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Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 1 in Jarabacoa!

So I am exhausted, but pretty happy after my first week in my new area! The area is HUGE. I thought Mao was big. It´s huge, and we have only a small branch. 

I´ll admit that I was a little intimidated about being in a branch after serving in Mao, where there are 2 wards, but I have come to love the branch and all the members super quickly. I am currently serving as a missionary, primary pianist, and a counselor in the Young Women´s program.

We had a farewell for the Carrolls, the senior couple who has served in Jarabacoa for nearly 2 years. They are headed home today for their home in Nauvoo, Illinois. For their farewell, the kids sang and played the piano because Sister Carroll had taught them music. We also sang ¨Oh My Father¨ to the tune of ¨Come Thou Fount.¨ I was pleasantly surprized to find that most of the members can actually carry a tune and beat, quite the opposite of my old ward! 

After church on Sunday we had lunch with the Carrolls... We were in charge of it, so we had to wake up early to bake potatoes and make meatballs. It was pleasingly delicious, and we accompanied it with a fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, and mango, then finished it off with a cake with BLUE icing from the Elders. My mouth was blue for the rest of the day to give you an idea of the incredible blueness of this pastry.

The elders in Jarabacoa are Elders Memmott and Henriques... E. Memmott is from Provo, Utah and Henriques is from Jamaica. It´s interesting to have all English speakers. We try to use spanish as much as possible though.

We have one investigator with a baptismal date named Britany. She´s 15 years old and knows SO much about the gospel. Her testimony is amazing. She is one of those people that makes the missionary feel like the investigator. For example, we were talking about faith with out works is dead. She said that she knew that to be true, because one day she was in the shower and the water ran out and she was praying that the water would come back, when the thought came to her mind that she had to act. She decided to search for water and she found an extra bucket of water sitting beside the shower. She knew she had to search and act to be able to have an answer to her prayer. It´s a simple story, but I really felt the spirit as I listened to her testimony. She´s getting baptized on August 1.

WE HAVE HOT WATER!!!!! I know that that´s not something THAT big when it´s a normal thing, but after 9 months of cold bucket showers, I was really happy to find that our apartment has the rare commodity of hot water. It´s handy because I am currently in one of the ¨Colder¨ areas of the DR.

Well I´m running out of time... Got lots to do! Love you all and miss you all!

Hermana Twiner

Marriage, pioneers, baptisms, and WHAT???? Goodbyes???

So the marriage was a success!!!!!!! We ran out of the internet center to go to Jose and Pola`s marriage. Hermana Gonzalez my trainer came as well, and it was awesome to see her! 
That night we had the pioneer activity.... super successful! Everyone loved it! We had a dance, 3 legged race, tug of war, and of course the legendary stick pull... The bishop and another brother broke the stick. At the end of an activity we found a mouse in the chapel and Elder Ramirez killed it by stepping on it. THEN someone put it in the trashcan without us knowing, so you can imagine how wonderful the chapel smelled two days later.
Saturday we had the baptisms. ´Jose was so funny... He said, ¨Hermana Twiner, I am excited today because I won´t be a dry mormon anymore!¨ Mariela had done Pola´s hair in a cute fishtale braid. We had lots of people come support them.

Monday we had a service with the Mao 1 elders to take down an old fence at a members house. There were ants. Everywhere. That bite. I still have bumps all over my arms and legs.

Tuesday we went to the rest home as a zone and helped out for an hour before sitting down together to find out tranfers. They said that I was going to Jarabacoa!!!! I knew I was going because I already had so much time there, but I couldn´t believe it!

So now I am here in Jarabacoa... In the mountains with Hermana Kellogg! I only have 2 hours or so here, so I´ll tell you more about it next week!

Love yáll!!
Hermana Twiner

Super Quick Note (July 8)

Hey so I don´t have much time today... Jose and Pola are getting married at 3 and afterwards I have to run and get everything ready for the activity. 

