Monday, September 30, 2013

In His strength I can do all things!

Blue Skies in Longmont - Yeah!


Wow...where do I even start. This week has been LOCO! Well I guess I'll start with the most dramatic haha.

So Sister Martinez had been having a hard time sleeping at the beginning of this week. She said she was having some pain in her stomach but just continued on with her days. Well Thursday night she got really sick. Vomiting ALOT and eventually couldn't even move or breath very well because of the pain. We decided we should take her into the ER to check out what was happening. So Dave and another brother from our ward gave her a quick blessing and we took her in. They took her back and first gave her some drugs for the pain so she could calm down and answer some questions. Well Sister Martinez does not respond well to narcotics! The second they kicked in she passed out and stopped breathing. So they had to yell at her and hit her to get her to wake up and breath. Well she eventually did but they had to watch her very closely because every once in a while she wouldn't be getting enough oxygen. Anyway they brought in one of those bed side ultra sounds and looked at her gallbladder and everything but the Doc said it looked okay so they said it was probably stomach ulcers and sent us home with some antacids. Well she continued to have pain the next few days but it was manageable. Then Saturday night it got really bad again. The same as Thursday, so I took her back in. We told them how she responded to the narcotics so they gave her a much lower dose but she still responded the same way...passed out and stopped breathing....super scary! So they yelled at her and shook her again to wake her up and get her to breath. Which she did, and it basically went the same as the other night but they decided to admit her to the hospital and do a real ultra sound in the morning and figure out what was wrong. Well by the time we got up to the hospital room it was 4 in the morning and she needed some more pain killers. So again we told them how she responds to narcotics...and they had it on record this time...So they gave her an even lower dosage of drugs but it was the same. She passed out and stopped breathing. This time there was 4 nurses on her trying to get her back but she was one nurse had to sternum rub her which I guess is really painful...but she finally woke up and started breathing again. But the whole night was just like Thursday...constantly watching her and making sure she was breathing. Those monitors that beep when her pulse is too low are flippin scary. I hate those things. Anyway they decided to not use narcotics on her after that...thank the good heavens....I could have told you that after Thursday night. :l....So they just gave her this other drug that is not a narcotic that is basically really strong Ibuprofen. And that was much better. In the morning they took real ultra sounds and we just waited all morning for results. My poor companion was so uncomfortable and in so much pain! I felt so bad for her. Sister Brown also came and was with us most of the morning. So the doc came in around noon and told us that her gallbladder was extremely inflamed and she has 2 gal stones one of which is blocking some passage way to something else (I cant remember the fancy doctor terms) And that she would have to have surgery to get her gallbladder out. And an hour and a half later she was heading into surgery. The zone leaders came and gave her a blessing before she went in. And President Brown also came to see her before surgery. Well anyway, everything went well and she is feeling much better. We stayed at the hospital that night (last night) and she did great. Today she woke up and said...Okay can we go home now? haha So she is feeling really good! She didn't even need any pain killers right after surgery! She's awesome! So she is still at the hospital, they will tell us soon if she can be discharged today or if she has to stay the night again. We did splits so I could go shower and email then I'm heading back to the hospital! So ya that was the craziest part of our week! haha but we are glad she is feeling great :)

The other crazy yet not as dramatic thing was transfers! Well transfers are technically on I guess finding out about transfers! Well transfer doctrine always comes on Saturday but we got a call from the APs on Wednesday....I was like....NO SISTER MARTINEZ DONT ANSWER IT!!! hahaha but we did and he asked to speak with sister I'm like SWEET I'm off the hook:) haha And he informed her that she would be transferred to Cheyanne WY and would be training a brand new missionary! I was laughing so hard because Martinez kept saying that I would be training next transfer but she was the one that got the call hahahah so I'm all laughing and smiling...then...I hear Elder Garner say...hey can you hand the phone to Sister England? In my head I was like.....NOOOOOOOOOO! But she handed me the phone and I answer and Elder Garner starts asking me all these questions like...How do you think your Spanish is? and what I'm like...weellll it's pretty rough. Then he says...well how would you feel about training next I have a choice. hahaha So I said that kind of freaks me out. Then he said well that is what Pres. Brown wants. So I said okay well if that is what Pres. Brown wants then let's do it! hahaha So heaven knows why but I will be training starting on Tuesday! My new missionary's name is Hermana Snow. She has actually been out one transfer but was in an English area. So I am only 6 weeks older than my first baby!...that's scary! I was really nervous when I first heard about this and for reals....I was freaking out. But then I realized that President Brown is a man of God. The assignments he makes are inspired. So If Heavenly Father wants me to train then I can!

