Monday, February 29, 2016

Semana 12 - Email

Hola amigos y mi familia,

Martes 2/23
The highlight of the day was that Omari's father, Omar, accepted baptism and their set date together is now March 17th! In the evening we had a hard time because Victor, who is so ready for the gospel and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, suddenly didn't have a desire to fast with us to confirm a baptismal date. We are hopeful to be able to continue to work with him and it will be okay.

Miercoles 2/24
Today we were sad about Victor, but we worked through the day and we felt better and kept working. During morning studies I said a little prayer that I'd find something to help me feel better and I flipped randomly to Alma 26:31, and it was the perfect scripture! It was a nice little tender mercy and answer to my little prayer that I found it, especially because it wasn't even highlighted.

Jueves 2/25
Today most of our appointments canceled, but we were able to visit people, do service for Lucy, and teach a lesson to one of the Elders' investigators, Justin (the Elders were at Mission Leadership Conference (MLC) for the day). We had a great dinner with the Gonzales family and we shared about the importance of family history work and temple work. I am really grateful for my trainer and all the love she has for me. She's given me phone duty to make most of the Spanish phone calls (which is really hard), but she pushes me just enough that I can surprise myself and improve everyday.

Viernes 2/26
Today we went to "Return and Report", a meeting for all the brand new missionaries (greenies) to receive a special training. I learned new things about how to extend commitments with more power and to better understand our purpose of teaching repentance and baptizing converts. We also were surprised with a temple trip! It was my first time going to the Boston temple, and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was definitely my favorite trip.

Sabado 2/27
Today we visited Shannon and her family. They are english speaking investigators that live in Peterborough, so we don't get to visit them much. Their children were the sweetest and so happy and well-behaved and they had a wonderful spirit in their home. I am so grateful and excited for them to continue to meet with the elders and receive the restored gospel. The drive out there was absolutely beautiful and I really just felt in love with my mission area.

Domingo 2/28
Today was a wonderful Sabbath. We had a mission-wide fast for our investigators and family members of missionaries with health issues. I was able to understand almost everything in Spanish at church! We also made new monthly goals and I am excited to get more prepared for the week tomorrow.

Hoy 2/29
Today we got a lot of cleaning and errands done and we visited a member named Garabed. He went with us to get pizza for lunch at this little place on main street that he says has been there since the 60's. It was supposed to be just like NY pizza, and it was really the best I've had!

I look forward to this next week. Thank you for all the love and support every week!
Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio

NOTE from Mom:  She sent me NO PHOTOS to share this week :( 
I don't know if she just ran out of computer time to send them to me, 
or if she has slowed at taking them. I'm hoping to get a lot more pics next week!

I did get this very sweet and unexpected Email
from Hermana Rubio's companion though:

Dear Sister Rubio,
Thank you for the sweet card that you sent for Valentine's day. It was so cute. Thank you for sending your amazing daughter on a mission (I know it is a hard thing to do), but she is changing lives out here. She may not notice it, but she has had such a wonderful impact on Nashua. Thank you for raising such a wonderful young woman. She is obedient, faithful, and diligent. I imagine she learned it from the example of her parents.
Thank you again for the lovely card!
Hermana Parke

Monday, February 22, 2016

Semana 11 - Photos (and another Email!)

 Comida Dominicana!! (Dominican food!)

Hermana Rubio sent the following Email (along with the last two photos above) to her parents and grandparents only. The subject of the Email was this:

Family History Work is Missionary Work!

Hola familia!
The past few weeks seem to have a common theme every day of the importance of doing family history and I realized something important. I remember after being set apart to be a missionary, thinking that he must've forgotten to bless me with the gift of tongues, since I'm learning a language. In the MTC, Hermana Jensen said that maybe I didn't need it. This week made me remember that I have been blessed with the spirit of Elijah, and I know that through THAT gift, I've been given so much help in learning Spanish. Family history work really is so important, and I've been filling out my "My Family" booklet and inviting lots of our members and investigators do the same.

To help me finish it, could each of you write and send stories and/or memories of each of your parents and grandparents? Thank you so much and I'm excited to read! Les quiero!

Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio

NOTE from Mom:  Needless to say, reading what she wrote about her Dad and I had me in tears! Being able to read her own words describing what she thinks of us, her parents, means so much to me! Thank you sweet daughter :)

(click on the photo to see it large enough to read).

Semana 11 - Email

Buenos días!

Martes 2/16
We visited some people, one of which is a member named Lucy. She's a single mother with two sons that have psychological struggles, but she is so strong even though she deals with so much. We went over planning to organize a couple of her rooms and she was feeling really stressed and achy and down. After some time of talking to her, she decided to instead dress us up in some of her beautiful traditional clothing and we took pictures together and she danced for us. Later that evening we stopped by again and she was in MUCH better spirits and I was so glad to be able to see what a real difference our visit had made for her. Later she told the elders how much she appreciated us coming over and bringing a happy spirit to her. Service comes in different forms.

Miércoles 2/17 
(I could write my whole email on this day and Saturday)
Today was an adventure. We fasted for a baptismal date for Victor, and our fast seemed to bless us in other unexpected ways. In the middle of our morning studies we got a visit from the carpet cleaning person, and he had so much to say about religion and what we were doing as missionaries. We were really kind with him, and told him some of our beliefs that could comfort him in his existential concerns. Then he dumped the gross dirty carpet water into one of our sinks and a toilet, and the toilet for some reason got clogged and overflowed my companion's bathroom with the dirty water. He apologized all over the place and cleaned it up for us. He noted how calm and nice we were and said that the worst thing about us missionaries is that you never get to see them again. We lightly said he could go to church and see them all the time and he laughed. It was an interesting and unexpected lesson. In the evening we went to Margarita's with the Portuguese elders so that they could move furniture that she bought and we could translate. We got two new investigators (the people she bought furniture from), and I listened to a lot of Portuguese and learned a few things. I felt more comfortable with Spanish by the end of the night also.

Jueves 2/18
Victor accepted fasting with us about being baptized on March 23rd!

Viernes 2/19
In the morning we had a fantastic district meeting and I went on exchanges for the first time with Sister Cruz, an STL for our zone. She is from Brazil, so her first language is Portuguese and she learned English on the mission, and can speak a lot of Spanish. This is her last transfer, so she has about 20 days left on her mission. In the evening we contacted someone named Ava Molina, had a nice little lesson with her, and she became a new investigator!

Sabado 2/20
I wrote about 3 pages in my journal about this day. So much happened, but the most important thing is that Omari accepted to be baptized. We were just going to share a little message, but Hermana Parke said that during the closing prayer she felt that we needed to teach lesson 3 and extend a baptismal date to Omari right there. She looked at me after the prayer and lightly kicked me under the table and turned to Omari telling her (in english) that we love her and we, as missionaries have a purpose in visiting and teaching her and her dad. She kicked me again and I knew that meant she wanted me to teach lesson 3 by explaining our purpose and extending a baptismal date. We hadn't yet discussed a date, so my trainer was really putting a lot of trust in me. In about 2 minutes I was able to teach and extend her the invitation to be baptized on March 19th. She accepted! Later Hermana said that she was relieved because that was the same date she had in mind and was grateful we followed the spirit.

Domingo 2/21
Omari was able to come to church!

Hoy 2/22
We're reading out loud as much as we can out of el Libro de Mormón en Spanish during our p-day that we don't spend emailing or getting milk.

This week I feel like I'm truly pushing forward with the work and I am very excited about everything in store for this area in the next few months!

Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio

Monday, February 15, 2016

Semana 10 - Photos

 Valentine's gifts left anonymously on their doorstep!

 Someone love us!! Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Eve selfie.

(For my sister Isabelle) #MERICA #NH #LiveFreeOrDie

Semana 10 - Email

I've had a great week, tomorrow I will have been on my mission for 2 months!
Happy late Valentine's Day!