But Jose and Pola had their baptismal interview last night and both are ready! I´m getting a little frustrated though with their baptismal records because niether of them knows their birthdays... I looked at Jose´s ID but Pola left hers at the house. 

this is the last week of the transfer... So it´s possible that I won´t be in Mao next week... (bursts out crying.) We´ll see what happens!

sorry I didn´t have a ton of time!
love you all!
Hermana twiner

Rest Homes, Chocolate Oatmeal, and Marriages (July 1)

Ok so I think I might be getting better at titling my emails... Or maybe not. 

We have a new Mission President, President Castillo, who is from here in the DR. I haven´t met him yet, as he got here yesterday, but I am looking forward to seeing him. I´ll definitely miss the Douglas´s and all that they did for me at the start of my mission and throughout the rest, but I´m trying to be positive and see what the Lord has in store for us with the new President.

Ok so the rest home...
We went with the Elders yesterday to help with the Mao rest home. I took pictures, but I am in the library right now and they don´t allow us to connect anything to the computers.
We cleaned the sidewalks and grass before talking with the people there. They are so cute and funny... Elder Ramirez was talking with a lady named Blanquita who called him her boyfriend, and I talked to a woman named Ana who was telling me about her plans to get married and run off to New York. (Dominicans think that the US is New York... I have to explain to several times a week that the US is WAY bigger than New York.) 
Overall I loved the service. The workers recieved us really well and we actually managed to get a few contacts. I hope to do it again before transfers!

Chocolate oatmeal...
We get our support money to buy groceries and such every 15 days or so. Not sure what happened, but somehow every one of us in the house managed to spend all our money and eat all of our food. We had to get really creative with our food. 
I had oatmeal, but no milk or sugar. So what did we do? Hermana Nauca gave me a little bit of Nesquick and we made CHOCOLATE OATMEAL! really tasty and easy to make. 
We got our money yesterday and bought food today... I made sure to buy Nesquick and oatmeal .

Jose and Pola are FINALLY getting married! We´ve been planning their marriage and baptism since March and it´s FINALLY happening! It´s really a blessing that our bishop is a lawyer, who has helped us so much with the process.
They were going to be married this Friday, but we had a little hiccup with the date, so now they are going to be married one week from today on the 8th and baptized on the 11th... Please pray that everything turns out!!!!

Honestly this last week flew by faster than ever... A week used to seem like forever to wait to talk with my family, but now it seems like I log off and then log back on. I can´t believe how fast this transfer is going by... And it´s the longest transfer that I´ll have in my mission! 
I love you all and hope that everything is going well in your lives. You are always in my prayers.

Fe en cada paso
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

Another Week (June 17)

Hey guys!
So this last week was FILLED to the brim! We are trying to work more with members...last week wasn´t that great, as we only had 4 lessons with member, but somehow we managed to fit in 18 lessons without a member??? Plus a few with less actives and a couple hours of service...

So this last weekend we had to help the elders out because they ran out of money and their gas tank was empty, so we cooked for them two days in a row. The first day we did a prank when we threw them the keys from the balcony to let them up... I put them in a bucket and Hermana Ramirez was recording their reactions as I threw them down... The elders jumped back, because I´m still infamous for dumping a bucket of water on Elder Garcia back in December. 
The next day They just passed by to pick up the food. While we were talking Elder Huertas put down the food on a shelf in the garage and I hid it behind a box. After like 5 minutes they realized it was gone, and they began searching wildly for it, thinking that someone had stolen it. Hermana Ramirez and I were watching them, laughing our heads off... I got all the blame, so I´m watching my back everywhere I go!