Even though I feel completely inadequate, and even though my Spanish is still rough, and even though I am scared out of my mind to do this, Heavenly Father knows I can. He also knows just as well as me that it's not going to be easy. Sister Snow and I are both new Spanish speakers and there are going to be times when we will probably have no clue what people are saying....bless our souls! haha But if Heavenly Father wants us to be a companionship then we have a work to do here and we are going to do it!!! matter how crappy our Spanish will be!

Both of these experiences this week have caused me to completely rely on the Atonement. Watching sister Martinez this week has strengthened my testimony so much that the Savior has been through everything we have been through. It was a really challenging week for her to say the least but I know she was able to get through it because of her knowledge that the Savoir had felt the very same things. It was the same with me too...granted I had it much easier that Sister Martinez. But when She was in the hospital and I was scared for her or nervous or needed some comfort, my Savior was with me through it all. He helped me to know how to help and comfort my companion when I didn't know how. I felt his loving influence so much. With transfers as well! I was so nervous, but after praying for courage and ability to do this, I received so many answers to prayer. Another sister in the zone was talking to me about training and she reminded me that the Lord qualifies who he calls. I am so inadequate but through my Savior I can do it! It's like in Alma 26:12...(I think) That says..."In his strength I can do all things!" I love that. No doubt without Him I would be a terrible trainer, but because I have that all powerful Atonement I can be a great trainer. And I'm going to do my best to do that! :)

Because Sister Martinez is still recovering, her and her greeny will be staying in Longmont with Sister Snow and I for now! Party!! 4 Sisters in one house...and the English sisters next door! It's gonna be fun! :)  

Well sorry this email is super poorly written. I didn't have much time today. But I hope you are all still doing well. Thanks for all the updates! Sounds like you guys had a crazy but fun week! Hope you had an awesome Birthday Soph! I sent you a package so if it hasn't come yet it will be getting there soon! :) I'm going to try to find some time to write you all letters soon!

I love you all sooo much!
Love, Hermana England

Probably the BEST picture ever!
Hermana Martinez after surgery

Leaving the hospital...
Doing Hermana Martinez's makeup to check out!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We Did 55 Hours Of Service This Week!

This is what service looks like!


So remember that one time that I deleted my entire email after I was done writing it....well I did that again. :l....I have so much anger right now!!!! I cant even tell you!!....breath in breath out...ahh okay I will just re-wright it. Luckly we can email in the family history center now because if I was at the library it would kick me off in 30 seconds! AHH okay here it goes...

First of all SOPH DAWGS BIRTHDAY IS COMMIN UP!!!! I have been thinking about you all week Soph! I'm going to have a mini party here on Saturday for you! :) Have an awesome birthday! I'll be there celebrating in spirit!

Thanks for the email Mags! It was fun to get some updates on your life! I still cant believe you are old enough to date!..."Aren't you a little young to be dating....Yes, yes I am!"....Phineous and Ferb quote...Dave and I quote Phineous and Ferb all the time! haha

I am so sorry to hear about Bishop Brewster. The Brewsters have always been such an amazing strong family! My heart and prayers go out to them! And I am so impressed at how strong Mark is. I complain about my trials on the mission like learning Spanish and what not but that was a good reminder that my problems are so minor and I need to be greatful for the trials I have. He is a true example of a consecrated missionary! Please tell their family that they are always in my prayers and thank them for their examples to me!

