Monday, October 20, 2014

Sept. 13, 2014 There is a reason YOU are where you are

Us with "Adrian" (Hermana M-) before we knew he was our teacher
Sept. 13, 2014

First, WE GOT OUR FLIGHT PLANS!!!!!!!!!! Everyone from the two districts we started with is going on the same planes all of the way there (I think), except for 1 elder that is going to Columbia, and 4 people that are visa waiters (Hermana S- is one of them:( ). So that is muy triste, however we know that the Lord will take care of them, and they will bless many lives in the states while they are waiting here. We are leaving el CCM at 6 am on Sep 22, taking a flight out of SLC at 11 am to Atlanta, Georgia; then waiting 4 hours until 9 pm to fly to Buenos Aires. We will get there around 8:30 the next day. So basically we will be pretty dead. And we found out that there is no rule about calling or not calling at the airport, so I may probably call you from Georgia around 5 pm that time on the 22nd.

We have been teaching our three investigators about baptism all week. One of them commited to baptism, and we are still working with the other two. (Also, 2 of them are just our teachers role playing, but it really does feel real. We don't know if our other investigator is actually a real investigator or a member, but we have been called to invite others to come unto Christ, not just investigators, so it really doesn't matter either way. 

The two older districts in our Zone left on Monday, which made us the older districts now, and we got two new districts this Wednesday. It feels like years ago. The newbies are awesome, and they are going to do great things. 

We've been having quite an interesting time with water recently. On Wednesday the sink in the bathroom in the classroom/apartment above ours exploded (ok, not really, but boiling water was pouring out of the pipe). So it started coming through the ceiling fan into our elder's bathroom. It took them about 30 minutes to find the off valve for the water, but in the meantime missionaries were running all over--getting security/custodians, running into the cleaning supplies apartment to grab buckets and rags, running buckets of super hot water outside and pouring them on the ground, etc. It was quite exciting. And nobody got hurt too  badly, I think the worst injuries were Elder P-'s--I think he was holding the pipe or something to try to slow down the water, so he burned his hands a little. But luckily Hermana G- is a nurse (she's actually going to be the mission nurse for my mission), and she said is was only first degree and didn't cause too much damage. 

Our other experience with water was Thursday. It absolutely POURED rain! The street outside our apartment/classroom was literally a river (side tangent--I don't know if I've ever explained our classroom. All of the Spanish missionaries are on West Campus. Most of us live in Wyview BYU housing. Our classrooms are at Raintree apartments--the church made them over into classrooms. So all the bedrooms/front room have white boards in them, the couches are in one of the bedrooms so we can teach our "investigators" there, we have desks with laptops and computers we can use, and dressers in the closet to keep all of our books, etc. So it's pretty great. I really love it and we are so blessed. At main campus they only have one little room for their classroom instead of like 5 rooms (as far as I know), and they probably don't have a fridge to keep their snacks in either. We have portable-ish buildings for the cafeteria and bookstore, and some of those blow-up marshmellow/igloo looking things for gyms. Ok, end of tangent). So the rain was just POURING. And of course most of us had not brought jackets or umbrellas or anything. And of course I had worn a white skirt that day--because I am super smart. Some of the Elders put trash bags on their heads and went and ran around in the rain. It was really entertaining. We needed to leave for gym, so Hermana G- and I put trash bags over our skirts and I used one as a rain jacket too. 

Another funny story: The desks we have in our classroom are the ones that have the table thing attached to the chair. So we have three of those lined up in one of the closets in the backroom of our classroom. We heard the voices of our trio of Elders--H, H, and W studying in the backroom one day, but when I glanced in they weren't in there. And then we realized they were sitting in the closet with the door closed. It was really funny. Elder C-also likes to sit back there while Elder B- is studying at the table. Hermana R- and I went in the backroom while they were like that to study and then Hermano W- came in to get us and was really concerned for a second since  it looked like Elder C- wasn't there (you can't see into the closet until you walk into the room). 

