8/11/2014 Camel DAY! (email #35)

THE WORK:
How blessed is it to be able to serve the Lord and progress His work?! I hope you are all able to see just how much this work is hastening! I would just like to glory for a minute about the greatness that is happening in the Spanish work in Montrose! So many people we are finding are just so ready for this gospel and Sister Noakes and I are just elated that we are able to find so many elect people who seem so ready to listen and accept this gospel into their lives! Seriously the other night when i was writing in my journal i was writing down all the amazing people that we are working with or have recently found and I counted over 12! The people here are ready. The work is booming. And we filling up the fonts! (Not that baptism is the end goal but we want to help people enter in onto that straight gate!). Now the people here of course aren’t perfect so we still do have the struggle of having all of them keep their appointments but these people do have good heads on their shoulders and I know this is what they have been all looking for even if they didnt know they were looking for anything 🙂

Just a quick example of someone that we found recently who we are excited about is a women named Noemi. She is someone we OYMed with the survey and as we were going she was telling us how her best friend is a mormon and that she has been wanting to learn more about the mormon beliefs. She has excellent faith. Great standards and understanding. And one thing that made us laugh was she said, “I could never be a mormon because i drink coffee.” Such a small little thing that when she understands the blessings that come from living the word of wisdom she will give up that coffee in a snap! She even answers the phone every time we call (do you know how rare that can be for missionaries???)! She is amazing and we have loved her from the start!

Another investigator we have who we love is a 17 year old girl named Tania. She lives in Olathe and absolutely loves learning from us. This past week we showed her the movie The Restoration and at the end she kept saying, “That was so interesting.” Now that’s not always the response that we love to hear but it certainly is when it is followed with, “I like the mormon beliefs because they all make sense!” And that’s not even the best part! The time before that we taught her the Plan of Salvation and she told us that she had been sharing what we taught her to her friends in need (one in particular that doesn’t believe in God) and her grandparents and family! She is already a missionary in the making!

Our other beloved investigator Maria Zavala lives the craziest life ever. She basically just has a lot on her plate and is always dealing with a lot of stress. She has gained her testimony of the Book of Mormon and knows it’s true, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that this church is true through reading it everyday and the last time we checked she was in Mosiah 26! She reads so she can feel more at peace because she always has so much going on and reading it makes her feel SOOOO much better! She wants baptism so bad but she is working on the obstacle of getting to church. She watches 9 kids on Sunday that she doesnt even get paid to do because her sister in law just drops them on her and gets upset if Maria takes them anywhere she wouldnt like (aka church). Members have been encouraging her to put her put down and not let her sister in law take advantage of her like that anymore and Maria is planning on it. This week we are praying we can get her to church. That is our miracle we will be seeking. I know it can happen!

So Ubaldo, not going to lie Sister Naokes and I were a little concerned for the time when we needed to teach him the Law of Tithing because he doesnt have a job and is living tight on money. We know of the blessing that come from tithing but we were concerned he wouldnt understand and that this might be a draw back for him. Silly us I know. Because after we had role played it so many different times we knew we were ready to teach it to him…. and Ubaldo is just straight up awesome:) So the entire time we were teaching all of the principles of tithing, fasting and fast offerings he was nodding along and eating it all up! I dont know why we were ever concerned about teaching this to him because Ubaldo already lives the definition of giving and service and sacrificing for others. When we were all done teaching his response to our commitment to pay an honest tithe after baptism was an, “Of course!” He truly is so ready for his baptism and we were put into his path because the Lord knew he was prepared for this.

Another thing that i would just like to glory about is how amazing the members of our branch are. They have already organized home teachers for Ubaldo because he has a baptismal date. I just love to see when people truly do fulfill their callings and give as much as they can to the Lord. I hope that I will always be ready to serve and continue progressing this work and whichever way the Lord calls me to serve.