Monday I was able to go to Puerto Plata with Hermana Mateo, Elders Huertas and Whitworth, and some future missionaries from Mao 1 Ward to get our teeth checked... STILL CLEAN! I still have my perfect record of NOT having cavities! We arrived at the chapel in a ruta, or a dominican version of a taxi. Basically you fit 7 people in a normal 5 person car. It´s normally not a big deal, except we were squished in there for no less than 1 HOUR! Elder Huertas got a wisdom tooth pulled... ouch. There were several members of the church from the USA who were asking me about my mission, and I even had to translate for a few of them while they were doing work... It was a little hard because I´m not that familiar with dental terms in Spanish! 
We were there a little longer than we were thinking... We got out of the church at 2ish then headed to eat some food. I got to see the ocean! I´ve been on this island for more than 9 months and I´ve seen the ocean like 3 times... Someday, maybe after my mission, I´ll be at the beach. 

Yesderday was our last zone conference with President and Sister Douglas  It was awesome though... President made us all smoothies and then we had pizza and chocolate mint cake for lunch! I was really happy! 
I´m going to miss Pres and Sister Douglas, but I´m excited to meet our new president, President Castillo. He´s Dominican, and doesn´t know English, so that will be interesting. But I know that he´s what the Lord needs for this mission at this moment. He´s arriving June 30.

Well, I love you all very much and hope that this week is the best ever! You are always in my prayers! 
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

How to know your mission president is awesome

Hola Familia (June 10)

So today is a big day! Today marks my halfway mark of my mission! Sorry in advance for the terrible punctuation and grammar... Still not accostomed to spanish computers. 

I am in Santiago right now because today was our special Santiago PDAY! I am on companionship exchanges right now with Hermana Ramirez from Guatemala,and my companion is in the house with Hermana Mateo. 

This week was a little interesting... We had 6 NEW INVESTIGATORS!!!! We have also gotten a few more references and everyone is doing great. 

SAD NEWS... The Villanueva family told us yesterday that they are going to Venezuela to visit Angela's family and don't know when they will come back... They are leaving on Sunday so I am almost certain that this will be GOODBYE. I've been feeling a little emotional for the last little bit because I love that family so much, and I have been with them since the start of my mission. 

So I have had the idea of having a pioneer activity with the 2 wards for a while now, and it's finally coming true!! I mentioned it to my District leader, Elder Rodas, who thought it was awesome. Then I talked to my Zone leader,  who also thought it was awesome, so we had a joined meeting with the bishops of our wards. 
We are going to be teaching the Nauvoo round dance and the Highland Fling, while I play the fiddle. We are also planning on cooking over a fire and making homemade butter. (Elder Whitworth suggested that we go REALLY pioneer and burn buffalo chips, so I put him in charge of finding a place in the DR that rents buffalos.)
But yeah... We are going to make this a BIG event... Bishop Garcia is even going to print big posters to hang in the city. The activity is going to be called "Fe en cada paso," or "Faith in every footstep." I feel that this is going to be an awesome and spiritually uplifting activity.

On Sunday my companion and I went to Sabaneta so she could recieve her patriarcal blessing. I waited with Hermanas Frostand Zegarra while she recieved it. Afterwards we went and ate at the Hermana's house... We made spaghetti with salami (You have to understand that we are poor and salami is a staple here in the DR... A typical DR dish is rice, eggs and salami.) And pudding! 
I fell asleep on the way home... My companion told me that she would pay my ticket both ways, so I didn't worry about it. When we were walking home, my companion stopped and shouted... I DIDN'T PAY OUR PASSAGE!!!!
She had fallen asleep as well, and we were both so sleepy that we didn't even remember the man's face. He hadn't said anything, so we totally forgot! I told my companion that I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a sin...

Overall things are going wonderfully and I am loving my mission... I'm a little scared that I only have left what I have already done! I look forward to seeing you guys, so I am going to be working harder than ever these next 9 months!

Les quiero muchisimo! Usted son los mejores! La iglesia es verdadera!
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

Seeing the Lord's Hand in Mao (June 3)

Ok so after the baptisms of Jimmy and Ricardo back in April I´ve been having a hard time because it seemed like NO ONE was progressing. Our mission president has prohibited contacting, so we can only work with references. The only problem with that is, is that we hardly EVER get references! 

