Monday, September 8, 2014

Eternas Pueden Ser Las Familias

Our mission president told us that he had a vision that by the end of this transfer, every companionship in the entire mission will have a baptism. I can honestly tell you, Hermana Macias and I have never worked so hard in our entire lives! We have fasted and prayed constantly, and we made it a goal to be exactly obedient to the tiniest detail, even speaking Spanish 100 percent of the time with each other. (A very hard goal to maintain by the way!). It's been so hard -  we've encountered plenty of fallen-through appointments despite our best efforts. But sometimes I think the Lord works last-minute, because He wants to see how bad we want something before He blesses us with it!

So about a month ago, a young family - Manuel and Trista and their four kids - moved in with the in-laws (Manuels' mom and step-dad, La Familia Ramirez). Manuel was baptized when he was younger but as he got older he became less and less active. His wife Trista is not a member.

When we heard they moved in, we felt prompted to stop by and see if they needed any help with adjusting or the move - by the time we got there, they didn't any help whatsoever but we managed to have a chat with Trista, and we got to know her and her situation. Trista is American and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish. Her mom is a less-active member. And oh, she heard about the temples from la Familia Ramirez and decided that she kinda wants to find out what that is all about! We asked if we can come by and teach her a little bit more about how she can get to that beautiful white castle-like building that is the Temple.

The Familia Ramirez are one of the most wonderful families of the ward, and they initiated the Jauregui's practice of scripture study, prayer, and family home evening. While we were not visiting, they answer all her questions and teach her simple principles and doctrines. They take her to church, and she has been to church for about 3 weeks in a row now.

Last Tuesday, so with only 2 weeks left in the transfer, we went into a lesson with her with the goal of setting a baptismal date. As we taught the Restoration, we could feel the Spirit so strongly. Everything we were saying seemed to just go straight to her heart. I felt the Spirit prompt me to recite the First Vision and I was nervous as first because I hadn't really practiced it as much in English, and I had messed it up over and over in companionship study that morning...But as I was speaking the words of Joseph Smith, I felt like I wasn't even is the hardest thing to describe. I forgot I was speaking - the Spirit was literally placing the words in my mouth! and as I finished, I felt a rush of chills all over me.. and Trista just says, "Wow..." 

In the same lesson we invited her to be baptized on the 13th of SeptemberTHIS Saturday. And she said yes.

She is so excited. She doesn't speak Spanish - but she loves the Spirit that she feels at church. She loves reading and praying in the family. She says she sees her relationship with husband get stronger and stronger, and she says her family hasn't been this happy in such a long time.

Also, Gabino Rodriguez, who was baptized on August 1st, received the Priesthood last Sunday, the 1st of September, and will be baptizing his daughter Siomara on the 20th of September, which will be her 8th birthday :)

We can see the Lord's hand in helping families become eternal. That really is the goal after all. Baptism is just la puerta - the gateway -  to all the blessings that God has in store for each and every one of us. We enter into this covenant with Him so that he can bless us continually, so that we can be happy, so that our families will be together forever. All we have to do is follow His commandments - which, by the way, are only there to help and protect us in the first place! In reality, who has the better end of the deal?

I love you all so very much!

Hermana Blanchard

Monday, August 11, 2014


All week we have been desperately finding for "Gabino's" (prepared people ready to receive the gospel). After mucho fasting and praying, we had found a few potentials here and there, but it had been difficult to follow up with them and to discern whether or not they are truly prepared or interested in the gospel.
Out of the blue on Saturday,after 5 solid days of finding finding finding, a member called us and gave us the name of her coworker to visit. Her coworker, Maria, had been extremely overwhelmed with work and taking care of daughter who is extremely ill.
I've never seen a stranger more happy/relieved/excited to see us. It was a nice contrast against the usual bible-bash convos that come our way a lot.

And so we have begun to teach the lessons with her!
Also, another miracle happened on Sunday night. Just as a background note, we never go knocking on doors or walking around in the street without praying about it and consulting with the Lord first. For the past few months, before we go anywhere I kept seeing "Greentree Ave" in my mind, a street where a former investigator lives. We've gone by after the first time the street popped in my head (about 4 months ago) but the woman was still not interested and politely sent us away. It had been 4 months, and still I kept thinking about that street, not necessarily about that person. But we usually think of someone else to see or visit and I've always tried to shove that thought out of my head, thinking it's just my brain telling me to go there because I just don't know where else to go.
But this time, I was getting a little tired about thinking about that street and not doing anything about it. So I was like, "Hermana Macias, we are going to that street! It's time to get it out of my head." And so we drove and parked on good ol' Greentree.
Nothing, nothing, nothing. For about a good hour. We talked to everyone we see, no matter what language they speak, but hardly anyone was out, and no one was Hispanic. We walked to the very end, and decided to take a loop via another street back onto the main road. As we were walking, Hermana Macias, out of nowhere, pointing to a house and said, "Wanna knock on that house?" And I of course said, "yes!"
We knocked on the door and...Jorge Flores opened it! I don't know if you remember him, but Hermana Perez and I used to teach him in March. This is what I wrote about him on March 17th:

