Wow, first off thanks for sending those pictures and letters! I am happy to hear about dad´s talk and I can´t believe I´m going to be 20 either. Weird! You all are so sweet! I love it. I loved seeing each of your cute faces and the letters you created too. How creative and artistic you all are. I love seeing the Christmas tree and hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! Good job, your pictures made me cry. (I don´t know what it is with me and crying ever since I became a missionary but it sure seems to happen a lot- not necessarilly in a bad way-but it happens a lot). Anyway, happy 12 days of Christmas coming up!
I haven´t received my package quite yet but I have my hopes up that I will be able to receive it this week. Fingers crossed! If not, I should for sure have it before Christmas. And according to everyone I have talked to I should be able to Skype (I sure hope so) but I am just not sure what day it will be quite yet. It may not be on Christmas but might be a few days before or after. We will find out this week and I will be sure to let you know of course! I can´t wait to talk to you all. I´ve been so excited!
So things have been pretty good this week. It is still quite stressful and a little discouraging at times-- I don´t know that that has changed at all-- but I think I´m learning to deal with it a little better so I have been able to handle it all a little more smoothly. Sure I still had my crying moments this week but less than the week before, I think.
First off, as far as personal matters go, I have gained weight like crazy again! Oh, it has been a weird week as far as eating arrangements go. I don´t like not being in full control of what I get to eat. It is really frustrating.. but I could still be better as far as the things I can control and so I am working on that this week. I believe I lost most of the weight I gained earlier on but have gained it all back. Curse!
Second, my companion and I really had some moments at the beginning of the week. We were arguing about every little thing because we just didn´t see eye to eye on a whole lot. I tried not to disagree unless I felt it was something really important like how we teach but we were still disagreeing all over the place. But then I decided the arguing wasn´t worth it because it was hurtiing our unity and that is essential to be able to teach too. So now I am trying to worry less about all of the little details of how to do missionary work and am trying to just focus on treating people the way Christ would. Heaven knows I am not doing that justice, but I am trying. And now we have actually become really close this week and I think our teaching has improved too. I love my companion! I didn´t think I would for a while because we are not very similar, at all. But this week, we really became friends. Yay! In fact, I´m not sure what I am going to do when she isn´t my companion anymore. ( I know I am all over the place).
Saturday night our bishop called my companion and I and asked us to give talks on Sunday in the Ward. So, with very little preparation, I gave my first official talk in Spanish yesterday. It was on the atonement of Jesus Christ and I could do little more than read a few scriptures, a hymn, and bare my testimony, but I sure tried. I don´t know if anyone else did, but I felt the Spirit very strongly afterward that my Heavenly Father really loves me. In fact, I cried all of the rest of the meeting in my seat. It was like a confirmation that I should be here right now and that the Lord is pleased that I am and it was just super great! Fortunately, the members said they understood my talk so that´s good. A few very generous members told me that I have ¨the gift of tongues.¨I don´t know if I received that gift quite yet but I appreciated the compliment nonetheless. ( and they are basing that off of a talk I gave only in the present tense which is by far the easiest part of Spanish). But, I sure hope to receive the gift of tongues in time through some good old study and work.
So, this week has been pretty discouraging, not going to lie. We had a few appointments early on in the week but almost all of them fell through. On average every day this week we taught 1 maybe 2 lessons and the rest of the time (hours of the day) we spent knocking doors. And usually that is during the siesta (or the 5 to 6 hour block everyday when everyone is asleep). Therefore usually during this time, no one answers their doors or is really ticked when they do. We try to do something else like offer service but no one wants our help because they think we are going to go all preacher on them. Arg! Its been pretty frustrating. And when we kncok doors we find maybe one person willing to listen so we make appointments but when we pass by again they never remember. No one attended church again this week because they cant wake up for 9:30 church officially making it so that to date my companion and I have only ever had one investigator attend church in nearly 2 months. We try and invite everyone, but nothing. Our ward doesnt have a missionary plan and we cannot seem to find any members who will accompany us to our appointments and those few that do we have to call like everyday. Poor souls! And unfortunately, our investigator who was to be baptized this week has suddenly dropped off of the face of planet earth. She is nowhere to be found and wont answer our phone calls. I dont know what happened! She was so excited and was living everything. I could see her changing and suddenly it has all haulted. We are still hoping that she has just been working a lot but I am really beginning to worry. At the least, we will have to change her baptismal date and I hope we are not cancelling it all together! (Wow, I am sorry for that frustrated vent.)
But yet this week, I have found peace as I have focused on doing my Heavenly Father´s will and on remembering that I am doing His will by being here, because I truly felt like I should serve. I also had some really cool revelation. I was reading my patriarcal blessing and read again a cool line that says something like, ¨You are part of a chosen generation fulfilling their responsibilites to take the góspel forward, yea even to the ends of the earth.¨¨ I didn´t find this line until after I had chosen to serve a mission and upon reading it as I waited for my mission call I realized how cool the first part is-- a chosen generation- ya, I would sure say that those who fit within the missionary age change have received a grand blessing and are quite chosen to be permitted to serve. But I read this line again recently and this time the last part really stuck out to me. I remembered that the theme for my mission is the last few verses in Matthew that say something like, ¨go forth, baptizing in my name and lo, I am with you even unto the ends of the earth¨ because, geographically as a mission, we are literally at the end of the earth. There is no mission more South than mine. I believe it is no coincidence that this line in my patriarcal blessing says, ëven to the ends of the earth.¨I was meant to be in this mission. And as of right now, I have no idea why but I feel blessed to know through my partiarcal blessing that this is where the Lord would have me be and I want to do His will, whatever it may be. Although it may be hard, I know it is what is the most important and if nothing else I can tell I´m learning everyday-- if nothing else a little more about patience. Even though it is hard, I still know this is where I am supposed to be and I am happy to do the Lord´s work.
Have a great week everyone! Love you!