HERMANA MCRAE:
– I might be getting a tad sick but a member was so gracious to give me 4 little beadlets of the “On Gaurd” essential oils last night and I think it helped (fingers crossed)
– This might go along with being a tad sick, but anytime me and my companion go somewhere weather far or close I’ve been able to get a little shut eye:) My companion is amazed at how fast I can fall asleep! I just tell her that we all have our special talents 😉
– We are all filled with dinners this month! We normally do pretty well but being all the way full is definitely an accomplishment (especially if you compare the elders calendars to ours- OUCH)!
– Mom everyone is jealous of the sandals you sent me and when anyone asks me where i got them from I just give them a goober smile and say MY MOM! 🙂
– I can tell that the summer season is at the close because when you are on as tight of a schedule as a missionary you can tell when it gets darker just 10 minutes earlier…
– we ran 4 miles one morning this week and the next day we timed how fast we could run one mile. Bishop made us all make guesses at what out times would be (yes he even participated) but I won both of the guesses on being the closest to both my time and Sister Noakes’ time. Mine was a 7:20 and her’s was an 8:00. We’re going to do a redo probably next week at an actual track though.
– We made “Mountain Woman Monday” Tshirts since that’s what we’ve been doing every monday (planning on continuing the tradition where ever I go) 🙂
– Decided I do not like eggplant
– Apparently I have a true mexican tongue now because I dont tear up eating the chile’s or the hot hot salsas… proud of it! Another thing my companion thinks im crazy for 😉
– Still got ice cream from Bishop Tobler this week (he insists the tradition will never die…)
– I HIT MY 9th MONTH MARK!!! Que Loca!
Love you all! Im going to go play some volleyball/frisbee/football/ninja/whateverelsewewant at the park with my zone now 🙂
Have a good week!
-Hermana McRae

8/4/2014 WOAHHH we’re half way there – living on a prayer! (email #34)

This week we had a miracle finding the best and most golden investigator that i have ever seen! Her best friend is a Mormon. She LOVES our message. She already knows what we are telling her is true. But sister Noakes and i couldn’t help from laughing when she said, “oh, i could never be a Mormon because i drink coffee.” That’s it! She has no other problems or doubts but only just a little coffee addiction. We are going to baptize her. She may not know it yet but we sure do!

Ubaldo this week came to church. Stayed for all three hours and is more than ever excited to be baptized. We did have to switch his date to the 23rd of august but that is his new and absolute date that he WILL be baptized on:) 🙂 🙂 I mostly just love watching the growth that he has made in this gospel. He ha loved it too and knows that God is with him during all of this!

This past week Sister Noakes and I had a good comp inventory and I truly already have seen an amazing difference in our companionship. She is a wonderful missionary but I had felt like their were some things that needed to be brought up because i always felt like a was too domination in this companionship. And that’s not the way it is suppose to be. We talked some things out and she was grateful for my input and we have been rocking and rolling ever since. So what i have learned a lot of this past week is patience and letting my companion have more of a chance to say the things that the spirit is telling her to do as well. Things this week were well and we found 7 new great investigators and had more member present and lessons than ever:) Things really seem to be doing so good here in Montrose and I LOVE it!

this i what i sent Bethany about it:
But this past week something was really eating at me and t was my companion. I really have been dominating a lot of this companionship because my comp just wasn’t sharing her ideas or ever taking the lead and just really hesitated to do anything with out me doing it first.,.. No bueno. So I sat her down and we had a little pow wow and she was very understanding and knew that she should be giving more and not just always waiting for me. So i gave her the slogan of “Just do it” and to always be confident and that she doesn’t have to wait for me to do anything. TO just go for it and trust in the Lord everything that He has given her. We are all set apart as missionaries and she has the authority and calling to follow the spirit and help all that come into our path.
But since our pow wow things have been so much better. Communication is always the key my friend! It can work wonders and i attest to that! Which i already know you’re better at communication than i am but Ill try to keep it up for myself 🙂 Man, talk about the mission being real marriage prep!

Sorry im copying and pasting but time has flown like a bullet today!

This past week there were many visitors in the Tobler home (their kids and their kids friends home from college) and the return missionaries (elders) kept trying to tease us because they were so biased against sister missionaries and thinking they didn’t work hard. Well I sure spoke up after that point! Sadly the teasing still didn’t stop but I know they still could tell sister’s do rock! But let’s also all be honest. Every mission IS different from each other. Especially from state missions to out of the country and different cultures and ever with different mission presidents. Any who, the mission still is the best and I love meeting all of these new people!

Today we went on a hike on our mountain women Monday sisters and we tie died some mountain woman Monday shirts for our next hike 🙂

Well exciting new i bought a new journal today because guess what?! I filled my first journal! Mom you better be happy 😉

love you all!
-Hermana McRae

7/28/2014 Happy pioneer day :) (email #33)

Dearest YOU,

Hello hello!

This week we were able to teach Ubaldo again and we were able to help lift his spirits. He has been feeling really down about his crazy family life taking place right now and we helped him by reading a few scriptures with him. He said when we were all done that he thinks he should always read the BOM whenever he is feeling down and we fullheartedly agreed!

