I'm doing pretty great today! The sun is shining, and it's about 80 degrees, and it's beautiful! Pretty much my only complaint about life is that I misplaced my sunglasses I love somewhere between the car and walking into Wal-Greens. They were these black ones that looked like ray-bans kinda (like fake ones). They were great! But I found them during hurricane cleanup for free so I guess I can't complain much, it's just so bright! That's ok, I'm sure another hurricane will come soon and maybe I'll find some like it :)
I am doing better this week. And you know, it's not because I've really found a solution or answer to any of my concerns or doubts, but just because I decided. It's been building in me the last two days, and I'm really doing well today. I'm pumped about this week. We have some amazing plans with some awesome people. We're gonna have another Book of Mormon class. We're gonna keep working a ton with members, and we have some plans to help each of our investigators. So much happened with each this week! Let's see...our main investigators are...
Claudia - came to a member baptism (an 8yr old) about a week ago. I talked to her ten minutes before it started and she was really close. Then she never showed until the very end. It was so sad to watch all the kids go up and watch, and Greysi not be there! Claudia, like all of us is learning to use her agency wisely in the little things. I found they didn't show because they stopped to eat right after I talked to her on the phone. We were pretty disappointed. She didn't want to look at the font after, but Greysi did. I think that if we weren't such good friends, Claudia would have dropped us by now. But I have no doubt we'll be good friends after my mission, and one day she'll get it. We do have a lesson planned with her tomorrow! We've been meeting people in the English ward who speak Spanish (or at least a little). There's one we work with in young woman's who we think will hit it off with Claudia. We're keeping our fingers crossed! Also, we've had a fellowshipper for her in Patricia Hernandez (from Peru - it was her 8 yr old who was baptized. Patty herself was only baptized two years ago, so we helped her plan the entire baptism). I'll tell you more about Patty later.
Judy - Oh Judy. She tried to drop us. Try again! She's gotta be in her late 60's or so and is from Mexico. She was the one that we found by a miracle. She told us various things that have gone on lately - stuff her husband has said about her learning new things since she's "so" old, she went to a wedding where she told a catholic priest about us, and he said some things. And all in all she just figured she's been catholic forever, why try to change now. And yet she loves the Book of Mormon, and she has this AMAZING feeling of an open spirit with real intent. So we sat there, listened, asked occasional questions, and listened some more, all the while praying hard! At first I couldn't believe what she was saying, all her reasons for wanting to drop, and things she knows aren't true about the Book of Mormon, etc. In the end, my last question was: everything aside, what did she want? She sat there and thought and then said, "I just want to learn more." She explained how serious baptism is to her, and when she feels it, she'll do it. I actually thought she was really wise in everything she was saying. She asked us to imagine if she came in and explained a bunch of stuff about a rosary, and expected us to understand it, it'd be hard. I mean, because of her family and her history, it's like Catholic is just in her blood. She truly is someone who doesn't know she's looking for something, but when she recognizes that she's finding it, oh she'll act! Might take a while, but she will. And I think every time I listen to her pray, I learn something. She's great.
Nancy and Irenio - Nancy's still ready, Irenio's not. But we got them both in a lesson right after Zone conference on Wednesday and it went amazing!! Irenio finally understands for real where the Book of Mormon came from. We've been using the pictures in the pamphlets a lot more, and it's amazing the difference it brings, the things people will think of to say. We have a picture of a person praying that we use. We talk about it, and then help them put themselves in that room as if they're the one praying, and really set the scene, and then ask them what their one question would be to Heavenly Father, if He was right there to answer. (We didn't think this up, President used it and asked me that during Zone Conference this week). Well, what did Irenio say?! He knew the answer right away: I just want to know where the truth is. Where is it? We know he has this Jehovah's Witness he works with, and I don't think Irenio likes the things they say, but it's right there all the time. Because of that, he asks us lots of questions. That day it was, do you think there's a prophet today?" Well, President had also just instructed on ways we can help people with that! It was great! I asked him that series of questions: do you believe God loves us today? and do you believe He is all-powerful? And do we need that help today because of issues the world has today? Obviously the answer is yes! And then we were able to happily and boldly testify that there are absolutely prophets today. I think it sat really well with him. He doesn't show a ton of emotion, he kind of just takes everything and works on internalizing it, but I saw a little smile!
Vanessa - going through a very hard time still, but LOVES when we come over! and Isaac and Cesia do too. They are precious! They were the ones we were teaching English. We just found out they are each going to pass the grade they are in; Vanessa is so relieved! But Isaac is kind of refusing to speak English still. He knows he's smart, and he's so frustrated because he says English is the one thing holding him back in everything. Well, Saturday night Vanessa committed really strongly to be at church, for the first time. Then she wasn't there. So we drove way out there to see them afterwards. I think they didn't come because she was reliant on her husband driving them (she can't with her meds), and he got stressed because they don't have much gasolina. He cannot find jobs and it's getting pretty bad, money for food for the kids bad, so it makes sense. But Vanessa was sure happy to see us. She was cooking so we just started to help her. I think my homemade tortilla skills are getting pretty good!
We were talking and I asked Vanessa what she's loved the most about everything we've been talking about. She had a scripture in Alma we used a long time ago she loved! I didn't even remember. So we were able to have a good little lesson. That's the great things about lessons. No one is cookie cutter, so guess what? Neither are lessons! It all started while we were making tortillas and then eventually moved to the table because she wanted to go get the scripture in Alma to show us. I've learned it's all about coming to people's level (in every circumstance) and working up with them from there. And Isaac! When he saw the scriptures, he opted to stay instead of going to play outside. He's 9. He wanted to read every verse, and he had comentarios too! He wanted to read the whole chapter! We couldn't do that, but we did get him his own Book of Mormon, and a picture of Christ for a book mark. He just knows truth! Kids always do! It never ceases to amaze me. I'm sure that for the rest of my life Mosiah 3:19 will have a different meaning because I will always think of certain kids I've worked with here.
Let's see...my toe is doing great! I can walk fine. I don't think it's gonna grow back for a long time, but it doesn't hurt. I'm just nursing along my other one because it's starting to do the same thing. I bought this solution that I'm supposed to soak it in and put cotton under my nail and stuff. Easier said than done! I figured I'd try to be smarter with this one so I can keep it on my toe!
We got to go serve at the Bishop's Storehouse on Saturday. I loved it. I don't know how, but that service project helped me out some way. Helped me to turn a new leaf. Or maybe an old leaf... before my mini mid-mission crisis. Doing projects like assembling hygiene kits is great, we know it helps out people in dire circumstances who really need it, but to help out the people all around me - the average everyday person who's just trying to do their best with what they have - that was awesome. And I didn't even give anything but some time! It's always awesome to watch service projects like that, how everyone helps everyone. You don't just pick up your order and leave! You help unload the truck, organize it on the tables, fill everyone's orders, cleanup, and we're done. A lot of food and household products were given, a lot. I hope we get to go back next time!
I really loved your emails. Thank you so much for taking the time. I've never met another missionary, besides Will, who gets faithful emails like that from their parents. It means the world! Thanks for your unconditional love, thanks for your wisdom, your faith, your prayers, and just being rockstar parents! I tried to write a good update today since I haven't lately. It's not the most spiritual, and it's all over the place, but only 6 more days and we'll be talkin! We will check back today for stuff like phone numbers, and any other stuff about calling Sunday, so if you can, let me know about that.