Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014 Aleica's email she had a hard week!

Hey mom. 
 I am sorry to hear about all that. I cant imagine how they must feel. But you are right, God has each and every one of us in his arms.... That is so cool! Its snowing! Its raining here, we have to cross rivers quite often lol!
As for the baptism... I dont really want to write it all over again... cuz it kind of hurts ya know... but this is what I wrote Daddy (a bit revised). And Id like you if you share it on the blog.
The mission, as I have said before, is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it really really hurts. Today, dad wrote me that a wall must be built one brick at a time. and this is what I wrote him back: ¨Dad, this brick has failed to be layed. The baptism fell through. She left the very day of her interview (tuesday) and didnt show back up from Orudo till Saturday night. She just disappeared. And we still dont know why. Its like she doesnt want to see us. Theres always some reason why they arent at home. Or cant talk. I have never felt so exhausted, broken hearted, and out of it in my life. She was ready. I know it. She knows it. And God knows it. But every single time we come so very close... Every time that some one is on the brink of making it into Gods very arms... Something happens. They leave, their husband or father wont let them talk to us any more, or they just disappear. How do you build a wall, when the bricks just fall apart? I wrote in my journal about all that I was feeling... , ¨I came here believing that someone needed me. that God needed me... I was wrong. I feel useless... like a place holder in this area until someone better can come along and do all that I only wish I could do.¨ I know thats not the right way to think. But it hurt. This isnt the first time that this has happened, but it was the most devestating. Thank you for your words of wisdom... as always, they are exactly what I need. I know that hard times come. That there is always, with out fail, a reason for everything. You just have to have the faith to keep going, even when you may not know what that reason is. To keep trusting in God. To never give up hope. I am just trying not to think... give it all up to the Lord, and keep on truckin´. God knows why. I dont. But I only continue on, and hope that one day things will be better. This brick needs reforming, or maybe just a bit more time to set it... Gods time is not ours.¨ the truth is that this broke my heart. and near broke me as a missionary. But, there is a reason... and I WILL find it. I know that God lives. He breathes and walks, speaks and loves. He gave us his only son. The one and only who could save us from our sins... who could lift us up from the darkness and place us in our fathers arms. It is a gift greater than any you can imagine. His life, his tears, his blood, and his every breath were dedicated unto us. And imperfect people. How do we thank him for such a gift? We believe. We believe in him. We make his death worth it, by saving a soul. Our soul. We have faith in him. We repent of our sins, not only once, but over and over and over again. This is enduring to the end. Repenting every day. Or, in other words, changing. Repentance is change. When we look at our decisions each day... and cry unto our God to forgive us of that which we could have done better... and promise him to do better tomorrow.. this is when we can and will reach that heavenly day, when we will finally receive the happily ever after we have been dreaming of all our lives. Dont let the hard times beat you. Let them strengthen your heart, and your testimony of God.
Mom, you are incredible. I love your beauty, your strength, and your love for all those you care for. Dont ever forget how much I love you. And keep up the great work! lol!
Hma Alford

My response to Alecia’s email

Oh my sweet girl,
I am holding you in my arms. I know how devastating that must be for you. Here is some hard to follow wisdom. Turn it all over to the Lord. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off. Give your companion a hug. And then say: “Thy will be done
I will go wher eyou want me ro go, be what you want me to be, and say what you want me to say. They are in your arms Father. Please direct their paths. I know thou lovest them more than I so please wrap thy loving arms around them.” I know this will be difficult. Do not look on this as your failure. You are a success because you are there loving the people. Remember what I taught you count your successes. You had an amazing family in church. They are progressing. How awesome to be the source that Father used to bring them home. I love you my darling ans you are continually in my heart and prayers. Stay strong!! You are amazing.

