Monday, December 26, 2016

Letter 9 Mesa, AZ December 26 2016

Hi everyone!

I hope you had an amazing Christmas! I always have loved Christmas time, because it seems like everyone is more open, more loving and happier. It was so awesome to be able to Skype my family yesterday! They are so amazing, and I love them. 

This week was an amazing one! Sister Irizarry and I were able to be tools repeatedly in the Hands of the Lord this week. There was a woman whose car died in the middle of the highway the other day. Sister Irizarry looked at me and said, "Let's go help her!" I was shocked because we were on a busy highway! She pulled the car over, and we jumped out. We ran into the street and asked her if we could push her car. She almost cried and told us we could try. Together, Sister Irizarry and I pushed a car down the highway... 2 girls in skirts, and one recovering from a broken elbow haha! I don't know how, but we were able to push the car by ourselves... but really, we know that angels were helping us the whole way. I am so thankful Sister Irizarry felt impressed to help her! I hope we were able to help her feel of God's love that day! 

We have a family we are teaching. They are the sweetest people on earth, and have been through so much. The mom expressed to us that Christmas was going to be really hard this year money wise. Sister Irizarry and I felt very strongly that the Lord needed us to help her. We talked to our Bishop, and he felt so as well! We went to the Bishop's Storehouse on Christmas Eve morning, and got everything she would need. We delivered the groceries to her that night as a Christmas gift. She was so thankful, and her heart was full of the Light of Christ. After we left, Sister Irizarry and I agreed that this has been the best Christmas ever, simply because we have never been able to give so much - give groceries, give our time, but most importantly give of ourselves. 

This time I am spending out here in Arizona is truly for the Lord. I want to be able to help as many people as I can for the rest of the 14 months I am here. I love the Lord, and I love sharing this beautiful Gospel. The Gospel is simple. The Gospel is love and service. 

I am so thankful for Christmas, and for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Let us not forget why He was born. He was born to redeem us all, and to help us back to Father. Remember Him always. He is the reason for the season. 

As you give of yourself, the Lord will bless you. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! Stay warm!

-Hermana Abigail Valenta

Mi familia  

We live with a member here in Mesa, and she has a dog named Sugar! 
This was Sugar's Christmas present!!

It's a Christmas miracle!! Sugar doesn't let anyone hold her expect for
 her owner... but, she let me hold her yesterday!

Sister Irizarry and I got some cool Christmas socks!

We went to the Christmas Lights with some investigators and friends!
 Bishop snapped this picture during our lesson with them outside!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Letter 8 Mesa, AZ December 19, 2016

Hello Mother!

I am so glad you guys are finally on Christmas Break! I bet it's nice to finally relax a bit!
I am so sad to hear that Annah and the whole family was sick! That's so weird, because I had the stomach flu 2 weeks ago too! We're all weirdly connected!

Yeah, I totally met Sister Shumway's mom at our Christmas conference as a mission! She introduced herself because she helped make the food. She told us she had a daughter serving in Louisville KY. I ran up to her after the dinner we had, and she freaked out!

So the rules for Christmas Skype are pretty simple. 40 minutes, whenever time you want. Sister Irizarry and I were thinking 2:00 your time, so 12:00 here. Is that okay?

I hope all is going well!
LOVE you all!

Abigail with the mother of a sister missionary (Sister Shumway)
that was serving in our ward and Abigail knew when was home! 

Abigail with her companion, Hermana Irizzary, in front of the Gilbert Temple

Arizona Tempe Mission

A close up of the mission picture to actually see Abigail!

Questions from Mom
Did you open the package with the stockings for your companions in Gila Bend we sent to the mission home?
I saw Sister Chavez and Sister Edmondson at our Christmas conference, so I gave them their Christmas stockings! They loved them! But don't worry, I didn't look in mine haha

How was your Christmas gathering at the mission home?
It was amazing! We got to go to the Mesa Temple for a session at 7 am! It was so awesome! We met as a Mission at the Gilbert Temple and took a picture! We had a dinner, and then each zone performed a skit! My zone won the skit contest! We sang the that missionary version of Adele's song Hello! It was so fun!

