Wednesday, November 24, 2010

English, No Comprenda Porfovor

Oh boy... this is gonna hurt my brain. I haven´t spoken english for... I dunno... something like 8 days... which is, obviously... a record for me. I don´t really feel like my spanish is much better.... but for sure my english is worse. I can´t pray in english anymore... which is... good for the purpose here. I did find an english ensign in the bottom of our Liahona box... which was like... better than Christmas- I teared up a little. It was like seeing a long lost childhood kindred Spirit. Though Hermana Bautista and I are getting along miraculously well... like... really really well (I still cannot believe how well we communicate and work through very very sensitive matters and affairs in spanish... it blows my mind how united we can be when she doesn´t speak english... and my spanish is laughable..)... sometimes I selfishly pine for english. The scriptures in english are truly such a comfort.. and more than ever... they speak the language of my heart. I am studying in spanish too...but the moments that I can read in english... are so so so nice. I can understand spanish. I mostly know what´s going on now- hallelua- but spanish is not the language of my heart. ....yet.
Though I understand... sometimes I get frustrated that I don´t have the exact words to express myself. Twice this week... I had moments when... even if I could speak spanish... that wouldn´t be enough. We were in a lesson with a woman named Espiranza- whose family were members... but she had many obstacles to overcome before she would even listen to us. The first time we vistited... she hardly looked at us.. and was very cold. Yet... we weren´t defeated. ;) The next time we came... we showered her with love... love love love... love and some more love... and she started to melt. Yet... when it came to discussing the church... wow she was fiesty! She was SO determined that we didn´t believe in the bible or Christ... and we really couldn´t get a word in... she just went on tangents. I started to become filled with a determination that if she was not to accept the book of mormon right now.... we would certainly at least leave her without a doubt that we believe in the Bible.... and undeniably... that we know our Saviour Jesus Christ. When she was taking a breathe.... I nervous interrupted (a definate plus with being the slow kid on the block... is people listen. I mean... the have to listen close to get what I´m saying... but especially- how rude is it to walk over the delayed child? - this is my role. To get people to listen... even if it´s out of sympathy..) - and said something like, ¨Espiranza... I wish I had the words to explain to you how I read and believe in the bible, and how deeply and truly believe in Christ. I know the Atonement is real... and I have learned so much more fully of this and how to appy it... through the Book of Mormon. But... I don´t have the words... and you can tell- I can´t speak. But.. I do like to sing.¨ - and I sang Ï Believe in Christ¨. We were all choking back the tears.... and she couldn´t talk... and finally- the Spirit could settle over her. She agreed to come to church and read the Book of Mormon after.
The next day... we contacted into a family... very cool... very positive. The father is Evangelical- which I am super stoked when people have a foundation of the bible and faith... because logically- they´d be more ready to accept the Restoration when they already understand the words of the prophets in the bible! Yet... similar experience... he went on tangents and tangents... and we could hardly get to the Restoration. Finally... the ¨slow child¨ spoke.. and I tried to tell about the first vision... and the hymn ¨Joseph´s First Vision¨ rang through my head and body SO strongly... like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was right there in my chest... and though I felt a little silly... I just had to say, ¨There´s a better way to testify of this.¨- and while showing a picture of the first vision... I sang that song. Truly... this is not me- purely the power of music. Again... he couldn´t talk during the song... and had to listen to the words... but especially- the Spirit. He commited to reading the Book of Mormon after that.
So.. I´m finding ways to communicate- whether in song, charades, or spanish. Yet... sometimes people really can´t understand me. I get so frustrated when in lessons... people continue to smile and nod their head... but then can´t respond to my questions- and when I ask, ¨me entendio?¨... they smile guiltily.. and say no. Hermana Bautista swears that they can understand me... but it´s easier to pretend not to understand than to dig deep and answer personal and ponderous questions. Or... they just don´t expect a gringa to speak spanish... so they have a mental block when the listen. - so says Hermana Bautista.
Speaking of being a gringa... I am! Purely! Well... actually... I feel like my heart is much more at home here in a lot of ways... I can smile and greet EVERYONE with joy and enthusiasm here and not be considered drugged- aspects like that... I fit in better than America. Yet... I am SO frustrated that people only see me as ¨that gringa¨. I feel like I´m not seen as a representative of Jesus Christ. People are must more enchanted and interested that I am white, from America, and have blue eyes. Many people have never seen a gringo woman before, and most people have never seen blue eyes before. These mundane traits become distractions from my purpose with the people here....and I really struggle with the attention sometimes. I want to be different because I have the light of Christ and this calling... not because I´m white! I´m trying so hard to turn it around to focus on Christ... but it´s hard for some people to grasp.
