November 15th, 2010
Hola friends and family! I do not even know where to begin- it has been the craziest week ever!!! First funny things...
So we went to this school performance thing for a girl in the ward and it was the craziest thing I have ever been to. There were tons of people crammed in this school and like people just cooking meat everywhere, and music blasting -it was CRAZY. But while we were waiting for the thing to start I was working on my Spanish with a member- who by the way is the cutest girl ever, (and she is my age)-and this little boy walked by and stopped and said with all this attitude-why is she repeating everything you are saying!!--....and Sylvia was like, “because she speaks English and is learning Spanish,” and the kids just freaked out and could not believe it and he asked me to speak English for him and I just said like one word and he like flipped! It was SO funny. Sylvia left for a second and I was just sitting there, and one by one all these kids kept running up to me, and the little kid would just point to me and tell them I spoke English and then I would say hi and they would all like scream and run away and come back –hahahah- it was the funniest thing ever. They were all making such a scene- it was nuts!
Also we all know I love animals-always have- and there are cats and dogs everywhere here like tons and when we always ride past them I will like whistle or bark just to freak my companion out because she hates animals. One night on our way home we passed this dog that looked harmless and right as I passed it I just whistled and my companion was a little behind me, and the dog started to FREAK out and started to chase and bark at my comp, like it was going to attack her-she was flipping and screaming and riding away SO fast and all these people in the streets were like laughing...it was sad but still super funny. Lets just say I do not communicate with the animals anymore in the street for my comps sake.
Also we went on this trip with the ward on Sunday to this conference and it was super fun! We took this huge bus all together and sang Christmas songs and ate food and the members drank mate’ and it was just a good time….loved it so much! But anyways, before we left we were at the church and my comp put in a cake in the oven so we could have it for the bus, but the bishop called us in for a chat after we put it in. Of course we end up going in there for like an hour and my comp forgot about it, and I kept trying to tell her about it but the convo was intense and she wasn’t listening to me. Finally after and hour...we come out and the WHOLE church is just smoked and owned and we run into the kitchen to find a black cake.....so much for being domestic yah....so we might have almost burned the new church down this week...it still smells like smoke.
So I don’t even know where to start- it has been the craziest week!!! One thing that was WAY sad is the lady that had cancer passed away. It was SO hard for the family because her son is a recent convert, and his dad passed away when he was eight, and now his mom so now he has no one. He is so tender. He has had a lot of the members support, and we have been visiting him a lot. The funeral was held at the church and the spirit was just so strong- my companion and I sang “Come Follow Me” -because it was Suzana’s favorite hymn. By the way mom I am so happy you told me that about what grandpa said about music. It is truly the way I have been able to communicate the best since I have been here. Since my comp and I both LOVE to sing we are always singing with everyone……in lessons, with new members, less actives- just always- it is truly such a powerful way to bring in the spirit and express the prayers in our hearts to our Heavenly Father. The song went really well and we also sang Abide With Me, Tis Even Tide, which has really become one of my favorite hymns. We sang it a lot when we would visit Suzana in the hospital, because it is such a comforting song and we also sang it at the end of the funeral service. The words are just so powerful in this song.
“Abide with me, tis eventide, thy walk today with me-has made my heart within me burn as I communed with thee- thy earnest words have filled my soul- and kept me near thy side--Oh Savior stay this night with me, behold tis eventide, Oh Savior stay this night with me – Abide with me, tis eventide and lone will be the night- if I cannot commune with thee, nor find in thee my light. The darkness of the world I fear would in my home abide- Oh Savior stay this night with me, behold tis eventide… Oh Savior stay this night with me- behold tis even tide.” This is such a consoling song.
So many people were there and just everyone was filled with the love of God and also for this wonderful woman and the life she lived. We all went to the grave and family members expressed their love for her and how wonderful she was and everyone in tears- her son asked to give a round of applause for his mother and for her life and everything she did- and everyone just clapped and it was so neat because normally funerals are so depressing and sad, and I really felt such a love and peace during this time and it was really a neat experience.
So we found an amazing family this week. The minute we talked to them in the street I just felt a love for them, and a connection, and I knew we were suppose to find them. The mothers name is Maria- just like the family in Guatemala and her son looks like and is the same age as Danny...crazy! So we have taught her a few times and the good news is she has a baptism date! Truly her life has been SO hard and she has been through so much. That first time we met with her she expressed her emotions and feelings about what she has been through and felt in her life that has been difficult and hard, and what she wants to change and she wants to improve it. Everything we taught her-each lesson and message about the gospel- we testified and promised her that this was the thing that could change her life. We told her that there was a reason we talked to her in the streets and we met for a reason and we promised that her family would be blessed through this gospel- it was so sad to just see her cry about her family and her kids and how sad she is about the path they could go down, and how sad that would be for her as a mother. She expressed her love for her kids and I just could feel how much she loves her children and wants them to have the best in this life. I seriously can’t even express how lucky we are to have parents…..to have those strong and loving examples in our lives. ….and that support. Parents sacrifice SO much for their kids and just want more than anything for them to be happy. I dont know why, but this experience just really made me appreciate and think about the roles of parents to their kids and how important it is we have that in our lives and how we need to be so loving respectful and close to our parents to receive that help and guidance in our lives- because they truly do just want us to be better and know our potential. I am SOOOO grateful we found Maria and I am so excited for her to get baptized! We also asked her daughter who is 13 to pray and read as well to know its true.
We were able to teach Lucy again this week……precious Lucy. What a sweet lady and every time we are with her I can just feel her being able to open up and trust us more. We talked about Christ with her this week and his role in our lives. She expressed some hard things she has gone through in her life that have just brought her so much pain and regret and heart ache. Even though most of the time I do not understand word for word when these people talk-there is one language we all speak and understand and that is the spirit- the ability to feel- and as she was just so open and telling us these things, I just felt so much love for her and Christ’s care and love for her as well. She told her she didn’t think she is able to be healed and overcome things. What a blessing it is we found her because we know that there is a way to be healed in this life. Through Christ and His Atonement and we promised Lucy that through coming unto him and trusting in him and having that sincere heart and faith it is possible. She was just so filled with love after we all talked and her countenance truly did change. She went from being so sad and low and down to lightening up and feeling that hope and inspiration and a desire in her heart to change and be healed…..it was amazing. How wonderful it is that there is a solution to the problems in this world - everything that has hurt us or upset or scared us or given us doubt or made us weak can be made right and literally heal our hearts through Jesus Christ and the Atonement. We shared with her a scripture in Ether 12:27 about how we are given weaknesses so that they can me made strong. I really am praying hard for Lucy and we are hoping we can set a date with her – it is just hard because her family is all WAY Catholic- so pray for her!
So it has definitely been a crazy long and good week. Sorry this letter is all over the place- SO much more truly has happened. I wish I could just express and share with you every detail! It is so funny to me because so many people say how it is a sacrifice to give up everything at home for a year and a half or two years to serve a mission, but I don’t think I could even begin to express in words how truly grateful I am and how blessed and lucky I feel to be here in this area on my mission--- surrounded by so many amazing people that have already uplifted and changed me for the better. I feel so much love and happiness everyday. The members here have already become my family. I truly want to tell you about them all - they have the most amazing and inspiring stories; they are all such pioneers I swear! I don’t have time today, but they seriously take such good care of me and have such strong testimonies. Well I truly just love my mission and I am learning how to just really enjoy every minute of every day - I hope everyone is doing the same and just are all so happy to be alive and just know you are all so blessed and have such amazing lives!!! I miss you and love you all- have a good week! Chaooooooooo