Monday, April 28, 2014

My camera died!

La Vov√≥. She is almost completely blind, but she is one of the funniest people I have met in Uruguay!

The Frog!

Dear Familia,

This week I am going to start with the funny stories:

-We went on divisions with a couple of sisters who live in Rivera Chico. All day was an interesting experience. Highlights include:

Visting an investigator with a recent convert who started the conversation in the following manner ¨Are you the daughter of the frog?¨ To my surprise, she responded ¨Yes, how did you know?¨  Apparently it was her father´s nickname. Getting yelled at by two very large Brazilian women in Portuguese. Eating pizza...made of fish (I actually wasn´t aware that you could make fish pizza, but I am continually amazed at what people invent!) All in all, I loved visiting, but I always miss being in my area!

-Getting told by an old lady...¨Humans don´t know how to be kind, but animals are different. Dogs are better than the Christians.¨ Yes, she is a member.

-Watching the two elders in our ward try and handle all of the crazy kids in our Family Home Evening. The Elders tried to start with a game...it was complete chaos (something about 15 kids below he age of 10)! I on the other hand, thrive on chaos and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

-Watching a group of five Uruguayan Teens singing karaoke One Direction in English. They all have pretty good pronunciation...you can all see the videos when I get home.

Now for the Spiritual things that happened this week:

-This week was a week of miracles. Raul, an 84 year old investigator, that we found last week accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 10th of May. He approached us and said hi, and it has been a whirlwind since that moment. He accepted our invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ. He has listened to everything and already attended church twice. He says that he feels that it is the true Church and he is excited to be baptized! He has literally been the golden investigator!

-We visited a less active youth. In all of my 6 months here she has never attended. This week we went a husband and wife and they told her how much they loved her and wanted her to come back. To our surprise, at 10 am she and her boyfriend appeared in the church! I honestly almost couldn´t believe it! I know that now is the time for members and missionaries to work together. President Monson, our prophet, has invited us to work together! I know that when we follow his counsel, we will begin to experience miracles!

-This week we had 102 people come to sacrament meeting. When I arrived in Rivera, our base attendance was 54. The goal of the mission is to double our wards and our Bishop has been working so hard to help us complete this goal! We haven´t doubled, but we have seen so much growth! I honestly have seen so many miracles in my time here in Rivera! I know that the Lord is hastening His work! Now is the time for us to find and bring people to Christ. I love being a missionary and having the opportunity to be a part of this great work!

I hope that you all have a great week! I love you all lots and I will talk to you all after transfers...all of you can send your guesses!
Love,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Lice Update!

Dear Familia,

It has been another interesting week...I think that I will be saying that until the end of the mission :D! It seems like we are once again free of lice...I feel like I should just start a little section of my letter called ¨The Lice Update¨ that way, it will save time. Luckily we are once again free! I think I will be battling this problem until I leave Rivera!

This week was a super special week. This week was Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is the time that we have to really celebrate the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I want to share my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ suffered for me. That He loved me enough to die on the cross (something I still don´t understand). I also know that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that He lives! This is the real reason that we celebrate Easter. We celebrate that Jesus Christ lives and the joyful news that we too will live again!

I also had an absolutely amazing and somewhat different experience this week. One morning I was contemplating all the things that I have experienced on the mission and I was thinking about how many times I have felt the Spirit of the Lord guiding my steps. I was pondering on all of the times I felt the Lord specifically guiding me and how I would love to experience a strong, clear impression from the Lord.  Later that same day, at 7:30 pm we left with one of the youth from our ward, to visit some less actives and some investigators...and absolutely every plan failed. We were standing in the street trying in vain to think of who we needed to visit and where we needed to go. It was in this moment that Hermana Ramirez said: ¨We need to pray, now!¨ and she invited the youth to offer the prayer. She offered a simple prayer asking God that He would help us to know where we needed to go.  Afterwards we stood for about 30 seconds. The youth looked at Hermana Ramirez, Hermana Ramirez looked at me. I had a strong feeling that we should visit a less active sister who lived nearby...it was a little weird because I have never actually visited this sister and I hadn´t ever really thought much about her. So we started walking and as we started down a hill, we met up with a different less active sister. We have never been able to find her before, because she works like crazy.  We were able to have a super great lesson with her in the street. We all felt the Spirit so strong and we invited her to come back to church! As we finished up with her another hard to find less active approached. We had another Spirit filled lesson. It was such a great experience for me. I truly believe that God put people in our path. I know that God hears and answers prayers. Not only prayers, but He was aware of me and my desires. I know that as I trust in Him, He will bless me and help me!

Funny stories:

-Hermana Ramirez loves to mess with Gael (the three year old son of Luciana and Daniel). This week we were in the church building and Gael had a little chocolate candy in his hand. Hermana Ramirez reached over and stole it out of his hand. He immediately made eye contact with her and yelled ¨That is not just!¨ I almost died...