Sometimes I feel like part of my biggest problem to fit in is my perspective of time. I struggled with this in the city... but here in the country... time doesn´t exist! I feel so out of control of most situations here... I kind of recognize that its likely healthy for me... but I hate it. Hermana Bautista says almost every day, ¨be patient!¨... but in my head... I want to respond, Ï don´t wanna be patient- I want to be on time!!!¨ haha... gah! Plus... everything is so far apart. It takes us 30-40 minutes to walk to appointments sometimes... and then the people aren´t there. Patience... patience... ahh!! The other day... we ventured through the mountains to find recent converts and innactive members. It was SO beautiful. I wanted to just... camp there... stay there... meditate there... but that was not my purpose there. Yet... it was SO SO SO gorgeous. We definately came out looking like we had camped up there for a week... so.. it was close enough. Did I mention how beautiful it is here? We have orange, coconut, papaya, banana, lemon trees... pinnapple and fijole fields.... and... a volcano... and... lots of cool things here. The other day, my companion wanted me to try a native popsicle... WOAH. NOT WHAT I EXPECTED! It was a lemon popsicle. She was in hysterics over my reaction for the next 20 minutes. It was a sour surprise.
I´m learning a lot from Hermana Bautista. It makes 2 years since her bautismo and her faith and strength blows my mind. She is so elect and SO perfect for me right now. She was catholic before, so she has such a great perspective and connection with so many of our investigadores. I love her so much. I´m teaching her how to do pushups and blow dry her hair... and she´s teaching me how to eat frijoles and platnos in the morning and to use tortillas as eating utensils. haha. We laugh A LOT.
I am constantly humbled by the humlity here. I love that the ward has a program to teach people to read- because there is such a need. It´s difficult to teach people that can´t read- because the need to gain a personal knowledge and witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon from personal study is so GREAT. Yet... there are people that can´t read... but are endowed and devoted in the work- like our ward mission leader. He is studying and trying to learn... but we are having to adapt our strategies for this obstacle. Yet... Hermano Dias is so pure and wonderful and willing to serve. For our investigadores... there are hurdles like... women not wanting to come to church because they don´t have a skirt, or because they´re afraid it´ll all be reading... things like that... that I have never thought of before. People will say things like, öh! I´ve heard of that church- I heard it has really nice bathrooms!!¨ (when we might be able to compare the bathrooms in this chapel to those of a clean but small gas station in the states) ---I can´t express the purity and greatness in these people. It is such and honor to be here... and especially to serve them.
Yesterday in sacrament meeting.. bishop had the brilliant inspiration in the middle of the meeting... to ask me to come bear my testimony. I was already feeling the Spirit so strong, and honestly a little overwhelmed with emotion from reflecting of the week and working through things..... that when I got up there... I could hardly speak. I can´t really describe it... it was this tiny tiny chapel, with about 70 beautiful people... and I was trying to express to them the reality of the Lord in my life... and my love of life with this knowledge. It was such an honor. Then... in relief society... We were learning about Gifts of the Spirit, which includes the gift of tongues. So... the relief society president asked me to bear my testimony of this...... I guess as a demonstration of the gift. No pressure. ;) I am here to testify... and I love that. Love it.
We had a little interview with our dear bishop... and it was so beautiful. He is SO SO SO humble. He is in his late 20´s or early 30´s, and told us, ¨I lack experience and bountious knowledge... but I am here to serve. Please, tell me what more we need to be doing to help you. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for being here- we can already feel of your strength here- and we need you.¨ - I may have wept a little.
I think the HARDEST thing this week... and probably will continue to be THE HARDEST part of this calling... is witnessing so intimately and repeatedly... the pain from not living the commandments. We visits innactive members that stopped attending and living the gospel because of offense, distraction and/or apathy.... and how different their life is now. My heart hurts for them so deeply. I am anxious and quick to invite others to be baptized- for that is my purpose... and I know that the Lord won´t send those prepared to come unto Christ if I am not prepared to invite- yet.... I have this ever growing fear... that they won´t be prepared for baptism when they are baptized. I read in Luke 14;27-30 about the man that was to build the tower... but never finished. There is a quote from Bruce R. McKonkie that talks about how converts need to fully know what they are commiting and embarking into. It is so serious to break these convenants... and I am so afraid that these converts won´t fully understand.. whether it´s a lack of time or teaching from me. I am seeing too many people that were converted to the friendship of the missionaries... and were baptised without seeking to receive their own personal testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the reality that this church is the only one on the earth that is exactly the one that Christ himself established. They HAVE TO KNOW THAT!!!

