Thank you for you emails this morning mom and Erika! You both had me laughing here in the library! I love reading your words because I know you all so well that I can hear your voice coming through the way that you write.
Mom, I sure liked what you said about just continuing to love and serve the people here. This work is all I do 24/7, which is different from the members. Sometimes it's hard to remember that. I actually wrote about it again to President and I just decided to go ahead and include that again. I figure it gives you a little insight. I also don't usually get responses from him, but in this case, he had an idea (I figured he would :)
President Wall: "You can't extend a calling, but you can ask people to help you do service for others. Let them feel the joy and blessings of doing acts of kindness and love in whatever way that they are comfortable and able. Serving others is like having a calling...teaching others is getting nourished by the good word of Christ...also, serving leads to friends! Are you seeing a picture?"
Part of what I wrote this week: "Ever since I sent that email to you last week, I've sure thought a lot about what I wrote. And I came to some conclusions. That, along with what you said, has helped me come to a lot more peace. As I've thought about it and about other goals I'm setting, I thought of two ideas:
- Be the change I want to see. I've always loved that saying. It's empowering, and gives clarity to what I can control.
- What would Jesus do? Really, though, it's a good question. I'm pretty sure that no matter how justified Christ's points of view were in something, He wouldn't be frustrated at something as simple as callings be given in a ward.
My conclusion: be willing to SHOW more love. Not to have more love, I'm doing pretty good with that part. When I was set apart as a missionary, I was blessed with a greater capacity to love, but maybe sometimes I don't give 100% of that. I think I'm giving more like 96%. Good, but I'll be happier when I freely give 100% of my love to people. It's in small ways that I hold a little back, and I don't know why exactly, fear maybe. Knowing that it means it hurts when people make choices I have no control over. Which brings to my second conclusion: when people do make decisions I can't control that are contrary to the Savior's teachings, give that pain, frustration, or any discouragement over to Him, and don't give it any mental energy so that my hope, happiness, hard work, and positive expectations aren't negatively affected."
... We switched with the english ward, so we started church an hour later yesterday, with Sunday school first. Which means that by the time Sacrament meeting came around at 12, we had lots of people there. There was a good feeling. Seems like there always is at this time of year, new beginnings and all. Also, I translated a bit yesterday! Wow, it is HARD!!! But I did it for most of the women who bore their testimonies. One time I had to hand the mic over to an Elder because it got to be too much. And I might have guessed on a few of the parts... but overall it went really well! I have to try sometime!
Also, today is the 7th of January which means Eddy and Aura take down their many Christmas decorations and we're helping them today. Last night Eddy said that when I wrote today I had to tell you that we don't have to worry about dinner for two nights because he'll be cooking. (He's a very good cook. They often give us what's left over from their dinner when we get home at night, especially if we didn't take a dinner break.) Literally with them it's "mi casa es su casa." They're insulted if we don't say hi when we get home or impromptu come eat with them! Also he said to tell you he can't wait for December! (because that's when I leave. :) He's always giving me a hard time, which I love. They're both so fun to joke around with. More like they're gonna be so sad when I leave this area. I'll miss them a lot too. They're some of the most good-hearted people I've ever met. Every so often they ask if they can come to my wedding one day. But last night Eddy says it has to be a Cuban missionary. He's Cuban :) and trying to pick up on church vocab I think. Each of them just have a amazing stories, they've both lived pretty incredible, and hard lives. Eddy rowed in the Olympics in Rome and then escaped from Cuba at age 20 when Fidel Castro came into power. He worked and worked to get his family here. He married, had three kids. But that went bad and none talk to him anymore. Aura is from Guatemala, her brother died when she was young. She's a cancer survivor, and a widow. She and Eddy met in an airport and have been married for 9 years. They complement each other so well! I want them so bad to be even happier with the saving ordinances of the gospel put into their lives, but they just aren't open. But I have faith that one day they will.
The last thing is that on the 21st the missionaries in the New Orleans area are singing the National Anthem at the Hornets/Sacrament Kings game in New Orleans!!!!!!! Down on the court! We are so excited! I've been helping different people learn parts and then we all came together last week, practiced, and sent in our recording (yes, the NBA asked us for a recording so they can work on sound stuff, how official :) We're SO excited! I never thought I'd be singing the nation anthem at an NBA game! I'm sure pics or video or something will be put on the mission website afterward.
Ok, well that was probably one of the most random emails I've ever written with many topics covered, but that's my update!
I love you each dearly! President Uchtdorf once said, "Diligently doing what matters most will lead us to the Savior of the world." Always remember that. I know it's true!