Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

Mi familia y amigos! Hola!

Missions are funny because you have either really good days or really crummy days. And it's the same with weeks. So sometimes I get on my email and read responses from people trying to help me through the hard times, and I forgot what I was even complaining about in the first place. Which should probably tell you that this week was a stinkin' good week!

On Tuesday, we biked a bunch because it was finally cool enough, but everyone we talked to looked at us like we were crazy. "You know there's a HUGE storm coming, right?" they would say. We just laughed it off, and rightly so. Around four it started to pour and it was the best bike ride of my life. Plus one of our Hispanic investigators fed us some watermelon. So I guess you could say Tuesday was awesome. Although we did have one lady tell us to get off her porch. Which leads us to the following interactions...

Novel conversations we had this week:

Us: "Is {so and so} here?"
Them: "No."
Us: "Does he live here?"
Them: "No."
Us: "...Isn't that his car?"
Them: "Yes, but he ain't here."
Then she promptly slammed the door in our face and locked it.

Us: "Can we meet with you on Sunday?"
Them: "No. On Sundays I go to church."
Us: "Can we meet with you on Sunday at the church?"
Them: "No. I go to my church."
Us: "Can we meet with you after church?"
Them: "No. Sundays are my lazy days."

Us: "Do you have a few minutes for us to share a message with you?"
Them: "Oh honey, I'm drinkin'."

Us: "Podemos orar con usted?" (Can we pray with you?)
Them: "No, soy catolico" (No, I'm catholic)
Us: "No importa... Podemos orar con usted?" (That's not important, can we pray with you?)

It really was a wonderful week. We were able to meet a bunch of new people, all of which speak spanish, so we've been teaching a lot in Spanish. And I know that the Gift of Tongues is real because I'm pretty sure I just say words and somehow they make sense. We've been able to visit quite a few less-active members, one in particular who is in Isolation and we got to wear these fancy gowns and gloves. I'll attach pictures of the Elders looking especially flamboyant in them. My companion and I got to teach the Book of Mormon class this week, and we taught on the differences between "Mormons" and other christian faiths. It went really well and we got quite a bit of positive feedback from those in attendance, which felt especially rewarding. I love teaching, especially in big classroom settings. Afterwards we got to talk to Leigh, and I love that girl! I get a lot of questions from home about Leigh. She's doing okay. Struggling with normal 20-year-old things, but she's been going to a YSA ward in Dallas and it has been helping her a lot.

Yesterday was a really, really good day. Church was incredibly uplifting and I was glad to be able to receive revelation at church to a lot of things I had been worried about. I won't get into that. :) We had most of our appointments fall through, but we got into a house we hadn't been to in months, and it was so inspired that we were there, and we also met a gentleman named Froilan and were able to teach him on the spot, on his porch. Aside from the other few lessons we taught yesterday. It was a good feeling to finally be out teaching and helping. My companion and I were both feeling a little bit discouraged, I believe. But we vowed to have more faith.

This week has been very insightful. My studies have been rich and thorough, and I have felt the love of my Heavenly Father surround me. I reflected this week on my desires before my mission verses my desires now and was able to study Christlike Attributes (again... I think it's my favorite topic) It allowed me to realize the opportunities for growth I've had already. I don't doubt that God loves me, or any of His children for that matter. I have full faith in the Plan of Salvation, I KNOW the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I cannot and would not deny that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. Too many peoples' lives have changed before my eyes because of this gospel for me to deny it. I know we are here on earth to draw closer to Christ, not to distance ourselves as individual human beings. And we do that through strengthening our capacity to follow his example... not just by being baptized or believing in him, but by changing. Making a righteous effort to be more patient, more charitable, more diligent, more loving, more hopeful, more faithful.

I love this Gospel and what it's done for me. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that we have on this earth if we only seek to obtain it. I love you all. Sooo much.


Sister Sara Best

Monday, June 16, 2014

I've decided that I'm going to be Hispanic and run away and eat Tortas all day

Crazy week! Crazy week! But much needed. I needed to feel useful, and this week definitely was that way.

Monday I decided to throw Hermana Gonzalez a birthday party because her birthday is later this week but I knew that she was getting transferred and I didn't want her to have to spend it with a bunch of people who barely know her. So I commissioned the East elders to go pick up tamales from one of our Mexican investigators, because she makes the best tamales ever, and then we somehow gathered a bunch of dulces from a store called La Michoacana without her noticing (which truly is a feat seeing as we had to be in sight and sound of one another...) and the Elders got her a pinata and they frantically stuffed it in the car while we were bowling. And it was a grand ole' day. Pictures attached. It was a very wonderful way to say goodbye. Actually, it was sad. And when she actually got transferred, I locked myself in the bathroom... I guess you could say I was a little nervous she was leaving.

