Adventures of Kali in Cali

Monday, January 18, 2016

Welcome Home Hermana McMinn

Sometimes life gives you challenges that you never thought you would have to fight! Sometimes there are challenges that you just can not fight alone. You need to be in the loving arms of family to help you through them. It is hard when your life does not look exactly like you thought that it would but you learn to trust the Lord through both the good times and the bad. Our true character is displayed in how we react to those challenges, what we learn from them and how we become better through them.

Los Angeles Temple
For the past couple of months now, Kali has been battling some anxiety and depression. This is new to all of us as this has never been something that she has battled up to this point. She worked hard as a missionary and did everything that she could to overcome but she just could not fight it alone. She did not want to come home but the mission president and medical staff all knew that the only way for her to heal was to come home and get better.

We got the call on Friday and met her in Los Angeles on Saturday. As she struggled, it was so hard for me to be so far away when all that I wanted to do was put my arms around her and tell her that everything was going to be okay and that I loved her more than she could ever imagine. When I finally got the opportunity to see her face and give her that long awaited hug that she so desperately needed, it just felt right. Lots of tears were shed mostly because we loved her and were so proud of how hard she had worked as a missionary but also because now we knew the healing could start. Kali loved her mission. She loved the Latino people in Los Angeles and speaking the Spanish language. Even though her mission looked different than other missionary experiences, in the 5 months that she served she did everything she could to be the best missionary she could be. Her mission president told us that she worked hard, taught with the Spirit and was a very effective missionary. He also told us that in his eyes she was a hero to so many. (I completely agree...I know that she is my hero!) 

Her mission president shared this scripture with us:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from perfoming that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
Doctrine & Covenants 124:49

We could not have asked her to do more. She did all that she was asked to do. She did her best and that was enough!

It has now been a week since she has been home and we are so glad to have her back with us. She has come a long way in a week. We are slowly getting our Kali back. The smile is there more often than not. She has really enjoyed spending time with her brother and sisters. Taryn keeps her laughing most of the time. I think we all missed her more than we knew we did! She spoke in church yesterday and gave an amazing talk on faith. I was so proud of her for fighting through the anxiety and sharing her testimony with the ward. I know that it was not easy for her but it was very healing. It is funny how life teaches you lessons you really didn't know that you needed to learn at the time but you look back and are so grateful for the blessings that the Lord places in your life. We have seen many tender mercies through the hard times and know that our Heavenly Father is very aware of Kali and what she is going through right now. She is loved and will be a better person because of this challenge.

We are so grateful to all of you who have reached out, prayed, given hugs and supported her (and us) through this experience. Many of you were counted as those tender mercies! So thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We have no doubt in our minds that Kali will come through this trial on top because she is strong, courageous, brave and she wants to get better more than anything. She knows that she will not be alone through this challenge but that our Savior will be with her every step of the way!

Though we will face trials, adversities, disabilities, heartaches, and all manner of afflictions, our caring, loving Savior will always be there for us. He has promised:
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you...
~Ronald A. Rasband

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Dear Friends and Family,

Update on Kali: For the last few months she has been struggling with depression and anxiety and had been figuring out ways to try and cope with it on the mission.  After a while, she and her mission president (with the help of the medical staff) decided that it would be best for her to come home and to get her healthy with the help of her family and friends.  Friday Rob and I drove to Los Angeles to pick her up and it was a tear-filled reunion.  We slowly made our way home after that with a pit stop in St. George to get a little bit more sun before we headed back home to the snow. We finally arrived home where she was released as a full-time missionary last night.

So far it has been really good for her to be home with her siblings but it has also been really hard for her as well.  She definitely misses her mission but knows that it is best for her to be home and healthy and that is our main goal right now.  It is going to be quite the journey but we know that she can do it :)

Thank you for all of the love and support. She has felt a lot of love from all those around her!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 22: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Hello everyone!

First... Happy Birthday to my lovely Mom who turned 30 years old! ;)
Merry Christmas
Next.... So sorry I did not send a group email last week.  We have had some crazy P-days and not much has happened other than Christmas.  It was a lot of fun talking to my family and seeing their faces.  I hope you all had a great Christmas as well.  On Christmas day we talked to our families and then went and visited a lot of our less active members.  It was a lot of fun to go and visit them because they loved that we thought about them and brought them a message about the true meaning of Christmas!  The spirit was really strong all throughout the day.

Happy New Year!
My companion is slowly getting better from her sickness but I got sick again this week.  It is all from this freezing California weather ;) really though.. the whole mission is sick because this year the weather is alot colder than usual and there has been some rain as well.

Look Mom...we found a cat!
The work in our area is going really slow. We always have a lot of potential investigators and we go and talk to them but they aren't quite ready to make the changes that they need to make.  We have been working with the Preciado family still and we are hoping that everything works out with Illusion and her baptism :)

Oh Christmas Tree!
In YSA we got a new branch president and he is so awesome.  He wants to do alot of work and wants to have the missionaries involved with it all so we are super excited to see a lot of progress with the YSA branch.  I love working with them and being with people who are my own... ish age and also speak English haha
Pumpkin Muffins with Sister Otte
Hope you all have a great week and enjoyed the beginning of 2016!  I love you all :)
Sister McMinn

California has possums too!

