Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Changin' It Up in Woodside

Well I don't have a ton of time today so this will be quick.

How about that broadcast yesterday?? SO rockin' awesome. I feel SO blessed to be part of this great work right now. What a privilege! It makes me want to work harder to deserve such an honor.

Mom, I couldn't agree with you more. The best way to do missionary work is to love people. As long as you sincerely love people, and strive to live with charity in your heart, you will find that being a missionary just comes naturally. (I'm still working on this...).

President Packer claims he still has "much to learn"... In that case...I KNOW NOTHING.  My eyes have really been opened in the last 4 months to how much I DON'T know. And every moment out here is an opportunity to learn. Again, I feel so blessed to be a full-time missionary right now.

I've gained such a strong testimony of ward families and how absolutely VITAL ward support is in missionary work.

I'd like to take a second and just say that my ward mission leader is truly THE best. He was called just a couple weeks ago. He grew up here in Queens and converted to the church at age 16 (in the Woodside Ward!). He served a mission in the Idaho, Pocatello Spanish Speaking mission. And man, he just knows what's up. He's helped me progress as a missionary so much even in just the last two weeks. He makes everything seem doable, rather than overwhelming. He grew up in this ward, so naturally he knows how best to strengthen it and help the members involve themselves. I see a LOT of great things happening in this ward with him on board. WOOO!

Well...Now for the sad news, Sister van Langen is leaving us. :( I kind of saw it coming...she's been in this ward for 9 months. I'm so scared to do this without her here! Ahh... Heads up.  I'll need a lot of prayers this transfer. I know this transfer is going to be very different from the last two. It'll be really hard. REALLY hard...not living in the shadow of my far-more-qualified- trainer. But I know I need this. I feel like I'm ready to figure things out for myself. Ready-or-not-here-I-come!
I know that "it'll come when I start". Just like Boyd K. Packer said yesterday. If I just get STARTED the spirit will help me know what to do, even though I myself haven't a clue what I'm doing! So I'm just going to take a leap of faith this transfer and put it all on the table. So what that I'm unqualified! "When you're on the Lord's errand you're entitled to His help." With a LOT of hard work and complete trust in God, I'll make it.

Elder Nielson is out too. :( I've been with him EVERY SINGLE DAY for 4 months straight. He really is my mission twin. Haha. I'll miss seein' him around, but he's going change things for the better wherever he ends up.

And of course, Elder Heaps is out...Home to UT for him. Man, he's an incredible missionary. I hope I'll be half the missionary he is.

Onward and upward everybody! Look for ways to serve in your ward! Have you all done your visiting teaching? Home teaching? Visited someone? Go do it, if not... And encourage your other ward members to do the same.

Keep rockin' it wherever you are! Stay strong and keep the faith!

Hermana Tara Franklin

Here's some pictures.

Alexis is the Boy who refused to look at the camera. Haha. A 9 yearold recent convert we teach. :) Silly guy. He's so great.

A few last pictures of our district.

My trio and our ward Mission Leader & Wife, Brother and Sister San Martin!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Karaoke, and Lots of Love!

This week has been SO fantastic. It's hard to pin it on any one single event, but it just rocked for some reason.

We were able to meet with a LOT of people and most of our plans went through! Wooo!

One story I think everyone will appreciate:

We do service every Friday at a local senior citizen center. We serve food, help out in the kitchen, and get yelled at in Spanish frequently. Every week is pretty much the same and all the local elderly folk recognize us. It's great. Haha. This last Friday was fairly different from our usual experience...They had someone there running a Karaoke party! Well...Sister van Langen decided to deviously volunteer Sister Mann and I to sing a song. (Don't worry, they ended up making her sing too. Haha! Karma can sure bite ya, ehh, Sister van?) So to help you picture this, it was three Mormon sister missionaries wearing hairnets and disposable plastic aprons singing Amazing Grace with an 80 year old black lady named Gloria...to hundreds of senior citizens.  Yeah. That's right! Haha... Sometimes I just have to laugh at my life.  

