Monday, September 26, 2011

Now in Laredo!

Hola from Laredo,

I have made it to Texas. I have been in Texas for about a week now!

I have already had my first taste of Tex-Mex. Both on the Tex end and on the Mex end. Last Monday when we arrived in McAllen we went to the President's house after a short meeting at the church first. There we had dinner, which consisted of BBQ ribs, brisket (still not a hundred percent sure what that is) and BBQ chicken, along with baked beans, cornbread, and pink lemonade. Now, really what sounds more Texan than that?

That night all the Elders spent the night at the apartments in McAllen and My companion and I spent the evening at the President's house. The next morning after breakfast the President sat us all down and presided to have us open a letter one at a time telling us where we were going and who was going to be our trainer. I am in Laredo with Hermana Sigler. She is a very efficient missionary, a well-seasoned missionary. I will actually be her last companion before she goes home. We are therefore, on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, the one thing we do have in common is that we are both new to Laredo.

There are many new things to learn, do, and apply in the mission field. I am trying to quickly use and apply all the new information I am receiving. Before my mission I thought I knew how to talk and relate with people but I am quickly learning how limited my people skills really are and trying to connect and ask good questions. A major question that we missionaries like to ask is what do the people need? The second question is what questions can we ask to help us find that information out. This is another concept that I thought I could do fairly well. 

Nevertheless, I am learning just how difficult figuring out needs and asking inspired but direct questions really is. I also find it hard to remember everyone's names and directions that they give me!! If anyone has suggestions on these questions please feel free to share. Don't worry, I am already praying really hard to do all these things but more prayers could never hurt. :)

I am getting to know the people here in Laredo. Many people that we have met work with the Border Patrol. Also, we have a baptismal date with a new investigator that we are teaching. We talked with his mom on Saturday night and she seemed interested in church as well. We are hoping to begin teaching her on Tuesday night. 

We are beginning to meet the branch in Laredo. On Saturday night the Relief Society had a dinner before the annual Relief Society Broadcast. For dinner I got to experience toastas with beans, chicken, and HOT Salsa. :)

English and Spanish are both very much used in our area. Lessons will go from English to Spanish and back again. It is hard to keep up but I am doing it. I had my first telephone conversation in Spanish. :) Everyone here is super nice and I see such strong examples of people searching for the gospel in their life. I love supporting the members in whatever it is that they need. I also love seeing an investigator understanding a gospel principle for the first time or when an investigator receives an answer to prayers.

I love you all and keep you all in my thoughts and in my prayers. 

Muchas Gracias,

Hermana Zani

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hermana Zani

On the way to my mission in Texas

I will soon be in McAllen. Here is my mailing address so you can send me cards and letters!
Hermana Rachel Arlene Zani
Texas McAllen Mission
200 W. La Vista Ave
McAllen, TX 78501-2131
Thank you,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Last Report from the MTC

Mis Queridos Amigos,

Hola!! This is my last letter from the MTC. It is hard to believe that my time at the MTC is coming to a close. I have mixed feelings about leaving. I am super excited for the next adventure and next step that I will take on this journey. However, on the other hand I feel a little sad to leave my wonderful district that I have grown so close to and things that are familiar to me.

For the last few years, Provo has been my home and the mountains that I see are the same mountains that I have seen everyday for the past six years. I think I will miss the mountains. There is something so comforting about the mountain here in Utah.

I am also filled with many questions such as: Do I know enough Spanish? Am I ready to be speaking Spanish all day everyday? (When I do this here at the MTC it is really hard :)) Do I have enough Gospel knowledge to teach the people of Texas and to bring them unto Christ? Where will my first assignment be in Texas?

One of our teachers here at the MTC was comparing out mission to our lives and the ups and downs, the hard times and the easy times and likens that unto real life. I think that all the questions that I have about Texas and my preparations are a lot like life. Hardly ever do I feel fully prepared for a major change without feeling a little anxiety about the unknown, but I always take the next step putting one foot in front of the other knowing that my faith is strong.

Yesterday, we had a devotional remembering 9/11. As part of the devotional we watched the Special Music and the Spoken Word performance with Tom Brokaw. I highly recommend seeing it if you can. I think there might be a link to it on I think 9/11 changed the lives of American's forever. I think as long as I live I will never forget exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing the moment I found out about the towers. How has your life changed because of 9/11?

Yesterday, I gave my first talk in church completely in Spanish. I spoke on the Holy Ghost and the importance of this great gift that God has given us. I think some of the best verses concerning the blessings of the Holy Ghost can be found in 2 Nephi 32:2-5. Oh I really did read all of those verses in my talk. I am sure that my Branch President was wiggling around in his chairs because of my lacking skills with pronunciation.

Also this past week on Tuesday we had a sister who will be serving as an American Sign Language Missionary sing and sign during our Fireside on Tuesday night. She was amazing and I am so glad that those people in this world who cannot hear will be able to hear her beautiful voice.

As my time draws towards a close here at the MTC I am thinking a lot about diligence and how to be more diligent with my studies. Think I will talk more about this subject next week. As my computer time is running towards an end.

I love you all. I miss you all. I pray for you all.

Hermana Zani

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week Seven at the MTC

"To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth." D&C 50 :14

Hola Mis Amigos,

I hope everyone is doing well? I miss you all and I pray and think about how everyone is doing, a lot! :)

This week I have thought much about the Elders and Hermanas in my district. I have thought about missionary work and the Elders in my district but also the Hermanas. We all come into the Missionary Training Center and within 9-12 weeks we are expected to go out into the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the Elders in my district have never left home, some have only finished one year of collage. Many have not even experienced life yet. Many have lived in the same place for their whole life and within a few short weeks they will be expected to live and work in a totally new environment. Many of the Elders in my district did not know what work meant until coming to the MTC. Many of the Elders in my district are 19 but when they are teaching and testifying, I forget about their age. Their testimonies of Jesus Christ and their love for our Father in Heaven shines through and they truly magnify their calling.

 In my room the other night we were talking about all the things we say in our language that we think make sense at the time but then only later do we realize that is not exactly what we meant to say. How is it then that this Gospel moves forward? This Gospel does not move forward because of the missionaries’ great knowledge in the doctrine or theological principles, nor does it move forward because of the missionaries’ great ability to speak the language. No, this only reason I am convinced that this Gospel moves forward is because it is the work of our Father in Heaven. All a missionary does is to invite others to come unto Christ to read the Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, to pray to our Father in Heaven and to find our for him/her self if these things are true.

The Holy Ghost bears witness to all people that "ask with a sincere heart, with real intent having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4) Along with the power and strength that lie within our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I have been thinking about humility again and the humility it takes to be a missionary. I have to have the Holy Ghost with me at all times to be my companion to guide and direct me during my mission with out the Holy Ghost in my life this work is hard and does not work. The Holy Ghost will guide and direct my life. How hard it is in my life to allow the Holy Ghost into my life and to change my heart and make it like his.

I hold on tightly not too tightly but a little more than I would like to my own control. How hard is it to stand tall knowing that Heavenly Father is my strength from which everything comes from but then working as though everything depends on me. This life is about balances and love. Both so needed but both hard to attain in their fullness because they require putting aside the natural man and following God.

I am so grateful for everything that the Lord has given me and I am grateful for you my friends and my family.

Hermana Zani