Tuesday, March 14, 2017

'Til We Meet Again

My loving and dear friends and family,

The time had arrived that I am now writing my last email. I can't even believe that 18 months have come and gone. I'm sitting here with 3 other sisters that are leaving and it all seems....normal. Nothing seems to be different. We are still missionaries and are still doing our normal Monday activities. Shop, write and eat. But what I think we all can feel is that the time God has given us to serve Him as representatives of His son Jesus Christ has come to a close. This email gives me a chance to reflect on the many experiences I have had here in Mexico. I will share a few feelings with you but words will never be able to describe the profound feelings of my heart.

First of all, thank you. MUCHAS GRACIAS! I thank you all for keeping up with ne and for caring so much. I have felt your true and sincere prayers. I know the Lord has blessed you during this time and I thank each and every one of you for the time and love you have invested in me. Thank you. I also thank my Heavenly Father for every month, week, day, hour, minute and second that he gave me. He has trusted in ME, a very imperfect girl. But this trust has lead me to trust in HIM more than any other person. I have never felt so much love in all of my life. God is so perfect. God is good. He is a loving Father in Heaven. He knows each one of us and knows exactly what we need so that we can be happy.

And now....I don't seem to have to adequate words in this moment. I have typed and retyped this email but it doesn't seem to say exactly what I feel. I have tried to make it funny, spiritual, and even just normal! but guess what? It just isn't working out that way haha. Here is the reality, I'm happy, very very very happy but I feel empty because I left my heart in many parts of the Misión México Pachuca. I have nothing more to give. I have given my heart to these incredible hard working and loving people of Mexico. I have given my heart to my God and my Savior. I am a new person. I have the same name, the same personality, a little bit of the same looks, but I am different. I am Hermana Katrina Kae Cross and I am a disciple of Christ, I am His servant. I am his hands here on earth. I am here to serve Him and to love Him just as he has commanded us to do.  I have a testimony that is in my blood and in my bones. I feel the truthfulness of this restored gospel in every moment. I know without a doubt that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is REAL. It is so real that I can't say more than Hallelujah because we have a Savior that has done the unthinkable and the impossible for an imperfect human being but He did what only the perfect Son of God could do. He sacrificed himself to save ALL mankind. It brings tears to my eyes just imagining the grand love that he brings us that he gives freely to us. 

We can be happy and have JOY here on earth. I have experienced just a sliver of this great joy in these past 18 months.I have learned that it is not easy to follow Christ but it is worth it. We may think that He asks a lot of us, but what he asks is little compared to the great gift of eternal life he promises us.Families can be together forever. I know it. I feel it. I've seen it. The Holy Ghost leads and guides us but we have to pay close attention so we don't miss what God wants us to do. He is the constant companion that teaches us the truths of God. I have seen miracles.

 I have been a witness of Christ for 18 months. I feel like Joseph Smith sharing his testimony and add my testimony to His. Jesus Christ LIVES. He is the Savior of the World. This is His Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again and the power of the priesthood is here on Earth to help us make covenants and return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know these things to be true because the Holy Ghost has testified to me that they are true and real and eternal.

18 months. 8 companions. 4 areas. 1 mission. The biggest blessing up until this moment had been being able to serve with all my heart might mind and strength. And as Paul said " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7). There is much more to come. I know it. Now is the time to sign off and finish. Again, thank you. I love you very much. May God bless every single one of you.

With all my love,
Hermana Cross
September 2015 - March 2017

Looks like Pachuca was preparing me to go home!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cloud 9


Let's just say I am filled with sooooooooo much joy I can't even explain it! I have been so incredible
blessed in this past week. First of all, this is not my last email, so no worries there. I'm a little short on time so this will be real quick...sorry about that.

Last week I think I was kind of wishy washy. There are a lot of feelings I'm discovering in these days haha. But this week, everything changed, starting with Monday in the evening. I felt maybe a little discouraged. I was reflecting on word of my mission President and didn't feel super confident with what I read. As now, reflecting again on his words, I see that they were beyond inspired and exactly what I needed. Anyway, that night I decided to say a very heart felt prayer to my heavenly father. Really begging and pleading for the help I needed. But as I have learned, I mentioned that it wasn't what I wanted but what HE wanted.

The next morning I was ready to work! And that's what we did all week. Work work and more work. We found new investigators and almost all accepted a baptismal date. We had 3 days straight of intercambios so that got a little heavy. Also I had my last of many things: leadership council and zone training. It was such a wonderful opportunity to share my testimony in these settings. I can see that really my testimony has grown so much. Such a true blessing. The holy Ghost seriously just does incredible things!

