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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Let´s just say that this last week has definitely been a trial of patience and courage for me... But at the same time it has definitly been one tender mercy after another.

Last week my companion and I felt that we should invite Jimmy and Ricardo Villanueva to baptism. They are children, which is why we didn´t baptize them before because their parents can´t get married for legal issues.
However, when we asked them, their faces lit up and they said that they had been waiting for us to ask them. Jimmy has been begging us for months because he really wants to attend the temple in Santo Domingo, and he was able to go see it a few weeks ago with the Bishop. He was so excited to just be in the waiting room for a few hours! When I asked him if he would like to be baptized, his jaw about hit the floor and he wasn´t able to speak for more than 30 seconds. I knew they were ready.

SO we set to work! We set their baptism date for the 25th of April, the same date that the Elders had for 2 of their investigators. We got speakers, a special musical number, and everything ready in about a week.

During the entire week I was SUPER stressed... I was having nightmares about it and everything! Finally we got to Friday when we had the interviews and everything turned out fine. Then Elder Whitworth our zone leader was like ¨Just prepare yourself, Hermana, something´s bound to happen.¨ (He was joking but serious at the same time.) 

So we get to Saturday... We went to the chapel at 1pm to clean and set up for the baptism when we find... Dirty water in the baptismal font from the last baptism in February. And it wasn´t draining. 
Ricardo and Jimmy came to help clean up, so we set them to work with Elder Irish draining the font with buckets while we mopped the floor. 
I wasn´t super happy at this point, but then Elder Rodas came in with my birthday package from home and I found the CITY OF JOSEPH cd inside, which I put in the DVD player and we had fun dancing to it. Ricardo began learning the chorus and is still singing it everyday. That was really a tender mercy for me... Just the music made me feel better.

After we finally got the font all ready, we went with the boys to their house to help their mom make refreshments for the baptism. When we finished, we all piled into the car (7 people in a 5 person car isn´t uncommon here and isn´t necessarily illegal.) and headed to the church.

Hermana Bates and Elder Garcia were able to attend the baptism, which was amazing! Elder Garcia was able to baptize Jimmy and Elder Irish baptized Ricardo.

I couldn´t keep from crying when I saw them enter into the water... I have been teaching these kids since I got here six months ago. Afterwards we all sang hymns together and I lead them. Everyone was so happy... I truly felt overwhelmed by the Spirit. I felt that that day made every single hard moment worth it. 

I love being a missionary and I love this gospel! I want to let you guys know that I love you all so much! Keep smiling, love more, and always remember who you are (Children of God of course!). 

Con muchisimo amor,
Hermana Krislee Nicole Twiner

Quick Update

Howdy all! 
I just wanted to send a quick note to you, telling you that all is well in Mao! This last week has been pretty great, with its ups and downs. 
So being senior companion is pretty stressful, but it´s also gotten me up and running and more focused on the work. We are leaving as soon as possible in the mornings,and running home at night to be in on time. 
My spanish is getting much better, but it´s still hard at times to not be able to ¨let it out¨ in English. 
I´ve eaten rice nearly every day this week.
I passed my 7 months this last week.
On Sunday we were feeling really tired and down because nobody was home, so we went to Mariela´s house, where she got a pole and gave us a bucket of mangos... Hermana Nauca ate 10 and I ate 6 (They weren´t very big, but I still felt like I ate 6 mangos afterwards...) It was pretty awesome to just sit there and talk and eat mangos freshly picked from her front yard... Not something you get to do very often in the States!
We had interviews with Pres. Douglas this Monday, which was awesome because we always have a nice lunch and get to talk with both President and Sister Douglas. We also were able to talk with the other missionaries for a few hours. The only minor issue was that we were at the church from 10am until nearly 5pm, making proselyting hours super short. 
Yesterday we had English class, which I was in charge of...  It was better than I was thinking, considering that I am NOT a good teacher in groups! I had Elders Irish and Whitworth helping me... We are working as a team beause we are the only 3 ¨gringos¨in Mao right now. We are beginning the church 12 week english program next week, which from what I´ve heard is really effective.

