Week 71 – Birthday Week

Don’t have a lot of time, but thank you for the birthday emails and well wishes! I was very excited to receive so many emails this morning!

Life is good and the mission is awesome. Super hard because sometimes you just want to shake people and tell them “Hey, I’m trying to lead you to the path of eternal happiness. Listen! Read! Do something!” But I can’t so I just keep trying to do what I can.

One thing that drives me crazy is that nobody reads here in Latin America. It’s just not a habit here. And that’s so hard when our main focus is to get people to read a book. The Book of Mormon. We can keep saying that it’s wonderful but they have to read it. But when they do read it, the power of this book is so evident, and we see changes right away. I love the Book of Mormon.

This week our goal is to track down all of the Books of Mormon that we’ve given out and do better follow up with those that have them. A few people we haven`t been able to find again, but this week we are going to track them down and see if they are really reading, and how it has affected a change in their lives.

This week I want to make my teaching more personal. I feel like in some ways i just have all of the lessons memorized and it becomes something routine, even when I’m trying to use different techniques and different scriptures. This week my goal is that those who listen to me can really truly feel that I love this gospel, and that it brings me joy. I loved what Elder Ballard said in the Face to Face with Young single Adults yesterday. We need to smile more. We need to show people that the gospel, that trusting in the Lord, that faith, and repentance, and eternal families, and every other amazing blessing of Christ are what bring us joy. what a marvelous calling we have to bring joyful news to every person we meet. I was just reading in Mosiah when the angel tells King Benjamin that he comes with “alegres nuevas de gran gozo.” And then he announces the reality of the life and Atonement of Christ. How amazing is our calling?

Ee have a great investigator, Milton. Milton is a great young man that is willing to participate in everything. He’s come to church twice, and he came to the Face to Face. We didn’t have much time to talk about what he learned but I think he felt good. He’s learning a lot about how the gospel gives us purpose.

I learned a lot from Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks. I loved when Elder Ballard said that we don’t need to create two completely different spheres of “temporal” and “spiritual” in our life, but that everything should really be one. Every day can be spiritual when we start with prayer and scripture study and we try to do what the Lord would have us do in every aspect of life. I also liked when Elder Oaks talked about Agency and Inspiration. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to wait and be told what to do or where to go, he wants us to act. Practice making good decisions. And then ask for a confirmation. I think that can be applied to missionary work, education, marriage, and everything else. I want to do what I know is right, be obedient, and ask for a spiritual confirmation as I “go about doing good”.

Yesterday, I had a huge surprise. We were walking down the street and stopped by the chapel because the bishop and his wife were outside. They were talking to a man that looked like he was from the U.S. but said he was from Brazil. He started talking to us and he said, “I want to guess where you’re from. “I’m guessing you’re from The U.S. but not from Utah…maybe California. Maybe like Stockton/Lodi area…and your Dad is the bishop?” and that point I was scared and like what the heck??? This guy knows everything about me. Afterwards he said that he was the ex husband of Debbie Nuevert from the ward and that he was sent to surprise me and give me a gift haha. And told me that he knew the Bogrens and everything and it was such a funny surprise. The bishop laughed a lot haha. But anyways, thank you for the gift Debbie! and anyone else involved!

Love you all!!!

Hermana Means



Week 70 – Speaking English

The mission is so weird, every time that you feel like you finally know what you’re doing, you realize that you actually don’t know anything.

As I draw closer to the end of my mission, I feel like that every day. The more I learn about how to serve the Lord, the more I realize that I don’t know anything. But I think that’s a rule of thumb in the gospel. We learn line upon line and precept upon precept. And we learn that our Heavenly Father has an infinite list of truths and mysteries that he wants to teach us, anyways some highlights.

We taught a man from Haiti this week! He’s super awesome, the elders had contacted him and told us that this man, Anderson, wanted to hear the lessons in English or French. Or Creole. So we set up an appointment for Sunday and we practiced all week with my companion teaching the in English. When we finally got to the lesson, he told us that even though he’s been learning English, his Spanish is better than his English so we ended up teaching him in Spanish. But he wants a Book of Mormon in English. And French. haha. But it was good that I could practice English with my companion. I’m forgetting English haha. I loved teaching him, the lesson was so great and he understood well the need to receive his own answer from God and the Holy Spirit.