-We asked an older sister what she understoood for the word faith. She responded...¨faith is ...faith is....clean....sweet....¨ She continued for about 2 or 3 minutes more describing the word faith... Definitely a different description than we normally receive.

That is all I have time for this week! I love you all!
Love,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stake Conference...

Dear Family,

Sorry this is going to be short this week....you actually all wrote me, so I don´t have as much time to write a general email!!!

This week was crazy. Firstly...THEY have returned! And by THEY, I am obviously talking about the lice! Hermana Ramirez decided that we were going to do a little service. We decided to get rid of the lice of one little girl from our ward who is going to get baptized this next week!  So we went and...I have never in my whole life seen so many lice!  Every time we pulled one of the lice combs through her hair it pulled about fifty bugs...not little eggs, full grown, crawling, blood sucking bugs! So Hermana Ramirez and I pulled out and destroyed about a thousand....Needless to say, we felt a little itchy after all of this. When we got home, we started to run the lice combs (thank you Mom!) through our own hair...I almost died. We managed to pull out several bugs out of each of our heads and then we took showers with the anti lice shampoo. It seems like it will be a battle for the next while with us! Please pray for us....

Secondly, we had Stake Conference and our interviews with President Smith this last week! So, in reference to stake conference, Hermana Ramirez and I got asked to speak for ten minutes in the Saturday Session. Of course, you all know me....and my horrible stage fright.  So I was feeling a little apprehensive about our talks all week. When Saturday arrived we got to Stake Conference and only the Chapel was full...so I was feeling a little more relieved! I just forgot one little detail...everyone in Uruguay is chronically late... I got up to give my talk and saw that the chapel was full, and then a whole basketball court full of chairs, and then some more chairs on the stage behind the basketball court...I think my heart stopped! The good news is I started and I didn´t seem to have too many problems, until the end. In my worry to conjugate all of the verbs right and express myself in my best Spanish, I forgot to say finish my testimony with (¨In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen¨). I just kind of stopped and walked away...whoops! Talking in front of groups of people was never really my forte!

I also got to have my interview with President Smith. It was all really good and he told me that he is proud of my work here in Rivera, but he believes that it is time for a change...I think I will be leaving Rivera at the next transfers in three weeks! We will have to see what happens...I am starting to feel nervous about a new comp and a new area!

Well I love you all lots and I know that this gospel is true! I am loving having the opportunity to share the gospel. This week when I was reading Preach My Gospel, I came to better understand that we are successful missionaries, when we feel the Spirit. I feel humbled and grateful to be able to feel the Spirit every day as I testify of the truthfulness of this gospel!

Love,
Hermana McMurray

Monday, April 7, 2014

THE SUPERBOWL...For Missionaries!

Dear Familia,

This week was...AWESOME! It was the superbowl...for missionaries, aka General Conference! I am not going to lie, I was thrilled to get to watch all the sessions (and the bonus was that we got to watch it all in English)! So there were so many good parts...which should I share :D! I was thinking a little about my preparation before conference this year. This time I pondered and thought of three questions  that I really wanted to receive answers for during conference. So I wrote them down in my notebook and waiting anxiously for conference to begin. What happened during conference was amazing! I always have heard that you can receive direct answers during conference, but I have never received such clear responses! There were three separate talks that each specifically answered my three questions! During the conference I felt so sure that God is mindful of me. Even if I am little and I don´t speak too much spanish, and I make lots of mistakes, God is so aware of me, that He inspired three separate speakers to answer my questions! I felt so humbled and so loved! I have a strong testimony that God loves me and that He is always listening to my prayers! I know that this Gospel is true and that I will always receive answers to my prayers!

Fun stories of the week:

-It is official we have gotten rid of our plague of lice! You never know what you will experience when you go on the mission, but I am pretty sure that every missionary prays they won´t get lice! I am glad we already passed through this trial...hopefully never to repeat it :D!

-I got to give some presentations in front of the whole Zone...not that I suffer from stage fright or anything...but I suffer horribly from stage fright! I am always in awe of Dad, who can stand up in front of tons of people without blinking an eye and give an amazing talk. I, on the other hand, am lucky if they don´t have to cart me out on a stretcher! The good news is that I didn´t throw-up (it was a close call :D)! At least I am done with presentations for this week!

-I went on divisions and stayed in another area for a day this week!  The best part was when I got back, my whole area was shocked to see me! My companion told everyone in our area that I had an emergency change and had to leave for Montevideo....She didn´t correct it either...All Sunday I had to tell people, ¨No, I didn´t change companions...No I ´m not leaving Rivera.¨ My companion is a jokester!  I think you would all love her!

Well that is it for this week! I encourage everyone to send me your favorite quote from conference for the next week! I would love to hear about your favorite talks and about your studies from Preach My Gospel!

I love you all lots!
Love,
Hermana McMurray