Monday, April 24, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños a Mi! 🎉


Hola!

This week was awesome because I turned 20! Everyone here made sure I felt very loved. The birthday celebration started last Friday at district meeting. We had cupcakes and played pin the tail on the donkey. On Saturday night Hermana Black and I went to Chilis. Then on Sunday she gave me breakfast in bed and sang to me! 


video


Then we went to church and our investigators came! And I got to take the sacrament on my birthday! I walked into Relief Society and they started singing to me and had a cake for me! They are the best!
They got me a cake in Relief Society!


After Church I was led into the kitchen and Albert had organized a surprise party with the missionaries! He had gotten me lunch and a giant cake with my face on it. Then we went over to eat with the Juarez family for dinner, and they are one of my favorite families here! They made us tacos and then brought out little fruit tarts from La Madeleine, my favorite! And then they brought out an oreo ice cream cake and sang to me! So, it was basically one of my favorite birthdays ever!

Surprise party after church with Albert!

My cake from Albert


My birthday dinner.
Birthday tacos


Juarez family! (I changed into comfy, tracting clothes after church!)


video


We have some cool investigators we are working with now. Our main investigators are Martin, Karen, and Miriam/Marlon. Martin is an old investigator that decided he wants to learn again and be baptized in May! He came to church on Sunday and liked it. Karen lives with her mom, who is a member. She has two cute, little kids. She came to church with them on Sunday, but they wouldn't let her leave nursery because they started crying! But she hung out with them in there. She will hopefully be getting baptized soon. Miriam and Marlon are a couple and are friends with people in the ward. They are cool, and we could be setting a date with them soon!

We started teaching an English class in a library this week, so we will see how that goes! Other than that it's basically teaching English class at church, volunteering at the elementary school, and visiting people in the ward.

This week I decided I want to know the Book of Mormon the best I can. So, I started copying it down by hand. If I do a page per day I can finish in a year and a half! I only have around five pages done, but I have learned so much already by focusing on each individual word.

I decided to work chronologically, so I started in the Book of Ether. I love the phrase that is found in Ether 1:43, "This long time ye have cried unto me." The Lord tells the brother of Jared that all of these blessings were going to come because of the way they were exercising their faith and praying.

Prayer is two way communication. Prayer takes more than just speaking, for prayer to be effective we must know how to listen to receive a response. In Revelation 3:20 the Savior teaches us, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and that He truly hears and answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer may not come in the way we expect it to or as fast as we want it to, but, I have never had a prayer go unanswered. I know that the purpose of prayer is to align our will with Heavenly Father's; as we allow Him to guide our lives He can make more out of us than we could ever make out of ourselves.




Thank you for all of the birthday notes! I hope you all have a great week!




Love,




Hermana Bettridge


Monday, April 17, 2017

La Pascua

Hola, hola!

It was really rainy this week. Rain in Houston means flooding. So, here was a kind of miserable day when we had to walk around in several inches of rain that covered my shoes. #ThankGoodnessForCrocFlats

Me when I opened my call last year! I look like a baby (and am way skinner! #thanksmission) And I had no idea what was coming. 😊

This week marked one year from when I opened my mission call and found out I was going to Houston! I can't believe how much has happened in the past year! I know I was assigned here for a reason, and my mission has allowed me to have experiences and meet people that truly have changed my life. This next week will mark 20 years of me being on Earth 😉 My birthday is this Sunday! 
If you want to mail me a card or something I would love it! 
My address is:

404 Oxford St #2206
Houston, TX 77007

We started out the week by dyeing eggs for P day last week. The elders didn't think that sounded fun (being the only sisters in the district is sometimes the worst!) But we convinced them it would be fun, and it was! (Mine are the sparkly ones)



Then we built a nest out of sticks, put the eggs in there, and took a cute pic featuring our feet. #CheetahPowerIsStillThere


A lot of interesting things happened this week. I loved it because it was semana santa (holy week!) So people were (kind of) thinking more about Christ than usual. We tried to talk to everyone and show them the Prince of Peace video. We found some new investigators, so we will see what happens!