I loved seeing our investigator family, Familia Duarte, get involved in missionary work. The Duarte family is so ready to get baptized, they are just waiting to finish some papers and get married. They gave us tons of references, and we taught two of their family members this week, and they were super open and accepted to read the Book of Mormon and to go to church. We taught them in the home of the family that gave us the reference, and the Spirit was so strong as Janet Duarte bore her testimony of how the Book of mormon has changed her. I love seeing how the testimony of this family was strengthened when they shared the gospel with others. That’s what’s great about working with members. Even if the references don’t get baptized, the faith and testimony of the members that shared the gospel will be strengthened.

I’m working on believing in miracles, because we sure need them here in Coca. But just like Moroni said, our God is a God of miracles, “sin sombra de cambio.” I am able to see the miracle of conversion every day here in the mission, and I`m appreciating it more and more.

There are many more amazing things that happen every day! Love you all!!!
Hermana Means



Week 69 – Full time Disciple

We did a service project and planted trees in the jungle. I got eaten by bugs and also a huge rash all over my arms. But the family was so cute and they gave us papaya and Cacao.

The last time that I will see Hermana Pelaez and Hermana Polson before they go home. I cried a lot when they both gave their final testimonies. I can’t believe that they’re finishing and that I’ll be next. Crazy stuff.

Ok sorry everyone, I didn’t write a letter last week. I didn’t have lots of time and I thought that no one was really reading them but hey I was wrong! everyone asked me what happened. Don’t worry I`m alive!! but anyways, this week was AWESOME.

We had an awesome conference with Elder and Hermana Falabella (from the Area presidency) And President and Sister Murphy. It was great and I learned so much, and I really renewed my commitment to be a full-time disciple of Christ.

I am so so grateful that we had the conference with Elder Falabella because it was something I desperately needed. In the last couple weeks I have felt frustrated, and obviously for a lack of faith on my part. But after listening to Elder Falabella and President Murphy talk about discipleship and a variety of topics, one thought kept entering my mind. I decide what kind of mission I’m going to have, and I decide how many amazing spiritual experiences I can have in these next few months. I thought a lot about 2 Nephi 2: 26 about acting and not being acted upon. I can’t just hope that everyday will be filled with rich spiritual experiences, I have to go out looking for them.

Elder Falabella talked about being a Full Time Missionary, about always looking for opportunities and following the impressions of the Spirit. and at first I felt pretty good because I always contact. I’m good at talking in the buses and taxis and in every other obvious place. But when I came out of those meetings I realized that I have been missing so many other less obvious opportunities to share the gospel. So many opportunities to have enriching experiences with those around me. I think lately my mentality has been, “Well, I’ll do what I’m supposed to do and the Lord will give me some good experiences and people that want to get baptized.” But I realized that I have not been actively seeking out more experiences as I should. If I want one spiritual experience every day, yeah I can contact a few people and get it. I can do what I’m supposed to do and find new investigators and teach lessons. But if I want every moment to be something special, I have to actively seek out those opportunities, pay fervent attention to the spirit, and go outside of my comfort zone.

That’s what we did since the moment we left the meetings this weekend, and the results were amazing. As we left Subway, Elder Fillmore decided to contact the whole bus and offer them Books of Mormon. It was awesome, and every missionary started to talk with the person closest to them. I gave out two Books of mormon to people that are really excited to receive the missionaries. I started talking to one man about the book of Mormon and how this book has changed my life and taught me how to repent. I shared with him the story of Alma and this man said that he wanted to read the book of Mormon very badly. He told me that for a long time he has wanted to repent and be clean of his sins but has not known how to start the process of repentance. It was amazing the sincerity of this man. I passed the reference over to the other mission in referral manager. when we got to the terminal in Quitumbre we had to wait for an hour and a half in the terminal. We contacted the whole time, and received tons of references. We even found a returned missionary that served in our mission three years ago, and we gave him some pass along cards so that he could contact too.

We don’t have anyone with a baptismal date right now. Lester had a date for the 18 de Noviembre but his Mom is showing more interest and has one attendance at church and so we’re going to see if she can get baptized with her son. It would be much better for Lester because he is having a hard time staying on track and he needs more support in order to get baptized. After the conference we called Lester’s mom and set up an appointment with her. We taught her yesterday and said that she is super willing to read the Book of Mormon and go to church as a family. She has some health problems but I really feel that they can get baptized if they help and support each other.

