Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Big Email!!! FIRST Week in HOUSTON!!!! Gulfbank

Watch out Texas, she's hit the ground running!

Before I add the official email. I thought I would add some of the things she shared before she wrote the "big email" as we caught her online.

I am currently sitting in a hammock :) livin the life. Hey ill tell you this before i send my mass mail! I am in THE MOST GHETTO AREA IN THE MISSION. I absolutely love it :) I am not kidding. like dead serious when i say this, i am literally in mexico. its awesome :) I love it haha first meal i ate, tell dad, was tamales!
oh and im in a 3 sums and i am just obsessed with these girls!!! Hermana Burnham and Hermana parry. I love my new companions. Matches made in heaven. en serio.
I'm in the ghetto :) my apartment is a little safer pero my mailbox is a little box and it isn't safe to leave it out in the open ahha and we are right next to the office so it is ok, when i get transferred it might be different.
oh mom I forgot to tell you!! The bishop randomly when he got up to say the rest of sacrament meeting said that I was saying the closing prayer... yep that was exciting! I love you!

(I believe she is in the hammock in the living room of the bishop of the ward while they are doing their laundry and writing their emails.)

Hola Mi Familia y loved ones!
       As you all know this is my first week in texas!!!! I AM OBSESSED. I HAVE BEEN SINCE I GOT OFF THE PLANE!!!! I love the field!! I was so ready to be out and about "preachin' the good word!"- Elder Riddle. I honestly love missionary work more than I thought possible! I am so tired and yet God gives me the desire to keep goin' hard! Work hard Play hard haha I seriously LOVE THE humidity. It seriously feels so good. I love it so much more than dry skin Utah ahhaa. It is so green and I love it. The first day was Great! after I talked to you on the phone at the airport I got on the plane!! I ended up talking to a man who was sitting right next to me and it was amazing. I know the Lord had us sitting next to each other for a reason. My Mission Pres told me that too that night when he was giving a fireside :) Anyways so ya. I ended up talking to him and we started talking and I could relate to what he was saying because he works 28 days and then is home for 14 so I related to how he is away from his family and his son and I told him about being away from you for 18 months and he told me about his life and he has some really hard things going on. LIKE REALLY hard. He is having a hard time with his wife and his mom has cancer, so long story short we ended up talking the whole time about familes, a little bit of word of wisdom, a little bit of book of Mormon, and I think other things I cant remember. I got to bare my testimony about how important family is and that we will be with our families for eternity and how my parents are so happy because we have the gospel and I gave him a Mormon.org card so he can read all about families and then he gave me his information so that the missionaries can come stop at his house :) I have never been so happy to share our message of life changing beautiful truth. I know that he needed the truths of this gospel and so I wasn't afraid of him rejecting what I have to say. My favorite quote from my MTC teacher was when he said, "Will you rob them of their opportunity to repent and be baptized?" he was a recent convert and then went on a mission got home in march and he was the most amazing teacher and that just hit me to the core. Will we rob them of the single most important thing they will have in their life? simply because we are afraid to open our mouths? We are representatives of Jesus Christ the Savior of the World and our redeemer. If they reject our message, his message, they are rejecting Him, not us, be devastated but not offended. I hope you all can think about that while being a member missionary, if we truly love those around us, we will share with them the doctrine of the only true church on the earth and allow them to feast upon the words of Christ's doctrine.
         So we got off the plane and President and Sister Pingree were waiting at the gate!!! Honestly it felt like seeing my parents waiting for me. Not the same obviously but definitely home away from home :) I loved it!!! They are so amazing. I feel a little closer to Christ when I stand with them. Pres Pingree is just like dad in the sense where he worries about the important things, is VERY guided by the spirit, but then is just easy going and laughs and has fun and is SO LOVING. Sister Pingree is just like mom because she is just one of those moms who has genuine love in her eyes when she looks at you and wants you to ask her for any help we need but over everything her family comes first. She is SO LOVING just like you mom :) They are awesome! We went to the church, ate some snacks and then we had an awesome fireside, President Pingree interviewed all of us to get to know him and then we were off to sleep! I woke up the next morning and you are going to DIE when you find out what I did..... at 630 in the morning.... I WENT ON A RUN!!! it was the most beautiful run I have ever been on!!! it was dewy and humid and cool and the sun was barely up so it was kind of that dawn/ dusky look and we ran around a pound!!! it was amazing :) I loved it and it felt so good! this is the day that we met our companions!!! It was taking so long as he called up each one and they explained their area and then he would call up the newby and they would hug and it was awesome ahha Spanish was at the end and I was 2nd to last to find out mine..... Well all the sudden two bubbly giggling girls raced up to the stage!! and I was like yes......... and then they started talking about gulfbank..... The MOST GHETTO area in the mission, they said how they get chased by dogs and its just so fun and then all this stuff I don't remember and then he said ok, SISTER KOCH!! and we all squealed and I ran up and we all hugged!! YES I AM IN A TRI COMPANIONSHIP!!! it is SO fun..... we hugged and jumped up and down and it was awesome. when they talked about Gulfbank I was like yes, that's me I know it. It has been so amazing. amazing miracles everyday :) I absolutely love the people, it is literally mexico where I am at :) I'm serious haha its amazing these people feed you so much food and they have so little. I have officially experienced the meals where you think you are going to throw up because you had to eat everything on your plate and you are so full if a little kidd ran over and punched you in the stomach youd throw up everywhere. Its joyous. But I am literally, as usual Mexican food it my favorite so im in love. Our first meal was tomalleys dad!! so yummy haha. ummmm sooo let me think