About a month ago, Hermana Perez and I were in the post office and I had to send a package off. A hispanic middle-aged man, with the biggest grin I have ever seen from a stranger, came up to us an started asking us about our church. He was so amazed that people so young were spreading the gospel and teaching about the word of God (we were trying to play it cool of course, he had NO idea how excited WE were because this NEVER happens and we were almost becoming as giddy as little school girls). We were so excited that we gave him our name, our church address, and invited him to church. We left the post office sooo happy. 

Then we realized something. We never got his name or his number or his address. We were too excited and too caught-off guard! The only way we would ever ever see that man again if he doesn't lose that tiny little card and if he gathers up the courage to call up two young girls who are complete strangers. Let's not forget that Salem is a big place.

After several face-palms and many deep sighs later, we prayed to our Heavenly Father that someday, by us or other missionaries, that that man would have another opportunity to hear the gospel. We prayed that our little mistake wouldn't be at the cost of his progression/salvation.

It has been a month since that time.There was a baptism in the ward last week and H. Perez and I volunteered to make cupcakes for the refreshments. We unfortunately (but fortunately, you see) miscalculated the amount of icing with cupcakes, and we had to make a dash to Walmart for more icing. 

Just as we parked in Walmart and got out of the car, we saw a man, ever so familiar, walk toward his car, which happen to be in the same parking-aisle we were in. We were about to pass by until he grinned and started waving!! We recognized him immediately and with dumb grins on our faces we said, "!Nunca nos llamo'!! "You never called us!!" And he said he was so sorry and that he had lost our card and was hoping to run into us at the post office again!! 

We got his name, Jorge Flores, and wrote down his number. We met up with him this week and had an hour and a half lesson. The Spirit was so strong as we answered all his questions and taught him about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is eager to meet with us again.

Since that entry, we fell out of contact, but here he was, standing at the door. We had no idea where he had lived before. He was so excited to see us!!! Apparently he had lost all his numbers when he got a new phone from work and had no way to contact us. The other funny part is, is that the building where the new Spanish ward meets is only 3 minutes from his house versus the 15 minutes it used to be. This is 3rd time that we found Jorge Flores completely and totally out of nowhere. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! I decided not to believe in those anymore.
Something I learned on my mission is that miracles are all around us! Just waiting to be discovered. It took me awhile, and the Spirit pretty much had to take me up by the collar and shake me around a little, but I finally acted on that prompting to go to Greentree ave. And thank goodness Hermana Macias didn't hesitate to listen to her prompting to knock on that house!

It takes a combination of faith, fasting, praying, listening to the spirit, and then acting, but we can find those unseen opportunities. We can see those miracles.
I know that God lives and that He is very aware of each and every one of us. There is a reason for everything; every trial we face, every person we meet, every simple thought that passes through our head. I love this gospel, and I love seeing how perfect the Lord's hand is in each of our lives.
Until next week!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Blanchard
PS Reunited with Hermana Perez and Hermana Cardon at a Zone training meeing! We went to Silver Falls!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Friday night Gabino Rodriguez Soto was baptized!
It had been an up-down week - Gabino had some doubts toward the earlier week and at one point I even questioned if he would still get baptized - MAN, does Satan work hard. It's unbelievable. Buuut we worked even harder, and as we sat and prayed with him and read with him, we could feel the Spirit every time we came, no matter how bad of a day he was having.

