Then spake Jesus saying, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

June 16 I am like, so Mexican now.

So Mexican that when I read Nona´s letter, and she wrote ¨a chile and hot roll dinner¨, I thought, ¨I don´t get it? Bread doesn´t exactly complement or complete chile.¨ Because here ¨chile¨ refers to something spicy. Haha like I said, I´m straight Mexican.

This week President called my companion and I in for an interview but didn´t tell us why. Everything turned out fine I´ll just say right now but let me TELL you I spent the 30 minutes waiting for a taxi and the hour in the taxi freaking out that you guys were okay!!!!! I was so scared that you guys weren´t okay and I know I shouldn´t be because I KNOW God is with us no matter what and that He doesn´t give us any challenge that we can´t meet, but I definitely was worried something had happened to one of you. So take care of yourselves, people! Don´t do anything stupid. Mom- don´t wait until the 10th time your seatbelt beeps at you!!! Mom- don´t text and drive. Mom- don´t paint your nails and drive. Mom- just kidding, I can´t think of anything else stupid you do. Isaac, be careful!!!!! I need my little brother!!!!!!!! Everyone else, tengan cuidado when you´re crossin´streets, when you´re drivin´ with your peeps, and if you think something is wrong, go to the doctor. These are the main situations of danger I can think of right now. All I can say is, ¨Please think of little ol´ me!!! And how much I want to see you all!!!!!¨
I have never been so excited to see a Little Céasers in my life!!! Best-tasting Céasers ever. P.S. Isaac, I totes got the Cheesy Pepperoni Bread.
On the spiritual side, I want to share with you something I´m doing in my scripture study that I´m loving. I´m reading the góspel of John (but you could do it with any góspel), and as son as I find something the Savior did that I can do also, I stop reading and write it down and I don´t read anymore in John that day. Sometimes it´s less than one verse! And then I make sure I do that thing that day. Gives literal meaning to trying to be like Jesus.
·         John 1:42- see people´s potential
·         John 2:4 (my New Testament teacher explained that ¨my hour is not yet come¨ is like saying, ¨No worries, I have time¨- be gracious
·         John 4:31-34- delight so much in God´s work that it´s like food, our nourishment and a great source of pleasure (cause I love food!)
·         John 4:40- take time for people, take the time to say Hi to neighbors, to accept people´s invitations, etc.
 Looks like I coulda taken this while rafting the American River, right? The weather here is really similar to Sac… which means it´s great weather!
 Except when the sidewalk turns into a river. But the sick lightening and thunder storms make it totally worth it.

June 9 I Am A Girl With a Purpose

I am extremely blessed this week—16  letters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much seriously thank you so much. I miss you guys and think about you guys so much and I feel so bad that I can´t keep in contact like I used to. I always like to know what everyone is doing and have that time to connect, and now I don´t have it, because I am a girl with a purpose!!!! ¨It is expected that you dedicate all your time and attention to the Lord, putting in segundo plano your personal affairs.¨ Well this is definitely true in the misión (haha, sometimes the computer automatically changes my words into Spanish)!!! ¨I¨ don´t exist. Well that´s not true. The only time I exist is on Monday when I write to y´all and when I have interviews with the Mission President. He is really awesome and he is really good at getting your concerns out of you when you didn´t even know they existed.

our church building 

I always thought it would be sooo awesome to be a misión president´s wife, because you could be a mom to so many kids who are away from their moms, but now I have changed my mind because I would never wish that on my future husband!!! There are way to many problems of every kind—putting up with shenanigans, or being responsible for 250 young people´s physical and spiritual well-being, in the midst of political or social complaints (not that there´s anything political going on here, just that it would be a huge responsibility for any organization, and we´re not just any organization. This is the organization and the work of our Heavenly Father, so Satan hates it, and he creates opposition constantly. It reminds me of when Condoleeza Rice came to BYU and spoke to us and said that every single day after September 11 they expected attacks, because attacks were planned, and that it was a true miracle that every single day they were able to prevent these attacks.). Anyway, I thought I wasn´t too selfish of a person before but this has shifted my perspective 180 degrees. But I wish I could communicate to all of you with adequate words how small of a sacrifice my year and a half is compared to what I have received and what I will receive. I personally do not have the words, but I do personally have the conviction that serving a misión is a pinzy (hi Beef!) offering compared to what I have received and what I will receive.

The cutest, tiniest, happiest grandma ever

Today I want to share with you all an out-of-body experience I had this week. We were talking with Hermano Gonzalez*, the dad of an inactive family that we visit a lot. They have 4 kids; the oldest is my age and has two daughters and lives with them, and then three sons—19, 17, and 15. The granddaughters are kinda wild and the sons have problems with partying and Brother Gonzalez doesn´t feel worthy to go to church and Sister Gonzalez has her own business and works on Sundays because money is tight (well who isn´t money tight for?). Anyway, we were talking tonight and he was sharing his misión stories and advice. I don´t feel like the best of friends with them, like I do with a couple families here. But I looked in his eyes and I felt the most love I have felt for anyone so far in the misión. But the out-of-body part was what the love felt like. Like it didn´t come from me.
I just somehow by looking in his eyes felt in that moment what Christ was feeling for him. Like Christ took His finger and dipped it into His heart and then took my heart and wiped the front of it with the feelings for Hermana Gonzalez that were on his finger. I have never felt like that before, it was so crazy. It was not the magnitude of love that was crazy, because I have loved that deeply before, but only for people I have spent massive amounts of time with or causes I have spent a massive amount of time on.  It was the way I felt it. Those other experiences were Christ-like love, But today was like: what Christ was experiencing… implanted onto me.
I know He did this for a reason. So that I can understand how He feels about me and every one of my investigators. So that I can better understand my puropse as a missionary and so that I can work more diligently to fulfill it.
I know that that night my heart was open and that Christ will teach me personally, if I let my heart be open.