Martes 2/9
Today we visited a reference we were given at the hospital. It was a woman named Tracy, and her husband Gene was there and they were both very open to hear our message when they get home. We have a member that is a nurse there and she said that every time this woman comes in they end up talking a whole bunch about church. The spirit was strong as we visited them, and we told Tracy and Gene that our purpose is help others to come unto Christ and Tracy immediately said "I'm ready". They're english-speaking, so the elders will probably end up teaching them in the next week or two, but the experience was really encouraging and exciting. That evening we surprise-visited one of our investigators, Angelica, for her birthday. She was so grateful and we were really happy because we haven't been able to get a hold of her for a week or two. We set up an appointment to have dinner with her at a member's house and teach a lesson there.

Miércoles 2/10
We had a couple of appointments cancel, so we called and visited different less-active members throughout the day and we went to the Blanchette's (they are moving) on more than one occasion to work.

Jueves 2/11
Today I had my first zone conference in Cambridge. It took up most of the day, but I learned so much and took a lot of notes. In the evening we had dinner with the Gonzales family, and it was my first completely spanish-speaking dinner with members.

Viernes 2/12
Today was great despite a couple of cancelations we had and how cold it was (seriously, though, we woke up and checked the weather on our phone and it was -11 degrees outside! lol, How do you not dress like an eskimo?). In the evening we had dinner with Angelica at a member, Raquel's house. We gave a lesson after dinner on family history work and our reasons for doing it. Raquel bore a strong testimony on temple work for our ancestors. It was a fantastic introduction to temples for Angelica!

Sabado 2/13
Today was a long and very enlightening day. We visited Sister Ricks in the morning and helped her do dishes and talked to her about sentimental things she had from her mother who recently passed away. She shared so much wisdom with us, and she gave me a beautiful old honey jar for collecting pennies. In the evening we had dinner with the Smith family and we shared a message about journal writing and family history. I felt so much comfort today from my personal family history and the ability I've had to improve in my Spanish every day.

Domingo 2/14
In the evening we taught Victor a lesson about receiving revelation, and we introduced fasting, Doctrine & Covenants, and we read Alma Ch. 7 with him. He is progressing really well, and this weekend we hope to fast with him on a baptism date.

Today I was in awe of the amazing people around me. I feel that this weekend I've finally begun to feel more comfortable with Spanish and visiting people. I've learned so much so far and I've had some amazing experiences already, but dressing differently, speaking a language I'm still learning, and trying to remember so many names and faces of people I just met is, all in all, an uncomfortable experience. I know that real growth does not happen in the comfort zone. As I've accepted the discomfort, I've felt more able to be myself and I've felt more like a real missionary (not just someone following my awesome companion everywhere). My first transfer is almost to it's halfway point and I feel so blessed to have this as my first area. I love my training companion Hermana Parke.

Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio

Monday, February 8, 2016

Semana (week) 9 - Photos

 Roses given to the Hermana's from church members
(an early Valentine's gift).

A pic with their roses.

 Another flower pic from Hermana Parke's phone.

 Last photo with their lovely roses.

 Heavy snowfall on the evening of 2/8/16 (Hermana Rubio 
says the storm got much worse after this photo was taken).

 A shot of the snow from Hermana Parke's camera.

 Hermana Rubio scraping ice from the car windshield.

 Loving those Spring Rolls...yum!

 The Chinese New Year celebration!!

Hermana's with their Chinese New Year dragons!

Semana (week) 9 - Email


Martes 2/2
Today was busy and I don't know if our numbers for the day reflect the hard work we got done. We did a lot of service for members and investigators. So many people we encounter have such unique and difficult circumstances. I feel like my eyes have been opened to the real world and real financial, physical, and emotional struggles people and families experience. I could write essays about each person and their incredible stories. I feel so grateful for my upbringing, that even though it wasn't always perfect, I was given innumerable blessings and an amazing family. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes a real difference in our lives.

Miercoles 2/3
Today was an abnormal mission day. My companion was up all night with the flu, so we postponed our appointments for tomorrow and didn't leave Clocktower. I did a lot of studying, made meals, and in the evening Hermana Parke and I talked and got to know each other better. It was a weird day, but I was given the opportunity to do service for my companion.

