To my dearest Mother and Family,
Well happy past Thanksgiving and birthday week!! Sounds like everything went off without a hitch and that you're all doing really well which makes me happy. Thanksgiving sounded delicious and I expect lots of pictures from this past week haha! Oh! before I forget, yes, your first package finally got to me! Elder Hale on Friday and Saturday went down to Vina for a District Leader conference and he was able to pick it up and bring it back! It was funny because he got back Saturday morning at like 3 in the morning when to the church to pick them him up (I was on exchanges with the zone leaders for while he was in Vina) and we went into the church to drop some things off and hes like oh hey! I have a package for you! And you can imagine at that time in the morning having just woken up I felt a little bit dead, so I didn't really react much as he threw it to me. We then walked back to the pension with SIX missionaries, which I found a little odd? Turns out that we all were going to sleep in our pension. We have 3 beds...so we combined them all into a huge mega bed and all had to sleep there and UGHHH it was the worst. I put my package away for the next morning and went to bed, but didn't sleep for a solid hour an half because they all talked. I'm so happy that Dad gave me those ear plugs because I now use them every single night! Elder Hale talks in his sleep, well, teaches in his sleep. I've woken up a few times even with the ear plugs. It's pretty funny, also dogs bark all night long and the rooster crows whenever its awake so those earplugs have proved to be a life saver for me.
Lets see, this week was pretty productive in finding people and teaching some investigators that we have.
One night we had gone to teach an investigator but they weren't home so we were walking back to the main roads and we were on this pretty run down, alley way road and there were 3 boys sitting on the side smoking their marijuana (its huge down here) and we went up and said hey and all, we were just talking with them and joking around with them about how smoking is bad for them and then I noticed the butt of a gun sticking out of this guys hoodie pocket. He saw that I was looking at it and pulls out this huge revolver already cocked ready to fire and said "look, cool huh"? Hahah oh my gosh...this kid was 14 years old. It semi scared me but also just made me feel bad. These three kids aren't even 16 and are smoking and packing guns. Meh, its just too bad sometimes the way people think life has to be. But we asked if we could come by a share our message and they're were like sure, why not. SO that will be interesting!
OH YEAH! While on exchanges guess what? Friday, the day after thanksgiving we had lunch with the really well off member and we had a HUGE asada, or barbecue, just with all different types of meat and bratwursts and stuff like that. THen for dessert this delicious ice cream and fresh strawberries! I honestly feel like it was a blessing from the Lord. I know it sounds silly but the zone leaders were telling me they've only had food like that like twice on their missions and what a coincidence we had it right around Thanksgiving. I don't know, it was just kinda nice to feel like we were celebrating thanksgiving. It just goes to show that the Lord watches out for his children not only in the major big ways but in the small things as well. He wants us to be happy and I'm so grateful to him for everything he's given me, especially you all, my family. My family that has pushed me, supported me, loved me, and helped to get to where I am today. I hope that I can give back all that I've been given. What a blessing it is to be out here as well, to be able to try and change peoples lives for the better. Its a hard thing, we get rejected a ton, and we have days that I feel like im completely useless because we didn't teach and no one wanted to hear us. But thats okay, because we have days where people listen and where we can see people feel the Spirit, its a special thing.We taught this one man in the Zone leaders sector and it was his second lesson. When we arrived at his hosue he was outside reading the book of Mormon! It was the best thing I've seen! We always commit people to read, and they almost never read, its really frustrating. But he was out sitting on his patio. Jose is his name and he is 76 years old. His answers to all of our questions were just spot on and hes accepted to be baptized after he has read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. How awesome right? Its days like those that make this all worth it, that make me feel like I'm making a difference. Something else I've come to realize is that being out has helped me and will continue to help to grow faster and more in depth than anywhere else.
Last little story, we have a 16 year old boy Ignacio in our branch and we have had lessons with him that always are pretty lame, because he doesn't take it seriously. He's baptized but we are still teaching him because retention is a huge effort here. Anyway our lesson with him this past week was unreal, well it wasn't really a lesson but him telling us his story. His dad sells drugs and abandoned his family, and before he left Ignacio was walking home one day and all of a sudden gun shots were ringing out all around him and apparently he saw his dad shooting and getting shot at. He's been abused and has been through just a whole bunch of crap. He told us he went through a stage of depression where he would have these flashes of white hotness as he described it and next thing he knew he would be holding a knife to his chest or things like that. He told us how now he lives only to see the next day and what experiences there were. He doesn't really know why he was baptized and doesn't have a testimony. But we asked him if he would come with us all Tuesday every Tuesday to be a missionary. To feel how it felt to serve others and feel the love and joy that can come from this gospel. We're going to give him a white shirt and tie as well. Man, people have had rough lives, really rough, and I know that truly, its only through this gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can ever truly feel peace and calmness from the world. I wish that everyone would just be open to this gospel and the peace and joy it brings, can you imagine the world with everyone knowing they had a Savior and purpose here?
Well, I just want to let you know how grateful I am for you all. How much I truly do love you and miss you every single day. But now its a good type of missing, its a missing because I know how happy and loved I am when I'm around you. I'm not sorrowful or mourning being separated. Some days are harder where I feel a little sad, but for the majority, I know why I'm here and I know that this is the best thing, for you all and for me. I'm so happy that I have your support and your love every single day in your prayers. They truly have helped. It's amazing how much my testimony has grown in just 2 months. I pray for you all every single day and always look to your examples to me to be better. I see the families here and I love being able to visit with them and feel the ambiance that radiates from a family. I hope that we can find families ready to receive our message. Nothing would make me happier than being able to see a family come to the knowledge that I have of an eternal joyful family. A purpose, a belonging, a home. Thank you for providing me with a loving home centered on the gospel. I see a lot of homes and people out here that are so lost, that arent happy, and it makes me all the more grateful to have had the upbringing I had. I love you all so much! I wish I could express in words. Have a fantastic week and remember to pray!
I hope your sickness gets better! those throat and head ones are the worst! Tell Bridger its okay, and i cant wait to get his letter. I got a letter from Linda and Montey by the way! And from your package those clothes and tie are awesome! I love the tie! The pictures though are my favorite! I love being able to see the family. One of the best ones is when we are all walking towards the camera hahahaha, makes me laugh every time, especially Brock.
Oh and last thing, there is a member going to the states for a month or so and she said I could send with here letters an Christmas presents to send to you all. So be expecting stuff. I gave her your numbers in case there are issues...she doesn't speak English but her husband does a bit! so good luck ;)