This week continued to be amazing, and I learned sooo much. And it went by so fast! I can't believe I'm going on my third week. So first off, yes I saw Jessica and got the contacts and brush. Thanks for the treat too! It was kinda funny because I walked into the building where I have class and it's one long hall to the door on the other end. I looked at the door at the other end and saw Jessica passing right at that very moment, yelled her name, ran to her down the long hallway (kind of like those romantic moments you see in movies but without the romance) and embraced! What are the chances I'd see her pass right then and there? Tender mercies of the Lord. So to answer some questions...Hermana Smith is from Bloomington, Illinois, is 19, and went to BYU Idaho. She is hilarious and we have moments everyday where we laugh to the point of tears. We have so much fun together and I've learned so much from her. The best part though is that we're both weird and can be weird together without worrying about what the other thinks! It's the best! I'm pretty sure our district thinks we're crazy sometimes, but, hey, where's the fun in not being 100% ourselves!? My district is awesome by the way, we have way too much fun, more than we probably should but we still work hard. The two other Sisters are Hermana Pack (from Iowa) and Hermana Dillman (from Spanish Fork). They are such sweet girls and we spend a lot of time with them and have a grand ole time! There isn't one person in our district who everyone doesn't love, so I got such an amazing district! There are 4 Hermanas and 7 Elders. ! I'm glad to hear both BYU and Utah got off to a good start! I can relate to the flooded streets, almost every night! Too bad I don't have kayaks.. I wish I could eat peaches and salsa with you! I most definitely miss Mom's cooking. And I'm glad you get to be in nursery too, I'm so jealous! I miss little ninos so much!
Okay, so now for the things that have happened this week. There have been some water issues in our casa so we couldn't shower for a few days, but luckily I had showered in the morning before it shut off so I didn't get too gross. I would be doing laundry today, but that's also broken so we're just experiencing a little bit of roughing it in the CCM! Luckily it's been nothing too bad though! Oh and I've also been having an annoying problem with my achilles. I think it's deeply bruised somehow, and my shoes constantly push on it when I walk so I can't do much to make it better. Unless I wore sandals or something which isn't really allowed. So I can be tough! It's really not too bad, but I hope it can somehow miraculously heal itself. So, this week I have progressed more spiritually than I ever imagined was possible. My testimony has grown so much, and I continue to have more gratitude for the gospel and the opportunity I have to share it with others. We committed our investigator Luiz to baptism! But we aren't teaching him anymore. We have two new investigators, Kaya and another, different Luiz. We taught Kaya yesterday and it was the hardest lesson so far. Hermana Smith and I decided to go into it with not a single note in Spanish. We just tried to speak without a script and follow the Spirit, but it was also hard because Kaya doesn't really want to be taught. So it's hard to get her to feel a part of our lessons and commit to anything, even prayer. But we're planning and trying to find a way to teach her more effectively. It all goes back to learning to love the people. Tay and Jake hit the nail on the head with their emails because I've been thinking a lot about that this week. That is what I set as the biggest goal I have for myself before I left. To be able to see others as God sees them and love them unconditionally. If people can feel of your love, everything will always be better. We got two more teachers too for afternoon class so we're learning all the time! I've also learned that we need to do the simple things to have the spirit with us. However, we need to make then a little more complex. Not just read the scriptures, but study and ponder them. I forget sometimes that reading the scriptures is not a race. We need to take time to understand and recognize the revelation God is trying to give us, it's always there! Prayer too. Put in the effort to make it a conversation with God and form a relationship. Don't just do the "repetitive list" prayer. If we make that extra little effort the Spirit will be so abundant in our lives!
I also learned that I need to learn the language of the Spirit. There's a quote in PMG (pg. 133, sorry I don't have it with me or else I would write it!) by President Monson that helped me realize this. If I can learn the language of the Spirit, then I can do so much more. Even those who don't get called to speak a different language on their missions still have to become fluent in this language. Then learning Spanish will be easier too!
So every missionary has to write a 5 minute talk in Spanish every Sunday and 6 people are randomly called on in sacrament meeting. Sunday's topic was charity, and you betcha, I was the second speaker. So I gave a talk all in Spanish. I guess that's a feat for my second week! Everyone else who spoke also explained parts in English too to make their points clear and I didn't. I started getting a little down on myself because I didn't think I got my message across. But then I realized--I GAVE A WHOLE TALK IN SPANISH!! That's something to feel accomplished for. And if no one understood what I said, God did and that's all that mattered. I felt better after because people told me good job and that they did understand it. It was by no means perfect Spanish, but the Lord helped them understand what they needed to. Oh and my branch is singing Yo Se Que Vive Mi Senor, or I Know That My Redeemer Lives for the devotional tonight! My favorite song, and I get to sing harmony too! On Sunday we also watched Legacy...so all the missionaries here saw 4 kissing scenes! hahahahahaha everyone's reactions were so so funny. Plus, the cheesier the movie, the better it is right?
There was one day this past week, I think it was Saturday, where we went to a room and observed our teaching teaching an investigator. I think after we were all a little discouraged by how little we knew or understood. The thing that's been hardest for me with the language is that I know what the investigator is saying and I know the perfect response but I don't know how to say it in Spanish. I feel like I can't always speak from my heart with the full effect I know I can have. But that will come with time. Anyways, Hermana Christensen (our teacher) could tell we were a little down and felt like we should listen to a talk by Elder Holland. HOLY COW. Words cannot explain the Spirit we felt that day. Everyone had tears in their eyes. I wish you could all have been there. He is so bold in the way he speaks and it pierces your soul. He talked about how his mission meant EVERYTHING to him and how he'd hate for any of us to miss out on that. He said "Don't you DARE go home for YOUR sake." That stuck all of us. This is the Lord's work, not ours. We need to fulfill it in His way, forget about ourselves, and SERVE! I liked when he said "Take it up a notch!" too. He also talked about the atonement and my testimony and gratitude towards the atonement more than doubled. He said something that really hit me and tears came pouring out of my eyes. Christ is a resurrected, perfect being. However, HE CHOSE to leave the marks of the nails in His hands, feet, and sides. Everything is perfected except those wounds, as a symbol of His suffering. These marks are evidence that there is sacrifice in serving others. Christ suffered for my sins, so I have the obligation to testify of Him every day that I live. And that, I will do.
I love you all so much and thank you for your support on this incredible journey. Have an amazing week!!
love love love love love