Inspirational Thought of the Day: There is a reason YOU are where you are. Everything is in the Lord's timing, and everything is for a reason. This can be difficult to see at times, especially when it feels like we are not getting what WE think we need or want etc. It is important to remember all of the time--whether or not things are going your way--WHY you are where you are. We may not see the blessings at first, the lives that we touch, the people we lift and inspire and help. We may not ever understand the full extent of our influence on someone else, but I promise you, YOU HAVE AN IMPACT! No matter where you are, the Lord is putting people in your path who you can help--whether it be with a smile to a stranger you pass on the street, befriending someone new in a new class, forgiving "enemies" and allowing them to change, giving time to listen to someone--whatever it is, YOU need to decide that YOU WILL take those opportunities to help others, to uplift and strengthen others, and by so doing help to make yourself more like Christ. If you focus on trying to make yourself like Christ, you'll never get there. But if you will focus on others, turn out, stop worrying about yourself, you will have a change in your life that will influence so many around you, but yourself most of all. I CHALLENGE EACH OF YOU to find out WHY you are where you are, in this moment. Maybe you didn't want to be here, that's ok. But try to see what you are supposed to learn from the situation, who you are supposed to help, how you are supposed to grow. I PROMISE that if you do this, YOU will know the reasons, and you will be happier, no matter what the situation. 

Por favor, nunca jamas olvidan quienes son ustedes. Nunca jamas ovidan que Jesucristo sufrió por ustedes, porque él les ama. Yo sé que mediante la expiación, todos nuestros podemos vivir feliz. Todos nuestros podemos cambiar nuestras vidas y podemos ser mejor. Graciás a él, podemos vivir con Dios, nuestro Padre Celestial, otro vez. Todos es posible graciás a él. Le amo el evangelio do Jesucristo, y ¡yo sé que es verdadero! ¡Por favor, siempre recuerdan que Jesucristo les ama!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Durfee

Sept. 6, 2014 EVERY Member a Missionary!

Sept. 6, 2014
The Happy Greenie and her Greenie Package!
Hola Familia y Amigos!

Funny Story:   We had Asian-ish food for dinner on Monday, and there were Soy Sauce paackets.  When I saw them, I immediately thought "I am Sauce"  (Soy = I am en espanol).

On Monday we started teaching a progressing investigator, R-.  It has been a neat experience getting to know her, finding out her needs, and gaining her trust so that she feels that she can share her deeper concerns so we can help her with them.

Hermano M- has been replaced with Hermano B-because since it is the beginning of the school year, all of the teachers have new schedules and got switched around.  So that was sad since Hmo M - was such a good teacher, but we are learning tons from Hma B- too, a nd I already love her.

On Tuesday our devotional speaker talked to us about the 5 parts of the Work of Salvation"
1.  Member Missionary Work
2-Con vert Retention
3-Activation of Less-Active Members
4-Temple and Family History Work
5-Teaching the Gospel

He also shared a quote that President Hinckley said in 1999, "with concerted effort, with recognition of the duty which falls upon each of us as members of the Church, and with sincere prayer to the Lord for help, we could double that number [of investigators]."  In 1999 there were about 300,000 convert baptisms a year.  Today, there are STILL only about 300,000 baptisms a year.  I think part of this comes from the typical fear that we don't want to offend someone by "forcing" our beliefs on them by sharing the simple truths.  This is like seeing a hungry homeless person and thinking "Well, I don't know if they like the exact kind of food that I have with me, so I just won't give them anything."  No matter if that food is their favorite or not, if they are starving, they will eat it!  We need to share the gospel with ALL the world!  EVERYONE needs the gospel, no matter if they are a member, inactive, nonmember, or investigator.  EVERYONE needs the nourishment that comes to the soul through reading The Book of Mormon, a nd pray ing and talking with God.  The gospel ins the ONLY thing that brings true, lasting, eternal happiness and joy!