Yesterday we found a family and it was a great experience. We had been specifically searching for a complete family to teach. We contacted a house and at first only the mom was home to listen. We started teaching her when boom. her two teenage daughters got home and wanted to listen. About twenty minutes later her husband and two other children got home and started listening. We found a complete family of 7! The parents were listening and not really getting the message. they just kept saying that they were Catholic and the Dad said that he would die Catholic and everything. The usual. But I could tell that the 17 year-old daughter was really understanding an feeling the Spirit. When we taught about the Book of Mormon she wanted to read it so badly and started opening up the book and reading parts during the lesson. We had to call back her attention because she kept getting distracted by the Book of Mormon haha. At the end of the lesson the family said that they would pray and read, but the daughter said that she wanted to get baptized. It was awesome.

When we left, she wanted to accompany us out and she walked with us for like 15 minutes and told us how much she wanted to listen to our message and go to church. She told us that she had always wondered why there are so many different churches and why there aren’t modern day prophets. Our message answered her questions and she told us that even if her parents don’t want to go to our church she really wanted to. I am grateful that there ARE modern day prophets and revelations that there ARE answers to our questions. I love this gospel and I love teaching it and I love helping others to understand that God wants to bless us and guide us and give us answers.

Thank you for your letters, thank you for everything!!

Love,
Hermana Means



Week 67 – Progression

This week I was feeling pretty frustrated and a little powerless with all of our investigators’ problems. They have so many difficulties that keep them from being baptized. Relationship problems, family problems, substance abuse problems, etc. I feel like we’re teaching all of the right things and trying to help our investigators and the members, but it’s just a rollercoaster with these people. One day they are doing great, the next day they fall back into the same problems. But I’m trying to look for more guidance from the Spirit and focus on what we as missionaries can control and no on what we can’t control. We really want to strengthen the Branch, and we know that that will only happen if we focus on baptizing those who can really be firm and steadfast now and after their baptism. I love everyone here, because for the most prat they try. the branch is doing all that they can. It’s hard when the strong are few and the down trodden are many. But it’s amazing to see how the faith of one individual can change so much.

Heavenly Father answered our prayers this week and we found an amazing family, and the best part is, they’re married! The Montalvàn family. They are such humble, sweet people, ready to learn more and trust in God. The wife and her son attended church this week and before Sacrament meeting started she told us “Hermanas, if I have a good experience today, I want to be baptized in this church.” Afterwards she told us that she has received answers to her prayers and wants to be baptized with her husband. I have never met people so humble. The mother of this family has had a very very difficult life. Yet she faces every situation and every day with optimism. She has a child with special needs, she herself is physically handicapped in a few ways, and yet she seems happy. And as she has learned more about the gospel this week, she is even happier. She is constantly thanking us, constantly thanking her Heavenly Father for the messages we share. I want to be more like her.

We also saw a great change in the Duarte family. They have finally decided that they want to get married and be baptized as soon as possible. The only problem is a legal/business problem that they have, because they own a business together and can’t get married until they find someone else to invest in their business. Something like that. But it’s amazing to see their testimony growing. Just a few weeks ago, when we mentioned the word of wisdom, they said that they would try to drink less but weren’t sure if they would be able to do it and didn’t want to commit. So we went back to the basics in the last couple of weeks. We’ve talked a lot about the book of Mormon, faith in Christ, obedience, repentance. Their testimony grew, especially in the Book of Mormon. The husband, who has always been very skeptical and analytical, has been truly converted by the Book of Mormon. He bore his testimony that the Book of Mormon contains eternal truths and the power to change people. Last night we taught the word of Wisdom, and it was so miraculous. They accepted everything so easily because they understand so well the “Why?” of the Word of Wisdom. they understand the importance of having the Spirit with them at all times, and committed to keeping the word of wisdom. I really feel that the Book of Mormon changed their perspective. We didn’t have to convince them that the Word of Wisdom was a commandment, because they already had a testimony of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had another experience yesterday that was very interesting. One of our investigators told us that even though he wants to go to church and learn more and be closer to God, he doesn’t want to give up his life of partying on the weekends and a few other things. And I told him that one of the hardest things about the gospel is being able to see with Heavenly Father’s perspective and really understand that God knows best what will make us happy. I think we have a hard time believing that God’s way is really the happiest way. If we truly believed all of his promises, if we truly believed that the blessings will be worth more than the sacrifice, it wouldn’t be so hard to give our will up to Him. But we continue thinking that the music that we listen to, the videos we watch, the things we do make us happier than God can make us. It’s a struggle to trust in him but ultimately we will be happier.

