to man up, bad idea. We went over to have dinner with the Villalobos family (our ward mission leader's fam) and it turned out to be a disaster. I don't know if ya'll have ever had real Mexican fajitas, but I'll tell you now that they do NOT agree with a sensitive stomach. Haha. Not along with like 6 bean soup either. Oh my goodness, it was so bad. I'll just leave it at that. But we were supposed to have our ward correlation meeting that night but we didn't go because I was just.. not having it. But the ward mission leader thought that his wife poisoned us when really, I was already sick. Anyways, he said they probably won't feed us again. There goes that bridge I already burned. Haha. It'll be fine, I'll just pig out next time we eat over there.

Wednesday we were able to have a zone meeting which was really good. There was a talk about "ministering to the one" where we talked on really just focusing on people, if nothing else making sure the people we work with know that we love them. I really loved that, that's been my perspective probably my whole mission, but I know so many missionaries that are so focused on baptizing people but not the people we baptize. This work is all about helping people grow in their relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ so that's what we need to do first. Help them with whatever obstacles are in their way and help them take the leaps of faith necessary to make covenants. 

We saw our investigator Hailey that day as well. She's 9. So our lessons are always all over the place. They always seem to end with her asking "Will there be.... in heaven?" Also I heard her whispering to one of the kids saying "If I turned into a bear.. would I be an adult bear, a teenage bear or a kid bear?" That's a really good question, that I would like you all to think about for the next week, okay? Haha I have been thinking about it since she asked and I cannot give a sure answer..

On Thursday we took Hna Hull (who is in the first week of her mission by the way) to the doctor and spent like 4 hours there. Turns out she probably has apendecitis (however you spell that) so that's not very good, at all. Nothing stresses you out more than being in a completely foreign place having a completely foreign experience. Let's all wish her luck. Also prayers, prayers would be good. 

Friday Hna Vargas wanted to ride our bikes. Rides our bikes we did. We live about 3 miles outside of our area. But we biked all the way to it and for about 2 hours in between teaching. Haha we were dead by the time we were about a block away from our apartment... We're chugging along probably the slowest you can go on a bike and these European tourists ride past us and stop at the same stop sign as us. We're deeply breathing and they shake their heads and say.. "Americans.." and biked off. Hna Vargas was not happy with that haha. But whatever, I'm a lazy American. I know it. We were definitely blessed that day though for working hard, we were able to see a lot of people and get some new investigators. Work hard and be rewarded :)

We really think that biking Friday blessed us the rest of the weekend because we had a lot of success. It was such a blessing! We had a few lessons with members inviting their friends over and some other random things.

But yesterday takes the cake. We were eating dinner at a member's house (this was our second dinner..this area is making me so large and in charge) and her daughter and son in law were there because she wanted to introduce us, that's not all. She had her daughter Skype her other daughter in Mexico so we could meet her. (all these people are members)  Haha it was so funny everyone felt really awkward about it except this member. She just ate it up, she loves the missionaries and she loves her family so obviously she would put the two together in whatever way she could! Haha Hna Ruiz is such a sweetheart, I was so honored to meet her family.

I just want ya'll to know I love my mission. I realized a few days ago that I'm really on the downward slope. BUT that doesn't mean anything, I want to be the best missionary I can be and I'm far from it. So I got lots of time. I love ya'll so much and hope that you all have a splendid week. Love always
Hermana Groves 

ps I'm basically a person of walmart knitting at the doctors office

Español otra vez!

September 2nd, 2014

As you all read my email from last week (which I'm sure you did..) you know that I was transferred, and my friends, I was. Back in Spanish baby! But get this.. I actually live in my first (Spanish) area. Haha I'm in a different ward and we don't live in our area but I will never be able to get over my first area which I loved because... I drive through it multiple times a day! Haha and the familia Avalos (the family that I baptized) live across the street from one of our borders. It makes me upset because I really just want to go visit them. Haha. Always wanting more.. 

But I also got some more cool news. I have a native companion. Her name is Hermana Vargas, she's from Barcelona, Spain. Holy Hannah. She's so foreign, I love her. She's a temple square sister, so what they do for 12 weeks they go "outbound" to one of the other missions in the states and have a proselyting mission. Unfortunately, I only get her for the last 3 weeks of her outbound and then she goes back to Salt Lake. It's super depressing because I love her so much. We get along so well! But maybe ya'll could go visit her on the square someday. 

