Sunday, April 19, 2015

We send our children out to be missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leaving them in the Lord's hands, and miss them every day, and pray for them, and count down the days until they return.  As our child comes out the doors of the international airport and into our arms, it is like giving birth all over again.  The anticipation is almost unbearable but the exquisite joy is also overwhelming.
I am grateful to be a mother.  NO matter where my children travel or the things they choose to do with their lives, I know they will always be in the Lord's hands.

 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."--3 John 1:4

Welcome home, Hermana Oliphant.

 These wonderful shoes were created by a dear friend just for the occasion.  Happy feet:)

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of her that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;"  Isaiah 52:7

When we woke up to get ready for the day we would bring Justyce home, there was a new snowstorm.  Here are the photos of our yard.

Lincoln decorated outside our home.  By mid afternoon, most of the snow was gone.

By the time we could leave, we were all really excited to get to the airport. 

 This is her flight.

 Then, we waited....


It was on time but it took forever for her to get through customs.

 Damon is so grateful to have his Big Sister home.
 Justyce and Trynn
 A huge hug from Daddy!
 Brother hugs...

Other hugs...

 Friends hugs... 

 Justyce's hammock.  She wants to hang it up as soon as we can find a place for it.
 Jess and Colin decorated her room.  It is nice to have her home again.

I know this church is true.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that has given us an opportunity to live as eternal families.  I love the Book of Mormon and know it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  He lives.  He is the way back to our heavenly home.  God's plan is a plan of happiness if we choose to pattern our lives after His and keep trying every day.  I love my Savior.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2015