And now the last thing to write that makes me feel like I'm on cloud 9.

There is a recent convert family...the Family Cruz Aguilar. The dad Isaias was baptized first then 3 months later Coral (in September) and the twins were baptized. The only one left is Fernanda. Well, we have invited her many times and have done many things to help her make the decision to be baptized. After talking with her very directly we were able to put the baptism date 11 de Marzo. she accepted. There were many good signs showing her interest in being baptized this last week (keep in mind she never wanted to. Always said "No it's because I don’t want to" also she is 13) BUT Last night we passed by and Coral said "Hermana we have news" I was a little confused and then....here comes the best part...she said, "Fernanda has decided to be baptized!" WOWOWOWOW!!! seriously this is a true MIRACLE! Fernanda has never said yes. I cried from the joy I felt and man I can't believe it.  miracles are real. I know it. I'm so grateful with my Heavenly Father for helping me and for helping Fer. I'm grateful for the inspired words my president wrote me last week because those words helped me say this heartfelt prayer. I'm grateful for Coral and Isaias and the twins for being faithful in the church. I'm grateful for every single missionary that has had contact with Fernanda. God uses us as his hands and miracles are brought to pass by the work of many. He used many people in this miracle and I know that God LOVES ME AND EVERY SINGLE PERSON! Wow. I'm so happy

LIFE IS GOOD MY FRIENDS!!! I love missionary work and I love God more than words can describe. Thanks for all you do for me!! LOVE YOUUUU!!!

Hermana Cross

Leadership Training
Bearing testimony

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rules and revelation

Hello family and friends!

Another great week here in villas! We had 2 intercambios this week so that made the week seem to fly! These next weeks are going to be super crazy and so I can only imagine that they are going to fly by before I can even come to understand whats happening haha 

This week I had the chance to meet awesome people.  And I mean these people are awesome because they have had some pretty hard lives and keep on going!!! They understand “Endure to the end.” With the intercambios there were a little bit of difficulties but it all worked out okay. Usually we both go to one area when it’s super far and costs a lot but there was a change of rules. I wasn’t super happy with that change of rule but after my personal prayer, I felt that it was necessary for one of us to stay in our own area. Let me tell you that revelation is real. It ended up being a very great and successful day. I had the chance to work with Hermana Pineda in villas. Just like old times! Man I love that girl. She reminds me that I need to listen and follow the spirit ALWAYS. 

We found a man that has had one heck of a life. He has a very strong sickness and other problems but he received the prayer with an open heart and at the end he was crying. Tears of the spirit.  Also  a lady we couldn’t find for a lot of time was home and super receptive and accepted  baptismal date! I knew in that moment that’s why we had a change of rules. Also in this week, Hermana Rodriguez and I met another family that’s super awesome. The dad used to smoke but after problems in his feet (2 toes amputated) he gave up smoking and wants us to keep visiting them. I FEEL THE PROGRESS!! During my mission, I haven’t had the chance to be an eye witness to the fruits of my labor but I’ve heard of the fruits and that’s what brings joy to my heart. It’s very possible that I won’t see another baptism in my area but I know the Lord is always blessing me with new opportunities to learn and to grow. I know success is just around the corner!! I know it’s there J

Have a great week!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! 
Hermana Cross

Cristo Rey
The Family Cruz that took us to Cristo Rey
(I say they are my Aunt & Uncle - ha ha)
My lovely companion and I!
Ran into more Sisters!
Hermana Rodriguez and I selfie!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

JW Style

Hello lovely people!!

It was a very good week! Every week is a good week though! I'm happy as can be!!! And yep some of you might have heard from my parents but I now have my flight plans. WOO. Trunky papers! Just kidding. it just helps me feel even more excited to see you all :) I don't feel trunky at all. We just keep working hard and we keep on looking for those who are looking for the truth! 

This week there were a few moments that are worth sharing. On Saturday there was a stake youth
Stake Youth Missionary Youth Activity
activity. It was a day in the shoes of a missionary. they had little workshops and then we as missionaries showed up. We all split up in our wards and worked with the young women of the ward. We all split up and took different parts of our area to contact and know more people. it was a blast! We found great people and it was awesome to work with the sisters that are preparing to go on missions and even be with some of the sisters that have returned from their missions. We might have all looked like JWs but that's okay! Just trying to get out and preach the true word! it was a blessing to hear the  testimonies of the sisters and see how they really were spiritually strengthened that day. being a member missionary is the best!