Sis Noakes and I have been praying to find the elect and apparently that meant for some people to drop us.. Sad but true but i’m not discouraged because we are on the hunt and someone else will be more ready and their time to hear the gospel and learn to repent! But we did find a less active Hispanic woman of another branch who was glad to sit down with us and sounds excited to come to church in our Spanish speaking branch! The member work and the missionary work seem to be both hastening here and it is making me oober happy and grateful to be surrounded by such great members and leaders 🙂

Well to celabrate pioneer day sis Noakes and I ran 3 miles in the morning (her first time) and then we pulled about 300 weeds each at a museum we serve/volunteer at! Pictures to be sent next week along with all of our hiking pictures! Today we went to Blue lakes with the Toblers and since i forget a windbreaker i was the lucky one to wear the poncho up at the top! Classy and loved it;)

Sorry I’m running short on time since I’ve been running up a mountain all day but next week should be more thorough;)

7/21/2014 Eyooooo (email #32)

HELLO family!

You may be asking yourself, “How was Hermana McRae’s week this week?” Well I will tell you 🙂

So this week I Hermana McRae and Hermana Noakes had yet again what I would call a good week.

Milagro! I am pleased to tell you that I am feeling so much better about Spanish. Yes, i have always loved Spanish but can you believe Im actually feeling like I understand the language now?! Well yes, my ears have opened up just as the Lord has promised and that I would be able to teach His children in this language. I just feel good and am excited about the progression that has been made in this language. Can I get a Hallelujah!!

Onto Ubaldo: He is still on date to be baptized on the 9th of August. This week we were able to teach him the Word of Wisdom and to add upon our excitement this commandment should not be too hard for him to keep. He will only on occasion have a beer when he is feeling down but we taught him that he will be so much happier and free-er if he chooses to live the commandment of the word of wisdom and he accepted! Though, the sad thing was that he canceled on us twice this week and we were only able to teach him once :/ The other times he claimed to be not feeling well and busy. And he also didn’t come to church this week. We called him numerous of times but there was no response. Hopefully this week we’ll be able to see him more and add onto his excitement which I know he already has about this church. In the mean time we will be praying that he will accept the law of tithe and fast and fast offerings for this next go around since he currently is unemployed. We all know the blessings that comes from these commandments and we pray that the spirit will touch him to know that blessings will come his way if he fulfills them.

Mirium: She is an investigator that we have had a hard time getting her to make future appointments with us but we were yet again placed in her path at the exact moment that she would accept us again. The Lord is amazing. So she still keeps saying how she feels so comfortable around Mormons and wants to keep learning more. We asked her where she was in the BOM since we had invited her to read the introduction and to our amazement, she had already read up to chapter three! We then continued to read the next chapter with her since she had a bit of some confusion and as we were telling her the story of Nephi and his family, she was already applying the scriptures to her life. How awesome! She really liked us coming and she even set up a next appointment to see her this Friday:) Oh but we love it!

Well if you want to know how much the Tobler’s love us (the family we live with), Bishop not only likes to give us some encouraging missionary work related “bed time stories” he has now even begun giving us a nightly lullaby! He has a really nice sound system up stairs and blasts the EFY medley “As Sister’s in Zion” so we can hear it in the basement when we plan for the next day 🙂 He loves that song! But we love it. Also, the hollers that come from upstairs to us saying, “Yo sisters! You want some ice cream?!” still have not ceased! I think he likes to use it as an excuse so he can have some too;)

Well to help the enormous plates of food the members feed us along with Bishop Tobler’s ice cream bowls we have been going running on the daily! And do you want to know what?! I actually really enjoy running now! Just a little tid bit, but hey it feels good and I’m getting better! I’m no Tobler runner but it is good to know and feel the improvement:)

Something I am so grateful for is how much the Lord has been helping us these past few weeks in really being able to teach more lessons than we have in the past. After our fast to be able to get more lessons we feel like we have been on a roll and we keep setting our goals higher and higher because we have been able to reach them! I know that there yes still is loads of room for improvement. On the appearance its seems that our numbers have been improving but what you cant see is the little things that I know I could be improving on. Sometimes i like to ask myself, “What am I giving to the Lord? What more could i be giving to Him?”

And a little tip from a friend, love unconditionally. If your thinking about yourself, you will not be happy. Focus your time and thoughts on others and you will find true happiness and charity:)

I love you! You are all in my prayersies!