As I have been trying to figure out what to say, so many wonderful memories have sprung into my mind. This last week has been a really emotional week, no I have not spent it crying, but I have felt so many emotions. Looking back, or thinking back 2 years ago, I was studying at BYU Idaho. I was 19 years old and honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. or where I wanted to go or even who I wanted to be. The things I did to stay busy weren't all that important--watching movies, playing games on my i-phone, or going out on dates or out with friends just for the fun of it. I can see now that I did not have a relationship with my Father in Heaven. I never said personal prayers and only read the Book of Mormon pages that were assigned in my institute class and only took the class because it was required at school. Finishing the semester, I came home and could not push the idea of a mission out of my head . It didn't help that my friends were all starting to fill out their papers, receive their calls and heading out on their missions. But the thing that really changed me was when my best friend, Hannah, received her call to Chile. I watched her change and I knew that that was something I wanted to do. I told my parents on Mothers' Day of 2013 and a short month later received my call to serve in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. Then came the emotions. Excitement. Fear. Unworthiness. Desire, happíness and sadness. I was so excited to go on this adventure, live in a new place, with new people. But that is how I thought of it, an adventure. An opportunity to see a new part of the world and be in a different culture. You can definitely say that I came on the mission for so many WRONG reasons.
I made it through the MTC and before I knew it I was on a plane headed south. We landed in the Mexico City airport and the panic hit. I could not understand anything, we got lost. I was so glad that I wasn't alone and that the other missionaries had paid attention in class and they got us to our next flight. Walking off the plane in Tuxtla, I felt like I was suffocating because it was so hot and humid. Then the next day as I arrived in my first area, San Cristobal, I was so thankful I brought  a few sweaters as it is known for being extremely cold in San Cristobal in December. My first companion and trainer was Sister Perez and she really was like my mother. She helped me learn how to live in Mexico. She taught me how to use the money here and how to teach the basics of the gospel lessons. The days quickly turned into weeks and the weeks into months. I left the chilliness of San Cristobal after saying goodbye to Rosa Maria (little did I know that she would pass away just a few short weeks later). I arrived in my second area, Jardines in Tuxtla and was so stressed out.
My companion, Hermana Rodriguez and I were both new in the area and had to find a house to live in, then paint the house and look for people to teach. My 3 months there flew by and soon I was back on the tour bus headed to Tapachula. Man, it is HOT in Tapachula! But everything is green and beautiful. We had a wonderful ward mission  leader who always helped us out. Sister Garcia and my ward threw me a surprise 21st birthday party. I finally was able to communicate with the people. I learned to just start speaking and the right words will come out and If they don't, the Spirit will help them understand. I had a scorpion crawl down my leg while sleeping, spent the night in the hospital, traveled 1 hour and a half each Sunday to hold a sacrament meeting in the house of some members who could not travel to the church. We made memories but soon my time was up and I headed back to the cold this time in Comitan. I fell in love with this area.
The members are all so wonderful, I loved the town because it wasn't huge but at least had a Walmart! But more than all that, I was able to change who I was while I was there. I started with Hermana Guerrero but we went on an activity with President George to the ruins of Tonina and after climbing up and down those temples, my knee gave out and I was confined to the house for 4 weeks. We had special transfers and I finished the transfer with Hermana Trad. We spent those weeks studying, reading, talking and when we felt like being rebels, we went out and found people to teach. In those weeks with her, we found Frank. Frank was a miracle. Watching him change and grow in the gospel is something I will never forget. He and Rubi were baptised my last Saturday in Comitan when I was with sweet Hermana Benally. The next part of my spiritual journey took place in Zanatepec Oaxaca. It was one of my goals I had to serve in a branch and I loved every minute of it. We worked hard, even when it was SO HOT. I will never forget those sweet members in Zanatepec. I feel like all of them are part of my family. Martin Ventura was baptised my first Saturday there and I loved watching him progress with his family. He has such a strong testimony of the gospel that even when he was faced with a pretty large trial, he stayed strong. They have their goal set  to enter the temple to become and eternal family. Esteban Lopez and his wife Gloria adopted Hermana Humphrey and I as their grandchildren. We always left their house full of the spirit joy and with full tummies. I will never forget the friendships I made while in Zanate. Cecilia Peto will always be an example to me. She was baptized in January even though her parents weren't supportive and took her Grandma's name to the temple on March 14th to be baptized for her. She also received her patriarchal blessing that same day and now is planning for and preparing for her own full time mission. She is truly a soul sister to me and even when I will be far away, I know we will always support each other. 
I finished my 18 month journey in Tuxtla next to the temple. Being with Hermana Agustín has been such a huge blessing for me in my life. She is so sweet and I know that she will do wonderful things in her life. She has helped me be more calm about finishing my mission and we have really given our all even in such a hard area for teaching. I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people here that I will never forget, Hermano Candido Lopez, the Rosales Martinez family, Hermano Mario and Xiomara Reyes Solis to start. There are so many friendships that I cherish from the mission. I don't have words to express how grateful I am for every day I have lived, every time I have cried, laughed and felt the Spirit. I have grown. I have learned to be more like Christ, and I have changed. I have learned how to take care of a house, how to be a good wife and mother. I have learned the importance of being obedient. I have become who I have always wanted to be. 
We teach about baptism every day, how it is like starting a new life, and leaving the old one behind. Well I am living that now. The mission is like a baptism.  I was able to leave behind my old life , the old me, and become someone new. 
I came on the mission insecure, shy, disobedient... But I am going home knowing who I truly am. I know that I am a child of God. He has sent me here, to the earth, to learn. to progress. to repent. to learn how to be better and then to be better so I can return to  live with Him. I LOVE my Savior. I love what He has done for ME so that I can be forgiven and so I can have this life. 
I know the gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon has power. I will never stop reading it. And Yes, I am now looking forward to my institute classes. I am looking forward to each Sunday I will have to go to church and learn and take the sacrament. I am looking forward to finding my other half and being sealed for time and all eternity. I can not wait to have my own eternal family. I KNOW God LOVES ME! 
Thank you for all you have done for me, to support me these 18 months I have been here. It's a bittersweet moment knowing that in 4 days they will be releasing me from being a full time missionary. But I also know that I will never stop sharing what I know to be true. Because it is true. All of it. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
Hermana Oliphant 
Misión Tuxtla Gutierrez,
16 Octubre 2013- 16 Abril 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hermana Oliphant--1 week left!