Matching companieras at the Provo Temple
There are only about 83,000 missionaries in the world to the 15 MILLION members!  The missionaries CAN NOT do it on their own!  It is our job to "invite others to come unto Christ" but we cannot do that if the members are afraid, unwilling, unable to help.  Without the support of current members, converts will most likely not stay in the church.  Every convert needs a friend, calling/assignment, and nourishment by the good word of God.  Being a friend to the convert is more than just saying "hi" to them on Sunday.  Real friends do things together throughout the week:  go to a movie, have dinner together, etc.  Converts also need a friend to help explain all of the lingo, traditions, customs, etc.

About half of the church is made up of inactive members.  Active members need to help to reactivate them, to help them get their lives in order, to feel that they have a friend at church, to have the desire to come back to church.  Inactive members coming back to church should not be looked down upon.  They are making a necessary change in their life to live happier and to come closer to God!  If active members do not make returning embers feel welcome, they may not keep coming back.  Missionary work is not just for the non-member.  Reactivation counts!  It changes eternity for that individual, their family, and all of the people whose lives they will touch.  Please, be as welcoming and loving towards those that are coming back to church as to those who have never left.  God still loves them, and we should too!

Please, make a commitment today to all that you can to share the gospel.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds, that we don't take the time to look out and find out the needs of others.  (I know I am guilty of this, too, so it is just as much for me as well.)  This the natural man:  to focus on ourselves.  When we become like Christ, we turn out, focusing on others instead of on ourselves.  Missionary work is so much easier if you will put aside the natural man, and be willing to be open to others and to see their needs and help them.

I challenge each of you to look for the needs of others (even members -- not everyone is converted) because it will CHANGE THEIR LIFE!  Look for a missionary experience and opportunity EVERY DAY and pray for the help of Heavenly Father, and I PROMISE He will provide you with one as you do your part and keep your promise to take the opportunity!

To Mom:  Thanks for the great missionary guidelines.  I love how you are finding analogies for missionary worki n every day life!  I would like to share what you said with everyone else, because I think it will really help them to start thinking about what little thing they can do each day to help ot hers and have missionary opportunities.

1.  Deadlines/goals help us to focus and help us feel the urgency of the work.
2.  Ask family members and others to help.  Findind the lost is not a one person task.
3.  Specific prayer - pray for help to see opportunities, faith and courage to take action even when previous attempts seemingly fail.  Pray for help to achieve a goal within the time frame you have available.
4.  Search diligently and take action!
5.  Begin where you are.  When I finally found my missing library book, it was on the desk - upside down!  It was in plain sight the whole time, I just didn't recognize it.  I had to wonder - How many of our Heavenly Father's children are hidden in plain sight?  We need to pray to recognize opportunities right around us.
6.  Give thanks for the help we receive from the Lord.  Be humble enough to recognize the Lord's hand when we find one who is lost.

To S an d K:  Good luck with the beginning of the school year!  I am sure you will do great with all of your new callings, classes, etc.  Don't forget with all of your busyness to have fun and to remember to Look Outside Yourself.  Look for missionary experiences every day!  You are already doing awesome, and I KNOW that as you have DAILY scripture study and prayer, t hat the Lord will bless you with even more opportunities, and with the knowledge to know what to say.  Love you both!

To H:  You are going to do awesome in Middle School!  You are going to have SO much fun, and make so many new friends!  Remember the importance of DAILY, PERSONAL scripture study.  It is so important to feel the Spirit and to have good influences in your life, especially in middle school where there is so much ickiness.  Love you lots!
Con amor,
Hermana Durfee

August 30, 2014 17 days at the MTC

Aug. 23, 2014 MTC - We've basically been here for ten years!