Jueves 2/4
Today was very productive, but I had my turn of being sick with the flu. We visited with the new mission leader for the Nashua Spanish group, Sister Candelario. We also cooked with Margarita. Margarita is a less-active member, and her son Omar and granddaughter Omari are two of our investigators. We weren't teaching a lesson, just building a stronger connection with Margarita so that she would feel more comfortable going to church. She made us amazing Dominican food, but I was feeling so sick and couldn't eat, and Margarita would not take no for an answer, so I hid in the bathroom for a few minutes to buy some time and we took the food home with us (a few days later I ate it and it was great). After that, we brought the Bishop's daughter to a lesson with an investigator, Daniel. Daniel is from Mexico and Hermana Parke and her last companion contacted him from one of the little Mexican markets close to Clocktower. He brought his cousin, Freddy, to the lesson, so we gained my first new investigator! Neither of them speak english, so at the end the Bishop's daughter gave her testimony in english and Hermana Parke translated. Even though our member present doesn't speak spanish, she was able to carry along enough that her testimony was exactly what the lesson needed and brought a strong spirit. During the lesson I forgot I was feeling so sick. We ended the evening with a great lesson with another investigator, Victor.

Viernes 2/5
Today we had my first zone meeting, and I was asked to play piano for it. The meeting was fun, and it was neat to see what great missionaries I have the privilege of working with. It snowed really hard, so after we got back to Clocktower, we got "red-dotted" (meaning we aren't allowed to drive) until later that evening. That evening we dropped off a Liahona to an investigator, Teresa.

Sabado 2/6
We had so much planned for today, so even though some of our appointments fell through we had a full day. We visited and helped a few less-active members throughout the day. In the evening we had dinner with the Sanchez family (members, not our Sanchez investigators) and they fed us miso soup and Vietnamese spring rolls!! It really reminded me of home and I was so grateful for it and for the opportunity to eat something different. We shared a message and left for another lesson with Victor. Victor travels back and forth between Mexico and the US and has been investigating for almost a year. He has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. I extended my first invitation in Spanish, inviting him again to be baptized and to go to church...kind of, lol. The words were right, but because in Spanish the difference between "Will you...?" and "You will..." is your tone of voice when you start the sentence as well as end it (that's why the question marks are in the beginning and end). Victor nodded but seemed a bit confused so we elaborated and and asked again if he'd go to church. I realized that I had actually told him "You will be baptized" and "You will go to church" and after the lesson it was very funny. That night Hermana Parke and I laughed about it and she said "Sister, we do not command others to come unto Christ." I had commanded him to be baptized and he was cool with it, lol. Fun story to tell of my first baptismal invitation, and my companion gave me nothing but love and praise, where I could have been more embarrassed by my mistake.

Domingo 2/7
Today so much happened that I don't really know how to go about explaining it all. I'll just share one experience. In the evening we taught another lesson to Victor, but we didn't know we would meet with him until the night before and he's had all of the lessons so we had nothing really planned going into it other than asking what he needs and following the spirit. As we talked to him at the start, I low-key looked though PME (Predicad mi Evangelio, Preach My Gospel) and LDM (Libro De Mormon, The Book of Mormon) and couldn't find anything. When the time came that he asked for tonight's message, Hermana looked at me and without thinking I opened up into one of my tabs to Moroni Ch. 6 and it was EXACTLY what we needed to teach and discuss. Many times I need to follow the spirit not through what I feel, but through just knowing what to do and doing it - actions and clarity. I'm so grateful to be learning so much how to discern what I am supposed to do.

Hoy 2/8
Happy Chinese New Year! One of the members made a big Chinese New Year meal for all of us missionaries with dumplings, chinese candies, money envelopes with $2 bills, decorations, homemade dragons for us to keep, etc. I'm so grateful to have such amazing and supportive members in our ward. I feel like I've written so much, but I left out so much, and it's only my first full week or two in the field. This mission is the craziest and hardest and best thing I've ever done.

Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio
1 Clocktower Place #128
Nashua, New Hampshire

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 8 - Photos

She was one of nine new Sisters and six new Elders to arrive at the
Massachusetts Boston Mission home on January 26th, 2016.

 Snowflakes in her hair (she's used to that now, lol).