Okay so this week we've had some bipolar weather, it's super hot and then it rains. Typical Houston, I know. But we had many adventures, like riding our bikes, filling up our tires, contacting people, ect. Never trust Houston weather, it can still be 100 outside and rain. 

Our area is pretty dead. Meaning we don't have a lot of people to teach, investigators or members. Our bishop just got excommunicated for something way scandalous and basically the ward is falling apart, a lot of people are going inactive because of it. You know what president said to me  "You are the perfect missionary for this area. You seem to fix things that appear to be messed up to no recovery." obviously he said it more eloquently like president and less like me but you get the point. He told me that I'm going to work miracles here. I don't think it'll be too hard for it to go up from here. Haha  but I definitely have faith. 

Honestly I don't have a lot more to share.. I've been a little under the weather and so we haven't been running around as much because.. well that'd be a disaster haha. But I'm so lucky to be a missionary. I love it. I love representing my Savior to the best of my ability. I know that his grace is sufficient, even for me. I love you all and hope you have a great rest of the week! Until then, be strong and carry on! I love you!
Hermana (oh yeah, I love the ring of that) Groves

August 25th, 2014

Hola. Como estan? 
After weekly emails for the past year you would think that I could come up with a unique opening liner every week. Well, you(mainly me) were wrong. Get used to it. So let's just get right to the goods shall we?
Well.. This past week we were able to teach a YSA named DJ, and he decided that he wants to be baptized. On his birthday. In like 2 weeks. Sounds great right? Well it is, except for the fact that there are a certain amount of lessons we have to teach before someone can be baptized and we are only on the first.. still.. with him. His comprehension isn't the greatest but his heart is there 100% he's been coming to church, FHE and meeting with the elders for a long time he wants to be baptized so badly. So we're going to see him again tonight and explain more about the priesthood to him. It should be really good, we have a lot of YSAs coming to teach him with us tonight. 

On Wednesday we saw Millie (a recent convert) and it turns out she had found out that her godson had passed away. She was a wreck, but we were able to talk to her about the plan of salvation and how children under 8 don't need to be baptized to enter into the kingdom of God, so that was a really good lesson, the spirit was really really strong. On our way back from that appointment guess who we saw in our apartment parking lot.. Gene and a few of his buddies. He says "Hey guys, you gotta listen to these sisters, they speak the whole truth and nothing but it!" we were able to teach Gene and his friends about the restoration and the part that killed me was when Sister Winger was talking about the first vision and Gene nudged me and whispered "They're gonna love this.." so now we know that it was a wise investment giving Gene the restoration video, he said he's watched it maybe 4 times since we gave it to him a week ago. haha oh Gene, I got more to share about him later. 

We then had dinner with a ward missionary Sister Rogers and she gave us this cider in wine glasses.. She kept making this joke of acting surprised/ashamed when her husband (1st counselor in the bishopbric) came in from work. She just thought that would be the funniest thing ever. We didn't do it, but she had a hoot just thinking about it. haha After dinner with Sister Rogers we had our 2nd dose of dinner with a less active woman in the ward. She took good care of us. We went out to this restaurant called Ghengis Grill, so good. But pretty expensive for taking the missionaries out (in my opinion haha) but it was so good. We were stuffed, the woman in the ward asked our waiter if he could roll her out to her car. Haha oh my gosh he wasn't sure if she was serious or not. But honestly, neither was I. Haha so we have these potential investigators that we know and the other day the girlfriend came and knocked on our door..(They live in the same complex as us) and told us that she was making some salmon and that she was gonna have too much for her family so we were invited over. Who turns down salmon? Obviously not me. Haha so we were actually able to eat with them and teach them! It was definitely a miracle!

another GREAT MIRACLE!! Louis was baptized this past weekend and I was able to go! When he saw me he ran up and gave me this giant hug and I just awkwardly stood there and said "Louis, you know you can't hug me, you really need to stop" haha his response was "Sister Groves, it's not even like that. SISTER Groves" haha but it was so good to see him! None of his family was there to support him so that really was sad, but he was baptized by one of the young men in the ward and they've become really good friends! It was really cool, I sat by him throughout the whole thing and I just felt like I knew exactly why I was sent to Maplewood 2nd. 

So now onto the Gene story. Gene has been doing awesome lately, we've been teaching him and he's basically accepted everything.. So we asked him to pray about baptism. He did! The answer that he got was that he needed to be baptized the problem being that he didn't care where it was or who did it. So on saturday night he told us that he wasn't going to be able to make it to church because he was going to get baptized by his friend at his friends house. That was probably the most heartbreaking thing ever. Priesthood authority is something we've really been trying to help him understand. 

