|Lia and her cousin, Brooke (headed to Korea), at the MTC|
|Flowers bloom all year long. Most houses don't look like this.|
|Hna Torales, yo, Hna Carr, Hna Nuñez at Capacitacion|
Hola Mi Familia Amada,
I spent my first whole day in charge while Hna Torales was on intercambios (last week's intercambio was a half day and all of our appointments were no-shows). Hna Williams from the MTC was my companion! Given neither of us speak Spanish or know the area or the people or how to ask directions, we had a pretty incredible day. We got lost at the very end (WAY lost, I have no idea how we got that far away from where we were headed), but I think it was meant to happen because we met a lot of people in the streets and actually set citas (appointments) with them! New investigators! And then to get home and a really nice man, waiting outside a store, helped us by hailing a taxi and telling him where to get us home. He was super nice and I wish I hadn't run out of book of Mormons.
I also had my best lesson yet teaching the Restoration to a woman who I just LOVE. Her name is Cristina and she has 3 daughters (two old enough to listen) and another girl at 8 months pregnant. We had our first cita last week and then this week, I asked her what she thought about the LdM (Book or Mormon). I almost laughed because she just had taken it for granted that it was scripture as legitimate as the Bible, she didn't even think about it. She also was like “I'm assuming when we've been doing this for 6 or so months and you, you know... (she made a dunking motion), will that be by the priesthood?” She already understands the role of the Holy Ghost in her life, despite what her church taught about it and totally grasped the idea of the apostasy. When Hna Williams and I taught about the first vision she said “Wow, I didn't know about this! I've never heard about this in my whole life!” like it was accepted fact that it was true. I love how humble she is, she’s just a beautiful spirit. And when we were teaching that lesson, H Williams and I, I just felt the Spirit coursing through my veins. I didn't feel like I was the one teaching, and I knew that what I was saying was being conveyed by the Spirit to her heart as well.
She said she’d come to church with her family, but didn’t. I think commitments are going to be a problem. It's a problem with a lot of people here. :) They can sense that our message is a true and good thing, but they don’t want to change. Hna Torales and I are working to make sure we explain how the gospel is a message of CHANGE and to change you need commitment and to DO stuff different.
Did you guys watch the Christmas devotional last night? I was so excited to get a brain break and hear something in English, but it turns out when they do the Spanish translation, they completely mute the English. Oh well. In church settings, I can pretty much understand every word people say but I can’t think about what it means fast enough to learn anything from it. But it was okay because during Elder Russell M. Nelsons talk about Christ, even though the only words I really grasped were 'love' 'peace' and 'light burdens', those were the only words I needed to hear. When they showed the paintings of Christ, even without understanding anything I felt this wave of love just wash over my whole body. I cried.
I have been really struggling this week with exhaustion because it takes so much energy to communicate even the smallest thing, and the pressure of NEEDING to hear what the investigators and church members are saying, plus walking 10, 12 miles everyday in the heat-- I was really starting to doubt if I could keep it up. I was trying to force myself to be engaged and to be bright and happy and to continue trying to affect people and love people and love God, but I felt like I couldn't do it for another 18 months. But when I was sitting in the devotional last night, I realized that even though I was preaching about Christ ALL day, I hadn't been thinking about him much and I realized I hadn't been trusting in Him and relying on Him. We could share the burden and it would be light. He could make me feel loved and also help me love other people. While I was sitting in the chapel looking at all the Mexican people around me, I felt this love for ALL of them. They weren't Mexican people, they were people just as much as I am a person. I want to feel that for them all the time. I want to remember to draw on Christ's support all the time.
My ward is so good here. I want you to meet them. They take such good care of the missionaries and they really devote an incredible amount of time to the missionary effort. They’re just good people.
I figured out about my phone call. I get 40 minutes Christmas day on Skype if we want, otherwise I'll just use a phone. Also, I learned dearelders are delivered once a month. :) So I'm hoping I’ll get to hear from you in 1 or 2 weeks, depending on when they deliver.
AHHH! Agee went to the temple!!! I LOVED the pictures! Can you still send me Elder Tafoya's address?
And Ava, your hair is awesome. You look like Janet Jackson.
Family, I love you!