I highly enjoyed reading all of your letters, so thank you! They were great! This week was crazy, as always. It's funny to me because I remember being at home and reading my friends' missionary letters and I always thought "It'sagain? They just spent the last one! Nothing as happened since the last time I read their letter!" Especially since it was Christmas break for you guys, things were going pretty slow. Let me tell you, that is NOT the mission life! I live like a month in every single day. Go go go go go from in the morning to at night. But it is nice, because it is simply life with more purpose.
1. How are things going with Nefi? Have you met with any of the other 46 contacts??
Hahaaaaaaaaa...ha.... ha..... *whimper*. Here is a sad but true fact about missionary life: You set up many, many return appointments and hardly any of them happen. And it's frustrating. And really heartbreaking. So Nefi was all "I don't want to meet with you again." Even though we had never even made it past her door. She's really sweet, but yeah. So we bore our testimonies about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon and off we went to find the next people. But I firmly believe something: We're given little rays of sunlight to get us through until the next thing. Because it is SO SO easy to get discouraged. Every single day I have to rededicate my heart and my efforts to Heavenly Father. Because there is NO way I could do any of this on my own. Never in my life have I felt so weak or discouraged or lacking in faith. It's sad and hard and requires all of the self-control I have to keep moving forward. Because what other option do I have? The only way through is forward. So we go from moment of sunlight to moment of sunlight and pray our way through the dark spots in between.
Right after Nefi dropped us (before we even taught her, really) we found a new potential investigator who is really nice and has a family. Maybe that won't work out, but we have to have faith that it will. Whenever I feel discouraged I read and pray and then (when things get really hard) I pull out the Jeffery R. Holland talks. That's how you know it's about to get real. And then I pray some more.
2.How cool that there are Ukrainians there! Do you get to talk to them about Ukraine at all?? Or do you mostly focus on other things?
Awesome thing about life-- People in Everett Washington:
1. People from the USA
2. People from Mexico
What. Are. The. Odds. I really can't say much except for introduce myself and say I don't speak Russian, but they automatically love me because we can communicate. Usually we give them a mormon.org card and say that the site is also in Ukrainian and Russian. I am going to try to find a way to communicate with them more, though! I don't think it is coincidence that I meet so many!
3. Are the tortillas usually corn or flour?
Corn. I like them that way.
4. Cool Book Wall! Those are so you! Where did you find it??
You may/may not know this, but I think that SLC is a wannabe city. I'm always like "This isn't even a city!" SLC is a city compared to Everett. I literally live downtown. And it is not a city. There are like 3 buildings that have more than 4 stories. So that book wall is in the "downtown" part of Everett. Lovable and tiny.
Speaking of which: Last P-day we had a blast! Ever since my second day here I have wanted to go to a store by our apartment: Bobbakhan. Yep. Star Wars meets Star Trek. And a ton of other nerdy stuff! They have a Jarjar Binks in the window and it is AWESOME. So we went (because Hermana W and I are the SAME PERSON) and I shamelessly bought possibly the greatest shirt I have ever seen: Hermione Granger done in the style of... oh I forgot the artist's name, but I saw an exhibition of his work in Prague. It's one of my favorite style and Hermione is my favorite! She's my soul sister! So I'll include the picture of the store and me holding the shirt. It was rough changing out of it when I had to leave my apartment. Haha.
Also we went to a baseball-themed pizza place! It reawakened my love of baseball. *sigh*
5. What does a typicallook like for you? In your branch do you go to School, Relief society, Primary? Do you ever get to teach?
Sundays we go to a coordination meeting with the branch president, Gospel Principles (we teach once a month), Relief Society (I translated yesterday for the English-speakers), and sacrament. I love being in a branch because it is so different from being in a ward! It really is like a family. No one is perfect and no one is trying to be. A lot of people don't have nice clothes or dresses, but they come and no one looks twice at them. I love it.
So Hermana Wahlstrom and I named this transfer the Transfer of Miracles. Since January 1st, we have been keeping a miracle journal! It's really great because then we see the tender mercies of the Lord that we receive throughout the day.
It started when we knocked on a door and a lady named Blessings answered. She said she was nannying, but she sometimes meets with missionaries in a different area. So we talked with her a little and prayed. While we were on the porch, the dog ran out of the house. She said it was fine. But then the dog never came back. And she was panicking! It wasn't her dog and it was a dog that was supposed to comfort a mentally disabled boy she was nannying. She couldn't leave the house and she had her baby and she was so scared! So we looked for it, and the situation seemed bad. But then we suggested to Blessings that we could pray for help to find the dog. She wasn't really into that because she thought it would take to much time. So basically I yelled the prayer and she walked around trying to find the dog. I was praying so much in my heart "Heavenly Father, this woman is your daughter and an investigator. Please help this to be an opportunity when her faith is increased!" And, of course, we found the dog. Because Heavenly Father loves to bless us! Blessings said "Your prayers work miracles!" and she's right, they do! We said a prayer of thanks and she said "You might see me and my family at your church pretty soon!" It. Was. Marvelous.
Other miracle (my favorite of the week): On New Years Eve we were trying a potential investigator's house. Across the way there was a house with this weird black plastic sheet pinned all around the porch. A neighbor saw us looking at it and said "They're making tacos in there. I think they want to keep warm." So we went over and entered through a sheet in the sheet-thing. Sure enough, Mexicans making tacos. So we talk to them and they don't seem really interested, but they gave us really good tacos! The next day we are on the same street and we knock the door of the house next to the taco-house. The guy opens the door, and it is Taco Guy! He had been at his neighbor's house! His name is Bendito and he is great. He invited us in and said that he had been thinking about what we had told him the day before. He wants to know which church is the church of Christ. We had a great conversation and basically we're best friends. We have an appointment, so PLEASE pray it doesn't fall through!
There have been some really hard moments this week, but some really good ones, too. Sigue adelante. Keep moving forward. I have really, really seen my weaknesses on my mission. But I have a great opportunity to have them become strengths! And I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. He believes in me when I don't believe in myself. And when we look for them, we can see his miracles.
I love you so much! I'm probably forgetting a lot I was going to say, but I think this is good for now!
P.S. About Carlos and Claudia- Claudia's cousin just died and so they are in Texas. That family never gets a rest from grief and heartache. They need the gospel so much and I pray that they recognize that it is where they can find peace!
This really good cake we eat to celebrate the 3 Kings. It's a holiday today! Yay! I love Mexicans! Also,I will have been out 3 months! Hurrah!