How is PT going?
Its great! I can almost extend my arm all the way! It still hurts pretty bad, but it's definitely progressing! 

How was your ward Christmas party where you met Sister Shumway’s mom? 
That was actually at the Mission a Christmas Conference! It was so much fun!

What was the best experience of your week?
We walked around a trailer park for about an hour just simply talking to everyone we saw! We were able to set several return appointments and get several people interested in the Gospel! Also, because the Mesa Christmas lights are so close to us, we get referrals all the time from there! So we were able to contacts several referral families this week! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Letter 7 Mesa, AZ December 12, 2016

Hi everyone! This week has been a crazy one!
Transfers were this past week, and I got transferred to................... MESA! 
I absolutely love it here! I get to speak Spanish 24/7, and I see myself improving every single day! 

MIRACLE ----- so, last week I got a little envelope from my Zone Leaders. They said it was at the mission office waiting for me. There was no return address on it, just my name. I opened it, and someone sent me necklaces and earrings because I didn't have any! I don't know who it was, but I am so so so grateful. ALSO, another miracle. On Saturday, we were doing language study. Because I was in a new apartment, I hadn't unpacked like anything! So, I ran into my room to get my Spanish scriptures. I opened my suitcase, and sitting right on top of my stuff, is a little black bag. Sound familiar? I grabbed the bag, and looked inside. It was the bag of jewelry that I lost back in the MTC! I thought I was going crazy!! (Ahhh, she will now have LOTS of jewelry since we got her things for Christmas to replace wwhat we thought was lost! I had also bought a replacement for her jewelry bag but that can now be returned!) I had torn my suitcases apart looking for this little bag on several occasions! I have no idea how it ended up right inside my suitcase... there are definitely angels helping me, even with little things like this! I looked inside and actually teared up because I once again had all the memories that came with each piece of jewelry, like my YW medallion, beautiful necklaces my sister gave me, and a CTR ring from my parents. I am so thankful for little miracles!!

This is my new companion Hermana Irizarry! I love her!!! 
I love you all! 

Hermana Valenta

This is part of the letter she wrote to us....

I got transferred to Mesa! My new companion is Sister Irizzary! (Pronounced Ear-e-zary). She so awesome, and actually was my previous companions (Sister a Chavez)'s companion in the MTC! She is from Orem, Utah! She is awesome!

We actually were in an apartment with 2 other sisters, but today we had to move in with a member! She is sooooo nice! I am not sure what her address is yet...

I started PT this past week... they are really great! They said I am wayyyyyy behind on my regaining the movement in my arm, wrist and hand. I meet with them every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday... for the next 6 weeks! 

For some reason she didn't answer my questions this week... :(  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Letter 6 Gila Bend, AZ December 5, 2016

Hi everyone!

This week has been insane, and I have loved every minute of it!

My testimony has really been strengthened this week. A few days ago, we received a referral for a woman in Ajo. We met with her on Thursday, and turns out that she is Muslim! It was so interesting to listen to her and learn more about her religion. We shortly found out that we were not there to give a lesson, we were there for her to give us the first lessons in the Muslim religion! She gave us pamphlets, and tried committing us to read the Quran after our missions! It was quite crazy haha! She talked about how she does not believe in the Atonement. I was shocked and didn't really know how to respond. After the lesson was over, I kept thinking about why the Atonement is important.

That weekend, we went to Stake Conference, where we met 2 members of the 70! All of the talks at the conference were about the Atonement!
In that moment, I realized why the Atonement is so important. The Atonement is what changed everything! We have the ability to change our ways, and come back to Him. "The Atonement wipes away every tear, heals every wound, and cures every disease." (A quote from Stake Conference). I am so thankful for my Savior, and all He has done for me, is doing for me, and will do for me.

I am so excited for what the Lord has in store for me next! No matter what comes, I know the Lord is carrying me on His shoulders.