Mission newsletter--missionaries going home!
I LOVE CONFERENCE!!! I received soo many answers to my many questions that I have had in the last few months. I loved every single talk! We were able to attend all 4 sessions this weekend! Which talks did you all like the most? We will have to talk about all of them when I get home next week! I just have so much
to say and not much time :(
We went out to dinner with Hermano C this week,
 he took us for tacos! I love Mexican tacos so much and I am seriously going to miss them, with salsa, and onions and celantro and limes... talk about a good meal! It would just be a little better with a nice cold coke, but, as missionaries, we dont drink coke ;) 
 On Tuesday we had a ward activity about Christ. Did I tell you about the activity we did in Comitan with "The Living Christ"? Well, we did that here and I played the piano and we had a  few sisters sing and we read "The Living Christ" with a slide show of photos of Christ. I ended the night singing "His Hands" and then we watched the Mormon Message, "Gracias a que Él vive". We didn't have much of a turn out, but it was a really spiritual experience for those who did come :) 
Only an iguana on the street to teach.

This week was really hard to find people in their homes, or in the street because it is Easter week and with the central religion being Catholic, everyone was out at the beach or with their families in other parts. So we did a lot of walking, especially Thursday and Friday with not a lot of talking to people. Our legs and feet were so tired when we got home both of those nights!
In our zone meeting this week, we separated into groups and discussed how we can be better as missionaries; our district was assigned language. As missionaries, sometimes we get a little relaxed in the way that we talk with our companion, or with members, but we need to remember to always use appropriate language. I have learned that even joking around can be taken in a wrong way. I was our assigned spokesperson and taught our zone about our language. I think I surprised everyone when I committed each member of the zone to use better language. (The other group leaders had only taught their principle, but I have learned that if we want people to change, we have to commit them to do it!) 
We learn through experience! 
Well that was our week. I hope you all have a wonderful week and we will see you soon!!
Hermana Oliphant
It's so hot--I braid my hair a lot!

It sounds like you all had a fun week. I`m a little sad that I missed out on both of Ammon's plays... but I hope that you were able to record it or at least take pictures. I bet he did fantastic! He better be ready to show me his sick xylophone skills ;)
Well this week we worked hard on finding new people to teach. We aren't allowed to knock on doors here, (like to present ourselves). We have to contact in the streets. So this week we really worked on having a member come with us because they can knock on the doors of people and talk to whoever answers. Hermana X (She just got married; she served here as a missionary, She was Hermana Taylor`s trainer) came with us on Tuesday and also on Friday and we also had our bishop help us knock on some doors. Well all week we had been praying and asking God to help us find someone with a baby or a small child who would listen to our message. ALL WEEK: EVERY PRAYER. And some of our friends here have been trying to help us find this person. Well yesterday  we went visiting with Hermano G and we spent over an hour knocking on doors, and singing hymns and sharing small messages. Some people accepted another visit and some didn't. But FINALLY we were invited into a house of a woman. They were just getting ready to leave when we knocked but she said we could have a few minutes. Well we sang and shared a message and she invited us back. We were really excited because it is a family, 4 boys and the parents. Well when we were walking down the street, we realized that she has a baby. She is who we had been praying for!! After many doors are closed, one will always open. I know it is true. We are rejected all the time, but if we just keep going, keep asking. keep trying, a door will always open. There are always people looking for the truth. We just have to find them!
I know that God answers our prayers. I know he is always listening. 
Saturday night after the Women's Conference (which we only heard the last 2 talks because we were told the wrong time....) We walked back to our area with The R family. She had invited two of her friends to the conference! Well as we were walking, I told her that she was going to contact with me. So her and I walked ahead of everyone and started contacting people. She was so nervous, but after talking to a few people she got the hang of it. Then her mom, contacted a teenager also. And then the brother wanted to join in the fun. Well before heading home, we gave the kids some cards for contacting and then ended up playing a game that night and contacted a lot of people. Then, Sunday morning, the family, her friend, the brother and his friend walked with us to church. We passed by for a member and her two children and headed on our way to church. The two little children asked me for cards and I gave them each two and they went off to find more people to contact. It was so neat to watch these children (two of whom aren't even members yet!) contacting people and saying that they are from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints! and then inviting them to church with us. That was a neat experience for me.
I sat by the 4 year old in sacrament meeting because the mom was struggling to keep the 2 year old happy. I love being with children that age. They are so wonderful. I love talking with them. They know so much and have such a sweet spirit. I know that they are straight from God's presence.
Then Hermana Agustin and I taught the combined meeting of Relief Society and Priesthood with the teenagers. We shared the mission secret......... :) and yes, missionary work has a secret... do you know what it is? I will leave the guessing up to you for this week. But I know that when we use this secret, the work will go faster and more people will come unto Christ!
I love you all!
Hermana Oliphant