Well, I hope you guys have a wonderful week! I love you all and hope to hear from everyone!

Senior Comp and Stepmom

Ok first things first... Sorry about the last email.... It was April Fool´s day! I´m not going to Cuba. I´m still in Mao, but with Hermana Nauca. I am Senior Companion, and her ¨stepmom¨. (We call our trainers our moms and the comp right after that our stepmom or dad) So suddenly I´M the one with all the experience and in charge of making final decisions... 

We were able to teach Edward almost every day last week becaue he was off of work and school for the Holy Week. His sister has lots of questions for us... Until she asked me if we believe in giving blood tranfusions! But really, They are golden and I hope that they can be baptized as a family.

We are now entering into Mango season... I think they are my new favorite fruit. Mariela gave us about 5 pounds of mangos the other day and we made a smoothie that night. The only problem is that they get their little hairs stuck inbetween your teeth and I had to floss like 4 times yesterday! 

So this last weekend was General Conference, which was awesome! I got to watch it in English with the other American Missionaries... We were super excited when we found out that Haiti´s getting a temple! Two temples on the island! 

The Dominican easter tradition is to make habichuela con dulce, or ¨sweet beans?¨ It´s basically beans, cinnamon, milk, sweet potato and occasionally raisins. Sounds weird, but it´s actually good! I tried it on Friday for the first time, and by Saturday night I had had it 5 times! I had some more last night, which was my favorite. 

So I´m still in Mao, still in this adventure. I´m excited for this transfer to see how much my language skills will improve... I´m going to be living with 3 spanish hermanas from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru... It should do wonders! I´ll pratically be a native speaker (I hope!)

Well, I love you all and hope that everything is well with you. You are always in my prayers! The church is true!

Hermana Twiner

April Fools!

This last month Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came to the Caribbean and announced some pretty amazing things... One of which is that we will be opening Cuba in OUR mission!
Well, my mission president called me this morning and asked me if I would be willing to be one of a group of 7 sisters and 7 elders going to open new areas in Cuba. I was shocked, and a little overwhelmed, but trusting that President knew what he was doing, I accepted. So i´ll be headed to Cuba next week! (Doing my crazy nervous dance in the comp lab)
April Fools!!!!!!! (for that last paragraph)

So what else happened this week? 

I got a love letter from a guy who´s older than my dad. He´s a really nice guy and seems interested in the church... He´s already come 2 times to church since we invited him!
I was at Mariela´s house (He´s a family friend) and before we left Mariela was like, ¨Oh, Hna Twiner Alberto left a note for you guys saying sorry for not coming to church!¨ And I was like, ¨Wow, He really likes the church!¨ Then she brought be the letter and I open it and a heart shaped sucker falls out and he wrote this long letter telling me that he feels so happy coming to church while I´m there and that I´m beautiful not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. 
I had another one of those ¨I hate being blonde¨ moments... I´m basically a walking visa here. 

We met with Edward´s sisters, mom and brother! They are all perfect! Golden! We knew they were special the moment when Edward´s brother, John gave up his chair for his mom. That was the first act of chivalry I´ve seen on my whole mission! By the end of the lesson they were asking what they needed to do to prepare to be baptized... I had another ¨OK where are the cameras?¨ moments...

I was feeling a little down on Monday with stress and other things, but I had an interview with our awesome District Leader, Elder Garcia who helped a lot. He had me sing ¨Count your Blessings¨ for him and I immediately felt better!