With much heartfelt love,
Hermana McRae

7/14/2014 As Zions Youth in latter days! (email #31)

Dear homiesssss,

This week I must admit I didn’t know what was going wrong with our numbers so when on Thursday after our district meeting our numbers were the lowest of lows I have seen in a while I decided to take some action. Sister Noakes and I decided to start a fast with a S.M.A.R.T. goal in mind so our fast would have a good end result and we knew was possible but we were going to be needing the Lord’s help. Right after we ended our fast we went to work! The first people we saw were in a trailer that had been empty for a long time and i was really confused about because in the past there was a really solid investigator who lived there but we were only able to teach her once before she disappeared. So then this day I saw two people inside that both Sister Noakes and I felt was who the Lord was putting in our path and who we were suppose to go talk to. So we do! And when we do we find out that this couple married for two years (exciting because a lot of our investigators aren’t married and breaking the law of chastity…) are so ready for this gospel. The man had already been to our church about 3 times because his boss had invited him and is Christian (the wife Catholic). Both Spanish speaking! We had a good mini lesson with them and got a return appointment.

Then we had three more lessons that night and our schedules suddenly became FILLED with solid plans and appointments for the next day! AND we made a few calls and had a member to come out with us to all of them. We were seeing rapid blessings being poured from the Lord from our fast and we could have not been more excited!

The next day rolls around and after a long day of weekly planning, we go out with our member and put Ubaldo on date for baptism! He is now on date to be baptized august 9th and is really excited about it! He also came to church this Sunday and stayed again for all three hours 🙂 And Aliya was able to come to church as well.

Sis Noakes and I ended up being one lesson short of our goal but we decided it was all good since we had one more investigator than expected to church and we had the miracle of putting Ubaldo on baptismal date 🙂 YAHOOOZA!

Let’s just say the San Juan branch is going to be having some wonderful new people joining into the branch really soon! I’m excited to baptize the world! …Well I suppose I would be if I had the Priesthood so maybe better words would be – I’m excited to convert the world!

Well it is the start of a new transfer and Sis Noakes and I are both staying! After seeing this recent miracles I know this is going to be a bomb transfer and we are going to step up our game and set higher smart goals in order to achieve the things the Lord has sent us here to do! Let me be an instrument in His hands! I am sharpening my ax! This is for you mom!

Thanks for the prayers sent my way and Ill be sure to put them to good use! BYEEEEE!

-Hermana McRazy!

7/7/2014 I <3 the 4th! (email #30)

Happy late best holiday ever!!!

This fourth of July I will admit I was a tad scared that it was going to be just like any other day in the mission field but boy was I wrong! First off, our mission president told us that we werent suppose to do missionary work do to everybody would be celebrating and running into drunk people.. probably other reasons as well but you get the jist. So what we were suppose to do was spend time with members less active and any bbq that you got invited to. And this particular weekend ALL the Toblers were going to be home. All the kids and their kids and even Grandma Tobler! SO exciting 🙂

The fourth of july ended up going a little bit like this:
Wake up go on a little run with with Noakes. Get ready for the day. Drive to Ouray. Stood on a corner with some of the Toblers watching the end of the annual 10k race and watched more of the Tobler’s run by and finish strong. Then we all went and ate breakfast at a give a little donation (or however much) and we’ll fill up your plate breakfast. Was pretty tasty! Afterwards watched the parade with the Toblers. Then went with the Toblers over to the racing game area where all of their kids (the grandkids) were able to participate and win money in little relay races. Yes I was a tad jealous i couldnt participate… But it still was way fun to watch all the little kids run their guts out and fall and trip and win and cry and gleam over the entire thing. It was definitely a sight to be seen. Afterwards Bishop Tobler, Brooke Tobler, Sister Noakes and I went on a little hike (Laura would call it a walk) up to a waterfall, it was really pretty and i enjoyed the “hike”.
During our entire time in Ouray we had to do a bit of walking around and there were a lot of people there as well but what my favorite part was how famous you feel when your a missionary and as you’re walking down a crouded street someone calls out “HEY SISTERS!” and stops you to shake your hand and ask where you’re from 🙂 That probably happened to us at least 8 times that day. You definitley stick out of a croud when you’re in your long skirts and tags on!
Then we went to dad’s cousin Maryanne River’s house and she fed us a very nice lunch and we were only able to talk for a good ol hour or so until Sister Noakes and I both crashed on her ever so comfortable recliners! Ya it’s been a LONG time since ive had a nap and boy did it feel good! We thanked her for her hospitality and then headed back to Montrose! Where next all the Montrose missionaries were able to sing some patriotic songs in an old folks home. They of course all sang along and it was great! Then we had a bbq at the Toblers and then were able to watch the fireworks with them! ❤ lets just say Sister Noakes and I both LOVE the Toblers! The are the best!

