August 10, 2015

The Last Week

Not too much to say this week.

Hna Cannon and I have been working hard to prepare our area for this next transfer since I won't be here. We have been meeting a lot more with the ward leaders to figure out what we can do to help some of the less actives. We have also been working closely with the Rodriguez family as they have decided to work towards going to the temple before the end of the year!

I had my final interview with President LaPierre yesterday after church. He gave such good advice, and I am definitely feeling excited to start a whole new adventure (maybe a little terrified as well, but that's normal I hear). The plans for tonight include a dinner at the mission home, a testimony meeting, and lots of farewells. Tomorrow morning starts the long process of traveling home.

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father called me on a mission! It was definitely not something that I had ever planned to do, but I know it was the BEST thing for me. I know Heavenly Father loves us and knows us perfectly. His plan is to help us develop and progress and become better. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that through His atonement we can be cleansed and then filled with light. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon was written by inspired prophets for our day. I know that we can trust in the Holy Ghost to guide and warn us. I know that the temple is a holy place and that families can be together forever. I believe all these things and they fill me with joy. They fill me with a "hope of a better world," and with an excitement to learn and grow.

I love you!
Hermana Simmons

August 05, 2015

Lots of Adventures

Well... this past week has been CRAZY.

On Wednesday I went to Ituzaingo to do divisions with Hermanas Hartley and Pitts. They are two amazing sisters and both have less than 6 months in the mission (Hna Pitts is still in training). I couldn't believe how well they have a handle on the language and their area. Heavenly Father truly prepares us for our callings, and then He supports and strengthens us as we put forth our best efforts. Their area is a beautiful town next to the river. During the siesta I thought "This is what they mean by "sleepy beach towns."" The one thing that was weird is that all of Ituzaingo is covered in sand instead of the red earth.

We went to the mission home on Sunday night and left for Iguazu at 2am Monday morning. It was a 5 hour trip in a rented van. We arrived at Iguazu at 7 am and had to wait until 8 for the park to open. I don't actually know what else to say about Iguazu. Breathtaking? Stunning? There is a reason it is one of the Wonders of the World. I'll send some pictures later. I went with a group of 11 missionaries. We will all be flying home next week.

We arrived at the mission home about 7 on Monday night, I ate with President LaPierre and the other Hermana Leaders, and then woke up bright and early on Tuesday for Consejo. It was an amazing last consejo. I loved being able to see how much the mission has grown and improved in the past months.

Hermana Cannon and I have been brainstorming a lot on how to find new investigators. What we have really decided is that the best way to find new people to teach is through the members. If all the families could just pray for and help the missionaries work with even just one reference, we could advance God's work and be so much more effective. So the challenge to everyone reading this is try to find at least one person to share their testimony with!

I thought that this was a beautiful scripture! Mormon 9:27 "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him"

Hermana Simmons

ps- Yes, I will be able to email next Monday, but I probably won't be saying much. So if you would like to write, feel free. If not, that's fine as well. Love you!

Look who I found at consejo! Hermana Garcia :)

Starting the path to Devil's Throat!

This beauty just landed on my hand and decided to ride around for about 10 minutes.

hello paradise

At the bottom of one of the falls. 
We never got into the water, but here and at Devil's throat the mist was so thick that we got soaking wet.

Hermana Retana and I on our way to the upper circuit

at Garganta del Diablo

July 27, 2015

Happy Monday!

It is a beautiful day here in Barrio Jardin. The sun has finally come out (for the first time in a week), and Hna Cannon and I are planning on going to the park later today to enjoy the sunshine.

Last week I got to try... squid tentacles! Yum. They actually weren't too bad, they didn't have much of a flavor. Luckily I haven't had to try anything too nasty here. So far the worst I've eaten is squid tentacles, reviro (literally, flour and oil burned on the stove together), and liver (yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck).

Last week we had interviews with President LaPierre! It ws so great talking to him and getting some new ideas to help our area. We have been trying to find new people to teach, but we really need the help of the ward. So all y'all have the homework of doing something this week to help the missionaries. Give them a reference! Accompany them to an appointment!