Oh boy I love this life and this work. I love wanting to collapse at the end of the night... and waking up to do it all over again! ;)

We have a few people so so so close to the waters of baptism! Thank you for your prayers!

Hermana Clark

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Love Everyone in ElSalvador!

Wow!! Don´t even know where to start!!! WOW!
Last week... I was loving everything more and more. I was finally getting acustomed to the area... feeling like I was FINALLY finding some sense of direction, knowing the people.... and we as a companionship were finding people to teaching... and having AWESOME experiences.Like... this one man.. Jose.. we came to his casa the week before to visit his inactive sister. He answered his.... gate?... and was very VERY mean and rude. I wanted to scurry away with my tail between my legs whimpering... but Hermana Bush was so inspired and patient... and started asking him questions. He was gruff and RUDE... but Hermana Bush was truly inspired. Then... I felt inspired to bear my testimony of prophets. I thought ¨oh gosh... this is gonna be awkward with my spanish...¨-.. but as I spoke... there was such a tangible change in him... in his face. He softened... and answered my questions... and after a while... he came out from his... fence?... and we taught him the first lesson. I saw such vulnerability,kindess, and tenderness in him... and this last week, we taught him again. In moments like those... I´m glad I don´t speak perfect spanish. :)
On monday.... we had some stellar lessons...and I fell more and more in love with the people. Transfers were coming... but I was so sure that I needed to stay there... that I loved them so much that I would stay with them and watch them progress... and I was new and couldn´t speak spanish... so I´d get to stay with Hermana Bush there some more. Then... monday night, we got the call that I needed to pack my bags and leave at 7 the next morning. UGH!!!!

Yet... of course... it was all for my benefit. Of course!!! My new companera is Hermana Bautista- from the East part of El Salvador. When I first heard that... my stomach kind of knotted up... and I thought,¨ öh... poor dear... she prayed for patience, huh¨. She denies doing such a thing... but certianly she has the opportunity to learn more patience... because she speaks NO english... so our communication, unity, and ability to function as a team... depends on the Spirit... and my Spanish. Truly... we´ve both been given the gift of tongues... because she can understand me!! I have said some awkward things on accident like... I was trying to tell her the first day that ¨it´s amazing how much I love you already!!!¨ but what I said was... ¨it´s amazing that I still love you!!¨ ha... we laugh... a lot.

