Dear Fambam and friends,
Today I got to see EVA! Oh, and Elder Nelson! It was awesome. Actually, the awesomest was to watch Eva shake hands with Elder Nelson. I got to shake his hand, too…but I got emotionally watching Eva shake his hand.
Eva, cough, Hermana VanCott the second is so beautiful! She still hasn’t gained her mission weight, so jealous. Her Spanish is AWESOME, like really good, and her companion is a doll. I got to meet the first girl she trained, too. WILD to see her here, in Chile, in my mission…ha.
Elder Nelson was fantastic. He talked about PURE DOCTRINE. Covenants, the atonement of Jesus Christ, and The Plan of Salvation. Oh, looky there, everything that we teach as missionaries! It’s amazing to know that he is a servant of the Lord, and so are we. We teach the same things.
I am at 49 days! That is less than 50, folks. Eva gave me a cute, creative, missionary agenda with my ¨post mission¨ agenda. I will show you when I get home because it is too clever for words. She made it all out of cut up Ensign Magazines. Love that girl.
Also, I love Christian! I am so proud of him. I know it is hard on the family to have 2 of us out, but the blessings will continue through eternity.
I forgot to write in my journal because I was tired. Oops. Now I don’t remember anything. Drats.
As I was running today my mind was with Elder Christian VanCott as he is flying to the Mexico Missionary Training Center. I prayed the whole time, hoping that he would be comforted, be able to focus and adapt, and that his trials would never be too big for his faith. I know that he is a million times more prepared than I was, so it gives me comfort knowing that if I could survive until now, he sure can!
Christian has a gift with people. He knows how to include everyone and not make people feel like ¨projects¨. He has a genuine love and concern for the progress of his friends, neighbors, and family. He will do amazing things! I can’t wait to read his missionary letters.
Today we had to go to the doctor because my companion has swollen glands. I couldn’t remember what glands were called in English, so as I explained to the doctor over the phone I felt like an idiot. I was all ¨These things in her throat hurt her…¨whilst pointing to my glands like a two year old who thinks that the doctor on the other side of the phone can see my gestures. Haha. I might be losing my mind. He was nice though. While we were at the doctor I took advantage and had him check out my jaw. The good news, I’m not crazy and I really do have something. The bad news…it’s TMG and there isn’t a ¨cure ¨ for it in the mission besides pain killers and muscle relaxers, neither of which I want to be popping every day. So, looks like my fun ¨to do¨ list when I get home involves an oral surgeon…shoot me.
Today we taught the Law of Chastity to our baptismal candidates. We taught them separately for their age difference, but I was amazed at how well they understood. They both realized that the things their friends do, the things they see on TV or in movies, and pop ups on the internet are not things that make them happy. As we taught it I felt so grateful for the gospel and to know that even though the world is terrible right now, there is a way to protect our families. Teaching the simple principles of faith and repentance in our families puts up a HUGE protection against that stuff. Every moment of every day these poor little kids get exposed to things and don’t understand what is going on until someone actually explains WHY it is wrong and HOW they can change and avoid those things in the future. The solution is NEVER to get mad or be judgmental or scare them into changing, because in the end they don’t understand the WHY or HOW. It is just a quick fix for the moment to make them stop the behavior. These kids need to know that they can trust in their parents or leaders to help them out of the situation. If they are afraid to talk to us, they sure as heck wont be getting good council or help from their friends and the world. Ah. There is my little rant for the day, but a good principle that I have learned for my life. I am going to have to do lots of ¨practice lessons with my future hubby to prepare for teaching experiences with my kids. Wait, that all depends on if I can lose the empanada weight and find a hubby in the first place…ah, yay! Don’t have to worry about it, haha. JK.
Today was full of miracles.
The chocolate miracle.
This morning I was praying and studying a lot about the gift of discernment and how I need to pay more attention to the promptings I receive. We were about a block from Loreto’s house when I had the thought that I should buy her a chocolate bar. Then I began to talk back to that thought…she´s sick, we only have a few minutes to teach her, etc… and in the end I didn’t buy the chocolate. We arrived at her house and my companion went to the bathroom. Loreto looks at me and says, ¨You know what Hermana, I have a craving for chocolate…like, really bad.¨ haha. I just smiled and said that Hermana Diaz and I would be right back. I know Loreto didn’t mean Ï want you to buy me a chocolate¨, but I did know that I had ignored a prompting. Plus, when a woman has a chocolate craving, you just don’t ignore that. Especially when she has 3 kids under the age of 3.