Hermana Salazar is one of the sisters that´s in the other companionship in the house. she´s from Costa Rica, so it´s interesting to have to speak Spanish constantly. Well anyways, she knows a little English, so we are helping her as well. I taught her two new words... Creepy and awkward, which was hard because there aren´t specific words for them in Spanish. SO... I had to demonstrate what each meant. Now Hna Salazar says that whenever she thinks of me she thinks of creepy and awkward. She also wrote me a note that said ¨I love u Americana. You are creepy and awkward.¨ At least she won´t ever forget me...
She also dressed up in a white dress and a halo and floated over my bed saying ¨I am the angel Moroni... I´ve come to grant you your wishes.¨ It was funny the first time, but the 4th and 5th time at 11 at night is getting a little old. I asked her why Moroni was a girl, but she said that boys aren´t allowed in sisters´apartments. Good point.

We made brownies last night and listened to Enya... That´s my type of celebrating ¨PDAY EVE!¨ Haha!

Time is going quicker and quicker... Next week is Transfers, so we´ll see if I stay or if I go... I´ve had nearly 6 months in Mao, so it´s very likely that I´ll go, but we´ll see what the Lord wants!

Love you all!
Hermana Twiner

He Lives!

So I was on FB today because we have permission to share a quick video ¨because he lives.¨
We had 9 investigators on Sunday in sacrament meeting, plus 1 less active!!!! Talk about a miracle!
We made rootbeer floats on Monday... Let´s just say that I was overly happy.
We watched The TEstaments on Monday with investigators and it was awesome. Their agnostic friend was there trying to confuse us with his smartness, but our investigators took over by testifying of the BoM. I was really proud of them!
Today was super fun because I was able to go on exchanged with Hna Bradfort because our comps had to go to Santiago to renew their visas. We cleaned the house while singing Frozen, went to get groceries, bought ice cream, and then ate it in the park. It was a really fun, stress free day.
We had zone conference yesterday. After the conference I had this conversation with Pres. Douglas...
Me... THanks, President for your capacitation.
Pres. Douglas... In English we say ¨training.¨ But don´t worry... You´ll speak English again one day.
(The word in Spanish is capacitaciĆ³n... I just said it with an English accent.)

Well, sorry that I didn´t have a lot of time to write today, I promise next week will be better! 

Friday the 13th and the Ides of March Weekend

Well, I´m not usually the superstitious type... But we just passed Friday the 13th and the Ides of March in one weekend! Sunday was a little rough... Hardly anyone was home and we found out that one of our investigator families split up... But, all you can do is push forward sometimes!

Well, We had to push Edward´s date back a little bit because he can only visit with us on Sundays and Mondays because of work and school, and we want him to understand all the basics before he gets baptized. We have it for the 18 of April now, and we feel good about that date.

We had an amazing lesson about Joseph Smith last Friday! We watched the Restoration video with them and then I bore a testimony to them... It was one of those times where I KNEW that the spirit was bearing testimony of my words. Magdalena was crying, and she´s not a cryer! Right afterwards the dad was asking what he should do to come to church. 

One day this lady stopped us to give us flowers.... She gave Hna Bates a cute little pink one and then she tried to get a white flower for me from a tree... she ended up breaking off the whole branch and so I walked down the street with a branch.

On Monday I recieved some mail from my family and some random guy named Jorge Rivas from Florida... I opened it and it was a bunch of recipes from my Mom and a note from him saying that he found the envelope near his house. He also gave me his business card. I am going to send him an email now to thank him... Definitely a tender mercy!

Today we went to the grocery store and on the way we found.... a five dollar bill. I thought it was fake at first, but it´s real! Five American dollars in a Dominican street...

I got proposed to last night in our English class... This kid was relentless. I know I´m gorgeous and all, but honestly! We had to get the Elders to tell him to stop.

We also had Chimis last night... They are like a Dominican bbq sandwich with corn in it. If you want to make something special here you put corn in it. I have had corn on my pizza several times. 

Well, I love you all a lot! Hope to hear from you soon!

Hermana Twiner

6 Months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hit that mark! As of yesterday it is officially less than a year until I am back in good ol´ Rocky Top. How do I feel? Honestly? SCARED even though I still have a good while to go. I realized that have only a few months to do all that I can... I need to pick it up a bit! 