Hermana Bautista and I are opening this area. We know NOTHING and NO ONE. It is such a different experience trying to work though all this... organize things... and understand.... and totally in spanish. I cannot believe how well we work together. So often... I forget that she doesn´t speak a word of spanish... and I don´t realize that I´m speaking spanish!!!
The first night.. when we walked into our casa... it was like walking into Dad´s most horrific nightmare. Woah woah woah!!! I had a freak out session with bleach... and it felt good... but.... woah. I´d go into details...but I´m still trying to get over the trauma...and discussing it further would not help the progress I´ve made with this the last few days.
Um... it´s SO SO SO BEAUTIFUL here! Everyday... when we finally leave our ¨casa¨.... I have to take a moment and catch my breath! We´re like... 3 or 4 hours away from my last area in the city... and definately in the country. It´s a GORGEOUS valley called Candelaria... nestled and surrounded by green velveted mountains.... right by the border of Guatamala. I guess the mountains are still part of our area- this is known as a HUGE area for missionaries... and really difficult to get around in. Oh joy! But... the members here are SO AWESOME... and part of that is... they don´t want us out far. They are so eager to help with the work and keep us safe- their eager and sincere love is almost overwhelming sometimes. I have never been immersed with such humble, simple, kind, faithful, dilligent, and LOVING people before. The little chapel here is the smallest but the most lovely chapel I´ve ever seen. Again... it felt like home the moment I walked in. There isn´t even a piano! Well... I guess there was one before it was stolen... but there isn´t now... but they continue to sing with such gusto and sincerity... that I melt every time... and the need for technical musicality doesn´t matter when such heart is in it. My first night...this 12 year old boy came up... and with such sweet sincere eyes... asked, ¨will you please come teach my mama?¨- and my hopes of belonging and loving it here... were totally confirmed.
It´s definately different here. I can´t even begin to explain how many things are just...bizarre for me!! Yet... I´m learning that... really- I am the bizarre one. My native comps are such befuddled by ME... by... my meticulous flossing, weird exercises, what I eat, that I shave my legs, what I think is funny.... I am such a weird alien to them. I guess I am in the states too... but here... I am so peculiar. Hna B thinks I´m so tall because I don´t drink pop and drink straight milk in the mornings.... after I taught her about calcium and the process of osteoperosis. haha.. she wants me to teach her about nutrition... and how to produce more blood.... and... everything I love to talk about... but it´s a total cherade and dictionary game for me in spanish. haha
I don´t know if anyone will care about this like I do... but the geriatric population here is THE MOST PRECIOUS. Oh... something just explodes in me everytime I see them. I am so in love with this tiny tiny little 96 year old woman that squeals, ¨hermanita!!¨ every time we see her! haha.
Yesterday was stake conference... and it was so fun to pile the whole ward into a bus and drive for an hour to this HUGE and GORGEOUS stake center in Santa Ana! SO COOL! We had 6 investigadors show up and have good experiences. I guess there is a high baptism rate here... but retention is a problem. That is a fear for me. Baptism is SO important... but certainly just the first step! There are SO MANY blessings to come... and knowledge to obtain... and it breaks my heart to visit people that are refusing them because they lack the desire and don´t understand!!
Life is so humble and simple here. It is exactly what this spoiled american princess needed to experience. I am so humbled to be in the presence of such greatness here... in such pure packages. There is such a tangible difference in the homes of members here... To walk in to homes and feel the Spirit so instantly.. and then look around and see pictures of the new temple tacked into the grout between their brick walls.... knowing and feeling that the family within is so focused on the eternal riches. Truly... this is where I am supposed to be.