This weekend was supposed to be the baptism of Lyvan! (The most golden investigator!) But, something crazy happened! We went over Wednesday night to go over the final details for his baptism. He told us he had some bad news, he had found work several hours away in Snyder, Texas and would be moving the next day. What??? Yeah. So, we immediately got into contact with the missionaries there. I started panicking because we found out how small the town really is! The missionaries are English speaking, and there is only an English branch with around twenty people, all who do not speak Spanish. Lyvan only knows how to say a few things in English. So I was panicking and didn't know how he would stay strong.

It still isn't looking that great for him, but it turns out one of the missionaries there was actually assigned Spanish speaking! He just hasn't taught anyone in Spanish for six months. But, I know everything will be okay!

This weekend was Stake Conference. They added a new stake, so Elder Hayman of the Quorum of the Seventy came. (The word "stake" comes from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. (See Isaiah 33:20, 54:2) He prophesied the Church in the last days would be like a tent, held secure by stakes. A stake is a geographic area and is made up of several congregations. As the Church continues to grow, more smaller congregations (wards and branches) form, so there is a need for more stakes.) We got to hear from Elder Hayman, as well as from President and Sister Mortensen. It was really good, and I learned a lot of things!

Elder Hayman told us a story that came from one of his missionaries when he was a mission president. When the missionary was younger he would go to his grandma's house every day after school. They would watch a telenovela together in her room, then she would send him out of the room and close the door. He always wondered what she was doing alone in her room, and so one day he opened the door. He saw her sitting alone in her chair with the scriptures open on her lap. He asked her what she was doing, and she said she was studying the scriptures. He said, "but grandma, you can't read." She told him that she couldn't read, but the prophet had asked them to study the scriptures for thirty minutes a day. So, she would sit there with her scriptures open and think about the scriptures for thirty minutes a day, and the Holy Ghost would teach her.


He thanked all of the Spanish speakers in the room for showing their faith and coming to the conference. The conference was in English, so those who didn't speak English had to sit and listen with headphones. Someone sat to the side of the room and translated the entire conference. He said he knows translations aren't the best, and that it can be hard to sit there like that for so many hours. But, they would be blessed for their obedience. I feel so blessed to work with the Spanish wards here. I get to spend so much time with so many awesome, faithful people.

He also talked about how missionaries go out and teach people. They grow their faith by doing things like reading the scriptures and going to church. They learn more about the Savior, and they realize things in their life are not in line with what He taught, so they change (repent.) Eventually, they are baptized and receive forgiveness for their sins only after they are baptized. But, repentance proceeds baptism and forgiveness. He said we need to apply this principle to ourselves. He said we can't fool ourselves into thinking we are in good standing with the Lord if we are not partaking of the sacrament weekly. We need to be growing our faith and changing (repenting) daily. As we do this, we receive forgiveness when we partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenant (along with other covenants) weekly. The sacrament exists because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He is the only way, and has given us the way to be clean of our sins and to be able to live with the Father again.

On my mission I have come to realize how important the sacrament truly is. Before my mission I went to church weekly to partake of the sacrament. I even did it because I knew I was renewing my baptismal covenant by doing so. But, throughout my mission the sacrament has come to mean so much more to me. Words can't even describe how much I have come to realize how sacred the sacrament really is.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Love,




Hermana Bettridge


Fotos:
We wanted cute Easter pics, so we took this picture of us (cute) in front of this trash pile by the sidewalk so we can always remember what our area was like 
We woke up on Easter and I said "I want to take a picture with some bunnies." We went to our ward mission leader's house for dinner, HE HAD GOTTEN TWO RABBITS THE DAY BEFORE FOR HIS GRANDKIDS TO HAVE AN EASTER ACTIVITY! So we were pretty excited! I look really tired in this picture because that is what I look like now. 


District meeting


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Coming to the Feast!