Hola Familia y amigos!                                                                         Aug. 23, 2014
Provo Temple

So we've been at the MTC for about 10 years now. (OK, actually 10 days, but it's basically the same thing.) This morning seems like years ago, but four days ago was yesterday. The sense of time here is really different. 
On Sunday we went to a Devotional with Jenny Oaks Baker. She would share an experience or aspect of her testimony and then would play a song with her family (they play piano, classical guitar, violin, and cello). It was really neat. Madre would have loved it. After the devotional we got to watch a movie of a devotional Elder Bednar gave at the MTC a while ago. It was about the Character of Christ, and it was sooo good! You should try to look it up and watch or read it if you get the chance. He talked about conversion (consitently being what we know is true), and how the only way to become like Christ is to not focus on that, but to focus on other people and helping and serving them. It was really neat. Mis companeras y yo are going to try to watch that movie every other week we are here (they play movies of past devotionals from the apostles after the Sunday devotional). 

We taught the coolest lesson on Wednesday. Hermana R- and I taught A- about the Plan of Salvation the lesson before, but he had a lot of questions and it was kind of confusing. So this time we decided to go in with some answers to some of his questions, and some scriptures to share and a challenge, but we didn't plan out exactly what we wanted to say. It was so cool since we were able to follow the Spirit because we had allowed some leeway, and he prompted us to read  2 Ne 9:23 about baptism and the gospel of Christ and then challenge him to be baptized. He accepted, and it was really neat to see that. 
Notice the sister on the sign is now dressed modestly!
The craziest thing about teaching A- was that he said he was going to come in the next day to say goodbye to us, and he came in with a suit and white name badge, and it turns out he is Hermano M- and he is going to be our teacher! So that was really neat since we already love him, and also since his spanish is really good since he's been studying it for 15 years. So he pushes me a bit more than Hermano W does, which is really helpful for me. 

The Tuesday devotional was also cool. Sister Oscarson, the Young Women General President, came and spoke to us about points that help with missionary work and stories and advice from all the missionaries that had been in her family. 

Funny Moment: Hermana R- and I were studying with Hermana S's district and they were doing some role play activities for Language study. One of the Elders said that Christ died for the "pescados del mundo" (fish of the world) instead of the "pecados del mundo" (sins of the world). 

On Friday we had an adventure. Hma S- was having some health problems, so we went up to Main Campus so she could go to the doctor. And we got sent to the BYU Student Health Center so that she could get some blood work done and have get an xray. And then we went in the shuttle to another emergency center hospital in Provo to pick up some other sisters that had an appointment or something there. So we missed almost all of class. But the good news is that Hma S- injury is not that bad; the only problem is that the doctor told her not to play sports and that is her favorite thing. 

We get a "new investigator," Miguel, next week (it's really just Hmo W- though). So Hma R and I are preparing for that. But I feel like our Spanish is getting A LOT better! Just trying to speak the language as much as possible and try to listen and understand our teachers when they are speaking Spanish. 
Hasta Luego!
Con amor, <3
Hermana Durfee

Aug. 16, 2014 This little sister esta muy entusiasmado!

Aug.  16, 2014

Mi y mis companieras - me, HS, HR
¡Hola familia y amigos!              

    Holy Moly! You have no idea how excited I am to be a missionary! On Wednesday night we had an activity called "People and my Purpose" where we got to teach three investigators in a large group of missionaries. When we were teaching the first investigator, you could tell we were just saying what we wanted to say, instead of what he needed to hear. The second investigator was a little bit better, but the third investigator was the best. We were all in tune with the Spirit, and the flow of the lesson was so much smoother than it was for the previous two. It was amazing to feel love for someone that I didn't even really know, and that I had just met. It made me so excited to be a missionary, and to get to help other people with their problems by coming unto Christ. 

    On Thursday we had the second part of People and my Purpose and we talked about focusing on the needs of individuals, and listening the whole time they are talking instead of trying to plan out what we will say ahead of time. We talked about what our job as missionaries is: to HELP and INVITE people. Generally, missionaries are very good at inviting, but as a whole we need to work more on helping. We also discussed how the Spirit is the teacher, we are not. We are only the guides to help people feel the Spirit and find the truth. It was very eye opening. 