We went with Marina this week, but we weren't sure what to teach her. We knew we wanted to share something from the Book of Mormon and had prepared a lesson plan. We got to the lesson, but we just really felt like what we had prepared was not what she needed to hear. We said the opening prayer, but then completely changed from what we had planned. We decided to read Etehr 12:27 with her. We finished reading the verse and she looked up with a huge grin on her face. She had been trying to remember that particular verse and couldn't find the reference. When we read it to her, she said that she felt a strong spiritual impression that God had used us to answer her prayers. I feel so honored and blessed that Heavenly Father uses us to help Him save and comfort His children.

I found this quotation and liked it! "The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today." President Harold B. Lee

All of God's commandments are essential to our salvation. Just like we shouldn't murder or committ adultery, neither should we tell little lies, hold grudges, backbite, etc... I know Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and His commandments are to help and strengthen us! Through Jesus Christ we can have the stamina and excitement to keep ALL the commandments.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Simmons

ps- Next week I will be at the Iguazu Waterfalls on Monday, and then we have Consejo on Tuesday. So I don't think that I will be writing until either Tuesday night or Wednesday.

it might be cold and rainy, but Argentina is as beautiful as ever!

out contacting

July 20, 2015

Rain, rain, rain, and miracles

So, we have had 3 weeks of nonstop clouds and rain. Since I have arrived here in Posadas we have had cold weather! Yesterday was the first time it had cleared up and been nice. We were so happy! We were hoping that the sunshine would last, but we woke up to a nice thunderstorm this morning. Oh well.

Yesterday we passed by a less active sister to walk with her to church. We clapped her house, but she couldn't come outside! They have two doors on their house- one normal door and one that has a lot of bars and padlock to keep the robbers out. She opened up her normal door and we saw that she was all dressed and ready to go to church. Unfortunately, her younger sister had gone out to a party the night before and had taken the other key! We felt as if we were talking to an inmate. She wanted to go to church so badly but couldn't! That was kind of a bummer. But we are going to have a Family Night with them today, so we are excited for that.

Last week, again, we had a lot of investigators fall through. And, due to the rain, we had troubles finding new people to teach. When Sunday rolled around, we were worried that nobody would be at church. But they came! An entire less active family was there, and a young man that we had invited to church two weeks ago came! His name is Claudio, and we had only spoken to him once (literally, we handed him a card and said he was welcome at our Sunday services). Woohoo! Miracles happen when we work and show our faith. God blessed us with a lovely Sunday.

Doctrine and Covenants 35:8
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those whobelieve on my name."

Love you all! Have a lovely week!

Hermana Simmons

July 13, 2015


Yes, yes I did.

We were walking to an appointment with the Relief Society President to coordinate with her about the less active sisters that we visit. While waiting outside of her house, a dog started barking and snapping at us. This has happened to me my entire mission, and from experience I've learned that if I just ignore the dog and not threaten it in any way, it will leave me alone. Apparently that dog does not understand common sense. While putting my water bottle back in my backpack I felt a sharp stinging in my calf. I looked down and there was an ugly little dog (it wasn't even a big dog! it was a wimpy mutt, probably a maltese) hanging off of my leg! I shook it off and then we just walked away. I thought I was fine because the bite marks weren't very deep, but then we got home. When I took my tights off, I saw that he had broken skin and I had nasty blood dried on my leg. yuck.

Anyway, sorry that took up a whole paragraph. I just thought it was pretty fun that I have now had the stereotypical bad experience with dogs as a missionary.

This week we have seen rain every single day. Hermana Cannon and I have been walking and clapping at a lot of doors. It would be so easy to slack off in the stormy weather (especially since nobody wants to listen to us in the rain), but we want to be diligent and show Heavenly Father that we are doing our best! After a very long week with some excruciatingly long days, we got to Saturday. The weather unexpectedly cleared up and within a few hours we were able to get in multiple lessons! Then, on Sunday, our investigator showed up at church! Her name is Valeria and she is 18 years old. Right now she is living with her boyfriend because she fights a lot with her parents. But she understands the doctrine well and is very receptive and eager to learn more. Hna Cannon and I will be praying for her lots in these next few weeks!

