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!