Well this week has been exausting but SO rewarding! We did 55 hours of service!!! We have had the opportuntiy to touch so many lives! One man in particualar really touched my heart. His name is Ted. We got a call from the Stake President one morning with an assignment for that day. We met up at the Sake center and he filled us in on what we would be doing. He said we would be cleaning out the basement of a man named Ted. Teds house is right on the river and he has a walk in basement that was basically filled with water and thick thick mud. (It was the worst basement we have seen yet) President Richard told us that Ted was a grumpy man to start out with and because of this flood he was always in a sour mood. President Richards warned us about his foul language and bad attitude but told us to just serve him and do what he need done. So we all drove to Teds house and, as expected, he was pretty rotten. He was cussing up a storm and was in a terrible mood. So we simply asked what he wanted us to do and got down to work. Well, eventually we started laughing and singing and having a good time...still working extememly hard but enjoying the journey. It was amazing to see how Teds hard shell just melted away. About halfway throught the day he was laughing and singing along with us. He didn't say one more cuss word all day. His demeanor was friendly and we were able to get so much done and have a good time doing it! It was amazing to see how his heart was changed just because we brought the spirit with us to service! At the end of the day Ted gathered us together and thanked us for all the work we had put in. He said that dispite this rotten situation he had so much fun all day. He said that all of us would be a part of his family forever. Ted will always be a reminder to me that this gospel literally changes lives. When we all heard what Pres. Richards said about Ted we decided we would serve him out of love. And man did it work! The spirit changes hearts. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ our very natures can be changed...And thankgoodness because I have alot of changing to do! Ted also gave us all HUGE hugs and kisses on the check....(freaked all of us sisters out but he's a sweet guy!) haha " touchy....noooo touchy!!" (Emporers New Groove) haha AND Ted is a huge musician and most of his instruments were destroyed in the flood but he saved a ton of his drum sticks and gave each of us a pair to remember him by...I'm going to learn to play the drums...seriously Liz is going to teach me (She can play pretty much any instument in the world) :)

Well that was just one example but we have been seeing these little miracles everyday!
Our investigators are doing well. We were unable to meet with a lot of them the past couple of weeks because of the flood but we made a few appointments with some of them for this next week Emporers New Groove so much in this email haha) We had a baptismal date for our investigor Sandy for last Saturday but we obviously had to push that back. But we have faith that she will continue to progess. We haven't been able to meet with Bertina for over a week and she still came to church...and made a comment in Relief Society!..."She's so awesome!" (monsters inc) 

Well I hope you all had a great week! Sounds like it was busy with callings and Japanese students and what not :) There is an elder in my zone from Japan and he was so excited when I told him about our little Japanese guy! Sounds like you are giving him all the classic american experiences...even getting a speeding ticket with Dad...hahah too good too good! Love you dad! 

Well keep sending good emails! I couldn't do this with out yall! Not only you fam but Kenz and Rach and everyone that emails me! Rachel's letters are so awesome! I still don't know how she is learning Russian....I am having a hard enough time with the Spanish! haha And Davis is just flippin amazing! My mission pres and his wife are high school sweethearts too! :) haha awesome! Well keep em coming everyone! I love you all sooo much!

Stay sweet!
Love, Hermana England

Another basement!  You can see the water level
came to the top of the doors!

We helped out in a neighborhood that was 
swamped with thick mud!

Hermana Martinez "accidentally"
flicked mud on my face!

Hermana Martinez's shoes stuck in the mud and
pulled off -  common problem around here!

Army Guys!
We finally got our pic with them!

The news trucks are set up all over town!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Your Daughter Is Here Doing HIS Work

Mormon "Helping Hands" vests! 
Great conversation starters with the
non-members we are helping

This is an email received from the sweet Stake Relief Society President - We also received a phone call and personal conversation with Sister Richards - the Stake President's wife!  Who LOVES Macy and couldn't say enough about the wonderful work the sister missionaries are doing to help those in their stake!  

Sister England,

I have had such an overwhelmingly busy week, that I am sorry I haven't responded.  I am recovering from surgery earlier this month, so I have unfortunately been on mud and lifting restriction.  I have spent my week working with FEMA at the Disaster Assistance Center, so I haven't seen the missionaries all week.  There is a low area on the south west corner of Longmont where blocks and blocks of houses have their basements completely flooded to the ceilings.  There's some Goggle maps you can probably find that show the local extent of the flooding.  The towns of Lyons and Estes Park are also within our Stake boundaries.  Those areas have the very most damage, but as of today, only local residents have been able to access those areas as the majority of the roads into and out of these areas have been destroyed.  I'm not sure if the Elders serving in that area got evacuated in the military helicopters or not.  I haven't heard yet.  That would make a pretty awesome missionary story to share your entire life- also would have made those mothers flip to watch on national TV, as many of those rescues were shown live. 