Random thought- The other day I remembered back when we would lose something at home- a pair of shoes or maybe a book. We would look around and wouldn't find it anywhere. But then Mom would (without fail) suggest that we say a prayer to find the lost item. Within five minutes someone would always be able to recover what was lost. Now, instead of praying for lost shoes, Hna Cannon and I pray for lost people. Heavenly Father has so many children that are searching for the Gospel, and we just want to be able to find and help them! Thanks Mom for teaching me how nothing and no one is ever lost to God.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." 2 Nephi 22:2

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Simmons

hey look a dog bit me.

found this little guy in our shower. 
hna cannon refused to touch it so I had the honor of carrying him outside.

July 06, 2015

More News

I don't really know how to send love or comfort in a letter, but I just want to say I love my family and I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father's plan. Today I found out that Hayden and Hudson died in a helicopter crash together. Definitely shocking and upsetting news (both of which mean I was crying in an Argentine internet cafe). I guess all I can say is that I know that God loves us, I know that Jesus Christ saves us from death, and I know that we can be together forever as a family as we depend upon the Gospel.  

This past week with Hermana Cannon has definitely been amazing! She and I both had the same trainer, went to BYU before the mission, love al the bakeries here, and want to invite as many people to come unto Christ as possible in these next six weeks! She is super upbeat and outgoing. She only has 3 months here in the mission field, but she already speaks Spanish really well! We have also had a lot of fun working out together in the mornings! She did gymnastics at BYU, so I`m going to see if I can learn any fun tricks from her :)

Here in Barrio Jardin there is mud EVERYWHERE. I`ve worn my mud boots every single day. Sunday? I wore the boots to church and then changed into my nicer shoes.

Here is a lot more neighborhood-y setting. We are still in a city, but we have less businesses and more houses, which is nice. 

2 Nephi 5:27 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." In this chapter, Nephi and his family have to abandon everything and move far away because Nephi`s own brothers are trying to kill him. But in spite of all this, Nephi and his family and friends are able to find joy. They find joy in working hard, in building a temple, in keeping the commandments, etc... I know that the only way to find true joy in this life is through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I honestly think that is what has changed the most about me in these past months. Serving God and just truly living the gospel to the best of my ability makes me HAPPY. It doesn't matter the things that I go through, God helps me push on and see the bigger picture. Trials and disappointments and sadness will all end if we put our faith in Christ and repent. He does forgive; He does heal; He does provide peace. I know that only through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ am I able to feel this goodness that I feel. This is happiness.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
Hermana Simmons

P.S. I can't believe the news about Hayden and Hudson. But I do know that God is watching over them and has a perfect plan for them.

Saying hello to Hna Cannon and Barrio Jardin!

Saying goodbye to Hna Moreno and Barrio 2!

June 29, 2015

I'm going to Posadas!

Transfers came today! And after spending almost my entire mission in Paraguay, I'm going back to Argentina! And not just anywhere in Argentina- I`m going to Posadas! It's called Barrio Jardin, and I'll be with Hermana Cannon. I don't know her at all, I think she just barely finished her training. I'm super excited that I get to finish in Argentina!

These past few weeks I have been focusing on just trying to love every single aspect of being on the mission. The awkward stuff, the gross stuff, the scary stuff, etc... Life is definitely a lot more exciting and rewarding when I can laugh bad experiences off!

Maria Isabel came to church on Sunday again! She has a lot of questions that we are answering using the Book of Mormon. It really contains the fullness of the gospel and answers the questions of the soul. 

Also, as a mission we have been putting an emphasis on using the Book of Mormon more. President LaPierre and the assistants put together a list of 25 scriptures from the Book of Mormon that the entire mission has to memorize. At first I thought "easy, scripture masteries." But nope, they are not the scripture masteries we learned in seminary. They are 25 ADDITIONAL scriptures to memorize. But we have been actually using them a lot! I love seeing how our leaders can be inspired to counsel us so well.

The other sisters in our ward had a baptism on Friday! His name is Silverio and he is 69 years old! He is such an example of humility! He is willing to change his life and follow Christ. Even though he has had 69 years of bad habits built up, he is leaving everything behind because he truly wants to follow his Savior. I love it. The gospel can truly change people and it can enhance our lives.