Anyways about my week...
We shared a few lessons with Mariela and Jose and Pola... We think everything is going well... Jose came to church on Sunday! Mariela is still having issues with her partner letting her leave the house, but we're getting there. The Lord is in on this.

We talked to a Canadian Jehovah´s Witness.

Last night at English class we did a practice where the students were supposed to ask us questions. This guy who is a little older than I am asked me if I'm cute... Being a missionary I honestly didn't know how to answer to that...

I ate rice.

We went stargazing last night on our roof... It was really nice to have the cool breeze. We talked a bit... Yes in Spanish! 

Carnival was this last week... Let's just say that I really didn't enjoy it. I didn't take any part of it, but the music was so loud that it kept me up at night even though the park is across the city. We also saw some really interesting constumes... We saw a friend dressed as a purple sea horse.

Well... THis week really wasn't that eventful, but it happened! I love you all and look forward to hearing from you!!!

Con amor,
Hermana Krislee Twiner



So I don´t have LOTS of time, but here we go....

Edward is still amazing... I actually got to talk to his girlfriend over skype when we went with him on Monday! She lives in Virginia and speaks English really well. 

So I was really low on food this week... Like only eggs and pickles with a little bit of hot sauce on the side. I had money, but there isn´t a close ATM so I decided to wait until PDay. 
Well, I was just talking with my companion about this on Monday night when we were on the way to an appointment when this lady called to us and asked if we wanted a few bananas. We said yes, and then she gave us about 5 pounds of bananas! We graciously thanked her and offered to share a scripture, but she declined. 
We then continued to our appointment with a less active member, and she gave us corn on the cob! It was really rubbery and tastless... A real bummer after the man kept telling me how sweet it was. I guess American sweet corn is candy corn compared to here. Oh well...
THEN yesterday I was really wanting something sweet, and Elder Garcia shows up at the doorstep with a bag of sweets! I was elated!
Then today I found root beer in Santiago. My comp and I are going to pick up some ice cream on the way home to make root beer floats. 

We´ve also made headway with Jose and Pola´s wedding plans... We figured out the process and the price and they are super excited! Now we want to see if it´s possible for us to be the witnesses, but if not, we have plenty who are more than willing to help. We´re praying that they can have everything done by our goal of an April 18 baptism!

Well, love you all dearly, and hope you the best this next week! Be sure to write me!

Con amor,
Hermana Krislee Twiner
Mao, DR

Picturesque Paradise

​Ok so I think I have taken more pictures of the skies and nature than anything. Here is a pretty rainbow that we sawe on the mountain side when we were traveling to Navarrette for Stake Conference.
​This is from the front balcony of our house in the morning... sometimes my companion pulls me out of bed to watch the sunrise.

Still in Mao

Well, guys... I´m still in Mao!!!!!! And I still have Hermana Bates as my companion!!!!!!!! 

We also found out that Hermana Potter left  and Elder Valasquez is coming back to Mao... He started his mission here, stayed for 9 months, left for 2 transfers, came back for 2, left, and now he´s coming here again and he´s finishing in 2 more transfers. So in 2 years he´s had a total of 4 transfers outside of Mao! (At least this time he´s in Mao 1... the last 2 times he was in Mao 2) I thought it was funny because I totally told him that he would ¨die¨ in Mao... I guess I cursed him!

We were super excited, because we have... (Drum roll) A BAPTISMAL DATE FOR MARCH 21! 
It´s with Edward, our golden investigator. After a lesson we asked him if he had any questions, and he said ¨Yes... what do I need to do to be baptized? I want to do it as soon as possible.¨
And we were like...  (Smileys jumping up and down if you can´t see it)

We also had stake conference this last weekend... I have never felt so stressed about stake conference! It´s a little harder to get people there, so the church rents a bus. Hermana Bates and I left a little earlier than usual so she could play for the choir, so we weren´t sure if any investigators went. We were sad when we didn´t see anyone that we knew,  but there were over a thousand people there. Afterwards Elder Garcia told me that we had 6 INVESTIGATORS there... and we didn´t even see them! (We made sure to visit them and thank them for coming.)