Dads Email edited:  Anyway, we ¨rescewed¨ five less actives this week... and every single one of them was in church this sunday! That, was my saving grace this week. I felt as if I was wasting Gods time here... until I saw them all there. Each and every one. Some of them that havent gone to church in years before we started working with them. Now, they are working on personal progress, have callings, or are passing the sacrament. Three of them went to the temple this Thursday... and I feel so pleased and joyful about that. And we have yet more to rescue.  I love you Dad...
Dont ever forget it! Oh, and I used your phrase the other day, ¨if you dont feel like praying, get down on your knees, and pray until you feel like it.¨ In spanish! ¨Si no quieres orar... arrodillarse in ese momento mismo.. y ora hasta que quieres hacerlo!¨ One of our investigadors was saying he didnt want to pray just to pray.. He wanted to feel like doing it... So, I told him that. :) It just popped out of my mouth... in spanish! When I had never used it before! I had actually forgotten it.. lol!
Love ya!
Hma Alford

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014 Alecia's emails home

Hey Daddy!
Thank you so very much for sharing that with me. The truth is, that I have never really been one to believe in dreams much... At least not my own. I thought it was a bit weird. But here, its like the norm. I still thought it was pretty weird... until my companions helped me come to realize that sometimes it is just so real! Dad, you pretty much just described my life before I came out here on my mission... I ¨was struggling with guilt and shame, after all i should know better and what would anyone think if they knew¨ I had my share of temptations, my share of trials and stupidities to deal with before I could come to be a missionary. I was so scared of what people would think... Especially since every one was always telling me how great I was... That I allowed this problem to go on for along time before I felt the peace and love and pure JOY of repentance... Daddy, I just thought Id let you know... I had to pass through sin just like every other human being. But, as Alma says of his pain in comparison of his joy... it really is nothing! God is great and powerful and perfect... and he gives US... in our imperfection, the chance to follow Him! And to become a bit better each day! This is what I want the people here to see.. I want them to find the light... the joy... and the peace that the Lord has blessed me with. Thanks for sharing, its helped me remember... and a few ideas have popped into my head for certain investigadors... :)
Well, everything is going okay here... WAY TO FLIPPING FAST... But other than that, alls good! :) We have a baptism this week!!!! Her name is Tania, is a mother of two, She is SO ready! She feels the spirit so very strongly!!! And I feel like she may have been my person in this area... More than anything, we are working hard... and trying to strengthen our ward. Anyway... Its been hectic... and fabulous... and crazy! I am learning more in these past weeks with my kiddo than I have in all my mission I feel like!! I am growing, and I can feel it! lol! Its fabulous! Oh, and I am learning how to play soccer! lol! Anyway, I love you more!
Hma Alford

Wow... Okay... SO much to say... and so little time! This week has gone by so very fast!!! And so much has happened! No, there wasnt a baptism, its for this Saturday... the 25th of January! And we are praying so hard that it happens too!! I can not wait to see little Claire!!! The first of the many huh? The babies in this family come in crops lol! :) Anyway, Thank you for your testimony mom. I appreciate it so very much! This week... I have felt a little bit off... cuz I got a bit of a cold... But we worked hard anyway! And I felt the spirit so very strongly quite a few times. Once with a sister in our ward who is a sort of in and out hot and cold kind of sister... She has been getting a bit better about it... going to the church again and such... But she is terrified that if she keeps doing the right things, she will have more problems than ever... so, she decided to drop it all. Stop going to church, stop reading the scriptures, and everything! Even though she knows its all true, has a testimony, and knows that decision is so very wrong. We sort of chastised her a bit... asking her where she had built her faith.. Whether it was built in the sand... or rock. And she admitted, almost crying, that hers was built on sand. She accepted our offer to teach her the lessons all over again to her and her family... so that they can be rescued... and rebuild their faith. I felt so very happy in that moment. I have begun to believe that I was brought to this ward to strengthen it. To bring back the lost sheep. To rescue rather than baptise... Which I intend to do with all my heart... We, of course, work hard to have baptisms as well... But the more we work with less actives.. the more we find new people to teach... and it is quite a way to work in this great work of God! As for funny... I took out my mirror the other day! lol! I broke it with my hip like within the first weeks I was here... But they came to look at our house a week ago, and told me we had to get rid of what was left of my mirror, cuz its ´dangerous´... SO, I went at it with my hanger, my diary, and finally with a knife to break what was left... and cleaned up the remains afterward... My compi thought I had gone nuts!! Oh, and Hma Farmer has her other companion back, so we are no longer in trio... Which kind of stinks actually... Because we worked well together! Anyway, I love you so very much! And just love this gospel!!! Dont ever forget that God loves you so very much!
Hma Alford