We also had our first intercambios of the cycle. We went almost 3 weeks without having one and so I felt a little rusty but it turned out great. During those intercambios I just had a constant spiritual reminder that I love being a missionary. I felt it in every moment i talked to someone. It was like a hug from God telling me that this was the right choice. Maybe I didn't ever receive my answer 100% to go on a mission but I know that it was a test of my faith and her I am! And I know with all of my heart the answer was "yes." that was by far the best feeling of the week. 

Also i learned that family history is SO COOL. yesterday we were helping a recent convert with her family tree. She hasn't done a lot because she said she got overwhelmed with so many papers the sister wanted her to fill out. We pulled out her iPad and opened up family search. she started out typing the name of her grandpa. We added it to her tree and just by doing that, her tree expanded until her great great grandparents!!! We were all soooo excited! The look of her face was priceless. the spirit of family history is just wow.Seriously a spirit I've never felt!  Coming to know your ancestors is a true blessing! 

Well that's just a little bit of my week! I've truly felt the love of the savior in many moments and in many ways. his love is ALWAYS present. We just have to open our hearts to feel it :) I love you all!!!!

Hermana Cross

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Your documents, please?

Here we are together again (well together in spirit haha)! It makes me very happy to be here writing you all again. Sometimes I don't have the words to express my weeks but I do what I can and it touches my heart to hear from others that my words inspire them. I know it is the spirit that inspires, not just my words :) 

Another normal week passed by. It sure had it's moments that were shocking and heart penetrating. If we are looking for something new everyday we will be able to find joy in this life. I believe in these days that have passed by I have felt that instead of looking for the positive aspects of me, I was looking for my imperfections. It was getting me nowhere. It only made me feel worse. I expressed such feelings to my companion after saying a prayer and I know Heavenly Father heard me and as I listened to  my companion I was reminded that I am a daughter of God with a lot of potential. Satan does not stop. He will always be there trying to tear us down, but we can brush off and get back up and just keep moving forward all thanks to the atonement of Christ! 

I not only saw this happening in my own life but also in the life of a complete stranger. Hermana Rodriguez and I were contacting in the street just like any other day. As we contacted this lady, I felt the spirit guide my words and she began to cry and apologized because we caught her at a bad moment. It amazes me that the Lord puts us in the right place at the right time. We said a prayer for her in that little street corner and I can promise you that the love of Christ is not something we wait for. If we are willing to do what He would do, we can feel love for whoever we meet wherever we may be.  

This week we also had a zone conference. It was actually my last one! I didn't even realize it until after it finished haha! But it was powerful as always. Also just a small and interesting story that happened this week. We were in a small neighborhood at night finishing up our contacts when I then saw a man on his motorcycle looking at us. I mentioned it to my companion and we continued on our bikes. Well....he followed us. So we made a right and he was in the street corner. We stopped and talked to a guy selling tamales. Thankfully, members that live in that street showed up and we told her what was happening. Turns out that guy is like the neighborhood watchman. he then showed up at the members house. Okay she chewed that guy out. Big time. Probs not the best thing to contend right? But I can't tell you how funny it was. She really protected us!! For the first time in 17 months, I was asked to show my documents. How embarrassing when I really couldn't show him anything because I'm here for a small moment without my legal documents! But the member shut him down and we got out clean haha. gotta love those members that are willing to whatever to protect the missionaries! 

Anyways, I just want to tell you all that I love you. Have a very happy Valentines day!!!! I love my family. I love my friends. I love the gospel. I love my companion. I love missionary work. I love my savior Jesus Christ and I love my Heavenly Father!!! 

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that e also love one another." (John 13:34)

Hermana Cross 💟

Also check out this Mormon message that almost made me cry :)
Horses on the lookout for the truth (ha ha)!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Green to clean

Hello lovely friends and family of mine!

Hermana Rodriguez and me
Can you all believe we are now in February?! I can't. It's just a little (very) crazy. And there are a ton of activities in these next days in February so it will go by in a blink of an eye! This week really there wasn't anything extraordinary. A very normal week. And I mean super normal...or maybe I'm just used to all of the crazy things haha. It's been a good week with Hna Rodriguez. We get along very well. That is the biggest blessing of all time. We are working hard to find new people. We are trying new things so we can see new results. It can be rough sometimes when we have to look and look and look, but I know we are going to find people that are ready to follow our Savior. People that are ready to change. People that want to live with God again. They're out there. No matter where we are or who we are with, we can be lead to these people :) 