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Donde Estoy.

Donde estare in 3 semanas!!!!
Today as I was doing my personal study, I finished the Book of Mormon!!! I LOVE how it ends; there is so much wonderful information written. I challenge each of you to read Moroni 7. I have always loved that chapter, about faith, hope and charity :)
I know that the Holy Ghost is our guide and helps us feel God's love. This week we had a really neat experience. On Monday, we had 3 appointments with investigators and also were really tired. Before leaving the house to work, we prayed. In the prayer, we mentioned that we wanted all three of them to be home and to receive us because we didn't feel strong enough to just walk around all night. We got working and went to the first house, and they let us in. The second house, and they let us in. We went to our 3rd appointment and THEY LET US IN. I know that God is listening and that he answers our prayers when we are asking with a sincere heart. 
Hermana Agustin and Hermana Oliphant
We have a few families that we are teaching but they are having a few problems. One family, the husband is a member and she has been investigating the church for a while now. She has the desire to be baptised but can't because they aren't married. And they can't get married yet because he is not divorced. (I know, there are so many cases like this here...). They are losing their faith and haven't been going to church lately because of some things that were said. But we know that soon they will be able to make everything right. They have a strong desire to be an eternal family. 

Another family is progressing really well. They are a young couple and have 2 children, 4 and 2 years old and the wife is 6 months pregnant. They know that the Book of Mormon is true and have been asking all kinds of questions about their baptism (they accepted a date but it fell because they couldn't make it to church on Sunday). But the problem is that they aren't married and aren't in the financial spot where they can pay to get married right now.  But they know that is is something that needs to be done before their baptism. We know that they will become members and I hope that I can be here to see them take that step! We pass by almost every day with them just to make sure they are reading and praying. 
Yesterday we had 5 people come to church. 3 came with recent converts! They invited their friends and they said yes! We don't want to scare them away, so we are going to set up a family home evening for later this week with them. Their mom also came and the boyfriend of a member.  We talked with him yesterday and he expressed his desire to be baptised and set a date with him for the 4th of April. We hope that everything can work out fine with him and  that he can be baptised that day! 

Well, that's pretty much what we did this week. On Wednesday we had companion exchanges with the sisters in our ward (our sister training leaders) and I went to work with Sister Knight from Herriman. She is so wonderful! I always learn a lot from the companion exchanges and feel a new light when I get back to my area. 
Well I know that this church is true. I know that God lives. I know that families can be forever!
Hermana Oliphant

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hello all!
This week was such a wonderful experience for me. I was able to see the Lord working in my life, helping me through each day. I am so thankful for the Atonement, the sacrifice that our Savior went through for me. I know that He knows me, and that He loves me.  In our Zone meeting on Friday, we talked about the Atonement, and I was able to feel so much appreciation for the Savior. It really hit home that he has already paid for our sins, our mistakes, so we are just abusing him if we don’t repent. He has already paid the price!
With our Stake Missionary Hermanas!
Friday and Saturday our stake had a missionary activity. The young men and young women had a day in the mission experience. Friday night we received our two young women companions who were going to be our companions for the next 24 hours--yes they slept at our apartment. At first I was a little nervous for how the weekend was going to play out, but on Saturday night when we dropped them off at the church, we didn’t want them to go. It was such a neat experience to see the changes in those youth. We had a young woman who couldn’t speak very well because she can't hear very well, and Saturday afternoon I finally got her to open up to me and we started talking. She has such a strong testimony of our Savior and of the scriptures. Although she was embarrassed to speak in the lessons, her spirit was there and she filled the room with her light. When we dropped them off, Hermana Agustin and I were so tired and ready to sleep.  Saturday was a long and  exhausting day!!!

