Holy cow this week went by soooo fast! I feel like I just emailed you yesterday, and yet so much has happened since.
Gah! I am so happy. I have no particular reason why. It is testimony to me that this is God´s work--even though life isn´t necessarily going perfectly, I am still happy all the time. An inner cheerfulness and peace that can only come from God.
This week on the 4th was my 4 month mark on the mission. Time does fly.
Dad, I loved how you said about Sis. Dew´s talk that the gospel can really solve every problem, and how it is so obvious to us and so un-obvious to the world. I think about this all the time! It is so true! Watching our branch president have to deal with so so so many problems here makes me understand just a tiny little bit what bishops and branch presidents have to go through. You are truly on the Lord´s errand, and I know you have His help and are doing a great job. You are such a good example to me.
This week was Leida´s birthday and we made a beautiful, delicious cake and celebrated with her and a member family, the Urbietas. Her husband works in the chaco so she didn´t have him there for her actual birthday, and we are some of her best friends, I can tell. I have learned that a social conversion is important as is a spiritual conversion in the gospel. No matter how strong one´s testimony is, it is still hard to participate if you don´t know anyone. And only members can really bring to pass a social conversion. As missionaries we can´t sit by every investigator in church, welcome them to the ward, invite them over for FHE´s, etc. Only members can do that. I vow right here and now to be that kind of member after my mission. I want to become a missionary, not just do missionary things, so that when I take off my nametag I am inherently a missionary for the rest of my life. I really hope I can be a completely different member because of my mission. Before my mission I didn´t really share the gospel. NEVER again! I will go out of my comfort zone and reach out! It is so important!
Yesterday, once again, we were in church with zero investigators. I sat in sunday school, having fasted for 20 hours at that point for our investigators, and praying a ful (a lot) that Leida would come, because if she didn´t she can´t be baptized this Saturday (investigators need to come to church 3 times before baptism). She finally came for sacrament meeting! And she had a great excuse for being late, actually, that made me realize she was showing a lot of determination to even make it to church at all. She seemed to love testimony meeting.
We are working with the older Meza daughter, Jessica. She is 19 with a 5 month old baby. She is planning on being baptized this Saturday, too. But this past week we heard her boyfriend was visiting from the chaco. We didn´´t know that he was even in the picture anymore, because he doesn´t live with her. So we were worried that a law of chastity problem was going to keep her from being baptized his Saturday. We didn´t know how to address this though, because we always teach her with her mom and little sisters. But last night we went to teach her with a prayer in our hearts, and she was home alone! It was a perfect teaching situation. And she said that she didn´t know what the law of chastity was, but after we explained it, she said that she doesn´t want to get married, she´s too young, etc. But she said she is pefectly willing to live the law of chastity and not be with her boyfriend any more before getting married. She said, "If that´s what God says, than yeah, of course I´ll do it." I am so impressed with her faith.
The hardest thing ever happened on Saturday night. I think I have written about Herminia before, a golden investigator who was going to get baptized a couple weeks ago. We haven´t been able to find her for over a week, and this past Saturday we finally found her at home, but she shut the door on us. After a few minutes of us standing there bewildered, her sister came out and said that her husband said she can´t talk with us anymore, he doesn´t like us. Her husband, who works in the chaco and knows hardly anything of the church, that I´m aware of. I don´t have time to explain more, but as her sister was telling us this I just about burst into tears. I KNOW that the gospel will bless her family like nothing else ever could. I KNOW that she has felt the Spirit and feels it is true. Men! Men of little faith, robbing their precious, believing wives of their faith. I could tell you countless stories of men impeding the way of faithful wives and daughters. Oh it breaks my heart. I am completely devastated for her.
Sulma did the same thing. She has been avoiding us this past week. We left a note at her house saying that if she is not avoiding us, to call us. She hasn´t called. We have spent so many hours preparing and teaching these women. We have prayed and studied and arranged our entire daily schedules around them. Oh it hurts soo bad.
I am super thankful for Hna. Quispe. She is helping my Spanish so much. Yesterday I got up to bear my testimony, not really knowing what I would say or how I would say it, but the Spanish just flowed. Not perfect Spanish, I´m sure. But a couple of members have mentioned my Spanish is better, which is encouraging. I don´t feel any difference, I feel like my progress is very subtle, which is frustrating.
The Olympics sound exciting. Also, can someone fill me in on Mitt Romney? Por favoooooor??
I came across this dynamite statement this week from Jeffrey R. Holland and wanted to share it.
"However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don´t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have NOT traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ´s atonement shines. There is nothing that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized."
Gracias a Jesucristo....I mean, thanks to Jesus Christ, we have HOPE. No matter what. Not only our beautiful sister Hope, but hope that our dreams can still come true. The world is in our hands. There is nothing stopping us from our happiest dreams other than ourselves. I love each of you so much. I am so thankful we are a family for eternity. Let´s all make it to the celestial kingdom, ok?
Grace be with you. (Can you tell I´m reading the epistles of Paul in the New Testament?)
Your Spanish-English Dictionary-Loving Sister Missionary,
1. This morning we ran to the river and launched some boats for an upper-body work out. Your spanish vocab for the day: neblina (fog).
2. Alfajores. Food is about the only way we are permitted to celebrate. The alfajores represent us: white chocolate for me, the rubia (blonde), and dark chocolate for Hna. Quispe, the morena (brunette). :)
3. Leida´s birthday.