Hola Familia Y amigos,
Thanks all who wrote me letters. I always appreciate the mail. This week was really great, let me tell you all about it:
I got to decorate a Christmas Tree! We went to visit one of our investigators and she was working on her Christmas decorations. So we helped her. We got talking and our family tradition of eating donuts after decorating the tree came up so she gave us fudge and ice cream. It was really nice of her. The fudge was really good (really close to your recipe mom!). I almost felt at home :)
Ok. So this week was my week to "play" senior companion. it was HARD. But I learned a lot. My faith increased as I learned that I was capable to plan and take lead. I won't say it was a perfect week, because it wasn't. But I worked hard and am proud of my week as Senior Companion. I took charge on phone calls and had to make several in both English and Spanish. It was hard to know who to visit and when. It was scary to initiate contacts and other things.
Wednesday was the worst day. I was tired and stressed. I had no energy and hardly a desire to try. Then our only lesson cancelled and we had to run some errands for the Christmas party the following day. We should have done them on P-day but sometimes these things happen. But by the time we could go out and visit people, we only had 2 hours left and we hadn't done language study and we were behind on companion study. It was really stressful to decide what we should do. I felt like I had to go out, we hadn't really done much all day. But I prayed and felt like the Lord was okay with either. Feeling so tired and emotionally low, we stayed in and studied.
Looking back, I don't regret this decision. I am learning a lot about how merciful and forgiving and understanding the Lord is. He expects us to give our all, but he knows our all is not the same every day. That night, I could muster the energy to study, but not to go out. Overall, the week went really well. It was hard and stressful, and I was glad when it was over. But I learned a lot about myself. I learned about my fears.
One thing I noticed, that would probably be my biggest mistake of the week, is that if we got behind schedule or had to run an errand or weren't working as hard as we could, taking our time to get ready to leave etc. I was more okay with these moments than normal and didn't try to change them, because it meant I didn't have to figure out what to do. I didn't have to feel that stress and fear of what was going to happen, could I do what was expected of me. But if nothing else, this week helped me realize my fear, and now I can work to overcome it!
The Christmas Party for the mission was FANTASTIC! We had some really good training in the morning and all the spiritual talents. Then we had a delicious lunch. After lunch we took a mission picture. One serious and good, the other SILLY! Then we had a talent show for the silly acts. I was in the talent show. We performed our old people dance that I had performed for the talent show with the elders. It was such a fun talent show and I felt so much love for my mission and so blessed to be part of the Utah Ogden Mission. I felt again that I am where I am supposed to be and that the Lord is in charge, so I have NO need to fear!!!
Having to make a lot of phone calls this week really helped me improve my Spanish. For example, I was confirming dinner and I really could not understand what she was saying but I heard the words pay and Chispitas. Chispitas is a restaurant owned by a member that we get sent to sometimes. So I asked her if she wanted us to go to Chispitas, and then she said yes. I learned from this that I do not need to understand every word but I really can communicate by picking up key words and then asking questions to make sure I understand. I think my Spanish is improving in general though. I really am talking more and more.
Saturday was Kate's Birthday!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry I didn't send you anything. Expect an awesome letter from your biggest fan this week!
Saturday was a really good day! Lola (the one we found because she was going to church) and her 11 year old son Eladio got baptized. I taught Lola a little bit, but not Eladio. His was really unexpected. The other sisters told us that Lola said she wanted to get baptized and a few days later, Eladio said he did too. She has two other children (17, and 14?) that the other sisters are working with. But i was soooo happy for Lola. She is an incredible woman. She is struggling a bit financially, yet she has signed up to feed us 3 times this month. And she feeds us a lot. It is so sweet of her, but I will probably skip lunch when we have dinner with her because I would feel TERRIBLE if I didn't finish my food. At least she is a really good cook!
Saturday we also had a Sociedad de Socorro (relief society) Cena (dinner). We helped prepare and clean up. It was a really fun night. I felt bad for the President though. She is an incredible woman and works really hard. She told us that 35 people signed up to come. 8 showed up. We actually went to her house after to get some of the food so we could have it. We ended up staying the rest of the night and talking to her.
She was able to vent and just have someone to talk to. She talked about the love she has for her sisters and how she wants them to progress. She said a lot of them are comfortable and they have achieved their dream of making it to the United States to raise their children in a better place so they feel like they are done. She wishes she could show them that there is so much more. She talked about her conversion and her period of inactivity and says she wishes she could help her sisters know what she knows. She does a really good job, and we were able to just be a listening ear. It was a really good experience for me. I love that we can help so many people. Even the strong, amazing, active, Relief Society President needs help sometimes.
Saturday, we also went to visit Hermana Santiago. It was a really good visit and we got to share a scripture with her and finally with her husband as well. Hopefully we can continue to work with both of them and get them back to church. They have 4 beautiful children, and are such a wonderful family.
Also this week, we got to go Christmas Caroling. All the branch missionaries and our mission leader and us made a list of less actives and people we wanted to carol to. We practiced some songs a few times and then on Sunday night we went caroling. It was such a fun experience. It really brought the Spirit and it was fun to see people’s faces as they opened the door and saw 15 or so people who love and care about them singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ. We would give cookies to them as well.
Yesterday was a really good day. We visited a lot of people and had some really good contacts. One we visited just as she was pulling up in her driveway. We talked to her for a really long time and at first she was not interested but we gave her a Book of Mormon and then promised that if she came to our church we would go to hers. So I might be going to a Catholic church on Sunday as well. Which I would be fine with, it will just be interesting.
We still have not been able to meet with Josue. But we went to visit him yesterday, and had a pretty cool experience. We knock on the door and we are talking with him and after a while he says, hey we need to set up a time for an appointment, don't we? I love that he brought it up, not us. I don't know exactly why he wants to meet with us, and I don't know what will be the end result, but sometimes it really feels like there is something in him and that the Lord is preparing him. We have an appointment with him on Wednesday. Pray for Josue that he can be touched by the Spirit.
Also, we went to the Temple this morning and ran into our landlord. She told us she got a letter from the mission that one of us is being transferred This is not my visa, just a note saying she needs to check our apartment because one of us is being transferred. She did not know which one of us it was. I was so grateful to learn of this news in the Temple. I was then able to pray in the best place to receive comfort. I was not pleased with the news because I don't want a new companion, and I don't want to leave Logan/Hyde Park. But I feel at peace. The Lord has helped me to know that everything will be okay.
Also cool this week, is that I ran into this lady and we got talking and she told us that her son got off his mission 2 weeks ago. Their family lives in Hyde Park and he served in the........Spain, Madrid mission! The Lord truly loves me. She is having us over for dinner tonight. I am so excited to meet with him and ask questions. His name is Elder Jeppson and I am pretty sure he will know you, April, and he will definitely know more about the new mission president. But while i was talking to his mom, she told me that Sisters are being sent to the Canary Islands, so maybe I can serve there in the future.
I forgot my camera, so no pictures. Next week for sure!
I love my mission, and I love the things that I am learning. I love my Savior and am so excited for this Christmas season! I love you all and hope you can remember Christ and think about what He has done for you and what that means. Because that is what Christmas is all about! Have a great week!