Romans 1:16 " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;"

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Simmons

June 22, 2015

surprise, surprise

I found out this morning that my life is about to turn into an uncomfortably realistic rendition of "The RM" (the movie).  Luckily I still have a few months of mission bliss to dim out reality haha. But even if Mom and Dad and Taylia move to Utah, I still am and forever will be Idahoan! (yay for potatoes!)

This week we were out tracting when we met a man named Estevan, he seemed really eager to talk with us which put us on the alert (here in Ciudad "really eager" usually means either "really drunk" or "really creepy"). As we talked with him, we realized that he had lots of in depth questions about the gospel because he had talked a lot with the Elders before. I don't think he had ever met sister missionaries before Hna Moreno and I. We could tell he had sincere interest, but he was also very close to arguing. We didn't want to debate, so Hna Moreno and I just decided to bear our testimonies to him and come back another night when he was less agitated. As we talked to him the scripture that popped into my mind was when Alma left as a missionary "seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." (alma 4:19) We felt the Spirit powerfully, and when we testified he couldn't argue against what we knew was true. We are planning on going back this week to see if he has true interest in the Gospel or if he will just want to debate.

We had a fun Father's Day activity on Friday. There were minute to win it games put together by the other sisters in our ward, asado, and a mormon message video about fathers. It was lots of fun and we were so happy that Maria Isabel, our investigator, was able to come! She like it a lot and told us that anytime there is an activity we need to invite her. She gets along great with the other young women, so right now we are trying to focus on her spiritual needs. We want her to experience a true conversion, not just go to church because she likes the people there. She has a testimony of prayer, and for this week we are going to read a lot of the Book of Mormon with her.

Alma 22:17-18 "the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day."

If we want to come to know God, we have to be willing to give up everything for Him. We can't let personal pride, material possessions, favorite sins, fear of other people, bad habits, or ANYTHING prevent us from following Christ our Savior. As one of the members here said, "God only lets his good and valiant soldiers into the Kingdom of God." If we are not courageous, if we are not willing to risk it all to follow God's counsel, we are being cowardly. We are here on earth in training- training to become God´s mighty sons and daughters. We have to live true to our divine heritage. I testify that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that every trial we go through is for our good, and throughout the process of trial He always provides help and relief.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!
Sister Simmons

June 15, 2015

Autumn Weather!

Good afternoon!

Last week we went down to Posadas for consejo. Tuesday morning we were sitting in the chapel waiting for the consejo to start when Pres. LaPierre and the asistentes walked in. President informed us that he had had the strong impression that we needed to go and have consejo somewhere else for the day. So we all traveled the hour over to La Cruz in Santa Ana, Argentina. We had our consejo in the conference room, and when we ended we had about an hour to walk around and see everything. It was BEAUTIFUL. There was a strong spirit of peace there. The Cruz is a huge cross, and it is set in the middle of a lot of wooded area. So it is kind of like a nature reserve.

Well, I guess it`s about time that something else crazy and wacky happens here. After consejo we all boarded the colectivo to travel back to Ciudad del Este. As we got on the bus, I heard a man saying "norteamericano! mis amigos los norteamericanos!" ("north americans! My friends the north americans!"). An older gentleman had gotten himself miserably drunk and then decided to travel in the public colectivo. Awesome. haha. Apparently he had done this before and he recognized some of the Elders from when he traveled Sunday night on colectivo.

Anyway, he talked to Elder Roberts and Elder Thomas a LOT. I can`t remember about what, I just remember that he could hardly get a comprehensible sentence out of his mouth, and he couldn`t stand still. When he saw me sitting in the back of the colectivo he shouted out "Rubias!" ("blonde girls!"). And then he started trying to invite me to sit with him and share his beer. Yep. So the Elders told him that I didn`t speak Spanish. But that didn`t stop him. He squared his shoulders and shouted out "MADAM! Madam!" Apparently someone had taught him a little English. I tried not to burst out laughing, but I couldn`t hold in the giggles. The poor man thought he had said it wrong so he asked the Elders "Did I say it alright?" They told him that sorry, but she doesn`t speak spanish either. They told him I speak German.

That quieted him down for about a minute as he gazed in intense thought at the floor. Then he got that "lightbulb moment" look on his face, turned to me and said "Buen da!" Just so you know, that is not actually German. When I didn`t respond, he defeatedly walked back to his seat. Later, when the man got up to go to the bathroom, the conductor locked him in the bathroom, threw all his beer cans out the window, and then let him back out. The rest of the trip was pretty routine.