CHANGE OF HEART.
Loreto tells us that her husband, Hermes, told HER that he wants to go to church. He was baptized at age 10, but then went inactive and nobody in his family are members either, so he doesn’t really understand the doctrine. Up until now, he has actually put up a pretty good fight trying to stop Loreto from going. After several heartfelt prayers, a dedicated fast, and constant invitations to participate with us in our lessons, Hermes is on board. He still wants to be the man of the house and he wants it to be HIS idea, so the excuse for him wanting to go to church is, ¨The Hermanas have been good to us…¨. I think he just sees the change in Loreto and now wants that for himself…but that’s just me.
THE AVOCADO MAN.
I arrived to the mission in the ward Enrique Olivares. Every day for six months we passed a man who sells avocados on the side of the road. We always had friendly chit chat. For Christmas we gave him a Book of Mormon and he gave us a bag of avocados. He told us last Christmas that the missionaries came to his house to teach his kids, and he really liked it. We told him to keep listening to the missionaries and to go to church.
Then I got transferred to another area, but still close to where he worked. I saw him about once a month for the next six months. We talked a little bit and kept the friendship going. I met a few of his kids and they were all very nice and hard workers.
Then, I had my random 4 week area and got to be in pretty much the same area as my first area in the mission, so I saw him everyday again. We would say ¨hola,¨ and ¨buenas noches¨. Then I got transferred.
Alright, so yesterday after just leaving Loreto´s house and on the way to lunch, I hear a car slowing down behind us. I turned around and saw the purple avocado truck! I couldn’t believe it. My friend rolls down the window and he was with a few of his kids. He says, ¨You´re here?!!?¨and I tell him that I have been here for a few months. He gave me his address and it turns out it is super close. He told us to pass next week to teach his family!
He drove away and I was in shock! It was a miracle. I can’t wait to actually teach them. If they keep progressing until I go home, they will be my investigators for a year and a half!
Today I had my interview with President Wright. I have been feeling like I need to strengthen my testimony in regards to the leadership of the church. My mom talked about when she received her testimony that the stake president was a man called of God to give direction for her and her family. I have always known and felt that we have a modern day prophet and that he is the spokesman for God on the earth, but I had never prayed to know if my local leaders were men of God.
So, this week I was praying to be able to support and sustain President Wright not only as a good leader, but as someone I KNOW is called of God.
The feeling of clarity and peace came as I talked to him. He normally asks if we have questions at the start of the interview, so I was going to ask him a few things then. But, he didn’t ask. We started the interview. He immediately shared with me some scriptures and thoughts that he had been having and they were answers to my questions, exactly. I know that President Wright is a man who has been called to preside over the Chile, Santiago East Mission. I won’t ever be able to deny it.
WHAT A DAY.
SO, first. I had to speak at church. My talk was about the atonement. It went well. I got lost once, and in Spanish it is hard to remember where I was…haha. I just laughed uncomfortably for a second and repeated the last word I had said about 20 times. They all giggled at the gringa, but ended up being very reverent.
Get this, our branch today had 90 something people in sacrament meeting. Get this, normally there are about 30, and normally that includes the stake presidency and stake relief society presidency. MIRACLES EXIST! Everyone came to church that said they were going to be there…Hermes and Loreto and one of their sons, too!
We also had two baptisms today! Tatiana and Patricio, the kids of the sandwich lady! The whole family was there. The two kids were BEAMING after their baptism. Tatiana couldn’t even speak because she kept tearing up. The little cutie has been so excited for MONTHS for this day. She makes her parents pray and read scriptures. She always sings the primary songs. She also taught her older brother, Patricio, and her younger sister, Valentina, how to pray. The parents gave the prayers at the baptism, and both of them gave thanks that their kids are helping them return to church and to have peace in their family. I am AMAZED at how much one child can influence the entire family. Makes me feel bad for all the craziness that I caused… haha.
I am exhausted, but feel so grateful. I never thought I could see so many miracles. I am also extremely grateful for the missionaries that were here before me that I know kept working and being obedient even when things were hard. It makes a big difference with how receptive the people are and how willing the ward members are to work with us.