about the experiences ahah there little has been so many small yet profound miracles that I cant think to write any right now. Well.... we have two investigators that we are working with that both are struggling on being baptized, Erika's daughter got baptized, like 2 weeks ago with the Hermanas, but her mom is Erika and she knows its right and that she needs to be baptized but she knows it is life changing and a HUGE commitment so she is having a hard time because she isn't ready to make a complete change we don't think yet. She is amazing but I think she realizes that she is making a covenant with God. We I think are going to read her comforting words in Roman 8:38-39 and my favorite scripture Phillipians 4:13 to help her realize the atonement is there always, Christ is always by her side and repentance is a miracle and a daily process, not a scary thing we have to do when we get in trouble, it is a blessing. I am so excited to teach her tonight. The atonement is real. Por medio jesucristo podemos llegar a ser limpio. No estamos solo. Jesucristo ofrece nosotros consuelo siempre y nos ama mucho. Yo se este y yo se que por medio la expiacion cada cosa es posible. Yo amo mi Salvador. Yo se que El es mi amigo y mi hermano. (Through Jesus Christ we can become clean. We are not alone. Jesus Christ offers us comfort always and loves us very much. I know this and I know htat through the atonement every thing is possible. I love my savior. I know that he is my friend and brother----- sorry I thought I would translate after I realized that not every one will understand that and I would be so annoyed if I read something I couldn't understand haha, the other day I forgot the word atonement in English, I was like..... how do I say expiacion in English!!..... that is a miracle that that happened because my Spanish is terrible)
         This week I invited Marta to be baptized, she said no and it is really hard because she knows it is true and says she doesn't have anything that is stopping her, but I can tell she is just saying that and deep down there is something that she needs help with. She is the cutest little old lady with long grey braids :) We keep praying for her and hope that she will have the desire to progress with her relationship with her father in heaven. It is really cool because I felt like I needed to say that it is between her and god and she said she knows and she knows its just between them and that gives me comfort :)
         What I am really really excited about is Octavio and his family!! we stopped by there house and we hadn't ever taught them, the hermanas had just bumped into him before, so we got to teach him and his wife with their little girls running around! and we sat down and taught them about the book of Mormon! we invited them to church, they didn't end up coming but that's ok, they are really genuinely interested I think! they asked if our church had marriage councilors :( sad..... and alcoholic counsilors :(  so sad that they are having problems, but the Lord is preparing them :) they need the help the church can give :) I am pretty sure they are starting the alcoholics anonymous in Spanish I think so that's so great :)
      Anyways I love you all!! I want you to know, this is kind of obvious, but I know this is the true church. I know most importantly that God prepares His children, that everywhere around the world God is giving his children opportunities to have what we have and to lead them closer to Him. Something very personal to me that has touched my heart so deeply is that Heavenly Father misses His children. Just like Dad missing hearing my voice and talking to me, He misses hearing His children. What a blessing and gift it is for us to open our mouths and allow the spirit to touch someones heart and get them to open their mouth and talk to their Father in Heaven. How greatful He must feel to hear their voice for the first time and however many years. He loves us with everything He has and He has given us everything he has. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation/ happiness, what a tender and sacred doctrine. If you haven't recently studied and prayed to know if it is true I invite you to do so. I have such a deep love for this plan that Heavenly Father has created for us, the knowledge that I can live with Him again with my family for eternity brings be such comfort. We had the opportunity to teach an investigator who's Father just died of cancer this past week or so and we explained to him this beautiful plan and I felt the spirit bare witness to me that what I was sharing and testifying of was SO true. I feel so blessed to be here in Houston, I know I am exactly where God wants me to be at this EXACT moment. I love that about my mission, it is so incredible for once in my life to be exactly where God wants me. I know that He is mindful of us and our wants and needs, I know that if we submit our will to Him that we will be happier than we could ever imagine. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God,  I know that it is the most correct book on this earth and I know that with the Bible and Book of Mormon we can read and find any answer we need through prayer and revelation. I testify that God answers our prayers, and as we start our simple prayer, "Heavenly Father" He is waiting anxiously for us to talk to Him about our days and our needs just like our Father's on earth. I can feel Him next to me as I pray to Him. I know He is there, I know that Christ holds my hand as I walk and press forward and is ready for me to lean on Him and come nearer to him. I love my savior and I know that He lives, I know that "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me"(filipians 4:13) I know the things that I have shared are true because of the deep comfort and burning I have felt from the Holy Ghost, the third member of the God head. I have never been so grateful for his sacrifice of waiting to receive a body, so that I can have a constantly companion leading me and guiding me, I am so grateful for receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost after being baptized. I love you all and I love this church! My one word of advice is to open your mouth and talk to everyone! God will fill it with the words that He needs His children to hear, don't rob them of their opportunity to come unto Him. Plant a seed :) "acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it." pres. Erying (my fav quote :)) Te amo!!
Hermana Koch

Her companions and some of the area where she lives I believe

Just a few pictures that we sent her while we were on line again with her.
Missing you at the Lake House in Lake Almanor!

Here we are sporting our new Texas Pendant Necklaces in support. 

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