I love this scripture!
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:22

Jesus Christ is our Savior. He alone can save us. Not money, not friends, not our ancestors, not any other idol or anything else. Only Jesus Christ. He is our Mediator with our Heavenly Father. Through baptism we accept Christ as our Savior and can access His divine grace.

I love you all!
Hermana Simmons

I got to see some of the Elders and Sisters from my old zone!
Me, Hermana Garcia, Elder Collins, Elder Prince, and Elder Graves

We went to the Cruz in Santa Ana, Argentina. It is a huge cross, tourist attraction, nature park area. There were lots of pretty walkways and even a butterfly exhibit.

The cross in Santa Ana

On the 9th floor (there are a lot, but that's the highest we could go without paying anything)

June 08, 2015

hey hey hey

We are at the first of the month again, so that means consejo (counsel/training?). And that means not much time to write. Thanks for all the letters, I`ll try to respond to y'all next week. 
This week we met a 14 year old named Maria. She has had a rough past. And when I say rough I'm not talking about "Mean Girls" bullying status, I'm talking about full on Les Mis tragedy. In the past year of her life she has kind of passed through a living hell. I admire her courage and her hope for the future. She wants to learn about Christ, and she came to church on Sunday. She could feel the love of the members and the peaceful spirit there, and she told us that she would like to be invited to every single activity that there is. We are going to keep visiting her :)
I'm so glad for the opportunity we have every month to fast as a church! I feel that God blesses me so much when I fast with a strong purpose and a willing heart. He can soften hearts, answer prayers, and bless us even more.

I love this scripture talking about the second coming!

"The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." (Joel 3:16)

God is mighty! He is the source of all hope and strength.
I love you all! Have a great week.

Hermana Simmons

P.S.  Yeah, the longer I`m out here, the more grateful I am for the family that God gave me... The family is so important and central to individual and societal well-being.
This Sunday I was sitting in the Fast and Testimony meeting. One of the young women got up and began to bear her testimony. I recognized her and know that she has been passing through some really tough times lately. I was super glad that she was bearing her testimony because I thought "This is great, this will help our investigator who arrived at church today. She is passing through similar trials."

Then I looked behind the girl bearing her testimony and saw the bishop. Last year he and his wife lost their two year old son to cancer and also the bishop`s father died pretty soon after. It came to me that this testimony could probably help him too. I also remembered two people that had also passed to the front to share their testimonies. An older lady with lots of health problems, and a man who was shot in the spine while working as security (he now has to fix shoes for a living and can't walk- he has a wheelchair).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is so full of brokenness. Broken people, broken families, people from a broken past. Some people have their problems more apparent than others, but everyone has in some way or another been deeply hurt by injustices in life. The people at church are not there because they think they are perfect. They keep going to church because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that keeps them going at all. In the Church of Jesus Christ we have all found healing. Christ completes and mends us.

Sometimes we think that the only people who need help are the ones we can see need help. But we all depend on Christ. We are all completely helpless and broken without the healing grace of Jesus Christ.

It`s easy to compare our sufferings or weaknesses with others, but in the end it does no good. We all need the strengthening that can come from a testimony, from a helping hand. The atonement is not just reserved for some; it is given to all.

June 01, 2015

Little Victories!

Last week we got to see some of the fruits of all our work here! woohoo :)

One of our investigator's, Miguel, has started coming to church regularly. He feels that this is the right path for him, but his obstacle is his grandmother. She is very Catholic and doesn't allow him to go to our ward in the morning. So what he has been doing is attend the Minga Guazu Branch later in the afternoon. We have been working with him pretty slowly because we want him to not feel pressure from us at all, we just want him to feel like he has a personal relationship with God and that Heavenly Father will answer his prayer. We're hoping that he can find a job soon so he can move out of his grandmother's house. That way he'd be able to go to church and still maintain a good relationship with her.

