|Hermana Pettit and I at the DC Temple|
MERRY CHRISTMAS! I know it isn't until Thursday, but I figured I would say it now so I'm not too late :) This week brings the celebration of the miracle of Christ's birth, and along with it, as early Christmas presents for me, we have had a week completely full of miracles!
We found Rolando and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that last week, but there's more now! He is going to be baptized on February 5th. He picked the day himself because it is his birthday and he wants it to be really special. We had a doorstep lesson in the freezing cold twice this week because there aren't ever any women in the house. His mom will be in Bolivia for a while, so that makes things a little harder. But he has wanted to learn so much that he will stand out in the cold with us, even when it is 30 degrees outside. We had a lesson with him on Wednesday night at his house, then watched a Restoration movie on Thursday night, he went to the ward activity on Friday night, and we had another lesson last night. He is golden and ready to be dunked :) We have a lesson with him tonight as well. So different from what happened the last few times that we talked to him! He is ready now!
We saw some miracles with Blanche and Heather as well. They are part of the English program, but we have special permission to teach them because there are only Elders in their area and we found them. We went over on Monday with the Elders that have been working with them and a member of that ward. It was a strange lesson, but it was okay. The Elders said that it was the best and most focused lesson that they had ever had with them, so we will be the ones from now on teaching. They open up much more to other girls :) They have really, really been struggling with money. We went over there on Friday and at first we could tell there was a lot going on and they weren't getting along very well, but they decided to let us in and we just talked and everything changed. The mood was better and by the end everyone was 10 times happier. Then the next day we called President to see if there was anything we could do to help them get the things they needed and there was! There was a family that wanted to donate money to a family in need, and we had just that. So Saturday morning we went and picked up the money from President and got some cupcakes at the store and took it over to them. There were tears and hugs and a special prayer, but the best part was the joy they had. They were so grateful for what happened and I am so grateful that I was a part of it. It was an incredible morning! Then Heather went to church the next morning and it was perfect. She fit right in with the Young Women and can't wait to go back next week!
We had district meeting just like every Tuesday, and as always it was revelatory. It was awkward practice teaching in English, but I learned a lot. We always talk about things that I end up using that night or week while I'm out with investigators. This week I learned about confidence from Elder Walters. It wasn't even really part of what I was teaching, but I needed to hear it. He was asking how comfortable I was teaching in English versus Spanish and a bunch of stuff like that. Then he flat out told me that that didn't matter. All I needed was to have confidence in the Lord, not myself. I can do anything if I rely on the Lord. And I can only do so much, but I need to have confidence that the Lord will do the rest after I do what I can. It was really cool and I needed that for one of the lessons we had that night.
I've been doing some Facebook proselyting, and I was talking to one guy and started trying to teach the first lesson and it turns out that he was already a member of the church....so that was kind of awkward. Then he starts typing in English and tells me his English is better. Fun things happen as a missionary.
On Tuesday I went over to Stephanie's house because her mom wanted to make me chicken soup. Hondurans know how to cook. It was way good, and I got better pretty quick afterwards. It’s a good sign that she cooked for us. She isn't a member and has always liked the Elders better and this was the first time that she cooked for us!
Tuesday was just an awkward day all around. We knocked on a door and some kids looked out the window on the side and ran away from the door screaming about a monster...then their mom came and was apologizing for them and speaking partly English, part Spanish, and part Portuguese. Later on we knocked on a door and a lady from upstairs opened the window and talked to us from the second story while we were outside. I think I now know why RMs are usually awkward. So many awkward things happen as a missionary that it starts to not be awkward and eventually accepted. Live in the awkward, embrace the awkward, become the awkward.
We did exchanges this week and it was the first time that I left Little River! I went over to Arlington and worked in the Old Town ward. It was full of miracles, because exchanges always are, and we got a lot of work done. And then, as a tradition, I made chocolate shakes, Dad's style. It’s happened every time! The next morning we went to the gym there and I was hard core distracted because there was a man watching ESPN and I was trying so hard not to watch it. So hard, let me tell you.
We were outside of a restaurant looking at a menu, and a man comes out and says, "If you come in here, I'll give you free calamari." So we took it. Jokes on him though, we were going to go in anyways :) haha, it was a little Italian place. And I've never had fried squid before, but it was delicious.
We got chick-fil-a again this week :) A member took us there with her boyfriend. I thought they were married, so when I prayed I thanked her and her husband. Then she laughed really hard and explained to me that they weren't married...so that was a little embarrassing.
We had our ward Christmas party. It was supposed to be 7-9, but in the Hispanic world that means 8-11:30. At 9 we were told that all of the missionaries had to stay so that we could sing for them. We were called up to sing 2 Christmas songs. We only had one microphone and 8 missionaries, so Hermana Memmot decides to hold it for us. I felt like I was on a singing show because she kept moving it back and forth between us, so you only heard one voice at a time :) that was rather strange too.
I was in DC last week and some member from Utah came up and talked to us. One of her sons asked me if I had a little brother and if his name was Jake. Apparently they went to EFY together a while ago. His name is Jack Johansen, so Jake, if you remember him he says hi! Then I met a girl name Katherine yesterday from somewhere in California and she asked if I knew a Ryan and Kristal Moberly and says she knows Kristal's family. The Mormon world is very small for white people. It’s definitely not the same with the Spanish speakers.
Sorry my letters are so long, but I wish I could write more. All the things I talk about are important to me, so sorry if they are boring to you. They make my faith grow daily and test my strength. But I know I have the Lord on my side and he won't ever let anything happen that will break me. He is my strength. God has shown us His love by sending His son to suffer. But through that suffering that lasted only a little bit, He is able to help all of us every moment of everyday. I know that this is what He does and He does it because He loves all of us so much. I will never be able to comprehend His love for me, but I know He is always there. Not just for me, but for all of you too. Don't forget the reason for the holiday. It’s the best one there is :)
|DC Temple with Christmas Lights|
|Our little tree and presents.|