Saturday morning, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple with Hermana Cecilia Peto from Tapanatepec. She was baptized the 3rd of January and went to the temple for the first time and was baptized for her Grandmother. Friday night she called me and said that she wasn’t sure she wanted to go to the temple; she was sad because her branch didn’t come to Tuxtla with her and she came alone and she felt like the world was falling apart. My companion and I talked to her and got her excited to go to the temple. When we got there at 7:30am, they told us we would have to wait until 9 to enter into the baptistry. Talk about needing to have patience! We waited in the front of the temple and finally were let in at about 9:30. She didn’t know what to do or where to go, and she was my companion for the morning, so I went with her. All of the temple workers kept telling me I couldn’t be there, that I had to go to a session. We had to explain so many times that I was her companion and that I had permission to be there with her.  As I was waiting on the bench in the baptistry, I had time to contemplate what was happening. I had an overwhelming feeling come over me that THIS is what missionary work is all about. Not just having a baptism, yes that is great, but watching what happens after the baptism! Hermana Ceci is now not the only member of her family.  She brought the gospel to her Grandma and is working on getting other names ready to bring to the temple.

I love watching the work roll along. I know that I was called her for a reason. I know that I have touched the lives of many. 

With my Comitan Friends

Also at the temple, I ran into a lot of members from my area in San Cristobal and Comitan, and feeling the love that they have for me  really helped me see just how much I have accomplished here in the mission. 

I have mixed feelings about the fact that I have one month left. Today I am completing 17 months in the mission which means that just one left. I am really happy to be close to seeing my family but I am really sad to be leaving here. I love Mexico. I love the people. I love sharing my testimony with people even if they reject me.  I love being with my companion. I love the gospel. I know that I will never regret the choice I made to serve a mission.
I love all that I have learned; patience is still something I am struggling with but I am working on it. It is hard to always be a happy, cheery person, but as a representative of Jesus Christ, we need to be that way. I love serving others. I love helping them. We had a wonderful lesson with a cute family on Saturday night and they accepted baptism. We are going to have a followup appointment today and have to teach them about chastity because they aren't married. But they have been to church 3 times and really want to be an eternal family. I KNOW that families are forever. If nothing else, I have learned that here on my mission. 
Thanks for all you do!!!

Hermana Oliphant

Ceci sent this to Mom and Justyce asked to put it on the blog.

No sabia de que ustedes tenial la oportunidaf de cuidar el templo, es muy super saber  que personas como ustedes le sirven con mucho amor a nuestro padre celestial, es muy hermoso aqui en Tuxtla en el Templo los hermanos te reciben con mucho amor y te ayudan sino sabes que hacer, se siente el amor que dios nos tiene, y sentimos el esperitu es algo maravilloso. Yo quiero servile al señor en una mision pero mis papas no me apoyaran, ellos no son miembros :( y me dijeron que no me van a dar dinero y que no me apoyarian, sera muy dificil pero se que Dios me ayudara porque estoy orando mucho porque tengo fé enque mis papas puedan apoyarme y ser sellados en el Templo :)... un dia yo iré a conocerle y a visitar a mi mejor amiga hermana oliphant, amo la nieve quiero conocer la nieve es mi mas grande sueño.... gracias por comunicarce conmigo, me dijo hermana oliphant que publicaria en su bloc algo jeje saludos
At the temple to teach this family about eternal families

 This is a gigantic hill that we get to climb every day.  If you look carefully, you can see the Tuxtla Gutierrez Temple behind the tree.