Monday, June 29, 2015

Mexico Week 70:

Dear Family, 

Can you even believe it’s my last letter as a missionary??!!  I feel weird, but I also don’t quite believe it yet...I can’t believe it has already been 18 months. 

So let’s get the pictures explained first! This is a baby bunny. One of the families we’re teaching has 3 rabbits and they all had about 10 babies.  Holy bunnies!  She wants me to bring one home. 

Hermana Lucy was working hard with us this week. She is literally the sweetest and we get together one morning to go visit people and she brought us conchas. So cute! 

This is Hermano Hector. He is 30 and single and he’s gone to about every single church that exists. He loves to learn and has been reading the Book of Mormon and we just hope we can help him progress! 

This is Hermana Yannete. She is probably the sweetest person I know and believes in God so much. She always wants to say the prayer and loves to read. She just wants the best for her kids and we’re going to be FB friends and stay in touch. She’s special too. 

Hermila and Alfonso are the sweetest people in the whole world. I feel like I have an extra set of grandparents!!  Saturday they invited us to eat with them for my goodbye meal.  They made carne asada with guacamole and I felt like Uncle Brad wanting to lick myself it was so delicious!  They are just too sweet and Alfonso went to church by himself on Sunday!  We were so surprised!!  They are too special and they both start telling me that I can’t go home yet and that I have to call because they fell in love with one misisonary that doesn’t call and I have to call and they want me to visit, and they are just sweet.  Yesterday Hermana Hermila tells me she wants to give me something.  Her hand sewn napkins and table runners are really popular and she gives me a gorgeous white table runner and says that it’s for the day I get married. She says, I would love to be there, but if not, I can feel good that you have something from us that will always be in your home. Yesterday I started feeling super sad.  My companion is already packing my bags and yesterday I really did start to feel sad. Such a HUGE part of my heart will always be here! 

These two pictures are of Hermana Cristina, Hermana Lupita and Hermana Azucena. They are the ones that we had the family home evening with last week. They too are too sweet and have been special. 

This is Eva! We have only taught her like twice because of her crazy schedule but she is super sweet and really wants to learn. Her daughter warmed up last night and I hope the missionaries here can keep working with them. 

And this is Hermana White!  The sister training leaders came to study with us today and turns out I won’t see Hermana White anymore! She is a great missionary and she’s super sweet. 

We visited Hermana Claudia last week and she said the closing prayer and she prayed a lot for me. She thanked Heavenly Father for me, for sending me, for all of the blessings they’ve received through me, and for all of the unselfish and selfless love I’ve given. It was one of the moments where I felt the spirit so strongly.  I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, where I’m supposed to be. Missionary work is so rewarding. 

So I’ve been printing pictures and writing letters to the families here and on Sunday I gave an hermana a letter and a huge hug. Her name is Elba and she’s a returned missionary who is like 40 years old. She never marrried, takes care of her niece and nephew, works, and studies, and she’s the only member in her family. She is funny and we just get along well.  I gave her a letter and a picture of Christ and she just gives me a big hug and starts crying. I was so surprised! I think sometimes I underestimate just how much we can help and influence people.  I was literally stunned and just felt peace again, knowing that every little effort counts. We are Christ’s hands here on earth. 

I got to give a talk again in church!  Something weird happened with the bishop and he’s not bishop anymore and he only had one counselor that’s in charge of the ward now.  He said that nobody wanted to give a talk and was a little stressed and asked the missionaries to help!  I was pumped! I love giving talks.  I started thinking about the members here and what they really need.  I was praying and just thought about happiness and how we can be happy and have peace even when we are in the middle of crazy trials.  As I shared my testimony I got a little choked up and just told them how much I loved them and how much I wanted them to be happy, that they really could overcome and bear their burdens.  I felt the spirit so strongly and I realized how much I really have loved every single one of my areas. 

I have to tell y’all a story.  So Sunday night we decided to have Family Home Evening with the Castillo family.  Dad is inactive and has been a member for a year.  Mom is kind of active and super stressed and has been a member for a year.  Angel is also kind of active and also has a year as a member, and Leo is 6.  As we thought about what to share with them, we thought about love and the importance of showing love in our homes.  We sang “The Family is of God” to start but it was pouring rain and we were having to yell, and the minute they turned the TV off, Leo starts hysterically sobbing.  We started with the Proclamation and did an activity where we wrote situations and they answered how they could show love and be like the Savior.  Leo is still crying, the dad is being sarcastic, it is still raining and we were feeling like it was a disaster.  Then I had a revelation. I remembered those times when we were a little more contentious then normal and we all sat at the table and said the positive traits of every family member.  We put down the planned activity and told them what we were going to do.  It started out with ... Angel is good at drawing, and stuff like that.  Then it is Leo’s turn (he’s still crying) and Angel says Leo, you’re really a good brother.  His whole face changes, he stops crying, and says I love you too brother.  Then we all started crying and the whole night changed.  We all ended up in tears and you could feel the spirit so strongly.  I love Family Home Evenings!! 

So I was meditating a lot about my mission last night and remembering so many experiences. The Lord has blessed me so much as a missionary.  I know I still need to grow so much more and be so much better, but I feel like I have grown and learned so much.  I just love the people.  I have to call, skype, visit, all the good stuff because they are such special people and they really do miss us.  It is so incredible that the Lord gives us the opportunity to sacrifice, come on a mission, and be His hands even though we’re not perfect and even though we mess up, He still gives us the chance to do it.  It is awesome.  I have such mixed feelings.  Sometimes I feel so excited to see you guys, and other times, I just feel straight up sad.  What am I going to do all day at home??  Ha! Ha! You’re all going to get so tired of my stories and pictures and videos because it’s all I will want to talk about, and I’ll probably speak Spanglish.  But really I love you all so much and I’m pretty sure we’ll cry in the airport.  Let’s take the pictures without tear stains.  But really, I love you guys and I will never stop being grateful for the family I have. 

See y’all in six days! 

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