But as far as the rest of the week goes.. P day is changed to Tuesday next week, due to Labor day so don't be alarmed to not get an email on monday and i'm being transferred. More details to come next email. I love ya'll and hope you have a great week. Keep strong and carry on my friends :)
Love always
Hermana Groves

How can you tell the difference between a gecko and a lizard? The lizard won't try to sell you car insurance. Haha

August 19th, 2014

Happy Mid-august! Hopefully all is well on your side of the world (wherever it may be) 
Let's see where the goods are this week.. Well this week was pretty average. Obviously I'm going to start with the weather report. HOT, HOT, HOT. Like sweat dripping down your legs hot (I say that because I never have experience that in my life before. And it happened here) but it has also been raining buckets. Also, not new here. 
This week we saw a recent convert named Millie in the singles branch and she told us that her Godson, was in a car accident, is in a coma, and has a 30% chance of living. This is a really hard thing for her considering that he lives in Alabama and it's not easy for her to get there. We were able to have a really great lesson on the Atonement of Christ with her and how everything works in the Lord's way and his timing. As we taught that lesson I was able to feel my testimony of Christ growing from her testimony. 
We had a really cool miracle happen. A few weeks ago this whole family showed up to church without an invitation from anyone or anything. They have come for the past 3 weeks, (they don't actually live in our ward boundaries though) and we stopped by to check up on them and they told us that they basically disected the church website/ and they knew all about how the Hymns are the same wherever you go, they ordered all the church magazines and get this, they were asking us about how the church rotates the times that church starts every year and they asked if the missionaries could come meet them. This family is so cool. After we got in the car, the member who came out with us was like "Why?! Why can't they be in OUR ward boundaries? and Who does that? Who orders the church magazines? We need to somehow get them in our ward". That's not where I'm going with that, but I just thought it was so cute how she wanted them to be in our ward. Haha 
The next day we were having dinner with a member and her grandmother was there. Get this, she only speaks Spanish. Guess who got to use her Spanish for a whole hour and a half during dinner. This guy. Dang am i rusty. haha but it was so nice to be able to put that to use!
Our neighbor Humberto and his sons: Christian and Gabriel have let us start to teach them, Gabriel is 14 and he is SO GOLDEN. The only problem that we're coming up against is that even though he wants to be baptized he's going back to CT to live with his mom in like a week. That puts a bump in the road, but he told us that he LOVED when we came over because we are answering questions that he's always had. 
On Friday I got to go on exchanges with the lovely Sister Cardus (All the way from Argentina aka Temple Square) and we had the best time together. My companion forgot my year mark and she didn't get to celebrate hers cause we were on exchanges so we got to spend our year mark together eating ice cream and getting lost and hanging out in the rain. Oh my lanta. I love her. We are soul sisters and I want to be her friend forever. That's that. Haha she cracks me up!
We had a YSA activity on Saturday it was a BBQ and fun at the park. Let's talk about awkward missionaries at a YSA activity. Okay done. Basically any time a guy comes up to us we have to almost kindly ignore them..? We can't encourage YSA's to have crushes on missionaries. Where's all the fun in that ;) haha jk. But the ladies in our ward have a love hate relationship with us. We're still working on it. 
Yesterday we taught our friend Gene again and he is just so close to accepting the gospel. I can't get over it. We watched the restoration video and what he said after it? "Man this movie relates so much to me and my life. I even had a dream with a light kinda like he saw, can I keep this movie?" so we tried to see how he could apply that and he just kinda avoided that whole situation. Haha
The elders handed us off this guy named DJ who's a YSA and he's a funny guy. I'm pretty sure he's in love with my companion. Haha. Anyways we taught him "Enduring to the end" all in football terms yesterday and it was a hoot. I was laughing so hard, Millie was participating and this was probably the most random lesson I ever had.
Today we went to the temple. Most needed thing ever. This transfer has been killin me. But I know it's where I'm needed right now. The temple is such a great place where I can just feel the love of the Lord for me. I'm glad that I have one so close that I can go to once a quarter (mission rules) haha but I just want ya'll to know I love you and I hope you have a great week. keep strong and carry on!
Hermana Groves 
here's a joke i shared yesterday with a member, I thought it was funny. I was the only one.
How can you tell the difference between a gecko and a lizard? The lizard won't try to sell you car insurance. Haha