Something else... We were looking up a family in a fairly large apartment complex, but the problem was we didn't have their apartment number. We felt pretty strongly that we should just go in and start searching even though that seemed like a pretty impossible task. As we wandered about for only a couple of minutes we faintly heard someone singing..." O, Elderes de Isreal con migo venid!"...(Ye Elders of Israel, join now with me). We followed the singing up the stairs and found the family we were looking for! Haha. Music has a crazy way of showing me the way. It's truly the language of my soul. :) 

We also had Patriarca Miranda (Patriarch Miranda) come and teach the spiritual thought at English Class this week. (I love English Class. It's a way to help people, teach the gospel and get people to the church building all in one evening!)  Patriarca Miranda is amazing. He taught a fantastic lesson about communication with our Heavenly Father and about the importance of "listening".

The truth is, I've never been very good at "listening”...to anyone, really, (Haha) particularly answers to prayers. I think sometimes I don't realize the answer to my prayer is right in front of my face. I'm just not looking for it. Heavenly Father is answering my prayers and I'm not "listening" for the answer. So my goal for the coming weeks is to really search through the resources that Heavenly Father has given to me that will help me find answers to my prayers. A good friend of mine, namely Jared Hassler, reminded me that there are 3 places I should always turn to. 1.) The Book of Mormon 2.) Preach My Gosepl 3.) Words of the Living Prophets. There's one I would like to add to the list... 4.) Patriarchal Blessing. It's amazing what you can find in your Patriarchal Blessing. It's the Lord's personal scripture for you, and there is much revelation to be found. I'd encourage everyone to get their patriarchal blessing no matter how long ago or how recently it's been since you last read it. And find scriptures that go along with the spiritual gifts/warnings/blessing you've been given. (I'm working on that right now, and it's SO COOL!)  I know these are things that seem obvious. But when I turn to them with the intention of finding an answer to a question or turn to them for solace in a time of worry or anxiety I've been able to find what I need.

Wooo! I love spiritual enlightenment. :)

Random side note.... real Brazilian food IS SO GOOD. We went over to a Brazilian member's house so that Sister Mann would have someone to help her with her Portuguese... man oh man, I'm a tiny bit jealous she's going to Brazil for the food. Haha.

Anyway much LOVE and prayers to all of you!

Keep the faith!

Hermana Franklin

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Raining! It's Pouring!

Hey y'all.

Rain, rain, go away,

Come again... Never.

Haha. It's been raining SO much. Too much. Being from the desert, I'm just not used to it.

Here's a TOP 10 for you to enjoy:

"Top 10 ways you know it's REALLY raining in New York City"

10.) You have no need to use an umbrella anymore. It's become completely pointless.

9.) There isn't a single pigeon in sight…ANYWHERE. (Unless you're under a bridge...in that case, you might want to pick up that useless umbrella of yours, being soaked in rain is one thing...bird crap is another. Haha. Elder Nielson took the hit this week.)

8.) You can wet yourself and no one will notice...(Sister Mann...)

7.) You have to wring your skirt out before you go into someone's home.

6.) You and your two missionary companion's are the ONLY people outside. (On purpose!)

5.) The Taxi's don't even attempt to pick you up. In fact, they avoid you because you're so soaked that they'd rather not have you ruin their upholstery.

4.) "Waiting out the storm" would require a sleeping bag because it will NEVER stop raining.

3.) The local Rastafarians all have trash bags on their heads to protect their dreads.

2.) The disgusting, rat-infested sub-way stations suddenly become some kind of safe-haven.

1.) Sister Franklin is wearing Crocs. Yes, It's true.

Well, All these things are based on actual events. (I promise the crocs were actually kind of cute... like, not the typical CROC...You know, like the... Okay, I'll quit trying to justify my newest fashion necessity. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Haha.)

This week was a little rained out. But you know what, I LOVE helping people. And rain, as much as I despise it sometimes brings GREAT opportunities to help people. For example, one night when the rain was particularly bad, we knew the Astoria Elders really needed some help... They'd been given a HUGE assignment to find and contact all the less actives on their ward list in one week... and let's just say, there were A LOT. They'd been outin it all day long, and we decided to take on a few names that were the furthest out of their way, to take help ease the workload. And you know what. We had a blast. We got soaked and tracked down quite a few people in the process.