Also, working with the less actives can be a little interesting. We always need to remember that everyone is unique and has their own story. Lots of times they still have very strong testimonies, but they have lost their motivation to endure to the end. Last week we got to see one family we visit come to sacrament meeting, and one young man we work with went to stake conference! Heavenly Father loves all of His children and He is mindful of where they all are and the challenges they are going through.

Elder Viñas from the Area Presidency came down to visit the mission this past Friday. He spoke about the importance of the Holy Ghost. He also reminded us to take the sacrament very seriously and to teach our investigators the same. If we are not making time either Saturday night or Sunday morning to reflect on the week and repent (specifically confessing our sins to God), then we are not taking advantage of the sacrament the way God intends us to do so. The sacrament is a sacred renewal where we witness to God that we want to be obedient.

"Look unto me in every thoughtdoubt not, fear not." Doctrine and Covenants 6:36
I know that when we remember Jesus Christ, we will remember His love and His power. He can do all, He can help us be all that we are destined to be. By relying upon Him, He can lift us higher. I testify of this and of His infinite love. When we have Christ as the center of our lives we do not need to be afraid or discouraged. And if we do feel like that at times, we can always turn to Him and ask for Him to take those feelings away. That is what the atonement can do for us.

I love you all and have a great week!
Hermana Simmons

Here is a photo of a multi-zone conference we had with Elder Viñas last Friday. I played an arrangement of Come Follow Me. This was with the zones Pora, Ciudad del Este, and La Paloma.  (Elise is front row, 5th from the left)

May 25, 2015

It's a Beautiful Day


Last week was a little interesting. Okay, that's a strange way to start, considering every week is "interesting" out here. Anyway, lots of the new Elders and Sisters arrived in the mission so we have been kind of busy trying to help everyone adjust and learn the rules and feel comfortable and happy. I´m not training, but in my zone we have three new sisters. I feel like we are all on edge trying to make sure everyone is all right and adjusting well.

I don't know why, but last week we had a lot of appointments fall through and a lot of investigadors we had to drop- people are not progressing, nobody was ever home, etc... It was a little discouraging. On Friday I really felt upset and was frustrated with myself, my companion, the area, everything. What was even more frustrating was knowing that it's not my fault or my companion´s fault, or anyone's fault for that matter. We can do our best to invite the Spirit, we can have powerful lessons, but in the end, our investigator's have their own moral agency. They can choose whether or not to accept this Gospel. Or maybe now just isn't their time.

Anyway, I was feeling pretty discouraged, so I started reading one of the old General Conference Liahona's. I absolutely loved the talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthling called "The Abundant Life." I can't summarize it very well, but I hope you all go read it. It talks about our potential, and the potential of all God's children. It also mentioned that Jesus Christ is the source of all energy, hope, happiness, etc... When I finished the talk, it came to my mind that I needed to say a prayer and ask for help. So I kneeled down and asked Father to strengthen me both physically and spiritually so that I could make it through the day. I can´t describe it very well, but the second I stood up from saying the prayer I felt ENERGIZED. I felt so happy! It was a 180 degree change from how I had felt before saying the prayer. This has happened before in my mission, but not to such a quick and drastic degree.

John 4:14 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

I know that Jesus Christ is the source of the water that "springs" up to everlasting life. He is the source of all light and energy- literally! If we turn to Him, He can help us change! He can strengthen us in whichever way we need strengthening! I love Him and my Heavenly Father so much!

I´ll try to have some cool stories or pictures next week.

Love you all!
Hermana Simmons

ps- congratulations to Alair! Woohoo! My little sister is a high school grad!

May 18, 2015

A Little Stir Crazy

The inevitable finally happened. The members have been talking about it forever, and lots of contacts we make eventually come back to this- DENGUE. Hermana Moreno had had a fever and headache for about three days when we finally convinced her to go to the nearby clinic and get her blood tested. Yep, she has dengue. There’s no cure, you just have to rest and drink tons of water for about a week and then it will go away. We have been in the pension since Thursday. We have all been going a little crazy with so much free time. There’s only so much studying and sleeping a person can do. Thankfully with three Sisters in the apartment it is a little more fun. Tomorrow we will visit the doctor again, and hopefully the results will be good.

