Let's just all take a minute and be baffled: IT IS MARCH 2014!!!!! I can honestly say that I am stunned. Not because my mission has gone fast (it hasn't, but it's starting to pick up pace!) but because I distinctly remember March 2012 and saying to myself "March 2014 will never come." I could imagine the end of the world better than I could imagine March 2014. And for all the world I did NOT imagine myself on a mission. If you asked me where I would be in March 2014, I would have told you that I would be in Provo going to BYU. I would not have said Everett Washington. It just goes to show that you can never predict what is going to happen in life. Wow. March 2014. Baffling. Side note: Tomorrow is my half birthday! Happy half-birthday to me!
Okay so yesterday was so, so crazy. A big part of having people progressing is to have them come to church. Up to this point in my mission, I've only had Arnulfo come to church and that was because he had a crush on us. And a former investigator came that same day. But that doesn't really count. So we've really, really been pushing for church attendance. Daniela PROMISED she would come and then she didn't. (I think that she is deciding right now that this isn't for her... PLEASE right now say a prayer for her. Our next lesson is tomorrow and she needddds to recognize the spirit!) Martin was out of town so he couldn't come to church. But we were praying and fasting so hard for investigators to come! And then Sandra called us. I don't know if I've told you about Sandra. She's from Columbia and I want her to be my best friend. She always says "chevre." Which is kind of like the equivalent of "groovy." She's so cool. But she works at McDonalds and always has to work. But anyway she called us and asked for the address of the capilla again. When we hung up Hna Martinez and I both started dancing with joy! And then we went to pick up Juana. We've tried to drop her like 3 times but Heavenly Father keeps being like "no, keep trying." So we went to her house. She was still asleep. Gah! So as she got ready we helped do her daughter's hair. It's amazing how you can start to feel love for someone when you serve them. Because this little girl is annoying. But after that I liked her so much more! So Juana, Adrian (the 16 year old who just had his baby) and Jackie (the little girl) came to church. We got there, and 3 of our investigators were there! They are sisters and teenagers and they are so cool. We have high hopes for them. We were 20 minutes late to church but then we taught the lesson and it was great. Sandra wasn't there and I was sad, but then we went to Relief Society and there she was! So pretty and all dressed up. I was so, so happy! And then I was worried because it was testimony meeting and sometimes people's testimonies.... well, you know. I bore my testimony and I LOVED to look out in the congregation and see the faces of my investigators! These people I love so much!!! The Spirit was there. Sandra cried. Before the meeting started she told another member she met (thank goodness for kind members!) the story of how she met us:
Sandra was a referral. Basically her neighbor was like "They are from Columbia." We had knocked on her door like 3 times, but we were trying again anyway. She loves God, and she had been praying to him to know what she should do to follow him. When we knocked, she looked out her window and saw us. She never answers for missionaries. And then she heard the Spirit say "This is what you've been looking for! Open the door!" So she did. And she invited us in right away (we were shocked).
I wish that this meant that she keeps commitments and does everything perfect, but we met her in December. She finally came to church yesterday. But she did! Slowly but surely she is progressing. Her husband was killed by guerilla warfare in Columbia (this is sounding familiar.... have I told you this? Sorry!) when her son Kevin was 4. She was very happy to hear about the plan of salvation. I gave her a picture of the Columbia temple as a gift. When she told her story to that member in sacrament meeting, she grabbed my hand and said I am her "querida." I cannot tell you how much I love Sandra. She loves old Spanish movies and hanging out with her son and she's so. cool. I think she's one of the people that I am here to meet.
Something that is really, really hard for me is how much LOVE I have for all these people! I love them all SO SO SO MUCH! Sometimes I feel like I am choking because of how much I love them. I think of what Jakob told me: "we are called as missionaries to have our hearts broken trying to help other people. But I guess that is a small parallel to what our Heavenly Father felt as he gave his Son to break his heart for all of us." My heart is broken every day. But the heart is a muscle, right? The way we build muscle is by making little tears in in. So our hearts rip and then they get bigger. And we have more of a capacity to love. This week Noelia texted us and told us she doesn't want to meet with us anymore. Heartbreak. But we have to use that heartbreak to become better missionaries. To keep moving forward with hope because the next person we meet might be looking for the gospel.
My challenge to you this week is to make your personal definition of charity. Look at 1 Corinthians 13. So it says "Charity suffereth long...." what does 'suffereth long' mean to you personally? For each of the things, rewrite it to apply to you and your life. For example, one of mine is "Does not get annoyed with her companions or district." How can the definition of charity be a definition of YOU? I did this like 2 years ago and I did it again 2 months ago. It's amazing how my definition changed and progressed. I would love to hear what you come up with!
Can you tell us about someone you are teaching that has felt an increase in personal worth?
Ramiro has been very tempted to start smoking again. Some people he works with will not let him rest about it. But he is gaining the self worth to know that he is bigger than his temptations. Also, he used to be very proud. He never let Daniela buy anything secondhand. Now he is a lot more loving. Daniela told us that she is falling in love with him again. That she wants to spend forever with him, whereas before she was only with him to be with her son. It's really awesome to see that just feeling the Spirit can change a person's heart and let them see what is truly important to them.
How do the personalities in your district work?
Remember how I had problems with my old district? Did I ever tell you that we all became best friends? We had so many inside jokes. We used hashtags all the time and we had long debates about milk. I miss them. The new elders in the district are fine. Very focused on missionary work. So.... we are missionaries. That's about it. Maybe soon we will be friends, too!
If you could say only one thing to every investigator and have them believe it, what would that one thing be?
This church and gospel hold the answers of what you are looking for. A lot of people love us because we are sweet and bring the Spirit and are great. But they don't want to do anything because they are comfortable with the way they are living or it will take too much effort to change. I think that if they really see that what they are missing is RIGHT HERE if they just DO THE WORK it will be awesome. :)
Phew I'm emotionally drained after writing this letter! I love you all!