Well I hear you Tennessee folks are getting some pretty crazy weather. Well, I don´t have anything really cool to tell you, except that it rained none stop for nearly 48 hours, and our house sits at the bottom of the gradual hill of Mao. We almost had to call Moses to help us get out of the house. 

Sweet story of the week... Ricardo Villanueva, who is 11 years old, told us that he´s been reading the book of mormon and he knows with all his heart that it is true, and that the church is true. I nearly started bawling when he told us! I love that kid!

So... interesting Dominican investigator story of the week...
Yesterday we went with Mariela and her partner was ACTUALLY THERE!!! The lesson went pretty well. Well, afterwards, Hermana Bates was speaking with Mariela and I had the interesting privelage of speaking with Santiago. 
He told me that he had had a dream (He called it revelation) about Noah´s Ark. He said that he was inside the ark and that Noah was sitting on a chair and that the ark began to rock back and forth while the earth was filling up with water. He heard the people screaming outside trying to get in, and the other people in the ark were looking for Noah´s other son... The one that no one knows about because he´s not in the Bible.
I told him that that was an interesting dream, but he corrected me. He said, ¨No, Sister Twiner. It was a REVELATION from GOD.¨
I didn´t want to argue, but I think our next lesson with him should be on prophets and how we can´t recieve revelation for the world unless we are given that authority.

Well, there is so much more that I want to tell you all, but I don´t want to take up too much of your time... plus, I´m saving some stories for after the mission to share in person... It´s best to get the reactions in person 

I love you all to bits, and I hope to hear from you all!

con amor,
Hermana Krislee Twiner
Mao 2B

Another Day in the DR!

Wow... It´s Wednesday again already?????? They don't joke when they say that the mission flies by!

So this is the last week of the transfer... ¿Que? And I could very possibly be getting transferred a week from now. I have mixed feelings about that. I emailed my mission president and he only told me that ¨we´ll have to see what the angels say about transfers¨. 

Miracle of the week... well, maybe 2.
Both on Sunday...
THey needed Hermana Bates to play piano for the stake choir practice on Sunday, so we needed to go on companionship exchanges with members of the ward. 
We were certain that no one would be willing to go with us for more than 2 hours, but we had faith and we called every member of whom we had their number. And what???? WE GOT COMPANIONS! WHOOO!

The sencond Miracle is while I was on exchanges with a member named Hermana Colasa. We went to visit my special investigator Mariela. When we arrived Mariela seemed super sad, but she let us share. We prayed, and when we ended, Mariela was sobbing and ran into the house. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her grandfather had just died, and now she hardly has any family left alive. 
I immediately called the Elders, who are absolutely AMAZING, and they dropped everything to come and give her a blessing.
Elder Irish, one of our Americans in training gave the blessing. This was one of the times that I KNEW that the Lord was working through him... He spoke with almost PERFECT spanish, and I seriously felt the presence of the Savior there. 
Mariela seemed a different person after that. She's also trying to move forward to be able to be baptized, so she can go to the temple and do ordinances for her mother and grandfather. I can't tell you how much I love her!!!!

In other things... We found a golden investigator!!! He was a reference from the Elders of Mao1. He has an LDS girlfriend living in the US, and they want to get married... but in the temple and he told us that he needs to be clean and a member to do that. He has a deep desire to follow Christ and wants to better his life.  When we arrived at his house he was reading about the atonement and said that he really learned a lot from the pamphlet. The whole time we listened to him I was like ¨OK where are the cameras? this never happens!¨ He doesn't even work on Sunday!!!!!!

Well, time is moving faster and faster and I am realizing that I have less and less time every day to accomplish what I have prepared my whole life to do. I want to reflect on my mission knowing that I did what the Lord wanted me to do.

Love you all and I hope to hear from you!!!!
Hermana Twiner