quick story... the other day we went to teach Diego a lesson... and we were peeling frijoles with him... when I felt something scurry by my leg. I brushed my leg.. and continued on. Then... we started teaching... and really getting into it... when I felt something scurry up my leg in my skirt. I jumped up... danced around a bit... and thought I was fine.. and felt bad for disrupting the lesson. Then... I asked Diego a question... the Spirit was there... he was pondering.... and then I felt something scurrying around in my skirt around my stomach. AHHH!!! I jumped up and sprinted to their outhouse up the hill. I threw off my skirt and shook it out... bt there was nothing. I returned and apologized and swore there was something... but probably I was crazy. So... we continued. We were about to hit a climax in the lesson... when undeniably... SOMETHING WAS IN MY SHIRT!! I jumped up AGAIN and screamed, ¨HAY ALGO!! HAY ALGO!!! ¨and ran off again... yelling to Hna Bautista, ÄYUDEME! AYUDEME!!! We ripped off my shirt in the outhouse..... and yup... there was this brilliantly bright and beautiful GECKO in my skirt. Oh gosh. Sister B screamed, I laughed, and threw it off.... and we still randomly say to each other, ¨HAY ALGO!!¨(there´s something!!!) haha... There are ALWAYS disruptions during our lessons- like any missionary will attest to. Twice in a row... it was roosters! Right when I start to tell the Joseph Smith story... a rooster would show up and start screaming SO LOUD!! haha... we are swimming in dogs, roosters, and cats here. How fun!
Ok! gotta go!
Love you all!!
Hermana Clark

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Scariest Halloween Ever


First of all....
Thank you SO MUCH Kipps for that AWESOME letter! I cannot tell you the delight and uncontrolable squeal of laughter that your letters provoked. THANK YOU for sending that sunshine and inspiration. I LOVE your family. Laura- NYC!??? SO COOL. So perfect for you! Now... I´m dying to hear about your adventures and halarious stories told in your fashion. Please. :) I am searching for a post office so I can sent you a letter. Thank yoooooou!! :)
Does any one have Kenny Adam´s mailing address?(Not that I can even mail right now... but in the future..) And Marcelus´??

Umm... I had the scarriest Halloween of my life. I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting! But... you may ask.... how? I don´t speak spanish?- exactly. Mostly. I have never really minded giving talks... often I fancy the opportunity to prepare and testify.... but this..... I struggled not being insecure and prideful. Yet... as I prepared... for the first time since I was probably 12- I wrote out a talk word for word... and was resigned to just read it and just try to get through it... knowing that I would sound silly, and probably no one would understand me.... but hopefully they would be patient and by some miracle... the Spirit would be there. So.... sunday came... and as Hernana Bush was giving her talk... the Spirit flowed into that meeting... and I was washed over with peace. As I looked out into the faces of the ward members....... I was filled with this overwhelming and indescribable love for them- I think the only word for it would be- charity. Finally.... for the next 15 minutes... I was remarkably free from my pride... and I stopped thinking that this was When I stood up to speak... I felt like I was in a home ward... speaking in english. I started to learn what it truly means when the Lord promised, ¨Open they mouth and it shall be given thee¨- because....... I got up and spoke for a while... and suddenly realized... that I hadn´t even opened my prepared talk yet. I don´t really remember what I said... and I know it wasn´t perfect.... but there were a few seconds during my talking that I had an out of body experience.... almost like my body kept talking... but I was able to step back and listen to myself............. and it did not sound like me....especially my spanish. I glanced at my prepared talk some.... but the message I gave was significantly different from what I prepared... and I know that the only way I could have said anything different than what was on the paper... was through the Spirit... and the gift of tongues. Afterwards... people said that they understood EVERYTHING I said- except 2 words. :) Truly- this is a MIRACLE.

Contrary to my past life..... I think one of the biggest temptations of Satan for me... is the temptation not to speak. My pride gets in the way... and I don`t want to sound dummy, I am led to think that I will just hinder the work and make things awkward... but I have been blessed with humbling experiences that remind me that I am send here to testify, teach, and love- in spanish. I have had a number of such moments of inspiration, clarity, and communication like this last sunday.... but not always. I am learning that this gift is much like the Liahona for the family of Lehi in the Book of Mormon. My ability to speak with the people here is SO closely linked and dependent on the needs of the people, my faith, obedience, and... charity. I am learning that when I truly and wholly love the people that we are teaching....... I am finally able to forget about myself... I stop caring about how silly I sound... and the most important thing is to say what the Spirit gives me. It was said in a devotional in the MTC that, ¨You will get to know Him as He works through you¨¨ and ¨He needs your weakness to show His power through you¨. Welp... I´ve got the weaknesses.... and I am undeniably seeing His power.

