Hola Familia and Amigos,
Primero, I have been here three weeks and have yet to recieve any mail. I am hoping my package from Tiff will be here anyday. Everything is supposed to go through the mission office so then it takes awhile. So please be patient if I dont respond right away. Also. Shout outs to Haylie, Sharon, Sister Mangum, Brooke, Glenbron, Nick, Shan, Brit, Tiff and Sister Webber. I loved the emails this week. They were golden. However, if you are sending something perishable (aka cookies) then you can call the mission office and ask for my address. They will give it to you if you explain the situation. The number for the mission office is (970) 461-2985. Just give them my name and tell them what you want to do and they can help you.
Anyway, I cannot believe I have been here almost three weeks. It has flown by. I am essentially half way through my first transfer. It is just crazy. Anyway, this week has been awesome. I love the members in the branch. I love our investigators. I love the Gospel. I love God. I love Jesus Christ. I just love it all!!! It has been challenging. I don’t really understand anything while I am at church because I am in the spanish branch but I still feel the spirit so much. I just love the spanish language. Okay, I am trying to think of the highlights of this week and I think the overall theme is to listen to the spirit. I just find it so amazing when the spirit testifies what we need to say and what we need to share. I love being a mouthpiece for Jesus Christ and I can feel His spirit tell us what we should say. One thing that has happened a few times this week is that my companion (Hna Vargha) and I will plan on sharing a scripture with someone and then while we are sitting and talking with them, they will say something and I will think “Dang it, I want to share this scripture now. this works so much better” and then I will turn to Hna Vargha and she will be turning to the scripture I was thinking of. This happened like 2 or 3 times this week. It was so amazing!!!
The coolest experience we had with the spirit was with our investigator Jesus (Hey zeus, not Jesus like Jesus Christ). Anyway, he is this older man who only speaks spanish. He has been taking the lessons for months now and would never commit to a baptism date. He kept saying to the other sisters that one day he would but he kept pushing it off. Anyway, we had a lesson planned with him this last saturday and during personal study that morning, Hermana Vargha announced out of nowhere that she did not want to teach what we had planned but that she wanted to read 2 nephi 31 with him. I nodded and said that was fine. Then, later we were praying as we started companionship study and I just thought, we need to ask Jesus to be baptized. I tried to shrug it off but then I decided to ask my companion what she thought about it. She said I could do that during our lesson but I know she didnt want me to get my hopes up. I mean seriously, we assumed he was always going to be an investigator. Then, during the lesson we were struggling with our spanish and I was so confused as to what was going on and my companion nudged me and reminded me to ask him. I waited for a few moments and then asked him and he got very quiet and closed his eyes and then he muttered SI!!!!!!! We both sat there stunned and then my companion came to the rescue and explained why we had chosen sept 21 as our date for him. She saved the day but I just realized how much we HAVE to listen to the spirit as we teach. Had my companion not listened to the spirit, we would not have taught the lesson we did and had she not reminded me, he may not have chosen to be baptized. It was so amazing!! I just have such a testimony that if there spirit is not with us, we cannot teach effectively and we cannot help people. I know that God wants us to be in His gospel and I know that He will help us help his other children.
I just feel so humbled to be here. I feel so inadequate a lot of the time because I have only been studying spanish for almost 9 weeks and my companion for just 6 weeks longer. She is so great though. she always says that she knows that God will not leave His children without the gospel because of our lack of spanish. She says that we may not understand everything (and we sure don’t) but we understand enough when we need to. It is so true. I know that God is helping me to understand this language. I know that He is helping me to love these people and He is helping me to say what they need to hear. It is so wonderful!
Okay, so now I have to tell you a bit of a funny story. So, last week a red spot showed up on my eye and it grew progressively larger for 3 days. All the branch members asked what it was but I didnt know and I couldn’t explain so I just kept saying “yo pienso el diablo es en mi ojo” or “I think the devil is in my eye.” By last thursday, it was really quite scary and it covered almost all the white in my eye. Anyway, we all got a good laugh out of it for a few days and then it started to hurt so I asked to go to the doctor. I went to one urgent care and they told me to go to the ER, but I didnt want to listen so I went to another urgent care and they said the same thing. Anyway, after driving (i was driving because we were on splits and my poor temporary companion had to drive all over greeley with me) all over town, I decided to go to the ER. turns out I just popped a blood vessel in my eye. I felt kind of lame but it was just funny because all the doctors kept asking me what was wrong and then they would really look at my face and they would know. I kept having the desire to say the devil was in my eye but I decided against it. I didnt want all the doctors to think the mormons are crazy. Anyway, I am totally fine and the red spot has gotten much smalller now. Just don’t freak out when you see the pictures from this week. I know I look a little wierd. I will get a good picture of my eyeball from sister Soto. She and i took a picture in the ER. The funniest thing about this was that all the members in the branch would ask what happened to my eye and then turn to my companion and ask “Did you hit her?” NO! She did not. She is a very very great companion. So dont any of you worry.
I saw all my ccm friends at the training meeting this week. Sister Mangum and I talked for a bit. I love love love her. I have a feeling that she and I will be companions some time. (maybe I am just hoping a lot).
Also, I had manudo and lingua this week. For all of you who are gringos and do not know, that is cow stomach and cow tongue. While I am not a fan of either, I would much prefer the cow tongue. Both are slightly slimey in my opinion but the stomach is much worse. They make it into this weird soup and it is very odd. Even after just a few bites, my stomach felt sick for hours. I know it sounds like I am exagerating but I am so not!!! I know I am not because Hna Vargha was sick too. However, We were with two other sister missionaries when we tried it. We only had to have a bite. However, the politeness of Hna Smith doomed us because she complemented the sister in our branch on how good her manudo was. Then that sister promised to make it for us when we have dinner with her next. Let’s just say I am not overly excited for that dinner.
Hermana Vargha is fantastic! Really and truly, I love her so so much. She has only been out 6 weeks longer than I have but she is just golden. She has a lot of faith and wants to work hard. She also knows when we just need to laugh. She is a nursing student at byu in her second year. I really do just think she is great. She is from anaheim california so we both just say we are from Disneyland. Deeds, she has the Best of Efy CD that we used to listen to together when you were in high school and whenever we turn it on, I just smile so big. We sing praise to the man and I just think about you are the great time we had. It is so fun. We also listen to Nashville’s tribute to Missionary Work. It is made by deseret book and it is kind of country but it is all these songs about the church and missionary work and I love that I still get to listen to some country music.
We live in a nice little apartment and I really enjoy it. Most of the missionaries in the mission live with members but most of our members do not have room to house the missionaries. We love it though. We get fed every night so I still havent had to cook yet.
We are still doing a lot of justserve service and I love love love it!!! PS. I do not know what Pictures these are so sorry if they are crazy.
If you have time, please read: Be of Good Cheer: Choosing Happiness (Ensign july 2011) (Shan, can you put that talk on the blog for me)
Also, This week we have shared Jacob 2:8, Mosiah 24, 3 Nephi 17. They are great! Read them when you get a chance!
Love you all! I will look for your letters. Here are some pictures.