Monday, January 29, 2018

"The Hardest Thing, I've Ever LOVED to Do"

Hey everyone! So, this is it! This is the end of this crazy, amazing adventure. I don't even really know how to write this email! But I will try haha!

This week Jorge Castaneda got baptized!!!!! It was one of the most amazing things that has happened on my mission. We found a teaching record for Jorge that went all the way back to 2011.... can you believe it! When Jorge got baptized the whole Relief Society Room was FULL!!!!! We ran out of chairs, people were standing and crammed in the hallway, and I was sharing a piano bench with Elder Garcia and Elder Horrocks! Jorge’s wife and his 13-year-old son gave amazing talks. They are so happy that after so many years of being taught the Gospel, their husband and father is now a member of the Church.  I accompanied Hermana Starke as she sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Spanish. There were many, many tears from everyone.

After Jorge got baptized, Hermana Dunn and I did the Missionary Minute where we played a game of telephone to explain the apostasy of Christ's Church. It was so great, and everyone loved it! It was a blessing that he also was able to be confirmed that same day.

Usually converts are confirmed in church the next day, but it was going to be Regional Stake Conference and regular Sacrament Meeting was not going to be held. We were very nervous that the baptism was going to happen the following week and Hermana Starke, Dunn and I were all going home and would miss it.  We met together with the Bishop and Jorge’s family on Tuesday, thankfully it all worked out so that the baptism and confirmation could happen together on Saturday so that we could all be there! Such a great blessing for us missionaries!!!

After, we went over to a member’s house for a little celebration dinner. Words cannot explain how amazing this experience was! After it had ended I was talking to Hermana Starke and Dunn and we all looked at each other and Hermana Starke said, "Well, we can all go home now, that was the best hour of our missions!" Seriously, this was icing on the cake, with a cherry on top and sprinkles! 

The rest of this week has been nuts! It has consisted of:
-Mini Golf for our last Zone Activity
-Book of Mormon Experiment X2
-Having our "Funerals"
-Final Interview with President
-Eating, eating, and more eating
-Popping 21 bags of popcorn for a Noche de Hogar with the whole ward where we watched the Restoration
-Departing Temple Trip
-Road Trips to Sylmar to ship our bikes home
-Hna. Dunn breaking the zipper on her suitcase and sewing it with dental floss (don’t worry... it will make it)

And many, many goodbyes. Oh, and we planned and did a baptism...... seriously the craziest week of my life. 

I am so beyond grateful for this opportunity I have had to serve my Heavenly Father full time for 18 months. It has seriously been the hardest thing I've ever LOVED to do! I am sad to be leaving but I am looking forward to what comes next!

I know with my whole heart that this Church is true! I am so blessed to have this Gospel in my life. I know that we have a Savior who loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and by reading it we can know the fullness of the Gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thank you for all of the love and support that I have felt from all of you!  

“Called to Know the Richness of His Blessings!”

Hermana Hadley 
The End.

Castaneda Family with the Hermanas ;)
Jorge's wife and son are already members, and his son is so excited 
to pass the sacrament with his father.

Hermana Hadley, Jorge Castaneda, Hermana Dunn

Last Zone Activity of Mini Golf!

More Mini Golf

We made 2 totes full of Popcorn for Noche De Hogar

The last smoothie of many at the Escobar's! 

Finally, my turn to have my Funeral :(

"Bitter Sweet" Hermana Hadley and Hermana Dunn out to eat with Pres. and Hermana Vasquez from the San Fernando Spanish YSA Branch.  A hard goodbye. :(

Departing Temple Trip! 
Mom note: This is a picture that every Mom of a CASF missionary watches for every six weeks on Facebook. You see past companions and dear friends go home and watch with anticipation knowing that some day your missionary will be in this picture right before they come home. Friday was my day to get the Departing Temple Trip Picture!

All of us Sisters going home!!!
Mom Note: What a Powerhouse!!! I LOVE every one of these missionaries and have followed many of their journeys since Day #1! Hermana Hadley has been companions or shared an apartment with everyone of these Amazing Women! Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servants!!! <3

The Trio Companionship from Mexico City MTC, now Forever Friends <3

Temple Trip 
We all went in a 12 passenger van named, "Big Bertha"

"Big Bertha"

Last time seeing Elder Martin...see you at home!
(Wardies in the same mission, Elder Martin comes home in June)

Road Trip to go ship bikes home!

Sunday Night, our last night in Reseda :( 
Crepes with Lorena and Rafael!

An awesome way to end the mission for both of us!

Such a blessing on Sunday as we were able to say goodbye at the Regional Stake Conference to all of our Spanish Missionaries and Spanish Members through our missions!
The Vasquez Family <3

The Castaneda Family at Regional Stake Conference the day after his baptism.

Goodbye to some of my Spanish YSA friends Nathalie and Kaylee <3

Saying Goodbye to sweet Abby Chancavac! I Love Her!

