Thanks for the update on home! It seems it's usually about this time of year when I'm wondering if spring will ever come :) That's super cool about the elk and the chicks. I REALLY want to see pics of your project! I'm jealous I'm not there to help with it! So I suppose pics is the best we can do. :)
... Sis C and I eat really well together, which feels good. Well, except for .99 cent frozen yogurt cones at TCBY on Wednesdays. :) But we sometimes bike there to earn it - haha. We have a lot of women/moms we are teaching that we have to see in the morning. It's been getting earlier and earlier because they'll want to meet right after their kids go to school. So we weren't getting in all of our studies or all of our exercise time. So we thought of a way to fix it, and got it approved by president. ... Almost everyone's prime teaching time is night, but we're opposite. We teach during the day. We can't go into these areas at night without set appointments, but we can't get the appointments.
I decided that being a missionary is such a roller coaster because you walk out of one home where the people are doing well - maybe it was a good lesson, or the spirit was strong. And then walk into the next, and maybe there is a spirit of fear there, or someone was deported, or they're just facing bad or hard things. Because of the deep love we have for everyone we work with, our emotions tend to naturally follow that of how the people are doing and the decisions they are making. But thank goodness, I have the final say at the end of the day if I'm happy or not! That's what it was like this week.
Just a little idea of what I did this week... we taught 12 lessons (we fell short here again, still going for 20, but this is a high for this little branch and area), gave away 7 other Libros de Mormon (we've really been focusing on teaching out of the Book of Mormon right away - even contacting, we might not get another chance!), spent time in Branch RS meetings, did a TON of contacting (we are seriously starting to have investigators coming out of our ears!!), found lost members, and did 20 hours of service. And we taught more with members than we ever have before! A pretty good week. Actually, it was AWESOME! I'm exhausted to say the least. It's like a new level of tired, probably preparing me for when I have my first child! Sometimes I think I might be like Ammon when I get home, and just faint at the pulpit of my homecoming talk from being so happy and so exhausted! Well, that's our joke anyway.
Nancy is doing great! She's progressing. Tanya's aunt told us yesterday that Tanya has moved out. She moved in with some friends, and told her aunt that she was young, she didn't care, she likes to dance and wants to be able to go clubbing and do all the things she wants. Another reason life's a roller coaster. I don't know why she called us that night to say she wanted to be baptized. I remain firm in my faith that one day she'll make the right decision, but for now she is officially dropped, and that's never fun. We are slowly losing Claudia. It's breaking my heart. Still not a doubt in my mind that she and Greysi are the primary focus of why I'm in Baton Rouge, but she isn't willing to work for all the things she says she wants. And she's in a bad spot, like the Lord is trying to humble her maybe, but she's not choosing to turn to Him. She was accepted to apply for citizenship in the US. So that's big. But she needs to go to Honduras, and she's waiting to see if a law is passed or not this month that will maybe make it so she doesn't need to be there for years, just a few months. If it doesn't pass, it would literally take a miracle for her to get citizenship. .. I feel like the Northwest is a different country than the rest of the US, and the rest of it, and the world, are pretty bad. I can feel the Lord speeding things up. ... And I feel like I'm right in the middle. It'd be scary if I hadn't firmly planted myself on the Lord's side.
We had an Easter picnic on Saturday combined with the English ward, and it was a HUGE success!!!! EVERY SINGLE PERSON we invited (we made little flyers in Spanish) came!!!! That is... UNHEARD of! I mean investigators, members, less actives, and people we contacted during the week that aren't even investigators yet! I don't know how to explain both what a miracle that is, and how awesome it is. We break our backs each day just inviting and inviting people, because that's our purpose as missionaries - invite others unto Christ. And it's a joy, but people do get to exercise their agency. Anyway, it's everything we plan for, we study for, we tract for, we teach for, we pray for. These people don't know it, but they're EVERYTHING to us!! Well, we try to show them, but some don't see it. And to see so many come out with their families, it was amazing! Also, one thing I feel that did not come in the job description of missionary is we are the biggest match-makers there are! Match making for fellow-shippers! (don't you agree, Will?) We work with all these people who really just need a friend, a reason to come to church, someone they feel comfortable around. And because we work with everyone, we can see who would be great friends, but they don't come so they don't meet each other. Well, with everyone at the picnic, we got to match-make away! So it was work. But I also had fun making lots of plates of food for all the ninos (except one got chocolate and ketchup on the white skirt I was wearing - that's talent! :) It was also fun playing soccer and exploring with them. They found this rubber snake, so we put it in this hole in the base of a tree. They could kind of see it, kind of couldn't. Then I had a group of about 7 of them getting closer and closer to it, while I was telling them it was ok. Then, just as they got close, I screamed, and they all jumped so high and screamed and ran laughing. haha :) Those are the good times - simple joys ya know? I also decided kids are way less complicated than their parents so it was good to play with them for a bit. I'm pretty sure Dad has done that exact thing to us all TONS of times. :) Well...maybe not with a snake. But there's a certain scare-box I remember opening once... :D
Oh, I also got burnt to a crisp! In March!! I mean it was a beautiful day, but it wasn't hot, and we're practically at sea level still I think. A big difference to home, or the high elevation the last summer when I was living on the Grand Canyon. But boy, did I get burned. I felt like I should repent for what I did to my body, and tell Heavenly Father sorry! I haven't slept for two nights. My neck, arms and face are beet red. Everyone at church thought it was really funny. Haha, instead of being a blancita, I was a tomata. (Instead of being a whitey, I was a little tomato :) I've never put on so much aloe vera in my life. Finally, in the middle of Saturday night, nothing was helping. I was exhausted, but felt like my skin was bubbling, so I knelt up and said a prayer. But I did something I wouldn't have done a year ago - I didn't pray the pain would be taken away, but just that I'd be strong enough to handle it, that my body and senses could be strengthened that I might sleep, that we had a big day Sunday, and I wouldn't make it through if I didn't sleep some. I don't remember anything after that because I went right to sleep. I had been awake for hours, and then I went right to sleep until my alarm went off a few hours later. The strengthening and enabling power of the atonement may even be applied to sunburns. God is in the details of our lives, even, and maybe especially, when we don't deserve it.
Well, my email was random like usual, but I just love telling the things that give you a real idea of my life right now. I sure hope you have a fantastic week!