Sister Mann also had a mishap with her scriptures because of the rain. She wrapped all of her books in plastic bags to protect them from the rain, but her scriptures still managed to become SOAKED. We spent a couple hours drying them out with a blow dryer. It felt good to help my companion with that... So, thank you rain, for giving me that opportunity.

Complete turn in topic:

I don't know if I've mentioned Luz Marina in my weekly emails before, but either way...

here's her story:

She's a woman who was baptized as a young teenager, but was inactive for most of her life. She began attending an Evangelical church about 25 years ago, and was quite active in that church for the past couple decades. This is where it gets good. About 3 months ago, in March (right before I arrived in New York), she had an experience at the evangelical church. She said it was almost like her heart rejected the doctrine. She just had a huge realization that this was not where she should be. She walked out of the church services and never returned. She came to church with us the first week I was here. And she's come every Sunday ever since. She gave up coffee and hasn't touched it for over a month. She's working on getting a temple recommend to go to the temple with some family names. She asks for help with sharing the gospel with her less active and non-member children. She has been called as a Ward Missionary! I'm honored to serve alongside her. The best part about it is that she did it all on her own. The spirit and her faith made that change... Not us. As we've invited her to make changes in her life, she has agreed not out of obligation to us, but because she loves the Lord more than herself. Luz herself is a miracle.

We talk about "change" all the time in this mission... Our mission culture is "Forever Changed"...We are forever changed by the Doctrine of Christ. And it is evident that we have been changed and have become converted to the Doctrine of Christ by our obedience.

I hope that one day I will be an example of what it means to be "Forever Changed".  Just like Luz Marina. :) She, and people like her, have taught me more about true conversion than I ever thought possible.

Pocahontas really was right when she said, "When you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you learn things you never knew, you never knew!"

I hope everyone will join me becoming "Forever Changed" and be "forever changing" for the better! Remember, obedience to the commandments is evidence of our conversion.

Thanks for your love and support. Remember that you've got more power than you think. :)

Love Always,

Your soaking wet missionary,

Hermana Franklin

P.S. There are a few pictures of one of our last ward activities... A few ward members/investigators. Me and my companions eating Serrano Chiles (lit my entire digestive system on fire and nearly died. Enjoy!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in June

Well, the one word that comes to mind when I think about this week is "gratitude".

I'm grateful that I live in a country where I can worship my God the way I choose.

I'm grateful for my heritage-- I look forward to the day I can shake the hands of James Lindsay, Clifford Reseigh, Henry J. Franklin and many others like them. One day I can thank them for the lives they lived. And thank them for leaving this world better than they found it.

I'm grateful for my Grandma Jean and Aunt Jane-- for the many, many sacks of potatoes they picked that day. That one act of faith and determination changed the course of eternity for my family.

I'm grateful that it rains sometimes. I wouldn't appreciate the sunshine half as much if it didn't.

I'm grateful for Temples and for the decision that my dear parents made to be sealed for time and all eternity nearly 25 years ago.

I'm grateful that sometimes an empañada makes EVERYTHING better. Haha.

I'm grateful that plans fall through and lead you to a better plan the Lord put in place for you. (Story of the week...)

I'm thankful for the Woodside Spanish Ward. I will never be able to repay them for the way they've made my testimony grow.

Estoy agradecido para el idioma Español.

I'm thankful for the power of prayer--Heavenly Father is there. He listens, and he cares.

I'm grateful for Sister Mann-- she makes me laugh every single day! She'll never know what a miracle she was in my mission.

I'm grateful for Sister Van-- I'm pretty sure she wants to kill me sometimes, but she doesn't. Haha. We'll always be sisters.

I'm thankful for the investigators that we have and for their progress-- no matter how small it may be sometimes. I'm grateful for the faith they have and for their open hearts.

I'm thankful for little miracles that happen daily.

I'm thankful for all the love and support I get from home-- from my parents, my friends... all of you!

What are you grateful for?


La Rubiacita (The Little Blonde One. That's what all the Hispanics call me. Haha.)