A definate bonus of this language test... is that I am a source of great entertainment for everyone around me. I told a women when I first got here that her dog was very very pretty- but she didn´t have a dog. I was talking about her hair. When trying to ask someone if they were hungry... I asked if they had a man. When trying to ask two men if they had wives.... I asked if they were married to each other. When teaching the Plan of Salvation to an investigador... when the Spirit was so strong and things were going so great..... I taught her that God has a body of meat and eggs.
- but I´ve done far worse in english- right? hahahaaaa

Morgan: You would love it here! I think about you all the time when I´m walking down the road- it´d be Morgan heaven! There are dogs, cats, chickens, lizards, geckos, and exotic beautiful birds EVERYWHERE. I have seen the BIGGEST ants EVER- like I thought I´d only see on discovery channel. Lots of people have big beautiful parrots. You´d love it. :)

I am still love our humble little abode. President Lopez wants us to be looking for a new ¨house¨.... so we´ve been trying. I think some of my biggest frustrations have not been the language. My main tests of patience are time. Our area is SO big.... I feel like we´re walking FAR more than talking and teaching. It´s often pretty commical with the three of us- Hermana Bush who is almost 6 foot with wonderfully long legs, me with the innate drive to walk compulsively fast, and dear Hermana Ramirez who is probably 5ft 2¨ has to try to keep up. I´m trying to be patient... but I feel like we´re always late! It´s definately not Hermana Ramirez´s fault though. The beautiful but nonfunctional (for missionary work) aspect of the culture here is the love of shootin´the breeze and talking. I so often hear Dad in my head as I look at my watch and see how time has flown.... but I don´t know how to leave!! It´s such a difficult balance of truly enjoying people, being polite and understanding the culture, and... utilizing the Lórd´s time HIS WAY!!! On a few occasions I´ve gotten my comps to literally RUN house to house to be on time.... but we do look silly and it´s hot.... so it´s not a preferred fashion... for all. :)

After my sandwich nightmare... I am trying SO HARD to be more flexible with the food situation. I tried pupusas the other night- and I am still alive to tell about it. It´s ever so polite to over soda for guests... and so I´m trying ever so sincerely to acclimate to that too. uhh...yup. My companions are so great on so many accounts.... but I could just worship them in the moments that the host turns their back and they give me their vegetables that they don´t want.. and they take what I need taken and they want! :)

Ok... I just wrote too much! I love you all dearly!!! I love being a missionary!! I love El Salvador... life is so great.... woohooo!!!! :)

Family: I NEED JOEL´S EMAILS! ok! tata! I´ll send pictures


We were having a meeting with our ward mission leader... and we were at a new convert´s house. She was being so nice and made us a snack...dinner...? She put in front of each of us... two of my favorite kind of sandwhich.............. white white white processed bread... with plenty of mayonaise, bologne, and my favorite processed American plastic cheese. -uhoh.
I was/am SO determined not to be offensive with my compulsions... but this was... a lot to handle. Some of my top loathings... all on one plate... and in plenty. I wasn´t even remotely hungry...but I was determined to try. I became flustered, diaphoretic... so hot and clammy... trying to get myself to pick it up and take a bit. Painful... but I did. I was immediately nausious... and did NOT know how I was going to eat two. I tried to play it cool... show no such inner struggle... but after 30 minutes and only two bits taken... and I was sweating (which I don´t even sweat during these hot hot days when everyone else is dripping... and suddenly I´m sweating in the cool of the night... suspicious) anyways... they all thought I was sick... and I didn´t know what to do. I could hear mom in my head, ¨EAT IT. Don´t be so rude! You are SO silly!¨.... but... AHHHH!!!! When the host had left... my Guatamalan Comp grabbed it and ate them two days later. Gosh I am silly. I really am trying so hard not to be a spoiled American girl..... trying.