I am trying to improve, and trying to be patient with the progress of our current investigators while looking for new ones. I’ve realized that the repentance process has a different time span for each person, but if they are showing fruit meet for repentance, then that is ok. I will be patient. I’m reading 3 Nephi and am always stunned with how well Christ could speak in groups yet minister one on one. I want to do the same.

Love you all!!!
Hermana Means



Week 66 – Every Change is a Miracle


We made some weird face masks out of Gelatine, it didn’t turn out so well


A little baby waterfall on the side of the road

This week has been good.

Even though I’m really happy, it’s not all perfect, and there are days when I feel discouraged. There are days that I question why this work is so hard and why people choose to reject or ignore Christ. It’s hard to see a lot of broken families and a lot of pregnant 13 year-olds and a lot of sadness due to drugs. But every single day I have the privilege of seeing the power of Christ in the lives of the people we meet and teach, and every single day I realize how perfect the Plan of our Heavenly Father is.

This week we really saw an amazing change in one of our investigators, Rosa. She is the 23 year-old daughter of Jose Almeida who was recently baptized, and he gave us her reference. The first time we visited her she said that she would listen but she would never come to church. After teaching the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, we have seen a complete change in her. She has come to church the last two weeks and knows that what we teach is true. She has received answers to her prayers, and she even invited her husband and her sister in law to church this week and they came. The husband came to church and he wants to listen to our message. They have decided that they want to get married, and Rosa is set on having an eternal family and going to the temple someday. We are so excited to have a lesson with her and her husband tomorrow, I love the lessons that we have with her because she is so anxious to learn more. When we taught the purpose of our life here on earth, her countenance completely changed and I could see the joy that she felt. My testimony of the Plan of Salvation increased in this moment and it was so special. She even participated in Relief Society and gave part of the class. I am trying to appreciate all of the changes that we are able to notice in our investigators every day. Because every change is a miracle. The gospel of Jesus Christ truly changes people!

Love you all!!

Hermana Means



Week 65 – BOM


What would my life be like without the Book of Mormon?

I`ve thought a lot about this question this week since Russel M. Nelson gave his talk in General Conference.
So here are my thoughts:
Without the Book of Mormon
I would not know or understand the nature of the Godhead.
I would not understand that my Heavenly Father is perfectly loving and perfectly just.
I would not understand the need for constant, ongoing revelation from God.
I would not know how to repent of my many sins and weaknesses.
I would not have hope to be able to overcome my weaknesses.
I would not know the purpose and necessity of the Fall of Adam.
I would not understand the Atonement ofJesus Christ.
I would not be able to see the dire need for missionary work.
I would not understand that “wickedness never was happiness.”
I would not feel as much love and gratitude for my Savior.
I would not know why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
And the list goes on and on.

I love the Book of Mormon and I love sharing it with people. I love being here in South America, because I can tell people “Hey, Christ came here! To this continent! He came to the Americas! How do you feel about that?”

It`s awesome.

In addition, I`ve thought a lot about what parts of the Book of Mormon are most valuable to me, and could be the most valuable to the people we teach and contact. I was praying one night, asking the Lord what He wants me to share with His children in coca about the Book of Mormon. And my mind kept coming back to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I`m determined to use the Book of mormon this week to teach our investigators and our contacts about the valuable insight that the Book of mormon has concerning the Atonement. I was studying about the Atonement in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and something that really struck me was that the Book of mormon really shows the enabling power of the Atonement. The Bible tells us many times that through the sacrifice of Christ we are cleansed, but only the Book of Mormon shows us that through the Atonement we can be not only cleansed, but sanctified to become more like Him. That is a message that every child of God must hear. That is truly a message of hope, that we can not only be clean, but that we can truly be changed.

I would love love love it if those that are reading this could send me a thought or two about what has impacted you the most from the Book of Mormon. A special verse, a piece of doctrine? A special experience? Anything would be awesome.
and if you haven`t read the book of Mormon, I really recommend it. It wil change your life. even if you`re not religious, even if you don`t believe in God, even if you`ve never gone to church. This book can bless your life immensely.

