I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY IN MY LIFE. The happiness I have felt this past week tops any of the happiness I used to know in my old life. Getting an A on a test? Getting asked on date? All shallow compared to the deep joy that has overwhelmed me in so many ways this past week. Where to start. I have never wanted to call home so badly on my mission. I would call you right now and forgo Christmas if it were possible.
First of all, on Saturday as we watched conference and heard the announcement about the missionary age being lowered, I burst. I was on the edge of my seat and when he said 19 I sobbed, my companion jumped in the air, we just hugged each other and couldn`t contain our happiness. I am so thankful for this news. It means it is the last days. It means the gospel will fill the earth in no time. It means God wants, and the world desperately needs, more sister missionaries. It means, as the elders quickly pointed out, that the BYU dating scene is changing forever and the missionaries currently out will have fewer options when they go home. (They seem truly concerned, haha. But I think it is wonderful because it means they can almost all marry returned sister missionaries.) Don`t you worry that I am upset that this change didn`t happen in time for me. I am perfectly content. I am happy to be on a mission now. Yes, it was a long wait to 21 and I could be married right now if I left when I was 19 (and I totally would have left then, remember mom how you wanted to write the first presidency and ask them to let me go early?), but I wouldn`t change a thing about my life if I could. God knows best.
The FIRST thing I said and thought of was "Hope can go on a mission in January!!!!" Hope, a separate email is coming soon for you. For all the 18-year-old young men and young women out there, all I can say is what Nike says: JUST DO IT. If you do not, you will regret it, but you will never regret going, that is a promise. Please pray for the young men and women of the church who are certainly thinking a lot about their decision to this call to serve. Pray they have the strength necessary to take this great step of faith. Satan knows such a decision will convert the missionary and countless others, and if he can`t stop one from making the choice to serve a mission his plan will certainly be thwarted. Whahahaha. We know God`s kingdom cannot fail. Why not join the winning team?
Conference was outstanding, every minute. I have literally been just bursting and bubbling with unexplainable happiness for days. I cannot say it enough. This has been the happiest week of my mission. It is happiness that seems to consume my flesh, yet I still have all my flesh, miraculously.
We had three investigators go to conference and I am pretty sure they will all get baptized. They say 75% of those who see conference get baptized. It worked for Santiago, our investigator who has been going to church and seeing missionaries for 7 years but never had the courage to just get in the water. On the bus ride back he said he wants to get baptized on Friday, that he felt the spirit very strongly and asked himself what has been taking him so long. We shall see. ;) Marian and her four little kids went on Sunday as well, as hot and long as it was. She is doing great and is such a joy. If only we can convince Jorge tonight to get married.
On Friday we had one of the sweetest baptisms I will probably ever see. We have been teaching a sweet 9-year-old boy, Juan Jose, who is the grandson of one of the strongest women in our branch, but his parents are smoking, drinking catholics. Juan Jose told his mom that he doesn`t want to be catholic, that he wants to go to abuela´s church and pass the sacrament and be a missionary. It was truly his decision. His mom came to the baptism and told us she got very emotional. Pretty sure she will join the church some day soon, and if we can get his dad to stop drinking it will be another precious family.
The thing is, Juan Jose asked his uncle Celzo to baptize him! Celzo, who was baptized three weeks ago and received the priesthood two weeks ago. It was the most precious sight to see them enter the water together and come out with big grins, both of them. That sight alone made me so happy. Celzo continues to progress in the gospel so well and went to conference even though none of his family did, and he doesn`t even understand spanish perfectly. This is a man who used to drink and didn`t want to join the church when his family did. Wow, the gospel changes people.
It has been the first week of real summer, I think. I am nearly dripping in sweat just typing an email. The shower could not be cold enough.
Also, this week we found out Elder Bednar is coming Oct 27th to divide a stake! We were told not to plan anything that day. OK! I am so excited.
Now, for my other big news: About 40 minutes ago we got the phone call about changes! Hermana Greer, my dear friend and soul mate, is leaving to Villa Hayes on Wednesday. And I.....will be training a brand new sister! I am so excited and yet feel so new myself half the time. It is such a great responsibility to train a new missionary, as a trainer leaves a lasting impression for their whole mission. I am thankful for this opportunity. I actually had a feeling I would train, but didn`t want to say it out loud. Hopefully she is the first of many, as new 19- and 20-year-olds flood every mission on earth. Pray for me this week. I want to love this precious new sister into being a powerhouse.
How do I possibly begin to express my conviction that this is the true church? How can I possibly convey the burning in my heart and the throbbing of every cell of my being telling me that this is the truth? How can I convince you that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet? I cannot. As Elder Christiansen said on Saturday, the Spirit can convey things that even heavenly messengers could not express adequately. I testify with all that I can that this is God`s work. His one and only true church is on the earth and it is the only way to true, deep lasting happiness and salvation. Christ lives and through Him we can conquer, no matter what we have done. The world is chock full of HOPE because of Him. And because of Him, even little incompetent missionaries can handle great responsibilities. Thank goodness!
Committed to the end and beyond,
Your Sister Missionary,
P.S. Thanks for the Mitt update! Keep em coming! GOOOO Mitt! It is so the last days.