The room was packed (and very very hot) but there was such an amazing spirit in the room - every member we brought to all the lessons all came. Gabino's non-member family came. And many others who didn't even know Gabino came as well. I loved seeing every chair filled!! It just goes to show what this work is all about - we are family. All brothers and sisters of a lovely Heavenly Father, bringing one more lost sheep back into the fold.
As for transfers, I AM STILL HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm still with Hermana Macias. I have just completed a little less than 9 months here, and after this transfer, I will have been here for 10 months. That is insane!
I love the work! I know that there are more prepared people out there like Gabino, who are just walking along in life but really don't have any idea what they are missing. There is somebody in each of our lives who is being prepared by the Lord! I hope you have responded to my last invitation to pray about these people, and to pray about how you can help these people take that next step.There really is no time to lose!
Love you all! Until next week!
Hermana Blanchard

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faith Not to Be Healed

We all know that according to our faith, miracles can be brought about. We know faith is not only a principle of believing, but it's a principle of power. Jesus taught, "If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into
the sea; it shall be done." (Matthew 21:21).

Each of us has had some experience, however big or small, where we've seen blessings come from our faith. Prayers have been answered, miracles have been wrought, hearts have been healed because of it. We know the Lord truly does bless his faithful.

How is it then, that sometimes when we have a desire, a righteous desire, that it can possibly go unanswered? How is it that when we are doing all we can do and have faith, that sometimes we don't see miracles come from it? Could it be God is inconsistent, He is just purposely withholding our rightfully earned blessings? Is He punishing us for some mistake long-ago that we made?

Having my "mission birthday" last week has made me reflect on my mission experience and has led me to ponder as to why unanswered righteous requests happen. It has been a year, and still my Spanish is not up to par. I still can't hold a conversation very well on my own. I still have the most gringo-accent ever and it still crushes my heart when I'm told so. I've even been told, "your mission call told you that you are to teach in Spanish, how is it that you don't know Spanish? How can you be doing your job right?"

I've pleaded with my Father in Heaven many many nights to grant me with the "gift of tongues." I've received priesthood blessings to help me overcome my hearing impairment. Although progress is there and evident, it isn't coming as quickly and miraculously as I was hoping.

Another thing that has been hard (for every missionary, not just me) is finding prepared people to teach and leading them to the waters of baptism. We took our investigator Gabino and his daughter Siomara to
the temple last week. After teaching him nearly every other day, and after him coming to church every week for a month, we've known for awhile that it is time that he needs to be baptized to more fully receive all the blessings of the gospel. We've discussed baptism before, but he was really unsure about the timing and feels he doesn't know enough. As we walked around the temple, we discussed baptism and the special covenants we make, both with baptism and in the temple. Hermana Macias and I were so sure this would be the key; that by the end of the trip he'd be begging US to be baptized and tell us that he wants to go to the temple as soon as possible and we were expecting a rainbow to be formed as he spoke and that the heavens would open and angelic voices would sing hallelluiah!

Buuuuut it wasn't so. Gabino felt the Spirit and loved the trip, but was still unsure and felt so unprepared. I was so happy he felt the Spirit at least, but of course you can imagine the slight disappointment in his response.

Often the answer as to why these things happen,  even if we have incredible faith and are being completely obedient, is to humble us. To be given all that we desire can cause pride and ingratitude. But other times the answer is more subtle; simply, the event or timing isn't in accordance with God's will.

We all know we should increase our faith so that we can be healed, so we can see those miracles and so that we can receive those answers we have been searching.

But here is the question I've had to ask myself: do I have the faith NOT to be healed?

Elder Bednar once spoke of an experience when he was giving a blessing to a young man diagnosed with cancer. He said, "I then posed questions I had not planned to ask and had never previously considered: '[John,]
do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?'"

This question has been impressed in my mind so much lately, do I have the faith that even if I don't learn Spanish, that I won't be discouraged in the mission work? That even if my hearing never recovers or changes and I'll forever struggle will all languages, I will still be loyal and faithful and diligent? That even if I don't have a baptism every month or a lesson every day, that I'll remain patient and persevere to the end?

Am I "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father?" (Mosiah 3:19)

Righteous desires and questions are answered 1) according to our faith and 2) accordance to God's will. Gabino just isn't ready yet. But he will be. In God's ever-perfect plan he will be ready. And as for the hearing thing? Well, I've learned a lot about humility. I've learned a lot about being grateful for what I DO have. And more than anything,
I've learned a lot about how to rely on my Savior Jesus Christ through those difficult times.

I know God answers our prayers and helps us with the desires of our hearts. Ask yourself how you can increase your faith to be healed and see those miracles in your life. Then also ask how you can increase your faith NOT to be healed, to remain a disciple of Christ even when the will of God is opposed to our own.

I guess you can say this is kinda like my mid-mission crisis letter. Hope you enjoy it all the same!