I'm going to miss these Sunsets

Monday, January 22, 2018

"I Can See the Finish Line"

Hey everyone! So, this is my second to last weekly email.... ever! It is so crazy that my mission is coming to a close. I really have loved seeing all of the blessings and miracles throughout my mission and this last week! Hannah and Fiore got baptized and I was so excited! I walked into the room and they both came running up to me and almost tackled me to the ground! That was such a sweet moment to me, to be able to see them, and realize the effect I had on them.

Sometimes as a missionary you don't realize the effect you have on people, and that was really a moment that was very sweet to me. They told the Elder that was interviewing them that one of their favorite missionaries was coming back to give a talk! I felt so honored to be able to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. I talked about how the Holy Ghost is your best friend and you need to look at Him as your "Spiritual Google Maps", they loved that analogy. I got Hannah, Fiore, and Bloom, their little sister, cute blankets to remind them that the Holy Ghost can give them comfort whenever they are in need. 

The rest of the week was really awesome too! We had our last lesson with Jorge and it went so well. He had his Baptism Interview and he passed, so all we have to do is print the programs! I am so excited for this baptism! :) We had a crazy night this week trying to finish up teaching Jorge because they had so much going on and we couldn't meet with them as much as we usually do, but we got it all done!!!

Also, this week we were able to do the “Book of Mormon Experiment” two more times! It was so cool! In the middle of the experiment the Elders had to help this elderly couple change a tire, I was impressed haha. A lot of people participated in the experiment because we stayed at a bus stop and talked to people. The only weird thing there was, a man who kept telling me he was Jesus..... but that’s California for ya, haha.

Anyways, that's some of the highlights of this week and I will write my last and final letter next week! Love you all and thank you so much for all of your support! 

Hermana Hadley

Hannah and Fiore with their family.
Love that Sister Aleman and I could come back together for this special baptism! <3

Hannah, Fiore and their little sister Bloom! <3

The San Fernando Zone!

No name tags for these Hermanas at the Book of Mormon Experiment :)

The Book of Mormon Experiment with the Elders

Elote and Respaldas with Rafael and Lorena!!! <3


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"In Disguise...McKay? Who's That?"

Hello everyone!!! This week was filled with some pretty big and exciting adventures! We have been running around because we have a lot to get done before we leave to go home, and we are also getting ready for Jorge's baptism! This next week I will be able to attend the baptism of two little girls that I taught while I was in English work! They asked me to give the talk on the Holy Ghost at the baptism, and I am so excited! 

This week we were able to participate in something called the “Book of Mormon Experiment”. This is something new and our mission was asked by Church Headquarters in Salt Lake to be one of three missions asked to participate in this experiment.

The purpose of the experiment is to help other people learn more about the Book of Mormon and taking away the bias. Missionaries dress up in normal clothes, without our name tag and we go by our first names. We walk around in areas where there is a lot of people. We have clip boards with different pages of the Book of Mormon. As we walk around we ask people to participate in a social experiment. We have people read a page of religious text and mark every time it mentions God or Christ, and if there was anything that caught their attention. After reading it we tell them that it is the Book of Mormon.

It was so amazing to see each person’s reaction, and then they want to learn more. There is so much bias in the world about the Book of Mormon, and it was amazing to see all of that taken away, and see the Book of Mormon touch lives. It was strange for a few hours walking around in our street clothes and going by our first names! It was weird and so funny when members of our ward would be walking by or drive by and do a double, or triple take because they knew it was us, but they were really confused on why we were in pants. 

Now, I want to share with you my favorite part of this last week! We were able to go to the LA Temple Visitors Center with Jorge and his family!!!! We went with them after church and did a tour. It was seriously one of my most favorite moments I have had on my mission.

We started at the Christus and talked about the Spirit we felt there. We moved into another room where we watched a video about baptism. After the video the missionary asked Kevin, Jorge's 13-year-old son, why he was excited for his Dad to get baptized, and he said that he was excited to have his Dad pass the sacrament with him. Then Kevin turned and smiled at his Mom and Dad then he started to cry, then we were all crying! The Sprit was so strong!

We watched a video about the family, and then ended by talking about the Sealing Room in the temple. At the end, they accepted a commitment to be sealed as a family on January 27th, 2019! I lost it and I was just a mess! They are very excited to work towards that goal and you bet your bottom dollar that I will be making a road trip back for their sealing! This was seriously one of the best moments of my life!! I feel so, so blessed!!!!

I love seeing all of these wonderful miracles each and every day! Now go find the miracles in your life!!! Love you all and have a wonderful week!!!!

Hermana Hadley

LA Temple Visitors Center with the Castaneda Family <3

The Castaneda Family, Hermana Hadley, Hermana Dunn
 and the sweet Sister Missionaries that gave us the tour! 

Hna. Dunn and I at the Book of Mormon Experiment with our clipboard! :)

Our group of missionaries in...Disguise! ;)

We were pulling out and a garbage truck decided to block us in....

Sister Hoopes and I went on exchanges this week! 
And we have Elder Nykamp in the background. :)

Time to start saying Goodbye :(
Last time I will see Elder Stoltz!

Saying Goodbye to Elder Ravira and Presdient Henrie Photo Bombed!!!
Too Funny!

Hna. Dunn and I got Boba!!!