Our District leader challenged us to use the Book of Mormon more in our contacts this week, and since our district meeting we have used the book of Mormon in every single contact we`ve had. It has helped us a ton to recognize who is really prepared to listen to the message of the restoration. We also have been trying to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon in every contact. Tad R. Callister described the words of the Book of Mormon as “messages with a heartbeat.” So we decided to use more often the actual words written in the Book of Mormon instead of just our words, and the results were amazing. More people were interested in our message, more people wanted to read the book, more people opened up to us about their difficulties and fears. A taxi driver in Quito told us that his son had cerebral palsy and that he felt that nobody could understand him or his situation. We read in that very moment Alma 7: 11-12 and testified that Christ understands him perfectly. It was a really spiritual moment. And we`ve had many others like it.

I love the people here, they are so loving and kind. They are humble and open. the food is awesome. I`m happy to be here! It`s crazy how fast time is flying by!!

I love you all thank you for your letters and encouragement!!!

Hermana Means

PS. Sorry I`ve been bad about writing about the culture and everything, but everything is just so normal to me now I don`t know what to write about haha. Also sorry if my English is bad, I can`t speak. I tried to help my companion learn a song in english and I kept pronouncing the words wrong. woops.



Week 64 – Word of God

Love you all, life is so good and I am so happy.

We had an amazing lesson with our investigator Jerson. He is progressing so well, he loves the Book of Mormon. He told us that a few nights ago he was reading the Book of Mormon and felt an intense desire to repent. He said that he knelt down to ask for forgiveness and know that the Book was true, and he felt something indescribable in his heart. He is so excited to be baptized. Yesterday we shared the Plan of Salvation. Because we prepared very well for this lesson, the spirit was so strong and the whole family felt that they had a bigger purpose here on Earth. They even talked about the Conference talks and said that they realized how the trials and difficulties we have are all a part of the great Plan of Redemption. At the end of the lesson we read Alma 7:14 and invited them to be baptized and especially Hermana Graciela to be baptized with her son Jerson. Graciela has gone to church for many months but has been very difficult in accepting the gospel and baptism. This night she accepted to be baptized with her son, and she was so happy. It was like she finally realized the importance of baptism in the context of the plan of Salvation, and was excited to accept. I am excited to see this family become whole in the gospel of Christ.

Another experience we had was with a great family, the Duarte family. They are not married, but are thinking about marriage. They are reading, attending church, and praying. They were even watching the priesthood session of conference in their home when we stopped by Saturday night. They are progressing so well in the gospel and I know that they will be a great help to the branch. But they feel like they still haven`t received a clear answer that this is the true church of God, although they are willing to keep looking for answers with faith. We had planned to teach the Word of wisdom, but after listening to conference we felt a strong impression to teach about the Book of Mormon. I understood exactly what the scripture means when it promises us that we will be given in the precise moment what we should say. Even though we had “treasured up the word” and planned a completely different topic, I felt that in this moment the Lord gave us the words that we needed to focus on the Book of Mormon and show them the importance of this keystone. After using many inspired questions, the husband of the family had told us that he hadn’t prayed specifically about the Book of Mormon because he was afraid of the answer he would receive, and is afraid of having to change many things in his life. But by the end of the lesson he was committed to praying with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ.

I just have so much love for the book of mormon, we were reading the Book of mormon with an investigator family that is progressing so well. We decided to read different prophesies of Christ with them from Nephi, Alma, and Ammon. it was a great build up because then we read in 3 Nephi 11 when Christ came to the Americas, when all of the prophecies were fulfilled and the people of the Americas received a true witness of Christ. as we read the words of Christ as he presented himself to those who had waited so long for this moment. I was filled with an amazing feeling of joy in my heart, a witness from the Holy ghost that christ came to the Americas, that this is His account and His true church. And i just felt so so so grateful to share this knowledge with the people of south America, the posterity of those who knew him personally and walked with him in these moments of the book of Mormon. I am so grateful. I loved the talk from Russell M Nelson about the book of Mormon. it was similar to my experience and I loved it!

I feel like the Word of God is growing in me every day, and I loved the Conference talks. They give me so much strength and i am grateful for prophets and apostles in this dispensation of the fulness of times. What more could we ask for, right? I am grateful for the words of eternal life that Christ so freely gives us.