Please mom...can I keep it?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 21: Merry Christmas

Hello Family and Friends!

Our Skype with Kali!

This week was a great week for our family. We got to skype Kali on Christmas day! She looks and sounds great. It was fun to feel like our family was all in the same room even if we were miles apart. Kali told us about some of her California adventures. Her favorite food is rice and beans. We told her that she needs to learn to cook them before she comes home. She has an amazing companion named Sister Otte. They laugh and have fun but still get the work done. They have been doing lots of community service in her area. She loves the sunshine but misses the snow. 

This is what she is missing!

She bore her testimony to us in Spanish. Even though we didn't understand everything that she was saying, we could feel the spirit in her words. It was pretty amazing to hear her speak. 

She sent a little video clip today but told us that she didn't have time to send out a full message to everyone. She also said that she didn't have a whole lot to say since she told us everything the other day. Her companion is still sick so they haven't been out much. Hopefully they can both get feeling better soon.

For Christmas, they made cards and delivered them to some of their investigators. She is working really hard and loves the work. We love her!

Thanks for the love, support, and prayers that you share on her behalf.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Have a great week!

Trust God and believe in good things to come.
~Jeffrey R. Holland

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 20: All Aboard the Struggle Bus

Hello friends and family!
Well first off... Merry Christmas!! How exciting is this week?! We get to celebrate the Savior's birth and be with friends and family. And it sounds like there is a lot of snow as well! I hope you all have a safe and fun Christmas! 
So this week has been... Fun as you can tell from the subject! I was sick all this week. I felt awful! I have the worst cold ever and eventually lost my voice. All that I could do was whisper... Sometimes. We didn't know what to do because obviously as missionaries we need to be able to talk so we called the mission nurse and President Weidman and they both told us to stay inside and get rest until I had a voice and I didn't have a voice for about four days! We stayed in the house for very long time and we got very bored. We had a lot of scripture study, napping, laughing, eating and sometimes we went out to go and see our set appointments. As a side note... One day when we went out we saw a car chase of 12 police cars and 4 helicopters because someone stole mail. Welcome to California :). But anyway I am feeling better today but now Sister Otte is sick. Worse than I was. She was informed by the nurse that she must stay inside for a few days as well. So this week should be fun as well!
So as you can tell this has been a pretty uneventful week until yesterday and this is the story of why my p day is today! I woke up yesterday feeling really well! I got up and showered and had a really good personal study. I was super excited to have a great P-Day and do everything that we needed to do but... As we finished personal study there was a knock on the door. Turns out in the middle of the night someone broke into our car in our apartment building. At first I did not really believe it and I thought someone was joking and maybe someone had just left a present on our car or something! But then we went outside and saw all the glass everywhere. Tiny pieces of glass! They took our gate clicker and our gas credit card. So we cleaned our car and headed to the car  repair place. It was a miracle that the repair guy had a window that fit our car. That took a few hours then we found out that we needed to head to the mission office in Santa Monica to get a new credit card. We got there and  had everything figured out but then we were heading home and hit traffic! Welcome to Los Angeles!! We were in the car for about an 1 hour and a half for what would usually takes us about 30 minutes. We got home at about 4:30 and had done nothing that we had needed to do so we asked to change our P-day for today. So here I am today. I honestly can not remember anything else that happened this week so hopefully this is a better week!
As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as  a companion always.
~President Thomas S. Monson
Have a great week full of joy and celebrating and eating good food :)
Love Sister McMinn

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 19: Heavenly Father loves us!

 Hello Friends and Family!

I made it to Santa Fe Springs and I love this area.  It feels like home :)  There are some pine-like trees every once and a while and we can see some mountains. haha!  We woke up to having snow on the tip tops of the mountains and it is still a freezing 60 degrees! I just think about how if it were 60 degrees at home we would all be in shorts and a t shirt but here I have a scarf and my jacket and I am still freezing cold!!  My new companion is Sister Otte and she is from Texas! She is soo funny and we have so much fun together.  We both just laugh all of the time so this is going to be such a fun transfer! She has been out almost 10 months! Our area is HUGE because we cover YSA and the Santa Fe Springs ward.  At times it is overwhelming because there are so many people that we should be seeing but so little time as well!

We have seen some great miracles this week! it is super awesome to see an area grow and see more and more people prepared for this gospel!  We went to go and see one of our baptismal dates, Margarita, and teach her the Restoration. She was a little distracted with her grandson at first but was still understanding everything that was going on. When we got to the First Vision she just stopped and listened and after she said that she felt so good and could feel the spirit but directly after that she said that she had pain in her heart. Sister Otte and I were both so confused about what happened because we had never had that reaction before. We talked about it a little and she said that it was an actual physical pain in heart. We decided that we would pray and we prayed that at that exact moment she would feel peace and calm in her heart and know that the things we are teaching her are true. At the end of the prayer she said that the pain had left and she knew that she wanted to be baptized. It was such an amazing moment.  We have been talking about how we are representatives of Jesus Christ and how when we promise blessings to our investigators it is really a promise from Christ.  We have the opportunity to make those promises in His name. That is the power and authority of our calling. 