Tuesday was Michelle's baptism! The font water, once again, came out black, and we didn't find that out until twenty minutes before the baptism. So once again we scrambled around to make arrangements and she ended up getting baptized in a member's pool. (I promise our ward isn't as wealthy as it sounds, we just happen to have two doctors who have pools in it...) Michelle's baptism was absolutely powerful. I have never been so overwhelmed with the spirit testifying that in that moment she WAS making a covenant with God. And she knew it. She had been prepared since 2005 to step into that water. I had the opportunity to speak at her baptism, and she wept the whole time. I love her. Sooo much.

We have another baptism on Saturday! Her name is Wanda and we met her at Taco Bell! From the moment we met her she said, "what do I have to do to become Mormon?"
"Stop smoking"
"Okay. Then I just had my last one. What else?"
"Stop working on Sundays and come to church."

And she hasn't smoked a cigarette and she hasn't missed church once. She knows that these things are true. And it has changed her life. The Gospel truly does have the power to change a person for the better, which is something I've been able to ponder a lot lately. We have this relentless desire to please everybody, to show people what we have and how we dress and who we are. But by receiving compliments for those things, we already have our reward. Oddly enough in Texas, being Christian is trendy. People love to flaunt their Christianity. But if we ask them if we can pray with them, they glare at us and kick us off their porch. So to see somebody so humbly make changes to their life that shows God their commitment, not minding if others notice their change, is a powerful testimony-builder for me.

My new companion, Hermana Oquendo, is amazing. She is from Puerto Rico and she has learned English on her mission. To appease us both, we alternate days to speak English and Spanish. Today is a Spanish day, but I don't think any of you would understand this email so... I'm a cheater. She's such a hard worker and she is a champion at picking out Spanish speakers, so it's been a stressful week because I'm taking over this area and I have to drive because Hermana Oquendo doesn't have her license, but I'm not even kidding when I say that the Holy Ghost has literally directed us to every appointment. Sometimes I get behind the wheel and just drive and we always miraculously appear where we need to be. She is patient with me and encourages me to be confident in my Spanish and in my teaching skills, and it has helped me a lot. She and I have been able to connect really well and she is rooted in the Gospel, in love for others, and in a sincere desire to bring others to Christ. Her example has encouraged me to be better. For which, I am grateful. It has made my prayers more sincere, my motivation and desire stronger, and my love for others has increased.

I still love this work. And I'm looking forward to another wonderful week! I love you all back home. I hope you had a chance to celebrate Fathers! I know I have an amazing Father in Heaven and and amazing Father on Earth, both of which support me and inspire me to be better each and every day.

God loves you! I love you!

Hermana Best

-Pinata! Woot!
-Michelle's Baptism! Don't ask me why I straightened my hair... Quien sabe...

-My new companion,Hermana Oquendo

Monday, June 9, 2014


Hey Party People!

I feel like not much happened to report this week, but that's a completely relative statement. Because a lot always happens. Every day. But I guess I'll start with the most urgent news first,
Hermana Gonzalez is getting transfered to Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Why do they call it Stillwater? Because they still have water!! Yak, yak, yak) Aaanyway, she's leaving the day after tomorrow and my new companion, Hermana Oquendo (Oh-ken-dough), is coming on down. Apparently she doesn't speak much English, but that will probably be a really good thing for me. I need to improve my Spanish. And anyone who knows her loves her and says she is the sweetest person ever. That's really nice to hear. :) I'm a little nervous to stay in this area and try to catch someone up on all the people and their situations and whatnot,but I just have to trust that we've been working hard enough to be able to handle it.

I'm super sad to see my companion leave. I've gotten pretty attached to her, she's like the Mexican sister I never had! But she's been in Wichita Falls for seven transfers and she only has one left before she goes home so we saw it coming pretty early on and we've been mentally preparing ourselves.

Yesterday I took a look around the ward and I had a realization. I love these people. I love them so much. And I love the people we teach. And I love the people we just run into on the street. I never realized how shallow I allowed myself to be back home, but every person is God's child. And it's hard to see that in the real world when we let ourselves get wrapped up in judgements of other people. We really are responsible for each other. We had an investigator (Wanda), a less active, and a recent convert (Leigh) bear their testimonies yesterday, and each one mentioned how the Gospel had changed their lives since the missionaries started coming around. It reminded me that we really are here for something. For some reason, that's easy to forget sometimes.

Michelle's still getting baptized! She has a specific person in mind that she wants to baptize her and he was out of town, so we rescheduled it to tomorrow. This is so exciting. She has been investigating the church for like 8 years!!!
We have done a lot of service this week. And by that I mean, we have killed a lot of cockroaches and found a lot of drugs and gross movie collections. But we did get to go and help Brenda clean out Joshua's room. That was hard for her, and I'm glad we could help. But she loves the missionaries. She offers to cut our hair for free and feed us, and she says that all of the missionaries are her new kids. So she tells all her co-workers, "My girls are coming over tonight!". It's sweet. She's such a sweetheart.