Love you all so much,

Hermana Blanchard

Monday, July 7, 2014


I ran out if time this week, but I just want to bare a simple and short testimony that I think parents are incredible.

On two different occasions we've seen such strong mothers in the church just break down in tears by us asking them the simple questions of "how are you doing?" and "how is your family?" Though faithful and diligent, both these strong women have been watching their children fall further and further away from God and choosing paths that are much bumpier and longer than the path of obedience and faithfulness. It was sooo hard for me to see these women cry but little do they see
how much they have grown from these hard experiences!! They are more reliant and trusting in The Lord than ever before. They are kinder and more charitable than ever before. Their light and example have been a beacon for many, many people.

I just want to say to those with either wayward children or a disunited family that God isn't punishing you. There are precious truths and principles of the gospel that He needs you to put into
practice and to develop. He wants your family to be united and happy EVEN MORE than you want it to be. The temples are a place of hope and eternal joy; it is not a far fetched dream that can only be obtained in fairytale novels. It is not just for a select few members of the church, or for those seemingly perfect Mormon families. It is intended  for everyone! Never forget that God isn't just our Almighty Creator but he is literally our Father.

Parents you have more power than you can possibly imagine. I can't tell you how many children and have been lost but then found because of the fervent examples of their parents. It took a lot of patience, and a lot of faith. Everyone has their agency, and we know when we choose the path of the world, we inevitably are hit with storm after storm. The key to parenting is loving our children despite it, and for always showing them, by example, where they can turn to when the water
seems too deep to handle.

I'm SO grateful for my mom taking me to church for all those years, though I didn't want to go or  didn't understand the importance of it. I remember mocking and making fun of the things that were done, and I remember not living the way I should have been. But when my own personal storms came, much later in my life, and the road just became too dark to see, that's when I remembered where I could go to find light. That's when I thirsted to know more about the gospel and that's when I decided to make God be a part of my life.

Whether it is in this life or the next, the blessings of united families will come according to our  faithfulness and obedience. But the blessings will come. Stay true to The Lord and the covenants you made. Pray for your family. Have faith that our Father in heaven will answer them.

Just felt like I should share that this week.

Love you all,

Hermana Blanchard

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Standard of Truth

So I am NOT getting transferred! After this transfer I will have been here for 9 months, or in other words, that's a mission-baby. I'm still with my wonderful companion Hermana Macias!

So a few miracles this week!

We were out walking and tracting along Lancaster drive. We met a few nice people here and there, a few not-so-nice ones here and there, and we ended up turning around and heading back to our car that was parked a mile away in order to get to our appointment on time. We were a little bit in a rush, so we were quickly pacing back. A man and his daughter heading toward us also appeared to be in a rush, but I had an urge to talk to them. He was walking fast, with headphones in, and we were thiiiiiiiiiis close to not opening our mouths. He was just barely
about to get out of our distance until out of nowhere - and I mean out of nowhere - I feel the words "hola, como está?" escape my mouth. He stopped for a second, and I was waiting for the usual, "thanks but no thanks" or "I'm too busy" or "I'm in a rush" but instead I maintained eye contact until he answered the question. A huge grin grew on his face and he says, "wait, I know you guys! You are the Mormons! My niece is Mormon. The boy missionaries have been teaching me a little bit whenever I visit South Salem, where my niece lives."

It turns out this man, Gabino, and his 7-year-old daughter, Zionmara, have been to the temple visitor's center and even church a few times. He's a single dad and absolutely adores his daughter. He walked with us back to our car and gave us all his information! He lives up here in North Salem and doesn't go see his niece too often. We went to their apartment few days later and invited them to church.

And they came!

At church, we had a wonderful announcement:

The Keizer Spanish branch and the South Salem branch have become a ward! This means we will have our own Primary, Young Men's and Young Women's classes. We will have a bishop. And perhaps most importantly we will have so many members congregating together!

(This also means that Gabino will be going to church with his niece.)

After church, he called us to thank us. He said he loved seeing his daughter sooo happy, and told us it would be an honor if we ever stopped by his house again.

It's been amazing to see the growth just on my mission alone: Cornelius getting a Spanish branch, Salem getting a ward. The work is hastening. And it's going faster than ever!

A quick testimony that I know that there Is no truer, happier work than the work of The Lord - sometimes the results of the work and efforts you've put in won't come immediately. Sometimes it won't come until after we're long gone. But it doesn't matter. Miracles will happen. The work has begun and it isn't ever going to stop.

"The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” - the Prophet Joseph Smith

Love you all!

Hermana Blanchard