We also have this awesome family who Sister Otte and I have such high goals for and are so excited to see their changes. They are a part member family. Both of the parents and the 3 oldest kids are baptized but are very less active.  We basically treat them as investigators because they don't really remember or know anything about the church.  They want to change and start coming to church which is so amazing.  The best part is the kids want to change the most and are the most willing to make the efforts to change.  There is a 20 year old named Eddie and we work with him at YSA and he is making such great progress.  He still struggles with reading the scriptures and saying his prayers everyday but he can see the difference on days when he does read which is the best part.  But the rest of the family is 15, 12, 8, 4, and a newborn.  The 8 year old is named Illusion and she is so much fun.  She says the funniest things every time we come over and she loves reading the Book of Mormon.  She tells us all the time that she "wants to be Mormon sooo bad" so we just keep telling her that we are working on it!!  She is the one that is motivating her parents to keep making changes.  She wants to go to church every week and the parents can see the difference in their family when they go and don't go.  I love seeing an 8 year old make such a huge difference in her family and setting an amazing example.  I love this family so much.  Every time we go over to their house I feel at home and so welcome and that is something that I have needed!

Being on a mission is definitely one of the hardest things that I have done.  I am constantly exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually but I have learned many things already.  I have learned that Heavenly Father is constantly aware of all of our needs. Every single one of His children.  He knows what we need and He wants us to be happy.  No matter how alone we feel, or frustrated, or happy He is constantly by our side smiling down on us and giving us little blessings showing us of His love.  I love this gospel and I love my Heavenly Father!

“I know the Lord lives. I know that He loves us. I know that apart from Him no one can succeed, but as a partner with Him no one can fail.
“I know that God can make a lot more out of our lives than we can.
“May we all have the moral courage from this moment forward to more fully strive each day to think on Christ, learn of Him, walk in His steps, and do what He would have us do.”
~President Ezra Taft Benson

Have a great week!!
Hermana McMinn

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 18: Miracles and Tender Mercies

You will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times and you will realize that He was always there beside you.
~President Thomas S. Monson

Hello friends and family!

Well I have finished my 2 transfer!! How crazy is that?! I have been out on a mission for 4 months. It seems like I have been out forever. But also it seems like I've been out for a few seconds! This transfer has been a transfer of miracles and tender mercies. Last night I found out that I'm going to be transferred to a new area. I am going to Santa Fe Springs and I also have a young single adult area. My new companion is Sister Otte. I am super sad to be leaving Hermosa Liahona but I am ready for some more miracles in the work of the Lord!

One of the many miracles that we have this week is that we found 13 new investigators! Pretty sure that's a new record. And the best part is is that they're all very solid. We had two new baptismal date as well. It just goes to show that as we keep working hard the Lord is aware of our efforts. Another one of the best parts is that both of our baptismal date or family member of recent converts! We are helping families be together forever!! Nothing is better than that!

One of our baptismal dates is named Ernesto. He is the son-in-law of Rosendo. I had wanted to talk to him a little bit last transfer but never went and talked to him. This transfer we decided to go and knock on his door. The first night we went it was too late and he was already in bed but we set up a return appointment! We ended up missing that appointment sadly but had the prompting to go back and talk to him again. At first he was not home so we had a lesson with his daughter Kalista. I really liked her because first off the first four letters of her name spells my name but also she could really feel the spirit and she knew the importance of our Savior. As we finished the lesson with her, her dad walked in! He was a little hesitant about having to listen but we told him we could do one real fast. We started talking about what he desired and what he wanted in this life. He said that all he was looking for was peace and that his family could be happy. Well.... We told him that we had the answer! Jesus Christ! We talked about how the teachings of Jesus Christ bring more love into family and this peace and joy that we are searching for as well. We got a prompting to extend a baptismal date and he gladly accepted! December 27 is going to be an amazing day. We're going to keep working with his family as well so that they all can be baptized on that day. I love families!

My testimony was really strengthened this week about how God knows all his children in their needs. One night we were going to have a lesson with an investigator at a recent convert's house but the investigator ended up canceling. We decided to have a lesson with the recent convert. Turns out the recent convert really needed us and really needed our help and the help of the Savior as well. We had the opportunity to testify that Christ is our Savior and is always there to help us! Our recent convert really needed us and as we followed the prompting to go and see him we could really be the tools or the instrument that Christ needed.

Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.
~President Harold B. Lee

I love you all so much and am so glad for the prayers and the support that I receive from you all! Have a great week :)

Hermana McMinn

    Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.
~President Gordon B. Hinckley