From what I have heard, the missionaries from the Stake have spent everyday this week "mudding". I know President Richards took the sisters out and got heavy boots.  I'm quite sure rain boots weren't on the packing list for Colorado.  Snow yes- rain no.  I'm also sure the missionaries never could have imagined the adventure they would go through here.  They have been trying to make sure the groups going out have had gloves and masks- who knows if they have actually been wearing them- hopefully.   The goal once the water has gotten pumped out, has been to remove belongings, furniture, flooring, and dry wall before the mold sets in.  Basically, basements are being gutted to cement and wood only.  Many elderly people have a basement full of memories that they are also helping to salvage. 

Groups have arrived on members door steps, and when they have finished at that house, they have gone door to door to see which neighbors also were in need of  help.  Not surprisingly, probably some of those same doors that have been slammed in missionary faces in the past, have suddenly been opened.  I had a man at the Disaster Center that said there is no way he could have gotten his basement cleaned without the LDS help that just showed up on his doorstep.  I have been told that all of the missionaries, including the sisters, have gone anywhere they have needed and served with a smile.  Unless you are in the middle of this, it is hard to comprehend how epic an event this is for this area.  When your daughter shares her mission experiences, the flood will be one of, if not the most memorable part.  It's hard to tell what long lasting effects these clean up efforts will have in the community.  I can tell you already, hearts have been softened, and we have made friends like never before.  I'm sure doors will be opened because of so many acts of kindness and service given to hundreds of people, and probably thousands before we're done with this. 

The first Sunday in August, the Stake Presidency went to a small hill over looking the entire Stake and dedicated the area for missionary work.  We have been counseled to be praying for each of us to do our part in this missionary effort.  Obviously, no one wants a disaster, but this has provided contacts at an unprecedented rate.  We are also piloting a program in Northern Colorado called Just Serve.  The goal is collaborate with like minded groups- both churches and community groups, in providing service.  So, many of the clean up projects have been a multi-denominational effort.    

As far as the sister missionaries, everyone loves the sisters.  In the past, the Denver North Mission has only had 4-6 sisters per about 75 Elders.  Usually for the entire Stake, we would get one set of sisters for one transfer in a year.  Just prior to the mission split, we got 30 new sisters in the mission.  I haven't heard the number of sisters serving in the new Fort Collins Mission.  But, we now have six sisters serving in our Stake!  The Relief Societies especially love the sisters in helping with less active sisters and with part member families.  There's just something about having these sweet sisters showing up on a doorstep with a smile and offering to help.  It's hard to turn that away.  We are doubly blessed with having Spanish speaking sisters.  Ute Creek Ward has a small group of sisters who need translation and support.  They are only a handful of bilingual sisters, so this is a service that we are so grateful for. 

I personally know that it is hard to just get a quick email a week- especially if you're worrying about whether or not things are okay, and it's hard to capture a weeks worth of an adventure in a brief email.  Even though I haven't seen them this week personally, I am told the sisters are well. The Lord watches over these servants, especially in difficult circumstances.   We are so grateful for the service they are giving, and all that they are doing to help.  I don't have sister missionaries in my Ward, but in the upcoming weeks, hopefully I will get to know your daughter on a more personal level.

Thank you again for the sacrifices your family is making to loan us your daughter for 18 months.  The experiences she has had here will have prepared her to be a better leader, and to make the most of any difficult situation she ever finds herself in.  One member commented yesterday that if Christ had come to Colorado this week, he would have joined the members slinging mud out of basements and comforting broken hearts.  Thankfully, your daughter is here helping do HIS work.

Barbara Bade
Stake Relief Society President

First time Lions opened up for people to
come help, over 500 Mormon Helping Hands
people went up that day!

A house near the barn we cleaned out!
Us at the barn..wearing the cute
rubber boots you sent!

Another day - another basement!

We helped this artist clean our her basement - 
She lost a lot of her art work in the flood,
so we helped her lay some of them out
to dry so we could save some!

President Richards bought us rubber boots!
Thanks President!!

Helping dry out pictures and other
things to salvage...

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Rains Came Down And The Floods Came Up!

Dear Family....I am alive!

Wow this week has been crazy! As I'm sure you all heard Colorado has been experiencing crazy amounts of flooding! I'm glad you got Sister Bade's email mom! haha She was serving breakfast with us at one of the shelters and said since she is a missionary mom she has to send an email to her fellow missionary moms to let them know we are okay! haha She's so funny. Her daughter is in the mountains of Guatemala...I think she has more to worry about than you do :)

Well anyway our ward is the highest spot in Longmont, so luckily our ward is pretty much untouched. The only family that got flooded in our ward is the Guttierrez family. They are in the Spanish group so they live a little further out...hence the flooding. There was basically a huge river running through south Longmont and the Guttierrez's house was right next to it. It was the very last house that didn't get basically washed over. They got like three feet of water I believe. So they are living with another family in our ward for now.

