October 27, 2014

Feliz Lunes!

Another transfer has come and gone, and I'm still here in Obligado with Hermana Garci­a! Woohoo! We both love it here and love the Branch and all the people. Now we will have three transfers together in this area. We are going to try and make it four. But now I have probably just jinxed myself haha.
We have been working a lot with a man named Juan these past few weeks. He is a member of the church but has been struggling a lot lately and hadn't come to church, or been praying, or reading the scriptures for quite some time. But we really felt like we needed to start visiting with him, for some reason we couldn't forget about him. Anyway, the other day in one of our lessons he told us that just a few weeks ago he had been considering never going to church again, he felt that he was failing God, and didn't think he would ever be able to go back. But then he said really soon after he started thinking this we arrived and started visiting with him, and he always looks forward to the lessons because he feels something different when we are there. Then he told us that when he went back to church for the first time he felt that same feeling of happiness and goodness again! He has been working a lot to repair some of his mistakes, but he has a true desire to change and be changed by Christ.
Titus 3:2-4 My companion and I have been studying about charity and trying to develop a more Christlike love for everybody here. "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared," We can stop judging and criticizing others because we too make mistakes. We can start loving and helping others because we have seen the example that Christ gives us.
I LOVE you all and hope even more that you know that Christ loves you about a bajillion times more than anything we can imagine!
Have a marvelous week!

Hermana Simmons

October 20, 2014

heat and help

Short email this week!

It's hot. As in, "I have never sweated so much in my entire life, I didn't know it was even possible to drink 6 bottles of water and then sweat it all out in 6 hours" hot. yeah. It’s great. haha. But hey, I’m getting awesomely tanned and my hair is slowly becoming more and more blonde. Maybe all this heat will just turn me into a supermodel by the end of the summer haha.

Wow, and with the heat I have received such a strong testimony that CHRIST STRENGTHENS US. We can literally receive physical strength and be comforted as we pray for the help we need. When we humble ourselves and keep God’s commandments, we will be worthy to receive His divine power. There have been times when I thought I would not be able to keep walking, but when I prayed and asked for help, it is as if all of a sudden my entire mindset changes. I’m happier, I don’t feel so tired, I realize that I can keep going, and keep a good attitude at the same time.

"And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness." 1 Nephi 17:3

Love you all!

Hermana Simmons

P.S. I ran into Elder Gallini!  Haha I don't remember how we are related (and neither does he), but his mom did let him know that he had a distant cousin or something here in the same mission.

Elder Josh Gallini
(son of Heidi Breinholt)

October 13, 2014

Another Week :)

This week we had interviews with President LaPierre, and they went well! It really is amazing how devoted he and his wife are to their mission, the missionaries, the people here, everything! Talking with them makes me want to do better!

Yesterday in our testimony meeting, nearly all of the members went up to bear their testimonies. We would have gone over time, but the Branch President thinks that the "one hour and ten minutes" of sacrament is fixed in stone, plus everybody was hungry from fasting, so he got up right on time to close the meeting haha. But it was great, the Spirit was so strong as everyone shared how they knew that God our Father lives and that we are His children, and that through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can be saved.

Also, we taught the Principles of the Gospel class to our one investigator who came and to a few other less active members. We asked one man to give the opening prayer, and he started to get nervous and told us he didn't think he could do it. We assured him he could, and just then our investigator, a woman named Flavia, also began to encourage him! She explained to him in Guarani that all he had to do was start with Heavenly Father, give thanks, ask blessings, and close in the name of Jesus Christ! It was great to see her share her own testimony of prayer! And in the end, Severiano gave the opening prayer and was so happy that he did!
Good news!!!!!! I talked with my old companion, Hna Tapia. She told me that she got in touch with my other old companion, Hna Gunter, who is still in Santo Tome. Mariela and Fernando, the couple who got married and then both were baptized, are both still very strong in the gospel! Mariela is a teacher in the Relief Society, Fernando received the priesthood, and a few of their children have decided to be baptized as well!!!!! Seriously, I am so excited and happy for them. They changed so much in the short time that I knew them, and their life just keeps getting better and better! Christ can truly change people! He can change us if we let Him!
Oh, and on Saturday Hna Garcia and I missed the bus from Trinidadback to Hohenau ("missed" is one way to describe it, "the bus drivers come up with their own schedules and change their minds all the time" is another haha) Anyway, we ended up walking from Trinidad to our apartment in Hohenau. It took us a little over two hours, and that is walking at a decent pace, and only stopping to rest once (for about 4 or 5 minutes). But hey, now we can tell all the members in Trinidad that they never have an excuse to not come to church, because it IS possible to walk all the way there.

I remember learning in Sunday School that the first law of heaven (or something like that) is obedience. D&C 63:5 "Behold, I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed." God is completely loving, merciful, patient, etc. But He is also perfectly just. We must obey His commandments and turn our hearts over to Him to partake of His mercies. Obedience brings blessings, and exact obedience brings miracles!
I love you all! Have a great week! Sorry this letter is so long!

Hermana Simmons


Yep, It's definitely "primitive" at times, but the way I see it I only "have" to live primitively for a year and a half, while basically everyone here lives like this their whole life. I'm glad I get the chance to really see how blessed I have been in my life. I'm considering that one day when I have my own kids we'll have to do a "Mission Week" once a year, where we can't use dishwashers, washing machines,  dryers, toasters, microwaves, etc... Where everyone has to do their own cooking (from scratch), and the electricity gets shut off every once in a while and we take cold showers haha. 

Julia and Bernardo decided to not get married. In the end, Bernardo didn't want to spend the money (they really are quite poor), and we did EVERYTHING (honestly, everything) in our power to help them. So Julia couldn't get baptized. And now she thinks that she will never be able to get baptized (she has had several baptismal dates fall through), and so she thinks it would be better to just stop taking the discussions all together. It's pretty sad. She still has a strong testimony, but she is just letting Satan's sadness and disillusionment get the better of her. We are hoping that in a few days or weeks she will change her mind.

But, there are other people who are progressing and who are doing really well!

Also, not much has been said here about that new movie ("Meet the Mormons"), but it sounds great! I guess I just have to wait another year to see it with you all. I'm glad everybody is doing well! Love you!

October 06, 2014


We are in the rainy season here! The other day started out unbearably hot, so Hermana Garcia and I left the apartment without umbrellas. That was a mistake. About two hours later the downpour started. We were without jackets, boots, umbrellas, grocery bags to protect our books. And we were a 20 minute walk from the apartment (and that's in good weather conditions when we can walk quickly). It was actually pretty fun. We got completely soaked, head to toe. After a few minutes we stopped trying to avoid puddles, because honestly, it wasn't making any difference. We marched through the fields, on the pebbled paths, and muddy dirt roads (that had converted into muddy running streams) as if they were all pavement. But we survived, and in the process we met some other good people who also got caught by surprise in the storm.
General Conference was amazing! I didn't understand everything, but I did understand a lot. I can truly testify of the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues, because Heavenly Father helps me so much. Even when I can't understand every single word that someone says, I do understand almost completely the message or idea that they are conveying. I especially loved the talk by President Uchtdorf and the talk by Elder Hales. It was also exciting to have some of the speakers speak directly in Spanish.

I loved conference, and I loved hearing the prophet! I know Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today, and he receives guidance and direction for us. It is so important to give heed to what they tell us.  "Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them. And it came to pass that by so doing they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance." Jarom 1:11-12

We need to always "prick our hearts with the word" by listening to the counsels of our prophet, and always be in the process of repentance!

Sorry I can't respond to any letters this week! We are a little short on time!

Love you all!

Hermana Simmons