    Before I get to far, let me tell you about my companions, district, and zone. We officially have the "zonos mejor" (best zone). Our Zone Leaders are great, and our Hermana Training Leader is amazing. We have four districts in our zone, and it is a ton of fun. We always eat meals together, exercise together, sing together in the evenings, and go to the temple together on Preparation Day. I have the best companions in the zone! My companions are Hermana R- and Hermana S-. Hermana S is in intermediate Spanish, and is the only Hermana in her district, so we are in a trio and pick her up after her classes, etc. So we had to drag a mattress into one of the rooms so we could all sleep in the same room. My companions are both really adorable and sweet. We have 4 Hermanas and 7 Elders in our district. My district started out quiet, and then yesterday we all started breaking out of our shells. The Elders were a bit insane and Hermana R and I got a bit slap-happy towards the end of study time. She wrote "Spanglish esta spoken aquí" (Spanglish is spoken here) on the board which made me really happy. We are encouraged to use Spanish as much as we can, which really helps with the language. But by the end of the day, you're not sure whether people are speaking English or Spanish, and you can't tell either way. 

How do you like that car?
    My companions and I also share our Residence Hall with two other Hermanas, Hermana U- and G-. All of us are going to the same mission, and Hermana G is going to be the mission nurse! So that is awesome. 

    Yesterday Hermana R and I had the most amazing experience. We got to teach our first investigator, A- in Spanish. Although I couldn't understand everything he said, and I couldn't say everything he wanted to, the Spirit was SO strong! It was amazing. And I really felt the love that Heavenly Father has for him. We committed him to read Moroni 10 and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and he said he would. It was amazing!

    For Hyrum, Kalianne, and Sterling: A mission is one of the best things you will ever do (when you are in my stage of life.) The Spirit is so strong here, and you feel it in completely new ways that you never felt it before. It brings so many new ideas and impressions, and helps you learn the language and the gospel and become truly converted. If we only have a testimony, we are more likely to fall away from the church; we must be truly converted to stay safe in the gospel, AND to be able to effectively teach others (including other members) about our beliefs. Hermanos y hermana, don't forget to STUDY  Scriptures EVERY DAY and Preach My Gospel! It's soooo important! Also, I want you all to email me your testimony about what you are studying and learning and the things you believer and know. 

    Our zone went to the temple this morning, and it was AMAZING! The Provo temple is so beautiful, and I got new impressions and ideas that I haven't had before. I also paid better attention because I am trying to apply the advice to listen to the whole message and not think ahead to what I am going to say. So I practiced paying attention to the whole message and not getting distracted. It was amazing, especially to be there with so many missionaries that I love. 
    Our class/district is awesome! Our teacher is Hermano W and he is so funny! He acts out everything he is saying. The funniest thing he has done so far, is telling us "Nostotras cantar -lalalalala" (we are going to sing). We have learned how to pray in Spanish and how to bear our testimonies. It is so cool! And the Spanish is slipping into everything! Even when I say my personal prayers (which Hermano W suggested we do in English so we can be more expressive), Spanish phrases start slipping in. It feels like we have been here a month already, and it has only been three days. Everyone keeps saying "The days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days." It is so true. 

    I'm at the West MTC with all the rest of the Spanish Missionaries, and it is SUCH a blessing! Our residence halls are much bigger (basically a whole apartment instead of one dorm room). We get more walking time going back and forth between classroom, residence hall, cafeteria, etc. The food is just as good (only two options instead of six, but that's ok). We have a bigger area, and we are less confined--We can go to a little strip mall called Brigham's Landing on Preparation Day if we want to. We went today and got burgers and Jamba Juice. So basically, life is good. Actually, life is FANTÁSTICA!

   Much love, 

Hermana(!!!!!) Durfee 

P.S. Just in case you didn't figure it out, my p-day is Saturday, so get your emails to me by then. And write me letters! We get to read letters every day, and only email once a week