The upside to all this is that Hermana Moreno couldn’t have chosen a better time to be sick. Thursday was Paraguay’s independence day, Friday was their Mother’s Day, Saturday and Sunday are always slow anyways, and Monday is P-day. It’s one of God’s many tender mercies. If we are inside for a week, at least we were inside on days when most people don’t want to listen to us. Maybe we don’t understand why my companion got sick, but God won’t let it interrupt this work. Doctrine and Covenants 3:3 "Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men."

I love you all!

Hermana Simmons

ps- we found out about transfers today. Hermana Moreno and I are staying together here, and Hermana Murphy (our companion for the past week and a half) will be training a brand new missionary in her same area. So all four of us will be together in this ward still!

May 12, 2015

Happy Mom`s Day!

Short email this week.
It was fun to be able to see the family on Skype yesterday; I’m glad that that technology exists!
We are now working in a trio, because one of the sisters working here finished her mission two weeks before transfers. So Hna Murphy is just going to stay with Hna Moreno and I until the transfers come and she can get a new companion.

your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God
1 Corinthians 2:5
I know God calls on imperfect people to carry out His plans. But as we depend on Him and trust in His judgment, we will recognize that He helps us fulfill His purposes. And we will also be patient as we recognize that other people are just doing the best they can with the talents and weaknesses that they have as well. I love my weaknesses because they make me depend more upon my Savior and recognize His love and mercy in my life. They might not be all that fun, but in the end they help us come closer to Christ.
Love you all! Have a great week.

Sister Simmons

May 04, 2015

Letting the Spirit guide...

Miracle of the Week: Another sister missionary asked us if we had ever visited a man named Alcides who had stopped coming to church for a while. We said now, and asked where he lived. She didn't know how to explain it exactly, but she told us that a family we visit often should know. We went to this family and asked them, but only the wife was home and she said she didn't know where he lived. All she knew was that "He lives over THERE, way way back at the end of the street. I think." Great. 

So we started down the street, and after 4 or 5 blocks we started clapping at doors, asking people if they knew this man. Nobody had even heard of him. We kept walking. We didn't know if he lived on this street or on a smaller street that connected to this main road. We were out looking for about half an hour without any luck, but we really felt like we shouldn't give up. Finally we decided to stop trying to ask directions from the neighbors and just walk for a bit. 

We walked all the way to where the road ended, and then we took a turnoff. Then we walked all the way to the end of THAT street and we saw three paths in front of us, all leading to different neighborhoods. We decided to talk the smallest street first and so we walked all the way to the end of that street. The last house we found we asked the lady outside if she knew a man named Alicdes. She looked at us for a second and then said, "Well, yes. He's my neighbor. He lives right across the street!" Without any other help than God's gentle guidance, we had walked for about 15 minutes and ended up right at his house! When we started talking with Alcides, he informed us that that morning he had felt to pull out his scriptures and prepare the house because the sister missionaries were going to come over. And there we were! This man thought that God had forgotten about him, but we were able to share with him that God loves all His children.

As a mission we are working on finding people who are ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though I love working with less actives and members, this week my companion and I are really going to walk and talk and work with everyone we can to try to find the people that God has prepared to accept the gospel now. Lots of people we teach feel the Spirit and say that they know they should ask God if our message is true. Their obstacle? They are too afraid to change religions. I have literally had people tell me that they know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, but they don't feel prepared to leave their own congregation. Argh! It's so sad! They don't understand that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ offers lasting happiness, peace, comfort, support, joy, and purpose! God`s invitation for us to repent and be baptized isn't an invitation to leave behind happiness and start a life of drudgery and sadness. It's an invitation to healing! An invitation to living with Him eternally!

"13 will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?  14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
21 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.  22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." 3 Nephi 9:13, 14, 21, 22

I know Christ lives! He is the Son of God and our Savior! I know Heavenly Father lives! His plan is that we can repent and return to Him through Jesus Christ! They know and love us individually. All we have to do is choose to follow them.

Have a great week!

Hermana Simmons

HLC- hermana lider capacitadora, or sister training leader

Yeah, even as a mission we are trying to think of ways we can better sanctify Sunday. Out here, teaching the Sabbath Day lesson so many times, it kind of hit me how dumb it was that before the mission I considered sitting in bed watching Netflix an appropriate Sunday activity haha. Good thing there is the repentance process :)

love you!