Have an amazing week!

Hermana Abigail Valenta 💕🙃

One of my FAVORITE families ever! This is the Geottl Family! (Pronounced like gettel). Brother Geottl is our branch mission leader for Gila Bend! He and his family live in Maricopa, but have been called as a missionary family to the Gila Bend Branch! They're amazing! (He is the head engineer at the Mesa Temple, and is in charge of the Christmas lights!)

Abigail with some of the Geotll children

Ivan at Stake Conference! He got to meet Elder Cornish (of the 70)! He just recently spoke at General Conference! He's amazing! He knows Spanish as well because he served in Guatemala! Ivan was SO SO excited!

For Stake Conference this past weekend, we spent the night in Maricopa instead of driving around everywhere! We stayed with the Patriarch and his wife! He is such a wise man, and gave us amazing advice!

We handed out hot chocolate during the Gila Bend Christmas parade!

Sister Edmondson and I right before the Christmas Parade.

One of my FAVORITE families, the Harwood Family! 
Brother Harwood is our ward mission leader in Ajo! We watched the Christmas Devotional with them! The kids are constantly begging to have us over every single night haha! Sister Harwood is the RS President in Ajo! They are a powerhouse family, that is for sure!

Us with Ruth! She lives in Ajo, and has been like a 
best friend/aunt to us! She's incredible!

I am including part of the letter she sent to us as she gave more insight into her time as a missionary and the mention of her possibly facing her first transfer. 

Hi Mom!

This week has been crazy! We have had Meeting after meeting, in Maricopa like every day haha¡ crazy stuff. In my interview with President, he told me he might transfer me... 😔 I am probably going to be starting PT sometime soon, and there aren't any trustworthy PT places around Gila Bend or Maricopa. So then we would be wasting miles to drive to another city every week, so they'll probably transfer me on Wednesday. We will find out on Tuesday night!

We were eating with a recent Spanish convert named Ivan! we eat with him every Tuesday and Wednesday and Tuesday night.

I am so glad you invited the missionaries over! That is one thing I will do consistently when I am older. It really helps missionaries to go to a good family who loves you and just distress from the day for a second. I'm glad you took a picture with them as well! I bet their moms loved it!

I did get to watch the devotional! It was soooooo good, and I loved President Eyring's talk too!

We had a Stake Confernece in Maricopa Saturday and Sunday night, where the Stake presidency was released. We were very, very close with the Stake President and his first counselor. The Stake president actually lives in Ajo, and we always stop and say hi to their family. He even comes out teaching with us as well! He is amazing! He is the one that we always go to his house to grab ice cream too haha!

I have a lot of pictures this week! We took a lot of pictures because I might be transferred 😔

Questions from Mom

Did you get to see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday evening?
Yeah, I did! It was so enlightening, and taught me so much about the Atonement!

What kind of a week did you have?
It was a crazy one! We have had meetings and interviews all week because transfers are coming up this Wednesday!

How is your arm doing? Any news on when you might start PT?
I can bend it a lot more now! The problem is that I am clumsy, and run my elbow into a lot of things like walls haha. Not for sure yet, but I sure hope it starts soon!

Are you teaching any investigators that you feel might be baptized?
We have 4 on date right now who will be baptized this month and next! They're all Spanish except for one!

I wondered how far away from the chapel area you? Is it in Gila Bend or in Ajo?
We are about 20 seconds away from the chapel in Gila Bend.
Is it weird getting ready for Christmas in Arizona where there is no snow and it’s relatively warm? :D
It is SO freezing here!! I had to buy a winter coat today! I sure am going to freeze and die in Rexburg, Idaho in 2018!

What are you studying in your personal studies each morning?
We study things that our investigators need! So it changes every day! But right now, our President has challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by Christmas and mark all references to the Savior! So I work on that as well!

What has been the best thing about the past week?
I have seen the power of the Priesthood over and over. My testimony has definitely strengthened about the Priesthood!