Anywho, I have good news. For the first time in my mission an investigator has finally come to church. Well Aliya has come to church many times in the past but her parents are recent converts and was already coming… So im counting this one as my official first. This would be Ubaldo. Now he didnt only just come to church but he even bore his testimony during testimony meeting (cried) AND he stayed for all 3 hours! Glory to on high! It felt so amazing knowing that through my calling as a representative as Jesus Christ that I was able to be an instrument in his hands and bring one of his children to his church:) Ubaldo has SO much desire to be closer to God but he has Chemo fog leftover from his cancer where he has trouble with his memory remembering to do things. But this Sunday Sister Noakes made it so there was no possible way that he wouldn't come to church (not implementing Satan's plan or anything…). But he came and I was so incredibly happy that possibly a few tears of joy rolled out of my eyes when I saw him bearing his testimony up there at the pulpit.

To add on to this great story, one of our AMAZING members (after he had already gotten up twice to bear his testimony) lept from his seat and ran over to Ubaldo after he was done bearing his testimony and embraced him in his arms for a good whole minute. He didn't even know Ubaldo but already had so much love for him. Many other members as well gave him a big warm welcome but after they waited till after the meeting;) To me, seeing how well Ubaldo fit in and was accepted into this branch was a miracle. Our members could not have done a better job. Ubaldo was beaming and even took a Gospel principles book home with him so he could be ready for next weeks lesson. Ubaldo mentioned in his testimony that he said he has been looking for the truth and he really hopes that he has found it 🙂 What a guy, what a guy! I know he has found the truth!

Hope you all have the best week ever!
-Hermana McRae

p.s. I also have been able to sinig and play the guitar this past week because one of the Tobler grandkids brought his guitar! I have been in heaven!!! So many fun kids and Toblers AND a guitar! ❤ ❤ ❤

6/30/14 frijoles chido (email #29)

Hello earthlings!
How is the 112 degree weather treatin all of you? I’ve just been here, enjoying the cool breezes of our 98 degree weather here in the great Colorado deep!

This past week Sis Noakes and i were in Applebees for dinner using the gift card a member gave us and yes the food was amazing but the entire time they were playing oldies! Not until the very end did the beat drop in of a song for two seconds and we freaked! It was Forever by Chris Brown and that is what we would like to call a tender mercy here in the mission 🙂
Then as we were leaving probably the funniest thing ever happened. We were driving out of the Applebees parking lot and pulled to the right turning lane at the light and were waiting for our time to turn after maybe a good minute and a half or so Sis Noakes says, “Are those cars parked??!” There was nobody in the cars in front of us and they were pulled off to the side of the rode and we were just chillin behind them waiting for them to turn! We probably laughed about that for a good another 20 minutes tears running down our faces!

Thursday night we had a really fun activity with a lot of effort put into the entire thing. It was glow in the dark volleyball with black lights and glow sticks galore! The missionaries got all decked out and made matching San Jaun shirts to wear, bandannas and glow in the dark face paint! Yes we play hard and it was a blast! The only draw back is not too many people showed up.. Which made it really fun for all of the people that did show up but I couldn’t help but feel bad for the presidente of our branch because of all the excitement he had for this, all of his build up and time, ideas and effort and only a few showed up… :/ We DID get a less active to come though so that was a success! And a few investigators as well so that was good too 🙂

Oh guess what mom, I made Oreo truffles this past week!!! They were as good as ever! But we made them to give to some of our investigators who seemed to be having a hard week. Also we shared some with the Toblers and they fell in love with us even more ha. We figured out the way to Bishop Toblers heart… It’s definitely through his stomach! He probably has a bigger sweet tooth than me!

This week is the fourth of July and as missionaries we are suppose to get invited to as many member bbq’s or something as we can because basically there would not be anybody who would want to listen to missionaries on Independence Day.

We weren’t able to teach as many lessons as we usually are this past week but I know all of our efforts weren’t wasted. On Sunday i was asked to translate in sacrament mtg because we had someone giving a talk form another ward in our branch which was in English and obviously we needed a translator! Well i did what i could and i did my best. It wasn’t too bad but I was happy to do it:) My companion would have done a much better job than i did but she seemed really nervous to do it so I basically volunteered and said i would do my best!

We did however get to teach Maria Zavala this week and it was amazing because it has been so long and she still has a testimony and truly feels the spirit when she reads the BOM. I know the BOM truly a book of God and that Everyday we have the opportunity to read it and take steps closer to Christ and in the right direction. Everyday we have the opportunity to live our lives and make ourselves better. The best creations we will ever make on this Earth is ourselves.

I love you all and will send some pics next week!
-Hermana McRazy