Saturday, January 1, 2011

Change is hard, but it allows us to grow

December 20th 2010

Wow, can you believe Chirstmas is in just 5 days?! I am so very excited to talk to all of you on Christmas morning. As of right now,I'm planning to call you around 11am (10am my time- after our studies)We justreceived permission that we'll be able to call from our mission cellphones, but we will only be able to talk for 40 min. I'm guessing they want us to call from our mission phones so they can monitor the timeon the phone calls made. So, yah it wont be super long, but it will be so good to hear all of your voices and to get to talk to you! ThisChristmas has been a very special one for me so far this year. It hasbeen such a blessing for me to be in the service of God and to testifyof our Savior especially around this time of year when we celebratehis birth.

This week has been a very interesting week for me, but it has been good overall. First of all, my companions are AMAZING! I am loving being in a trio, there is never a dull moment. We are having a lot of fun together and working hard :) It is pretty cool to be serving with Sister Naylor again and our other compie Sis. Hamaker is just the sweetest thing in the world. Sis. Hamaker is from Houston, TX and still waiting for her visa to Brazil. She's been out in the field justover a month and has been serving just English until this transfer.This was her first week speaking Spanish and already she is able to speak it nearly perfect. Not fluent of course, but she is way diligentat studying the language and she speaks it pretty darn good. Way better than I could at that point on my mission. She has a strong testimony and is alot of fun to be around, it will be sad when she gets her visa and has to leave us.

On another note, the Spokane Valley is WAY different than Wenatchee. I think one of the biggest adjustments for me this last week is that we are teaching practically ALL single men ages 20-40ish. Its one of the reasons why we're in a trio, cuz otherwise missionary work would benearly impossible to do around here. Having a 3rd companion allows for us to go into homes we otherwise would not be able to. The first lesson we had my first night here, was kind've strange for me....butI'm getting used to it...I think? So, when the time comes that Sis.Hamaker does get her visa, Sis. Naylor and I are going to have to get pretty creative on who we can teach, when and how we can teach them.

To be honest, it hasn't been the easiest of adjustments for me coming to this area. Everything is so different and I definitely feel it is allowing me to be streched so that I can grow. If it weren't for myamazing companions, I think the adjustment would be quite a bitharder. It is different going from the lead/senior companion to notreally knowing anyone or anything again. Of course, its nothing like the very first week in the mission field, for I have 9 months experience now, but its just different... For Sis. Naylor its been an adjustment as well because she too is used to leading (considering she has trained 4 times and has been the traveling sister for the lastcouple months). Her and I both are kind've used to just "doing it all", as in being the main one in teaching and contacting and what not. So now we are just trying to find a balance that works best for us, considering we are on a much more even playing ground. Change is sometimes hard, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I have no idea what the next 5 weeks have instore, but I can sense that some miracles are definitely around the corner.

People we are working with. Well there is this way cool guy, Carlos,who is from Cuba. His accent is super hard to understand, but he has amazing potential. He's been on date for baptism in the past but felloff because he didn't come to church. So this last week, we had a waygood lesson with him where the spirit was strong. I could see itworking on him throughout the lesson and that he was recogizing why heneeds to come to church and commit that time to God. And sure enough,our prayers were answered when he showed up to church yesterday! Yay!So, we're hoping that he is willing to make that a habit and that wewill be able to see him enter the waters of baptism in the coming 5weeks. He has a lot of potential and its so refreshing to have someonecome to church again. It had been a long while since anybody inWenatchee had made it to church. And as you might guess family, churchattendance is the highest correlation for baptisms. We aren't here tojust baptize people. We are here to invite them to come unto Christthrough baptism, which is their personal commitment to God that theywill serve him and keep His commandments, and endure to the end.

Let's see what else. Well I love this work, despite thechallenges that come. I am so incredibly grateful to be serving amission. I have never felt so incredibly close to the spirit in all mylife. My testimony is strengthened daily. I love this work and I lovethe people that I have the opportunity to serve. I know that I am a disciple of Christ and truly there is no other place that I wouldrather be, than in the service of Him who has made me the person I am today. Through this work, He has been refining me and I have felt the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost take effect into my own life in immeasurable amounts. I'm a better person for having come on a mission and I know that the Lord's blessings will continue to pour out upon each of us as we remain true and faithful to our covenants we havemade with Him.

Remember each of you is a beloved child of God. He loves you. I know He loves you and I know that He will always be there for us no matterwhat! The church is true! Hope you have a great week getting prepped for Christmas.

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