So overall, it's been a good week!

Last Tuesday I was being pretty tough on myself, and my companion recognized it right away and cracked me down. So then she made me divide our whiteboard into three columns and she made me list 10 things I like about myself, then she called all the missionaries in our district and made them tell me things they liked about me, and she wrote them in the middle column. Then she listed things that she liked about me. And it was really special. Picture attached. :)

To tell you who our new district leader is, here is a picture of him in a skirt I found in a washing machine in Mexico. (No, I didn't steal it... it had been there for weeks.) Solid leadership material.

Also, here's a picture of Mark polishing my shoes. They look dang good. :)

I love you guys. I hope everyone is doing really well. Just remember, God is the only person we can turn to in our trials. He will respond if we have enough faith.


Hermana Best

Monday, June 2, 2014

June! June! June!

Week 16

Good Morning! Good Morning! (You're supposed to sing that... If you have any idea what I'm talking about. Whoever "you" are.)

Anyway, good morning! Another crazy week. But it's calmed down a bit since the last one. We've kind of weeded out of investigators based on who's interested and who's not, so that's been nice.

This week we had Stake Conference and Elder Villarreal of the 70 was there. He is a funny, funny man. But I'll report a bit more about what he said later.

We also had exchanges so I packed up my things and went up to Lawton for a couple of days. It's weird to be in Oklahoma. Where things are green and they have water. I saw two girls spraying each other with a hose and I almost had a heart attack.

Oh, also, my companion got her wisdom tooth out this week so I spent two days in a row with a ward member, Sister Pettingill, going to all of our appointments and it was disorienting. I never realized how much my companion and I do for each other... it's weird to be apart.

Last night we had a lesson with Brenda, the mother of the 22 year old who died. I love teaching her because she is so inspired. She knows that we're there for a reason, she knows that Joshua is urging us to talk to her, and yesterday the spirit was so strong we were in tears. My companion, especially. She said she could feel Brenda's son there and he was prompting her to say certain things. It was a very uplifting experience for all of us and Brenda agreed to be baptized for herself so she could be sure Joshua was baptized as well. We layed out the Plan of Salvation and she had no doubt it was true. I can barely handle how prepared the people we meet are. No wonder success isn't measured in baptisms. It couldn't be because we as missionaries don't really do anything, we just help them recall knowledge when they're ready to hear it.

Michelle, the pentecostal preacher's wife, is getting baptized on Saturday. She's been investigating the church since 2005. She even has a quad and reads it every day, but her husband bombards her with anti-garbage. So we've been praying and fasting that she acts on her faith and takes this next step because we know the influence she will be to her family and to our ward. She is amazing.

I've been wondering lately... Why do people say a mission will change your nature but not your personality? I thought it was a good question because there are a lot of things about myself that I wouldn't mind changing... I think most people are that way. But then I had to define what nature is and what your personality is...

Your personality is who you are. Quite literally what defines you as a person.
Whereas, your nature is what you gravitate toward naturally. This can change because much of our nature is habits. It is the desire of our hearts. And we can control what is in our hearts, rather, the Atonement can turn those desires of our hearts in things that would bring us closer to Christ (Even if we think, nah. I'm good the way I am. We all need to change.) That's what repentance is! Change! It is a commandment for us to change.

Sometimes our nature and our personality overlap-- For example, manners...-- But it is our nature that changes when we take steps toward Christ and it is our personality that defines HOW we apply those changes to our lives, how we share the gospel, et cetera...

"IT IS BETTER TO AVOID THAN TO RESIST." Probably the most powerful one liner of stake conference, delivered by our stake president himself. And he's absolutely right. I can't count how many times I told myself that I was strong enough to handle something when, in reality, I probably should have just avoided it all together. All weakness is brought on by being, doing, saying, or thinking what we know we ought not to.

So if we simply redirect our thoughts, mind, locations, or actions to those that are better for us, we will be fine. We will not be tempted. Because the Lord ALWAYS has faith in us, he ALWAYS keeps his end of covenants. Which is interesting because God, who is perfect, retains faith in us, who are imperfect. Yet we lose faith in God, a constant, immovable father. Talk about the flaw of man.

By the end of this week we will know where I'm going next or if my companion is leaving. I can hardly believe it's already June! Crazy, crazy stuff. But I really look forward to the hot summer months down here in the South. ;)

I love you guys. I hope everyone is doing well. Just FYI, I never ever get bored hearing how you're doing so drop me a line! :)


Sister Best


1. This is Daniel! He only speaks Spanish so he sounds a lot smarter than me by default. But he's a cutie. He wants to be a missionary so we brought him a tie.
2. I look really gross, but this is probably the best picture ever. Meet Rockie and Misty. We're trying to get them to quit drinking... and smoking... and drinking coffee... So this picture is really just comedic.