Speaking of the weather... haha... CRAZY! I have not found it THAT hot or THAT humid. We´re out of the ¨wet season¨- or... so they say. Yet, I´m learning never to leave without an umbrella. Yesterday we were leaving an appointment... and it had been the hottest and sunniest day thus far for me..... when the moment we opened the door.... SO QUICKLY... it went dark- just like someone had turned the light switch..... and it just started DUMPING. It was windy, lightening, thunder, and POURING. I have NEVER seen a storm like that, or any change in weather that rapid. We say the weather in Spokane is unpredictable...but WOAH. I heard today that there was an earthquake- and that such weather changes happen when there´s an earthquake. I felt nothing besides being wet. Best part of it- we had planned and were excited to go contacting for that time. haha.... it was SO fun. Good thing I love the rain and don´t melt.

Heaven On Earth


Wow... so much to say... where to start??

Thank you Dad, for the letter. It was very emotional but perfect for me to read about such sweet experiences with Joel and the family in the temple and Jared´s baptism. I had an investigator ask me last night if I missed my family. I had to stop and think... and then try to explain my multilevel ¨no¨¨. I got to explain to her that.... my family is founded and centered in Jesus Christ. Everything that we are, all that we should do, and all that we are working towards together.... is centered in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I tried to help her understand that as I am very far away from my family... as I grow closer to Christ in this work every day... my love for my family exponentially grows... and I feel even closer to them. Teaching her... really taught me the soul peircing but liberating truths of this principle. I am so grateful for the Christ-like examples of the people I love the most... and have the opportunity to spend eternity with.

Speaking of that investigator... her name is Claudia- and she is the highlight of my week. We received a reference (YOU ALL HAD BETTER BE GIVING REFERENCES and LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO FIND AND GIVE THEM!) from a member of the stake presidency. They had talked to a man at work that said, ¨I think your church can help my family¨ and asked for the missionaries to come. (What a dream, huh??) So... We came, but he wasn´t home. Claudia was though, and she enthusiastically invited us in. As we talked, and explained our purpose here... the Spirit flooded... and she became very emotional. She explained that 3 years ago she had been looking so hard for the right church... and went to many, but didn´t feel it was right. The last two weeks she had been praying earnestly that the Lord would send someone to help her with things that she had been struggling with... and that she could learn more about Christ. She cried and said that it was such a clear answer to her prayers. (yup. wow.) Teaching her about the restoration... how we have tangible evidence that the Lord loves her because he has sent a prophet to reveal the mysteries of God to HER... that truly Joseph Smith saw her Father and her Savior... and that all of her questions can be answered through personal revelation and the Book of Mormon.... and that she could be happy..... was a humbling and breathtaking experience. We invited her to learn more, receive an answer from her Heavenly Father, and to follow the example of Christ and be baptized. She had so many AWESOME questions- truly she has a sincere heart and true desire. We ended up dipping into many topics and lessons... and before we knew it- 2 hours had passed.
She is a onocology doctor and bien intellectual. When we met with her again, she had intensively read the introduction and all the testimonies at the begining- meticulously pondering every line and highlighting specific parts... and even reading into the index in the back and looking online. She was full of incredible questions again. She is SO smart and curious... but has such purity and faith... such a great balance. We read parts of the bible testifying of the Book of Mormon... but really... it just comes down to her reading it for herself and praying about it. We really can´t give our testimonies to others... or at least, they can´t live off of them. Yet... her situation is complicated. She lives with her 8 year old daughter and the father of her daughter... that is not her husband. They are not married... but not even together. They live together for the sake of their daughter, but have seperate bedrooms.... and totally seperate lives and want nothing to do with each other. Yet.... living together unmarried cannot be in any condition. SOoo.... we´re not sure how it´s going to pan out... BUT... both parents and the daughter are coming to church this sunday!!