Thank you for everything!!!

Hermana Means



Week 63 – Everything is good

Everything is good. I ate the best Patacones (fried plantains) that I’ve had yet, I saw a monkey today, and my companion is consecrated to the work. I’m loving it.

Jose and Kerly were baptized this week, and it was amazing to see their faithfulness and the change that has happened in their lives. Even though we only had the privilege of teaching them for two weeks before their baptism, we were able to witness sincere repentance and humility in them, and that their understanding of the doctrine of Christ was able to grow. The mother continues to be a little hard of heart, but we are hoping with time, and with the support of the members, that she will open up. Their other son, Jerson, has come to church these last two weeks that we´ve been teaching him, and he accepted a baptismal date a lot more firmly the last time we visited him.

This week we had lots of people at church, 14 attended church this week, and a good amount are living within the law of chastity as far as their living situations so we were really happy. One of those that attended is 20 year old Anthony, we found him this week and only had time to teach a 10 minute version of How to begin Teaching and the Restoration. But remarkably he came to the baptismal service on Saturday and to church on Sunday and really wants to learn more. His friend from high school is one young men that is currently serving a mission from the branch, and so he already knows a family in the branch. On Sunday we visited him, and he committed to reading the Book of mormon and praying to know the truth. I really feel that he could progress and be baptized very quickly, he has such a sincere desire.

This week in my studies I focused a lot on Faith, and realized that we need to really invite the people we teach to exercise their faith. I think as missionaries sometimes we focus too much on that we need to teach them everything and that they need to know everything to accept the gospel. But I`m starting to realize that our function is not to give them everything and make the path easy for them. Our function is to invite them to do the difficult and exercise their faith. so many investigators want to receive an answer or see blessings without doing anything, without “experimenting on the word.” But as missionaries we must make the same invitation that Christ made to his Apostles to leave everything behind and follow Him. Yesterday we had an amazing lesson with a couple who are reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church. They are very intelligent, hard working people, but they are not married. As we taught them the Gospel of jesus Christ I basically told them “Hey look, I know what we are asking you to do is not easy. We are asking you to get married, stop drinking, attend a church every Sunday for the rest of your life, be baptized, read a book you’ve never heard of every day, etc. We are asking you to give up everything and change your life completely, we understand. But it’s not because we are asking you, it’s because the Lord is asking you and he has much bigger plans for you and your family. He asks for all of you so that he can give you something much bigger in return. We don’t want you to be converted to the church, we want you to be converted to the Lord, to put your life in His hands and trust in Him.” I’ve realized that as representatives of Christ, we cannot invite people to do anything less than “take up His cross and follow Him.” It’s the hardest message in the world, but the most rewarding and satisfying message that anyone could ever offer. I want those we teach to put their faith in Christ without seeing what lies ahead of them.

I loved Hebrews 11 and Ether 12 in my studies.
Enjoy General Conference!!!

Hermana Means



Week 62 – (Week 2 in the Promised Land)


(Sydney didn’t take this photo, but this is the area that she is serving)

Things are going well here in Coca. We’re getting used to the heat, but it’s really not too bad, we’ll have a nice farmer’s tan after this sector. The branch continues to support our efforts, they are doing their best. It’s hard to see that there are only about a dozen strong members and only about 5 are really holding everything together, but their efforts really inspire me to do more and be better. This week we had activities with the young women and all of the youth and it went well. These young women especially need good role models here. the majority of the women here in Coca are mistreated or have 6 kids with 6 different men, broken homes and broken families. It’s easy to see why the gospel and the commandments are so essential in the home. It has given me an even greater motivation to share this message with as many individuals and families possible.

This week we had some amazing experiences. We found some people with great potential. we sat down and talked with a woman who has been having great troubles in her family and in her relationship, and we immediately began to testify that the restored gospel really does bring peace and happiness. Immediately after my companion offered the first prayer, the woman looked at us, with tears in her eyes, and said “I want to go to your church, I want to know God” it was very special and she accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she would read it to find the peace that she desperately needs in her life.

I think crying is a normal thing here in coca, because the other day we had another lesson with a woman who has great interest in the gospel, and we shared the restoration with her. As we shared the first Vision of Joseph Smith she started crying. I thought that things like that only happened in movies like “The Best Two Years” haha. But seriously she started crying and told us that as she listened to the experience, she felt an overwhelming need to strengthen her relationship with God and listen to our message in its entirety. So that was a really cool experience.

