December 27th 2010
Long time no talk! I was so happy to be able to call home on Christmas Day. Wow, was it the greatest Christmas present for me! It's difficult to describe, but transitioning from missionary mindset to family mindset was quite an adjustment for me. I dealt a little with "homesickness" Christmas day, but I figure out of 9 months of my entire mission, what better day out of the entire year than Christmas would it be ok to feel a little homesick. I'm so grateful I was able to talk to you guys and I hope that you were able to enjoy the conversation on your end as much, if not more, than I did on mine. I miss you guys. And I love you so very very much.
Ok, since we didn't have much time for me to update you with the work, here's the latest.
Right now we are working with some pretty great people. Agustin Reyes Lopez is one of them. He is the best friend of a recent convert in the branch. He speaks perfect English and Spanish- so our lessons are often times in Spanglish- where we will switch back and forth throughout the lesson. On Wednesday, we had zone conference, which was all centered on fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. We talked a lot about focusing on the doctrine of Christ with our investigators and teaching from the BOM- faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Then later that evening we had an amazingly spirit filled lesson with Agustin. We read 3 Ne 27 with him, which talks about the gospel. To be honest, it would be nearly impossible to recap the entire lesson, but let's just say the spirit was definitely guiding us to say all that we needed to say. We were able to get some of Agustin's concerns out, and when we were talking about baptism- he said, "that's what I need". We proceeded to extend the invitation for him to be baptized, and to set a date for Jan. 22. He didn't say "no", per say, but he said he would pray about it. Then on Christmas day, he had us over for lunch which was Passoli, and then he came with us to our Branch President's house for Christmas dinner and spent a couple hours with us up there. Miracle of the week was that he came to church. He works a couple jobs right now, one is at the car wash and the other snow plowing. He was scheduled to work Sunday, and the only way he would have been able to come to church was if it rained that night. Well, we prayed for rain...and sure enough...we woke up Sunday morning and it had rained! We called Agustin to express our excitement and he was already dressed and going out the door on his way to church! So miracles do really happen!
This Christmas was a very special one for me this year, although I wasn't able to celebrate with all of you. On Christmas eve, we helped make tamales!! We had an amazing Christmas eve dinner with the Vazquez family, who are super solid recent converts in the branch. It was lots of fun and a very memorable time. Christmas day, I kind've already mentioned...but we opened our presents first thing Christmas morning, studied, got ready, called our families, had lunch with Agustin, then dinner with the President Condon and some other members from the branch, then proceeded to visit other people throughout the night. It was a fun day!
Other people we are working with. Carlos Herrera who I mentioned last week that came to church, was busy with family all this week. He doesn't have a phone so its been difficult to contact him, but hopefully we will be able to this week. Some of our other progressing investigators are the tres hermanos- Mateo, Gilberto, and Jorge. Mateo is the one who seems to be progressing the most, but he is loving the BOM and learning about the gospel. He has a light in his eyes that seems to be brighter every time we see him. All 3 of them are so great and they were so sweet to get us Christmas chocolates as a present when we stopped by to visit them on Christmas eve day. They're great.
Yesterday was a very interesting day for Sis. Hamaker and I. Sis. Naylor had a very bad migraine so she wasn't able to come out with us. So she stayed home with Sis. Mulloy (the member we live with) while we went out and worked. This meant, with limited miles left for the month on our car, not knowing the area at all, and having limited people we could visit considering most of our investigators are men.....well, it made for an interesting adventure full of laughs and a few moments of frustration and confusion. I have to laugh at it now, but driving around trying to contact people merely by looking at a huge map and not having a clue about where we're going or how to get there makes for some good entertainment. I guess it was a good preview into how Tuesday is going to be for Sis. Hammaker and I, because Sis. Naylor is going on exchanges. I don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but Sis. Naylor is the traveling sister for the East side of the mission -which is kind've like the ZL for the Sisters. Once a week she goes on 24 hr exchanges with the other Sisters in this part of the mission. It seems like a pretty hefty job, but if anyone could do it she most definitely can. Not to make any speculations at this time, but her theory is that one of the reasons we're serving together again is so I can take her spot as traveling sister when she leaves. Ah, that's scary - lol. I know that whatever President has in mind will be what the Lord needs, so for now I will just make the most with what is placed in front of me. I do love missionary work, and it has been a stretch for me at times....but I also know that when the Lord calls, He qualifies. Hence my very early experience on the mission of training a new missionary just my 2nd transfer out. That experience taught me a lot, and it forced me to grow and to become the missionary the Lord needed me to become. To this day, I am still becomming someone different. I can still feel Him molding me in His hands and at times the heat from the refiner's fire gets a little warm. It is a very humbling experience to be called to serve and to preach His gospel among His people. There is no better place I would rather be at this time then here, serving the amazing people of the WA Spokane Mission. I'm passed my half way point now, so it is onward and upward. Kind've like the 2nd half of an intense bball game. I always felt I played better in the 2nd half, so it's go time! I'm excited for what the future has instore and I'm striving to leave everything I have out here on the court :)Love you all so much!