I cannot deny how difficult the language is for me sometimes. I am so glad I´m learning another language and having these struggles- it is the ¨compelled humility¨ that I need. BUT... I refuse to be frustrated. I cannot be. I have seen too many miracles to be sincerely impatient. When I am in lessons with people... I want SO BADLY to understand them and help them... so I listen close. When I say close... I mean... with my eyes, ears, mind, body, heart, and SOUL. I am SO intensively focused on them... that they can feel me trying to connect with me... so what do they do? They talk to ME. They look at ME and tell ME their long random stories... and ask ME what to do or what I think... or what is right- but after exhausting all my physical resources... I still don´t fully understand what they´re saying. At first... I used to panic... because I acted SO interested and like I was understanding...but it only seems so because of my intensive efforts... not because I´m really with them during their stories. Yet... I am learning... that I am listening to THEM... to start listening far more to the Spirit. Instead of trying to organize it all in my mind... to just focus in on the Spirit for understanding and revelation. I testify- that it works. No... I don´t suddenly start understanding everything... or speaking profound and elaborate spanish.... but many a time... random questions come to mind... or sentences that I ´don´t know know what they mean.... they just elevate to the top of my mind with undeniable peace and confirmation from the Spirit. SO.... I just take a leap of faith... open my mouth... and try to say the words I had been given. When I understand what I´m saying... I´m often shocked and nervous at the BOLDNESS of them- I can´t say much... so I just cut to the chase. Often... people pause... for a long time... and I think that it´s beacuse I just said verbal diahrrea.... but then they respond with something sincere... and I´m blown away that.......... it worked. No... I don´t feel like I´m doing much here- I´ve never been so silent in my LIFE...... but there is no way I can deny such clear answers to prayer... and gifts given to me beyond my natural ability. I KNOW that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is real... as is my calling and authority from God as a missionary to, as Elder Holland said,¨¨BE APOSTOLIC¨.

On a lighter note... as my life would go... last week my permanent wire retainer on my bottom arch... totally popped off. I was flossing my teeth (Like I have been every day with this retainer for the last 7 years with NO problem...)... and one side just... came out of the cement. At first I wanted to scream... but it came out as hysterical laughter. I had to rip the other side off. I took the bold chance... and went to the niiiiiiiiiiiice part of town to an Orthadontist. I was so nervous and determined to just get a plastic mold. But... the orthadontist spoke some english... and I took the chance and had him chizzle off my glue and put in a new wire. We´ll see how it goes!!

We got to see the temple today. SOOOOO COOL! It´s in construction... and they expect it to finish in July! I will try to attach fotos. I am so excited for the families here to have opportunity to partake of the UNFATHOMABLE and ETERNAL blessings of the temple. Many people have already traveled to Guatamala to go through... but the difference it will make in their life to go through on a regular basis and receieve a greater understanding... is SO EXCITING!!!

I love it here. It´s hard and exhausting sometimes...but that´s a big reason why I love it SO MUCH. I am TOTALLY green... but we all have a good laugh at it. I love my companions Hermana Bush and Rameriz. I have it so good. They´re both so different from me and from each other... and I think it´s a beautiful balance. I LOVE hearing their testimonies every day... and to watch them love the people.

Oh boy.. so much I could say.... butta..... yup... gotta run! Work to do!! ;)

Oh! Kylene- THANK YOU for your letter! I cannot tell you how STOKED I was to get that yesterday! Also... what ended up happening with Ally? That was such a cliff hanger? I can only e-mail family... so.....

Family: Try to express to Arturo how HAPPY I am about his baptism... and that I expect and DEMAND pictures. Also... tell Victor and Teophilo that they owe me an awesome letter.

Jared: YAY!! Write me about your baptism and how you felt! I´m so proud and happy for you!!! Baptisms are the best, huh?

Umm... we can´t find a post office... so I have no way of mailing anything in return. Sorry BananaBunny!!! How is Jenna and the baby??

Jessica- THANK YOU FOR YOUR LETTER!!! I´ll try to write you back ASAP... but it´s super dificil right now!

Ok! I´m gonna try to add pictures!