Another experience that has to do with crying. So the ward mission leader called us right before sacrament meeting to tell us that we had to give talks in church. we had about ten minutes to prepare. I felt like I was back in high school, living the nightmare of procrastination all over again. but yeah I chose to give my talk on the Plan of Salvation and ho marvelous it is to know who we are and why we are here and where we are going. Well later that day we met with an investigator family that attended church and the mom told us that her 10 year old son cried during my talk because I talked about death and he’s afraid of dying. So the mom asked us if we could explain the Plan of salvation to her son and help him to understand. The faith of this mom really struck me, because she knows with all of her heart that the Plan of Salvation is real and that it can calm the fears of her son. It was awesome to be able to answer the question of this young boy and see that the message of the Plan of redemption is something familiar for us all, because it really is the story of our existence.

Familia Almeida are doing great, their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday. They both have strong testimonies, and even though Hermano Jose doesn’t understand everything he reads or everything that is said in church, he has great faith that leads him to follow Christ and keep the commandments. Kerly understands everything and is a great help to the young women organization, she is always actively involved and participating. She loves reading the Book of Mormon. The members have been a huge help, a strong family invited them over yesterday to show them how to have family night and hermanarles.

Lester Lapo Moreno is a young man that we met last week when he attended church, and yesterday was our first lesson with him, even though he’s attended seminary for a year and church almost every Sunday for 10 months, the missionaries only recently started to visit him. We had planned to share the Restoration with him, but he already knew every detail of the Restoration and basically taught it to us, he even shared his testimony that he knows that this church is true because he received an answer to his many prayers and has felt the truth through the Holy Ghost. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and knows it`s true, he knows all of the commandments, and he asked us when he can be baptized. He’s really prepared, and we want to continue teaching him and choose an inspired date for his baptism. He has a great relationship with the Relief Society President, who teaches the seminary class, and knows and is friends with all of the other youth. and he loves the gospel!

Love this work, love the mission, everything is great. Thank you for your prayers!!!

Love, Hermana Means



Week 61 – Coca!

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Wow Coca is a land of mircales people!!! I love it. Ok yeah it’s hot and yeah there are bugs, but it’s not too bad. Literally you take three steps from your house and your in the middle of the jungle. It’s crazy. but the other side is a cute little town haha. It’s not like hottttt but it’s humid and so we are constantly sweating. I love it here.

The branch is tiny, but there are three missionary companionships. We are going to work hard to turn this branch into a ward. We have our meetings in a remodeled home. It´s crazy hot but the members are so great and the branch President is awesome. They are excited to have sisters for the first time in 6 years.

So we’ve only had a few days to work here (2) but we’ve already seen many miracles. We contacted a lady, Rosa, in the street on Saturday, and invited her to a baptism in the capilla. She came to the baptism, loved it, and wanted to learn more. On Sunday we taught her and her 19 year old daughter, and it was such a great lesson. They were especially interested in the Book of Mormon, and we were able to share scriptures with them that really touched their hearts.

The Almeida Family is so great. The father and one of the daughters have the most interest and desire to be baptized, and they both have a baptismal date for the 23. We read a chapter with them in the Book of Mormon about the doctrione of Christ and it really helped them to understand better the purpose of baptism in the plan that God has for us. The chapter had such an impact on the 18 year old son that he came to church for the first time on Sunday.

Another family came to church and asked us to visit them. The elders had been visiting them but stopped because they had no desire to get married. The “husband” is a member, less active, and his wife and daughters aren´t members. We taught them about the importance of commandments in the plan that the Lord has for his children, and how when we start living the commandments, “the plan of redemption immediately begins to work in our lives” The members that came with us testified of the blessings of an eternal family and their own experience of being baptized and then sealed in the temple. After reading in the Book of Mormon and listening to the testimony of the members, the family accepted a wedding date for the 6 of October. It was very special and we are so excited to see so many blessings in Coca.

I ate these giant worms that they have here. I didn’t really like it, but the whole district ate one. haha and for P-day we went to the side of a river and played football in the jungle. It’s weird being with only elders in the district, but it’s all good.

Love you all, thanks for the letters, you’re all so awesome!!

Hermana Means