Thursday, April 21, 2016

Returned with honor (April 20, 2016)

Celebratory Cheesecake Factory Lunch

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

LA ÚLTIMA: "There and Back Again... A Missionary's Tale" (April 11, 2016)

i thought that title is appropriate :)

another week down!! we kept working, contacted a few new people we will be teaching now and we found a few less actives to visit as well! 

bauti´s bday!
in terms of sabrina, this week was her sons 6th birthday, we made brownies and brought a really cool candle to sing happy birthday! he was so happy! and she was really thankful. we had an hermana from the primary come and acompany us. we had a little party with her neighbor less active who has other kids in primary so it was perfect! friendshipping at its finest! sadly, sabrina is still smoking every once in a while. its so hard because for her smoking is her only release from the trials of everyday life but we read the book of mormon with her and everything. it just is a matter of will know. but she has a work interview this week and should start to get on her feet soon. 

melani and her mom are doing great! they saw general conference last weekend and loved it! thisweek we started the new member lessons with a family named the family jadzianagnosti...haha what a name right? well he is the mission leader and we went with his wife and him. they made friends and it was great! in church on sunday melani gave a spiritual thought in releif society, (the young women were visiting for the announcements) and her mom sat by some other members who friendshipped her. tonight we have a family home evening with them. they are so wonderful!! and are progressing. the mom is fully reactivated now and we are working on getting them to the temple in time for the next temple trip in may!!

selfie with the compy!!
well im not sure what else to say! haha i was sick again for a few days and i got pretty frustrated but the stls came to help in the morning with some appointments we had so that was a huge help, something funny is that we made some flan from a little packet..well it made me get super sick in the nighttime, i threw up, then, the next day we had lunch with a member and they made us a delicious lunch. and then they brought out the dessert, what was it? flan. hahahaha i ate it thinking i would get sick but it was actually delicious and i was fine afterward hahahaha

the work goes on! and it never ends next week ill be back in the states and another sister will come here and continue the work! the cool thing about missionary service is two things. 1. it doesnt matter who you are, as long as you let the Lord work through you he will do his work. and 2. we learn more from being missionaries than we ever teach anyone. 
i guess ill start my end of the mission thought rant haha
centro during the siesta.
but this is how my area looks
except there are always tons
of cars and people haha
being a good missionary doesnt mean doing everything perfect. it means recognizing that the work has nothing to do with you. theres tons of pressure at the end of the mission, there are a lot of expectations. i always thought at the end of the mission i would be celestial, super pacient and humble, for a while i was getting pretty frustrated with myself because i thought i wasnt at the level i needed to be. then we had a zone conference with president and hermana zanni. he was very strong and bold about many things. and after the conference i felt like i had so many things to improve on and no time to do it and i honestly got really down on myself. i got sick the next day and had the whole day to just be down on myself. but then i snapped out of it on sunday. i felt really strongly in church that im not supposed to be perfect at the end of my mission. i have 21 years and i have the whole rest of my life to improve. also, who are we to think we need to be perfect. the only person in the history of the world who was perfect is Christ. He lived a perfect life so that He could save us from our imperfections. It is after all we can do that His Grace takes affect. but mind you, the scripture says all we can do. i know ive been converted and i continue to be more and more converted. i know that my life has changed becuase of the mission. i have changed my nature, and even though its not easy, everyday i try harder and harder to be better. life is a big testing period and as long as we trust in the lord and let him guide us, we will be lead by his extended hand to the places we need to be. that is Grace. doing everything we can but understanding it will never be enough. that is why our older brother paid the price for our salvation. 
I love my Savior and i know He lives. I know He is always there and never abandons us. He takes care of His sheep. and through His perfect atonement we will be able to be saved. He has provided the way for us to form eternal families, that way is through His sacred power, the priesthood, the which He has restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Today we have that power to seal us for the eternities and i am forever grateful for the love and mercy He has shown us. Families are forever, The Atonement is real, and repentence works. We can be changed and made worthy of His kingdom as we keep trying. He makes up the difference. 

i invite all of you to my homecoming talk the 24rd of april! ask my mom for more info if you want to come. 

