Sis Oakason and dad told me you gave a great talk yesterday. Send it to me! And running at 4:45 a.m. to celebrate summer? You are a woman after my own heart. I sure hope I can be like you. Oh I love you so much. Reading emails from you and dad and Carrie today made me miss you a lot. I felt the Spirit as I read them.
Carrie, su espanol es buenisimo!! Estoy muy impresionada. Ud, Mom, y Hope y yo necesitamos hablar en espanol cuando regreso, pero pienso que van a hablar mejor que yo porque entiended la gramatica mejor. Probrecito Mason!!
Yes, there were some political upheavals here but no worries dad, there were no tanks or riots in Concepcion. And our ward mission leader is always very concerned for us and makes sure we`re not out too late. All I know is the president was ousted and the vice president is now president. This is the second country I`ve been in where the president has been ousted while I`ve been there (last January in Egypt was the other).
Wow, the mission is such a roller coaster emotionally, with the highest highs and the lowest lows so close together. But what I learn from it is that GOD KNOWS BEST. And even though it is rough sometimes, I am always so thankful for the privilege I have to be a missionary. Such a blessing.
This week I read in 2 Corinthians 6 this scripture, "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
I thought of how true that is of missionaries. Yes, there are sorrowful moments, yet I have every reason to rejoice. According to your eyes I may be poor with only 2 suitcases of belongings and few physical comforts of home, yet I have everything. The sorrowful moments come because I have come to truly love the peope here. We get to teach people--children of God--who are of so much worth and have so much potential. And so it is truly sorrowful when they come to learn a truth of the gospel and don`t live it. Like yesterday when neither Herminia, Leida, or Sulma came to church it hurt, because I KNOW they could be happier if they came. I wish so bad they understood that this pearl of great price is worth EVERYTHING.
Juan Angel and his family were going to get baptized on Saturday and we had everything planned, it was announced in church, etc. But on Thursday the elders came to interview them. Elder Tenney interviewed Juan Angel in the other room while I read scripture stories to the girls in their bedroom (we gave them the illustrated BOM reader as an early baptism present which they just LOVE!). Elder Tenney told us that Juan Angel, in reality, hasn`t quit smoking. We had set some goals with him the week before, one of which included, "Stop smoking--don`t buy any more cigarettes." Well, I guess he didn`t understand because he indeed quit buying cigarettes, but he had about 10 already and has been smoking one a day. But Elder Tenney took his last cigarettes and committed him to truly quit. They are si o si getting baptized this next Saturday, and in reality, I think it is better they have one more week of preparation.
The miracle is that last Monday night we had an FHE at our branch president`s house with some less actives. Presiden`t father in law, Cresencio, has been investigating the church for 10 years. He has read the Book of Mormon tapa a tapa (cover to cover) and understands everything very well, he just hasn`t wanted to give up chewing tobacco. We have never taught him, but lots of hermanas in the past have. Anyway, on Monday his daughter, Hermana Gomez, told us he has give up tobacco and wants to get baptized. We were elated! So we were going to baptize him on Saturday with the Meza family. Four baptisms in June, baby!
But then the Mezas fell through, and then Cresencio had to work on Saturday, so we were not going to have any baptisms in June (without a confirmation it doesn`t count, and they have to get confirmed on the Sunday after they get baptized, and this Sunday is July 1). And the mission goal is for every companionship to have at least one in June.
But then, at 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday Hna Springer and I were really far from the church making visits when we got a call from President Gomez, asking if we could have the baptism at 4 that day. You mean, we could get our goal for June? It was a true miracle. It was a beautiful baptism.
So we went from having 4 baptisms on Saturday, to 0, to one. :)
So you see, perhaps there are moments of sorrow in our lives, but, because of the gospel, we can always be rejoicing. Not only because of little miracles we receive, but because we know God is always aware of us, we know the purpose of life, we know all the important things.
This week (it seems like ages ago!) we also had a zone training. We had to travel to a place I still cannot spell or pronounce, and it required getting up at 3 a.m. to travel there. We stepped out of the bus into a river, it was raining so hard and so muddy. But it was great to see President Madariaga and become refueled. We talked about consejo de barrio (ward councils) and working with members, of which I have a strong testimony.
We got our Liahona finally with the General Conference talks from this past April. First thing I did was flip through to see if my picture was in it since I was there for three sessions. Ha. anyway, I`ve been reading a lot of talks and have been so filled. Living prophets are such a blessing. The word of God is truly necessary in our lives, and I`m so thankful to know it continues to be revealed today. I love personal study time, man! It`s the BEST.
Today as we were walking to the grocery store we ran into a man we visited with when I first got here to Concepcion (two months ago, can you believe it?) He said I look "mas gorda." (Paraguayans really say things as they are....) I thought my skirts were a little tighter but I didn`t think anyone would notice anything. Sheesh. I am glad he said that though, because I was much more health conscious in the groceries I bought today. Living at home with your nutrient-dense diet is what I`m going to need when I get home though, mom. So stay health-conscious so I can lose anything I gain and still get married by April 2014 so I can still have 12 kids before I`m 45.
Hermana Springer only has three more weeks, and I am the saddest about this. I am nervous, to say the least, about having to do everything without her, even though I know I`ll have another wonderful companion.
I truly know that prayers are answered. I am gaining a testimony each day that God is a God of miracles. I know with all my heart that God is aware of each one of His children. He loves us more than we understand. And if I am sorrowful when I see my friends not grasp the gospel, I can`t imagine his deep sorrow when we forget Him or become distracted by the world.
I plead with you to do whatever is necessary to become closer to Him, so you can experience the joy that comes from following Him. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ, so thankful that He has shown us the way to live, shown us that love is truly all we need, and shown us how to love...how to love others and how to love God. May we be filled with the pure love of Christ, and go and love as He loves us.
Con mucho amor,
Your Sister Missionary,