This week was full of organizing the exchanges with the sisters for this cycle, a trip to immigration so we can all be legal again,and leadership council. Just the norm haha. This week we also had difficulties with our water. Let me tell you, water problems are the worst!!! I bet you parents our there know whats up. How is it possible that something we need to survive could cause so many problems?! It doesn't make sense. Anyway, here in mexico everyone has a giant water tank on top of the house. There were some technical difficulties with getting the water to go up and then when we got that fixed....lets just say it didn't come out  crystal clear. It might have been a little (very) dirty in the water tank. No worries...no one in  mexico drinks tap water. But we do shower and wash dishes and clothes with that water....so it was important to clean the tank immediately. We have some great elders that came and climbed onto the roof and cleaned it all out. It took them a few hours but what good sports!! They didn't even say one bad thing about it. We now have crystal clean water! It's the small but big acts of kindness that really help me realize what it means to be a representative of Christ. 

There was nothing else super huge that happened. On Sunday I shared my testimony in sacrament meeting. I would like to share it with you as well. It's one of my favorite parts about being a missionary. I can testify of the truthfulness of the gospel everyday. But can we not all do that? I know that God lives. I know He is a loving heavenly father that will guide us every single day. He listens to our prayers. He knows the deepest desires of our heart. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and Christ himself is the head of this church. If we have faith, repent daily, renew our covenants every Sunday through the sacrament, and endure to the end, we will live happily in the presence of God. The atonement is real. Jesus is the Christ and he lives!

I love you all!!!! Thank you for all the support, prayers and love :)
Hermana Cross

Missionary leader training

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Like grandmother like grandaughter


I have a whole bunch of super fun news for you all. This week just flew by! But what week doesn't just come and go?

I don't know exactly how to start!! You would think after so many months I would be more creative but nope haha 

Ice Cream Churros!!
Well, I'll start with the thing everyone is probably wondering about: my passport. On Wednesday we hit the road pretty late in the afternoon and arrived in Mexico City in the late evening. We ate tacos (of course) and ate some really delish ice cream sandwiches made out of churros (talk about diabetes). Then on Thursday morning (we didn't go to the temple because that's a "leaving missionaries" type of deal) we headed out early to go to the embassy, WOO. it took an hour and a half to go about 6 miles :D!! so fun. Then we entered into the embassy and stepped on so called American soil. It was pretty nice talking about legal stuff in English. We got in and out without problems. We were there about 3-4 hours. there were major miracles. Turns out the main guy helping us is a member and he was a HUGE help. We all walked out with out passports in hand (well in our backpacks but you know what I mean haha). So don't worry everyone, I will be a-okay heading home haha

La mission mexico pachuca
Also, we had a super awesome worldwide missionary broadcast. They talked about teaching repentance and baptizing converts. SUPER cool. It was like if we were watching a council. The spirit was amazing. And not to mention it was the first time that we all gathered together as a mission!! The prophets taught a lot and it helped me realize that we have a lot more work to do. Also that the gospel principles aren't separated but intertwined. Also (more big news for us) we had a change in our schedule!! I wont go into a lot of detail because I don't really have time....but! I'm SO PUMPED! We've started it and wow it's just been incredible. The prophets have thought about it for 6 months so it wasn't just a shot in the dark. Wow. Revelation is AWESOME!!

Finally, here I am writing this email on the first Monday of my last transfer. yep that's right. In 6 weeks I'll be heading home. But no worries, I'm not even close to feeling trunky! But I didn't have cambios. I'm still here in Villas and I will finish here. I do have a new companion though! Her name is Hermana Rodriguez and she's from El Salvador. Fun fact! She's my mission granddaughter!!!! Now that's super cool. The Lord is watching over me BIG TIME! He knows just what I need! These are going to be just the best 6 weeks everrrrrrrr.

I just want to share a small testimony of what was strengthened even more this week. I know that God is our loving heavenly father. He knows us by NAME. Every single one of us. He knows where we are, what we are going through and most important, who we can become. We can become even as he is. I know he loves me and he loves each and every one of you. he allows miracles to happen so that more than one person can learn in the process. Jesus Christ is his son, our redeemer, our older brother. He suffered and died so he can understand us. But he arose the 3rd day. He lives! The plan of salvation is real. The book of Mormon is the word of God. This church is true.

Have a wonderful week!! LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Hermana Cross

PS - I did get sick this week too...with a fever and a cough with phlegm...it was such a blessing to have 2 companions. Such a good team and good people. they took care of me mom...no worries!!! Still getting over the sickness but it's all good :)

My Granddaughter/Companion
I wasn't feeling too great and it was cold so what's better
than working with my poncho under my jacket?
(ps... my companions didn't let me)