Hola!


I had a great week! The best thing that happened was that Jocelyn was baptized! She is such a sweet girl, and she was so happy! Her family was "less active," but because of her example they are coming back. Her baptism was great, and everything went really well! Hermana Calderon got to come back too, so I loved getting to see her. 

Jocelyn and I at her baptism!

Jocelyn with all of the hermanas that taught her :) 
Jocelyn's family was on a list of families that hadn't been to church in awhile that we were trying to visit. But, we weren't ever able to get in to visit them after months of trying. Then, Jocelyn's mom went through a hard trial and needed help cleaning her house, so she called us! We were able to go over and clean her house and, as a result, became friends with her. She then let us in to visit them. We were able to teach Jocelyn the lessons so she could get baptized, and their family is now at church every week!


We are also teaching an investigator named Lyvan. He will be getting baptized this Saturday. He is 18, and just moved here from Mexico. He grew up in an inactive family. We have been teaching him for about a month, and the change in him is incredible! He went from not really paying attention while we were teaching him and living the way he wanted to to being a completely changed person. He now reads the Book of Mormon every day and realizes keeping the commandments makes him happier than he ever was in his old life. 

Zone Meeting. President and Sister Mortensen came. We are now in a bigger zone with both Spanish and English missionaries. 

We had zone meeting this week, and we talked about how the Lord feels when we don't go to church to partake of the sacrament. We read in Luke 22 that Christ gave his disciples bread and the cup to remember his sacrifice. We read in Acts 20:7 that they met weekly to partake of the sacrament. As missionaries we work with a lot Investigators and "less actives" and we try to help them realize the blessings that come from partaking of the sacrament weekly. In Luke 14: 15-24 Christ teaches a parable that shows us the way He feels when we don't partake of the sacrament.




He starts in verse 15 by telling us that those who "eat bread in the Kingdom of God" are "blessed," and then He starts the parable.

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.





This is pretty straightforward. A man (who represents Christ) made a great feast (the Atonement of Christ that we remember through the sacrament) and invited invited many people to come. But...




18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.





No one came. They all had excuses. And they were valid excuses, but they were excuses. As missionaries it can be discouraging when we go out and share the message of the Restored Gospel and that the exact same church Christ established when He was here is back again with the power and authority to bless the sacrament so that it can take effect in our lives and cleanse us weekly, and then to have no one come to church to partake of the blessings. But, we can read on and see how the master (Christ) feels when we don't partake of the sacrament.




21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry



Christ is angry when we don't come.


21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.




Christ feels angry when those who are invited do not come to partake, but He sends out HIs servants to invite others so that the preparations are not done in vain.


24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper


Those who do not partake of His invitation will not partake of His supper. I know that Christ has such a deep love for all of us, and for this reason He invites all to come and partake of the emblems of His sacrifice so that all can be "saved" by being worthy to live with Him again. We need to accept His sacrifice into our lives weekly. I will never be able to go a week in my life for as long as I live without partaking of the sacrament.


For that reason, I will continue to go out and invite others to come because I desire for all to feast at His table and receive the blessings He has promised those who will come. So, I would invite you all attend church this Sunday to partake of the sacrament. It doesn't matter if it's been a long time since you've been to sacrament meeting, or if you've never been before. Christ invites you to come weekly. You can find the church building nearest to you and meeting times here https://www.mormon.org/worship

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,




Hermana Bettridge




Fotos:

Hermana Black and I got to go volunteer at the peanut butter factory. We helped make peanut butter for the Houston Food Bank and the Church's Bishop's Storehouse. 
Hermana Black and I






Monday, April 3, 2017

Hola a todos!

Our new district! (Except the other two hermanas just got taken out!)
We are now a zebra district (both Spanish and English missionaries put together)

This week I had to say goodbye to Hermana Calderon! It was super sad, but she's serving as a trainer out in Spring, and I know she is doing great work and changing lives! I am so happy to serve here in H3 for another six weeks. My new companion is Hermana Black from Nephi, Utah! I love her so much! We came into the mission on the same day, but she went to the Mexico MTC. She is super chill, and she is basically my idol! We have a lot of fun and work hard. We are also the same size so we can share clothes, which is always the best!