Her apartment door!

 Meeting her new companion Hermana Parke.

 Hermana Rubio and Hermana Parke.

 Welcome to MBM Zion!
(Massachusetts Boston Mission)

 1 Clocktower Place
(her apartment building!)

View from behind the apartment building.

Week 8 - Email

Hola from my first area, Nashua, New Hampshire! I've had a really huge week and I have learned SO MUCH in such a short period of time about people and why I'm here.

Tuesday 1/26
It was a crazy day flying to Boston without much sleep. Everything worked out with the luggage and all my things. I arrived in Boston safely, met the Mission President, and was fed really well at President and Sister Miller's.

Wednesday 1/27
We got to go street contacting in a big park in Boston this morning! It was a very cool first experience as a missionary preaching the gospel in Boston. I learned a lot of things about New England, like how driving here is crazy. Coming from LA, I thought I could drive anywhere, but with so many narrow one-way roads I'm very grateful for GPS because we would definitely get lost. Gladly, I'll be training for my first 12 weeks, so I won't be able to drive until at least my third transfer. I was given my first companion, my trainer, Hermana Parke and I was assigned to serve in Nashua, New Hampshire. My trainer has been out for almost a year and is fluent in Spanish. She also has been in the area for 3 transfers, so I will probably be here for 3-5 as well.

Thursday 1/28
Today was my first full day in the field with Hermana Parke. I also got to meet the Bishop and get to know the two English Elders in the ward a little bit. The area I'm serving in is definitely Spanish. It's like a little piece of Mexico in southern New Hampshire. We have a Spanish group that meets at the building here in Nashua, about 50 people, but it doesn't have enough leadership to become a branch. We hope though, that this year it becomes a branch. There are many people in this area that really struggle financially. It's a beautiful place, but there are some rough neighborhoods that we don't go to at night graffiti'ed in Spanish. We met one less active family and had a lesson with an investigator fall through. I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much we have to do and how much Spanish I have to learn, but Hermana Parke has been so encouraging and says nothing but positive things about me and the work. I am so blessed.

Friday 1/29
Today really brought me out of my comfort zone and I had my first two lessons with real investigators in Spanish. It was very interesting and I just tried to have the mindset that if I was obediently present at these lessons and opening my mouth, Heavenly Father would help me to say the things I should. We also had our first district meeting.

Saturday 1/30
In the morning we taught a Spanish class at the church. We had our first lesson with the son and granddaughter of one of the members. They are Dominican, like many of the people we meet and teach. It was a great spirit-filled lesson, but it was also listening exercise for me because heavy Dominican accents are very hard to understand. They speak very quickly, and drop s's from their words. During a lesson a Catholic lady stopped my and yelled at us in Spanish about how our church was of the devil or something (I didn't understand all of it because she spoke quickly and angrily) but the son asked her to leave and seemed very annoyed. We were still able to have a great lesson because of the family's unwavering interest and my companion's strength in testifying in Spanish. The lesson ended powerfully. In the evening we attended a baptism for one of the Elders' investigators. Hermana Parke translated for the Spanish speakers and it went well. A few people have been happy to see me because they saw a post my mom put in the MBM facebook page of me and Hermana Jensen from the MTC. Everyone, English and Spanish, has been very welcoming and loving (and they make great food).

Sunday 1/31
I was introduced to the Spanish group and asked to give my testimony in Spanish sacrament meeting. Many times I have imagined myself to be able to bear my testimony fluently when I get home to the Barstow ward. I hadn't yet imagined bearing it in my first week in the field (not fluently, but as well as el don de lenguas allowed). It is such a special gift I've been given to be called to learn this language. If God knows that I am capable, then I must be. Nothing is more comforting than that.

It's been so neat and such a blessing to get to know and love the families here. Everyone has different challenges, some drastic and some not, and I had no idea how much missionaries got to know and help members in things they face. I've been given a really important job, and I am so grateful for it. This mission is definitely the craziest thing I've ever done, but I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be doing it. I love the people of New England.

Address of my first area:
1 Clocktower Place #128
Nashua, New Hampshire

Con Amor,
Hermana Rubio