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jan 13, 2014 Emails

Hey mom,
Got it! lol! Dont worry! I am still here in my area... which is hilarious. I will have spent half of my mission just in my area and the ccm by the end of this transfer. Just one thing... We are in trio! Long story. There used to be seven sisters in my zone. One trio in one area, another companionship that lived with them... and us.  We are now a trio with the only sister thats left. Her name is Hma Farmer, and she is from Utah. Its actually been pretty great. We have been working the two areas, and have been able to do a whole lot of work! lol! And she is going to stay with us until her companion comes back. anyway... thats whats been going on down here. This will most likely be my last transfer in this area... and then who knows where I might be headed?
I have also been working out every day. Each mornine weve been getting up to play soccer or basketball with the elders and our pensionistas family... I am learning how to play sports... finally... lol! I am just trying not to gain too much weight... but it is really hard! lol!
Anyway, I made a few videos for the blog.. but I dont know how to send them... So, maybe theyll never show up... lol! who knows? But I love you a whole ton... thanks for always being such a great support for me.
I love you a whole whole lot... but dont have much more time...
Love you,
Hma Alford

Hey Dad!
This week was crazy! We are in trio right now, with another GRINGA!!! Its so fun! A lot of people told us it would be hard to get work done, that trio is like a curse and its impossible to work... But we proved them wrong! And not only had the best numbers weve ever had... but have been working HARD, with members, and in two areas!!! I was so excited!  I am praying for you all too! I love you a million and one, and thanks for the compliments lol! Here are the answers to your  qs!

What was the coolest thing you saw around you?
       There was this really pretty storm the other day, that literally lit up the sky... I feel so much closer to the sky hear... sometimes I really believe I could just reach up and touch it! And that makes quite the affect when lightning strikes! The lightning FILLS the sky! SO PRETTY!

What was the most uplifting thing you heard?
      That would have to be what tania told me, when she said: I feel like God is calling me. Or what Hma Farmer said: The spirit only speaks once. He doesnt speak twice. Listen the first time.

What was the greatest thing you did?
       I have begun to plan more efficiently, using every single part of my planner... and the area book. I had never been taught how to use it before, and so I just left it alone, thinking it was better that way... But this week I have seen a real change in the way we work and the miracles you can see. The Holy Ghost doesnt speak twice. When he speaks, write it down!!! That would be what my new compi told me this week. I have now taught myself how to use the planning materials in a more efficient (and colorful, of course!!! :) way.... and am seeing the results!

What was you best miracle?
      Hermanita Tania is SO ready for her baptism this 25th of January! She felt the spirit so very strongly this Sunday, and told us she felt like God was calling her... She was really stressed out about the date, because she didnt feel ready... but now she is SO excited and wants to go ahead with her baptism! We are starting the planning now, have invitations, and an interview planned! woohoo!!! Pray for us please!
What was your biggest challenge? Hma G has been having a hard time... and something I have found is that when I cant do anything for someone... I feel like I am failing, especially with her since I am supposed to be training her, and helping her start her mission out great... She spoke with the President, and shes a bit better.... But it was really hard there for a bit.

Anyway, I love you so very much! And hope you have a fabulous week!
Hma Alford

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jan 6, 2014 Alecia's emails home

My email from Aleica: edited a little:

Okay! SO... this week has been nutty! And way busy! Turns out, here they have a tradition of eating twelve grapes at 12:00 midnight on New Years... We ate a great meal with our pensionista, and we went home to wait the new year!! It was fun! Anyway, the best story of the week is that we found a house that is literally overflowing with people ready to hear the gospel! Or more like they found us! We were headed to lunch, when two little girls asked us if we gave away Bibles! We said, sure, when can we come and see yall? And they insisted that we come every day! lol! And now, every time we go there, we find another person to teach! Their mom, grandma, cousin, dad, brother, sister, neighbor and so on! And each and every time they surprise us with how willing they are to listen! WOW! What a miracle! I just love it! We are also kind of wondering if I will be leaving this transfer or not... since Ive been here so long, it could very well be a possibility... But who knows? Only the Lord! Also, hma santa cruz is here!!! shes staying with us today and tomorrow so her compi can go do her papers and she can go to the temple! I am so excited!!! Oh, I made no bake cookies the other day! SO yummy!!! we shared them with the bishop and his wife, and they really liked them. And were really surprized by how fast it is to make them! lol! They went over pretty well!!! Also, I am working on a package right now... and will hopefully be able to send it before the end of January! Anyway, I love you SOOOOO MUCH!!! And will be sure to keep every one in my prayers! I am glad yall had such a great new years... and wish you all the best!!!