Hermana Black and I matched!
We have found some great new investigators that came to watch conference this week! Our investigator, Jocelyn, will be getting baptized this week, and she is so excited! We are also working with Lyvan who is on date for the 15th and Karen who is on date for the 22nd! The work is going great here! 

This weekend was GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! (The best weekend of the whole year!) We got to listen to our prophet and living Apostles. I learned so much! If you missed it you can read or watch what they had to say at lds.org.

A few weeks ago we had a really great Gospel Principles lesson about fasting. This week I have been thinking a lot and studying about fasting and why Christ would ask us to fast. (Fasting: To go without food or drink for a set period of time.) I would ask you all to think about what makes someone good at something. As a society we tend to look at the success stories of the outliers like Bill Gates or the Beatles and notice that they didn't do things like go to college and think that we don't have to "work" to be successful. But, we don't always look a the backstories. Bill Gates had access to computer programming equipment (which was rare) and spent 16 hours a day programming. He would literally eat while he was programming and only stop to sleep. The Beatles would perform live music for eight hours straight every night (which is way draining!) While we are born with natural abilities, we have to work to be great at something.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 93 (Revelation received by the prophet Joseph Smith) we learn that Christ himself "received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first." Jesus Christ himself had to put forth effort. He had to receive grace by grace, it didn't all come at once.

In Luke 4 we read an account of Christ fasting for 40 days before he began his ministry. I do not know all of the reasons why Christ fasted, but we read later on in the chapter that after he fasted he taught with power (v. 32), cast out a devil (v. 34-35), and healed (v. 39). He also fasted before he had to make an important decision; in the next chapter he calls his Apostles.

In Mark 9:18 we read about how the Apostles (who held the Priesthood) were unable to perform a miracle and cast out an evil spirit. I am sure the Apostles were being obedient and were putting forth effort. Later on, Christ comes and performs the miracle. The Apostles ask why they were unable to perform the miracle and Christ tells them (in verse 29) that "this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

In the Book of Mormon we read in Mosiah 27 about Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah. Alma and Mosiah have kids that aren't just being bad and rebelling, but they are taking people away from the church. We know that later on they become some of the best missionaries and leaders in the scriptures, but at this point they hadn't repented yet. I can imagine that Alma and Mosiah were concerned about their kids and did a lot of fasting and praying. The Lord sends an angel to them, He didn't have to do that, but he did. In verse 14 the angel says he was sent because "the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." (It doesn't specifically mention fasting here, but the verses that follow imply that they fasted as well as prayed.) Alma is then in shock and is unable to speak. The people then take Alma to his father. You might think that his father would be concerned, but we read he "rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God." He then desires for Alma to regain consciousness again so that he will be able to testify to the people of the power of God. We read in verse 22 that he gathers the priests together and tells them to fast and pray. They fasted for two days! (Fasting for 24 hours is hard enough, I can imagine they were struggling after the first 24 hours and then Alma asked them to go for another 24!) Because of their faith Alma regains consciousness, and he goes on to change the lives of others because of his conversion.

This was kind of long, but I know fasting is powerful. Fasting coupled with prayer has the power to change lives. Heavenly Father already has everything, the only thing we can give Him that He doesn't already have is our will. Fasting weakens our bodies but strengthens our spirits. Fasting helps us have self control, not just in eating, but in other aspects as well.


Que tengan una buena semana!
(Have a good week)

Also, I would invite you all to watch this short video! There are so many bad things going on in the world. But, there is a source of peace that can change your lives! (click the link)

Prince of Peace



Love,

Hermana Bettridge




Fotos:

Carol finished the Book of Mormon! We went over to read the last chapter together! I love her so much, and it's crazy to think we knocked her door back in October!


We found a space cat mural