Monday, March 3, 2014

Mexico Week 2 -- Language Isn't a Barrier to Love

Ohhh, my Dearest Family...did I ever tell you how much I love you?

So cool story of the week.  One day, a ton of our appointments fell through and I honestly felt like we were walking for years.  We were walking through this neighborhood and there is this grandpa in front of his house.  His name is Antonio.  He says hi, introduces himself, then invites us in!  We gave just a short lesson and he asks, so when are you coming back? Then we invite him to church and picked him up yesterday!  He was answering questions in Gospel Principles, then asks us, so when are you coming by this week?  My mind blown! The hardest thing is getting investigators to come to church. They have to come five Sundays before they can be baptized.  We have baptismal dates falling all over the place because of it, but I know it is a good rule.  Hermana Valdez hasn't had a baptism since she's been here.  I have a strong testimony of taking the sacrament and being in church on Sundays.  I can't describe it, but we need it.  We need to refresh and reset ourselves. We also receive answers in the chapel because it's a special place. GO TO CHURCH!

My mind is always blown away how I am completely exhausted at night, but somehow, in the morning, at 6:30, I'm ready to go again. I know that it is a blessing, but it still blows my mind every day.

Okay now for the good stuff! Hermana Gudelia is a less active member of our ward. She is so great, but think of kind how a redneck speaks but Spanish.  I can't understand a word she says.  But I don't know, she and I kind of have a special bond.  She gave me a skirt this week!  I wore it and she came to church!  Ah, the first time I met her, she wouldn't even pray with us.  She is so great though and you should have seen her face when she saw me wearing the skirt.  We were supposed to take a picture, but the stinker skipped Relief Society! 

This week, Hermana Valdez and I had a really special companionship study.  We were practicing teaching the Restoration.  We just felt the strongest Spirit and I know that it happened.  I know that Heavenly Father saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I know that this church is the only true church because we have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Read the Book of Mormon and you won't be able to deny it.

 Also, I have NEVER in my life had a fear of dogs until I moved here.  Nunca!  Well, when you're walking on the sidewalk and twice in one week massive dogs lunge against the fence barking and you about pee your get a little nervous!  I'm talking spit droplets on my skirt here...These dogs are messing with my head!!


I have to tell you about Carlos.  Carlos is in his 50's, and just a hard hard man.  He has a mustache  and he talks super rough.  I'm pretty sure he fights game cocks too.  Haha! But really, he's so stubborn and just kind of has this hard face.  He had a baptismal date, but it fell through before I got here.  Most of the people in his family are members and his son is currently serving a mission.  He reminds me a lot of Grandpa.  

Anyways, he was talking during the lesson and I can't even describe it, just the strongest Spirit filled my soul and I had to talk!  I honestly felt the strongest love for him.  I probably butchered the Spanish, but I just spoke so directly and I felt the power of the Lord.  It was the first time I felt like I really spoke with power and authority.  There were thoughts, clear and distinct and personal to him, coming to my mind.  After the lesson, he told me that he had never met a missionary with a heart as strong and sincere as mine, and he said he's had a lot of missionaries pass through his house.  He just kept telling me how beautiful my heart was.  As I shook his hand as we left, he looked me in the eye and told me he believed I was meant especially for him.  This moment was so powerful for me.  I felt like I had purpose .. that Heavenly Father meant it when he told me He was preparing people especially for me.  

We had another lesson with Carlos this week and again, and I just feel the strongest love when I'm in their house.  I realized that I've been praying to recognize the people prepared for me and they might be able to recognize me too.  I had this experience with Carlos and I just have a ton of faith in him.  Other missionaries kind of roll their eyes, but I don't know, I know he can change.  I know that he wants to too.  He told us that he wants to be completely sure because he doesn't want to get baptized and then return to his old ways.  I want so badly to help him to increase his faith.  I'm learning that our faith has real power.  We have to have faith in people.  If we don't believe they can change, they won't.  Repenting is going to be really hard for him because he has some things to take care of, but I just feel the Savior's love for him so strongly.

Saira is coming along too! I feel this strong love for her too.  She still hasn't accepted a date, but this week she said, "If I decide to get baptized in two or three years, will you come?"  I know she feels it, she's just nervous.  So many people don't understand the love our Heavenly Father has for us.  We can literally do incredible things!  We also passed by Saira's house to bring her to church, but she didn't come.  The first week she said no, this week she said probably, and for this coming Sunday she said yes!  We are going to pick her and I think she's excited!

Okay real talk...yesterday afternoon I got a little down...okay really down. I just started thinking about the members of our ward.  I want to be their friend.  I want to have their trust.  I want to have my personality, and be able to pull it off in Spanish!  Sometimes I'm really good it, but it's also kind of hard in Spanish.  If I'm tired or what not, I don't have much of a personality because I'm not actively listening, so I don't follow the conversation, and then I don't want to speak.  I don't know!  I'm a well liked person, and I want to be myself!  I started feeling bad about Spanish all over again because I felt like I couldn't be as friendly as I want to be. 

Last night, Hermana Valdez and I were working on our language study plan and she said some really beautiful things!  She talked about how far I've come in two weeks, and how much I really do understand.  She talked about the gift of tongues and how much my Heavenly Father has blessed me.  She even pointed out other missionaries (like the secretaries) and how I don't sound as gringa as them.  Haha!  I just realized how blessed I am to have her as a companion.  She has complete confidence in me and pushes me to be better.  I realized how blessed I am with the language too.  It's been two weeks in the field and if I really am actively listening, I understand a ton.  During most lessons, I really do understand, for the most part, I can express myself too and even teach principles.  My Heavenly Father is blessing me and sometimes I just miss it.  Sometimes I'm too worried about what I think I need, or where I think I should be.  Sometimes, we demand blessings and it doesn't work that way.  We have to have the eyes to see how much He is present in our lives every single day, to notice the little things.  I know that He is with us and we receive blessings every flippin day!  Also, language isn't a barrier to love.  Even without complete understanding, I love these people and we have real relationships. It's amazing!

 On the bright side, an investigator gave us a ton of bananas this week and we couldn't finish them all, so we made milkshakes!  Please enjoy these hilarious pics with Hermana Valdez. But really, they were so good.

I love you all to the moon and back.  I know that all we have to do is work hard and have faith.  Keep believing and do the little things!

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