hma alford

This is a story that Alecia sent to Brandon in his email this week:

Also, cool story! lol! Ya remember when you used to try and scare the tar out of me at home? Well, the elders here tried it out this new years, turns out they do a ´last joke of the year´ here... and they tried it out on us!!! We were headed to dinner, and they were waiting for us inside the gate with a camera to record our reaction... when I went to open the gate, they set off a bunch of fireworks right underneath me!!! lol!! My compi went screaming to the other side of the street... and i, becaus of so much practice with you, just opened the door with out a word, walked over the fire works, and told them, ´good job elders, good job´ LOL!!!! I have never seen such disbelief in a persons eyes!!! Oh man! You should have seen it! So funny! So, I thought Id share that with you, and thank you for trying so hard to scare me so many years! Because it really came in handy that day!!! Hahaha!

Anyway, love ya... work hard... be happy... and do what your big sis tells you!!! lol!

 Alecia and Hma G. her companion!

 Alecia likes parrots. LOL

Hermana Alford's advice to future Bolivian sister missionaries.

Okay, so this is the first time (if I remember correctly) that I will be directly addressing this blog... and all the people it reaches. The truth is, I didnt realize how many people would be affected by this thing! lol! But I am so excited that it is helping so many people out... especially those who are preparing to go out on their mission. I am hearing all kinds of people down here tell me that they loved the blog, that it helped them a lot, or that their moms have found it, or a few people who write me asking for tips... and so I thought I would go ahead and send a few tips directly to yall!

Here they are! Hope they help:

As for shoes: Well, I love clarks to be honest. They are so comfortable and last a good long while. I brought three pairs, (two for every day, and one a little bit prettier for sundays) and they are all doing great. A bit beat up in the front.. cuz I tend to trip alot on the rocks.. but they have lived through quite the beating! lol! Just dont forget to bring a ton of socks too.. because they die fast and the ones here are a bit choppy... Meaning they break easy, sorry, the slang here has totally stuck! lol! There are a ton of cool comfy socks here for tennis... and REALLY cheap.. but the half things almost dont exist. And the ones they have break with in a few days!

As for other tips? Its a good idea to look for clothes here if you can. Every thing is ridiculously cheap.

Also, read the book of mormon in spanish now! I have had the easyest time of learning the language here, because I have taken literally the promise made by the prophets. I dont remember who it was, but one of the many said that if we read the Book of Mormon in another language.. we will learn said language. I have picked it up so easily, its almost like I havent done a thing. It doesnt matter if you like it, if you understand, or if you think its working. Read verse for verse English and Spanish.. and I promise you you will see the fruits of your work. lol!

Oh, and by the way.. this is a mission that tries you. that pushes you to the limit... and makes you the person you are truly meant to be. I have seen miracles.. I have seen trials... and I have no regrets. When you come here.. come with the determination to do your best. Dont come with half your heart in your home... Put it all out on the table! Leave all youve got in the streets of Bolivia! Tell yourself every day, ¨tomorrow, I will do a little bit more¨ so that when the day comes to go back home.. You wont leave with a heart full of sorrow and regret. Do it and do it well... and see the blessings that fall into place! I think it was President Hinkley who said, ¨courage is that little small voice at the end of the day, that says ´ill try again tomorrow´¨ well, I try and do exactly that... Tomorrow, I will do a bit more... This is the best we can get Elders and sisters... the most we can do...We do all we can, and then we allow the lord to pick up the rest.

I love you all, I hope all can find something they need from this blog... excitement, information, comfort, advice, or whatever it might be... I just hope it continues to help!

Hermana Alford