have a wonderful week and ill see most of you very soon ;)

hna sanders

(Jessica's homecoming talk is at 1:00pm at 24443 McBean Blvd. Valencia, Ca 91355)

me and argentinaaa

"18 months (insert unsure smile)" (April 4, 2016)

yesturday i hit my 18 month mark in the mission! i was joking around with my companion and said well, now that i have 18 months the rules dont apply to me anymore :) but i was just kidding. im so thankful for these next two weeks i have to finish up giving all i have and can. "hasta el ultimo" is my motto for this week. it means until the last!

first things off, this week started out kind of rough, got a little more frustrating, and then ended with the wonderful general conference weekend. it was a life saver.

getting ice cream with sabrina and bauti
well sabrina smokes, and on tuesday she told us that she wasnt going to be able to quit in time to be baptized the 9th and its going to take a little longer...that was a really sad day. she is despereate and has no money. she cant even afford cigarettes but her neighbor who is her best friend now and also a less active....😑....always gifts her 3 to 4 a day. but she says that she isnt ready to give them up. we were very honest with her. talked about health benefits, that it not only kills her but her son as well, that she wouldnt be able to feel the spirit, and last of all we took a cigarette, and held it up horizontally, we beared testimony that the distance between her and God was this cigarrete. she felt really bad but we assured her that it would all be okay, we are here to help her come closer to christ and that this was the next big step, she prayed and asked for forgiveness and the strength to overcome this addiction. we are now going into full mode to help her quit. im just so thankful she is so sincere and understands how important it is to be worthy to make covenants. 

then i got sick for a few days. 

we taught melani some new member lessons and shes so great! she is spreading the gospel like a crazy person!! she has one friend in particular who is really interested! we taught him with her and she bore a powerful testimony and started to cry! she was just beaming with the spirit!

okay well this week we were also able to visit ñata and gino! theyre doing great, grandma! we had to repeat like 4 times that i was her cousin's granddaughter. they are very funny and nice. at the end of the visit they said you have to come and visit us...if we're still alive hahahaha but theyre really nice people!

ñata and gino
well of course as a missionary i have to share my thought about gen conf. right? very basically this is what i got out of. some commandments we need to do better at is 
1.go to the temple
2. strengthen our families
and some truths that were emphazed were 
1. our true identity is daughters and sons of God.
2. God loves us even though we are so imperfect
3. we can be rebuilt and restored as long as we reach out for him. 

describes our week in a picture haha
(not going to plan but were happy anyways)
the scriptures in alma 1:27 kept coming to mind that we need to give to the poor and the needy, nurture them physically and spiritually and also moroni 10:32-33
so basically we cant delay in helping others or following the spirit. spend less times in counsels, meetings, and get out and GO TO WORK. we cant pray for the people who arent at church that they may come next week, if we dont do anything to help them get there!! also, the lord didnt say we only serve and give one or two times and done. he doesnt put on limits. there are limits as to when we have served enough. WE CAN NEVER SERVE ENOUGH. we can never do too much we can never be good enough!! so dont make excuses saying we cant help someone. we can. we can make a few sacrifices to help those in need. of course our first responsibilty is taking care of our family, but why not serve as a family and kill two birds with one stone?? hahaha idk. i just feel like we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven unless we become a serviceful people.
so my invitation is for you all to make a reachable goal this week to go out of your comfort zone and help someone. it could be anything from sending a friendly message, or taking someone out to lunch, to donating to the new church donation fund to the refugees at

anything you can do, it. and it will be counted on earth as it is in heaven! love you all!! i hope you all have a great week! get up and do something more than dream of your mansions above, doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure. :)))) 

hna sanders

at the monument

"a week for the books!" (March 28, 2016)

in normal "week before a baptism" manner, everything that couldve went wrong went wrong and it was all crazy buttttt MELANI GOT BAPTIZED! its alwasy such a miracle. 

the baptism with melani
so to explain a little, this week we had visa stuff for hna ritchie, divisions with the stls and just craziness. 