Well, it began when the sisters from Mao 1st ward (I am in Mao 2) gave us a reference for a lady who shared once with them and REALLY wanted us to come visit her in her house. Her name is Sofi. We went and she said that she´s really interested, but doesn´t want to be pushed into anything. Step by step.

The next day we left the house in the morning at 10.30. I was a little in a hurry because we left later than we wanted. Well, it turned out to be ok because a lady stopped us in the street. Here´s the conversation...

Lady... ¨You guys are missionaries for the Mormon church?¨
Us... ¨Yes...¨
Lady... ¨Hi. My name´s Dulce Maria. I want you to come work with my family. We want to all be baptized as soon as possible.¨
Us... ¨..................¨

We couldn´t believe our ears! I was a little skeptical because it all seems too incredible. She gave us her address and number as well.

We looked her up that same afternoon. It took an hour and a half to find it, and we were with Jimmy and Ricardo. We found it and she comes around the corner and was like ¨Ah, my daughters! Come in!¨ She gave us water and we asked her how she came to know the church. 

She said that she has a daughter who lives in Sweden who is LDS and a niece who lives in Brazil who is SUPER proud of being Mormon. 

BUT the thing most amazing is, is that SHE HAS READ THE BOOK OF MORMON ALL THE WAY THROUGH AND KNOWS THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD. She said that before it wasn´t her time, but now it is.


They all accepted the baptismal invitation, we just have to put a specific date, which we are doing tomorrow. 

They all came to church on Sunday! Wooo! We had 8 investigators and 4 less actives!

EVEN MORE... Dulce Maria is now giving us REFERENCES! What?! We´ve known her for 4 days and she´s already doing more for the work than 95% of the members here! 

We´ve also recieved 2 references from our zone leader... One of them is a woman who speaks english! Now I have to remember how to teach in English... haha.

Anyways... I know that the Lord is unfolding a great work here in Mao. Please pray for these people. Everyone needs the gospel. All it takes is a desire from one person to share the gospel, and after that it is an unending chain. We are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. 

Con muchisisisimo amor,
Hermana Twiner

Transfers!!!!! (May 20)

So as many of you know, I´ve been in Mao for quite at time now. Mao was an awesome place to begin my mission, and the thought of leaving it was really sad. Yesterday we had our transfer meeting,  and I am pleased to say that... I am staying. 9 months out of 18 in my first area? Not bad!

We are planning another baptism in June! It´s Edward... He hadn´t been to church because of work, but now he has a new work that allows him to go to church. Pray that all goes well! 

I got sick this last weekend... We didn´t go out on Saturday, but the elders came by to give me a blessing and my spirits were instantly uplifted. Apparently I looked like a zombie because Elder Rodas was like ¨Whoa... Who are you and what did you do with Hermana Twiner?!¨ I was feeling better Sunday morning, but was SUPER tired, to the point of nearly falling down when I got up in the morning. So we had to stay home from church as well. Monday I was nearly 100% better. I still have a slight cough when I get out of breath or thirsty, but other than that, Hermana Twiner is back!

Before transfers I realized how much I love the people here, and how close I´ve gotten to some of them. The bishop said that he would pray that I would stay, as well as many investigators. It´s wonderful to have people to care for you... like when I was sick... Everyone was asking if there was anything to do to help... I just had a cold! I´ve never had so many people care so much. I love being here in Mao.

Well, I hope everything is well with everyone!
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner
¨The Mao Immortal¨

Quick Note (May 6)

I really don´t have a lot of time this week, but here´s something....

My birthday was sunday... 20 years! The elders threw me a surprize party on Saturday, which was awesome. They made me eat 3 pieces of cake.

This morning we got locked in the church. We entered, and the person there didn´t know we were there, so he locked us in. The elders that came didn´t have the keys and had both cell phones, so we just sat there talking through the window for 45 minutes.

I made a lemon cake that was really tasty... I´d call it a success.

Sorry I don´t really have time today, but everything is going wonderfully here in Mao. The investigators are all wonderful and we are working hard. Love you all!

Hermana Twiner