The Left Hand Creek ward. (Our zone leaders ward) Got it really bad! Alot of their houses basements were completely full of water, some even filled to the main floor. (Not as bad as Boulder and Estes park though where in some trailor parks the trailors are just floating) But anyway we have been helping out ALOT with their area! One neighborhood we have been helping alot is a circle that is basically full with thick mud! Same with all their basements. So needless to say we were covered in mud after helping out. We were shoveling and bucketing mud all day for like three days straight! But we were able to clean out a whole basement! It was crazy! We have also been helping out serving food, cleaning, and sorting donations at the evacuation shelters. SO many people were evacuated so they have a few main shelters that people can stay at. It's been a good experience working at those sights. They also have a bunch of animals at the shelters that have been lost or what not...and Sister Martinez was a vet tech before her mission so we were able to help out with those...As much as I didn't want to (animals are discusting!) haha but I'm glad she could help them out. And we also walked dogs at the humanitarian shelter which was gross because it smells like wet dog in the dog area but once we got outside with them it was actually pretty fun. And the chihuahua I walked was named Champion...and he was awesome!

Anyway It's been such a mess here but it has also been such a blessing to have so many opportunities to serve! The community is coming together to help each other so well...especially the saints! The church has such a way of coming together in an organized way! There has been alot of unorganized help that actually has been counter productive because of the craziness. But whenever we come in with a group from our ward things get organized quickly and efficiently! Man, as members of the church..we are GOOD! haha just kidding. But really the church is amazing in these kind of situations! Pres. Brown, Our stake pres, and all the bishops have been working together to send us where we are most needed. It's awesome!

Some times as missionaries people ask us why God lets bad things like this happen...well I believe one of the reasons is to make us stronger. When things like this happen we have no choice but to lean on each other. As a community, as a ward, as a stake, as children of Heavenly Father. We all have to be there for each other. AND the biggest part is we have to turn to Heavenly Father. We can't recover from something like this without His help. Like you both said in your emails Mom and Dad...we are hoping that people will open their doors to us for service and because of our work, be open to hearing the gospel! It is already starting! Some of the members have had a chance to share the gospel with their neighbors because we showed up to help. And we are continuing to search for opportunities to teach as we serve! What a blessing!

It is a little frustrating that this is slowing down the work we were already doing with our investigators...Like our investigator Sandy had a baptismal date for Sep. 21 and that probably won't happen now because we couldn't meet with her this past week..remember how I said there was a river runnning through Longmont, well that was separating us from like 3 of our progressing investigators. :l ....Not cool! haha But the water has gone down and more of the streets are open so hopefully we can get to Sandy and the others this week. We have faith that the Lord will help us keep in contact with them! He always provides a way :) 1 Nephi 3:7! (fav scrip!)

Well I hope you are all doing well! Sounds like Mags had a good time at homecoming even with a gimp foot! Soph is staying busy at Albion!...knocking all those middle school boys dead with her good looks!:) And Bo scored 3 goals at his soccer game! Man you guys are cool! Mom keep up the good work with your new calling! I know you are already killing it! Dad good luck preparing for your first High Council talk commin are going to do AMAZING! (as always) Kenna and Dalt hope everything is going well and your apartment has cooled off :) And he sounds amazing! I knew he would kill it in Uruguay!...One baptism already....who does he think he is? haha I'm so proud of him! Just knowing he is in the feild with me keeps me going! You guys all keep me going! Thank you for all your emails, letters, love...everything! You all insire me to be the best missionary I can be!
Keep being amazing!...Davis and I have this thing in our emails back and forth where we say...WE ARE ENGLANDS AND WE CAN DO THIS! haha and I believe in that full heartedly! Keep moving forward Englands! We got this missionary work in the bag!...FOR NARNIA!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Hermana England 

First basement we helped with-
the water level was up to the top of the
basment doors!

 Tearing off drywall!

Lookin good sisters! 
A rainbow!

Trying to salvage any stuff!

Everything out the window!

All done!  We are taking everything
down to cement and wood!

We can see the floor!  Yahoo!
There was about a foot and a half of mud
in this huge basement and we bucketed
it ALL out the window!

Dave came and helped!