in terms of the baptism, it was the holy week and everyone started to travel. we called the relief society president to look for the baptismal clothes for her (she has the key to the closet) and we called her mon, tues, and wed. on thursday she says she lost the keys but i was in divisiones in another area so when i got back i found out on friday in the afternoon! we scrambled and got the clothes from another ward! (thank goodness we are in rosario it would be a mess in ramallo haha) then that same morning melanis grandmother steps on her foot bad and she cant walk. so now we have to look for a wheelchair, on top of cleaning the font and the church building and in between running to grab the keys, cleaning, and going to other lessons with other investigators, we didnt have time to study on saturday! :( then we tried to make brownies in the church but the rack is crooked so the brownies came out all lopsided and half was cooked half was not so we adjusted and they ended up supér yummy either way.
cool fact, hna ritchie had her first baptism
around the same time in her mission that i did!
so we took a pic similar to the one
i took with my trainer hna moberly!
so the night time comes, everything is ready and about 40 people show up to support her. a few people brought treats and the bishop buys pizzas, it turned out really nice in the end and melani was so content! after the ordinance was performed, we were waiting for her to help and i asked how she felt and she said with a huge smile, "i feel different, i feel light" :) it was a special moment!
that was the highlight of the week! and well now her gma, carlota returns to peru and we said bye to her this morning. she reminds me so much of grandma nydia so it made me really sentimental!

well in terms of updates with sabrina, she came to church yet again!!! by her own will as in we didnt have to go and walk her to church! she came with friends to so shes always a missionary. she has desires to share what shes learning! this week on tuesday we found out she has a small addiction to smoking but nothing she cant handle. she will have to stop smoking if she will be able to get baptized on the 9th. we know she can do it. she continues in reading and praying. she is really super special. the other day we also dropped off a backpack for her son because his broke and she didnt have money to replace it. the member who gave it to us also included some clothing. it was a huge blessing. im learning alot about serving and caring for others :) its easy when the people you are surronded by are so loving and amazing sons and daughters of God. :)

well yesterday for easter my compy the wonderful hna ritchie has a super fun tradicion. she empties out egg shells and colors them, fills them with confetti then breaks them on the heads of her fam! she we did that in between the two of us! it was dying eggs but it may or may not have been super fun! haha

at this time in my mission ive done alot of reflecting on how ive done as a missionary. all the work ive done, the miracles ive seen and the conversion ive been able to experience. this week i want to share one of my favorite quotes. its from boyd k packer. he talks about the truth most worth knowing is that we can be forgiven.

saying bye to carlota 💔
 "I promise that the brilliant morning of forgiveness can come. Then ´the peace of God which passeth all understanding´comes into your life once again, something like a sunrise, and you and He ´will remember your sins no more´How will you know? You will know!"
so many times we make mistakes in life. sometimes bigger, sometimes not so serious. i believe the most beautiful feeling anyone can feel is that of forgiveness from our Father in Heaven. after we repent and try every day a little bit more to be more faithful to him, we can experience this feeling. as packer says it may come like a sunrise. little by little until you realize you are in the noon day sun. little by little we feel better until we realize we have been completely forgiven. i know that Christ has paid the price for every sin. im not sure how it worked but i know that as long as we use the atonement in our lives we can experience this beautiful feeling frequently. i know He loves me, i know He loves each and every one of you. 
lets prepare ourselves to hear his message this next weekend for general conference. put on your church clothes even if you are staying at home and i promise you it will be easier to pay attention and you will feel the spirit testify to you with more ease. 

i love you all so much take care. im praying for all of you. sending my love, stay strong and see you all soon.
hna sanders

power outage so we had to take the stairs that day
...but we took a pic of the elevator shaft. that ones for you dad!
 (Here is an experience Jessica shared from a private email last week) :
hey crazy story, last night we saw someone get kidnapped....we were walking down a street thats usually pretty busy but we were the only ones, we were looking for a less active when my comp said "whats going on." we see three people walking across the street, a lady with a hood on with her hands tied behind her back and they push her into the car, they see us and we turn around and walk swiftly away...we went to the apartment and called president to see what to do, he called the lawyer for us and we went to the police department and reported it, and all that jazz. when we were being interviewed we were describing the car, what everyone was wearing and then out of nowhere i said that the car was a ford escort of the year 2005 or 2006.....(like what) and sure enough that night the police started investigating, just around the corner of the incident, they found a ford escort of the year 2005 abandoned............... i hope they find out what really happened! they gave us a copy of the report haha so i have it as a souvenir lol