This is our inspiration wall. *Look close, Isabel :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

(June 2) Myyyy Liiiife!

¨Así Se Ve Mi Vida¨ basically means ¨This is what my life looks like¨

Only Nicole knows exactly how you´re supposed to say that (¨Myyyy Liiiife!¨), but imagine an attitude of ``Are you fo real?`` and you´d be pretty close.

There´s 10 million words I don´t know, words you would never think to look up, from check mark to oven mitt (which, by the time you´re trying to ask for an oven mitt, you really do need an oven mitt and don´t have time for charades or the Spanish-English dictionary. This can try my patience not one but 4 times in about 40 seconds.
1.       I don´t know the word I need. Again.
2.       I know! I´ll use charades! Just kidding that´s not working.
3.       Uh-oh. My food´s burning.
4.       I know, I´ll use the dictionary! Wait, if my food´s already burning there´s definitely not time for that.
So what to do? I did the best I could. And it made me feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed not once but 4 times in the same day. Once, when you use one of the two rags you own and it burns. …And it was the good rag. Again, when you´re eating your burnt eggs. Again, when you see that the skillet used to have a handle and this all could have been prevented. And the fourth time, when trying unsuccessfully to scrub the pan clean of its burnt offering and remembering fondly when PAM was a part of your life.

Basically, totally feelin´ Alexander on his terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.
I don´t think I realized how many times a day I use ¨I wonder¨, ¨obsessed with¨, and ¨What´s the deal with ______?¨, all of which I have not yet figured out how tos ay in Spanish. And why is there no such word as ¨brainstorm¨ and ¨that´s your baby¨? These are useful phrases!!!

When you are learning a new language, you get very used to swtching from what you originally wanted to say to a synonym, or a list of words describing the word you don´t know. But when your second, and third, and fourth ideas also fail, oooh sometimes you get so frustrated! Especially when you´re trying to communicate with your companion, because they´re the person closest to you.

On the plus side…

I am in the best church in the world!!!!!! I definitely didn´t understand the significance of the Book of Mormon until I came out here. I didn´t realize how many things I know or understand (prayer, the Atonement, Judgment, what our responsibilities are and what Christ´s responsibilities are when it comes from healing us from sin—including doctrines like repentance, baptism, infant baptism, and way more), exclusively because of the Book of Mormon. And the things I know-understand because of modern prophets (the nature of the Godhead, how to repent, how God wants our families run). I was so used to know these things for church, I never thought about whether they came from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or from modern-day revelation. But while here I went seeking scriptures in the Bible on these topics and the were nowhere to be found! (Or, in the case of the family, the Bible verses were plain scary.)

It has made me way more grateful for the Church than I even was before. It has made me that much more aware of the perfectness and reality of the church—that is really was restored and is run by Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 4

God Knows Everything. Period.

Hey everyone. I love you and miss you a lot. I´m writing to you this week with awesome news—

I have to tell you all the crazy details!
Saturday we had scheduled lunch early because we HAD to get the chapel to prepare the font for the baptism at 5 pm. But when we got to the chapel, everything was locked!!! The doors and gates for the font are never locked, so we were so surprised. So we called the bishop and figured out which member has the keys, and thank goodness he answered and came right away!!! Good old Brother Perez.

But ¨right away¨ when the chapel is a few suburbs away and you don´t have a car is not really as fast as it sounds haha. We had planned to get the font started and take the bus to another suburb to pick up Aurora, one of our investigators, so she could see the baptism. Having investigadors in a baptism is soooo cool because they feel the Spirit. And it´s new for them in a way that it´s not new for me anymore. They realize the miracle that is baptism. They feel the power of the same baptism that Jesus Christ practiced—with the same authority, at an age of responsibility, by immersion.

But when we saw that we wouldn´t have time to go pick her up before the baptism, we started calling all the members who lived near her, because she doesn´t have a phone. We asked them if they could stop by and explain what had happened and how to get the chapel. But no one could. Everyone was either not at home or not answering (this suburb is famous for it´s bad signal).

So about an hour later, Brother Perez gets there! We turn on the boiler and start filling the font with cold wáter because there´s no time to wait for the water to heat. We really want Aurora to come, and Emmanuel is running late, so we decide to chance it. We seriously have no idea how this is gonna happen or how late we are going to be to the baptism, but we run to the bus stop a Little ways down the Street from the chapel. As I look at my watch and think, ¨What the heck are we doing?¨ a new member who is a taxi driver pulls up!!! ¨Let´s go,¨ he says!!!

So we made an hour and half trip in 30 minutes.
We could not be any happier when we get to the chapel, on time, with Aurora and her son. It was amazing!!! We take her on a tour of the church while we wait for Emmanuel. She loves the church. And so does her son. Another special investigator, Jacquelin, shows up!! We´re just happy little clams, so content to have investigators at the baptism and so excited for Emmanuel.
So then Emmanuel calls The car broke down and they are super far away. They´re not gonna make it.

My mind:
Can you repeat that?? I just imagined that you said you´re not coming to your baptism.
Until you are a missionary (or maybe Nona), you have no idea how hard it can be to get people to an event like a baptism or Sacrament Meeting. They will accept a thousand lessons in their house, they will read their scriptures and say their prayers and experience the confirmation that the church is true, but something always seems to happen the day of the event. And here we had two, and no baptism!!!!!!
But I am here to tell you that God really knows everything that´s gonna happen. He just thinks of everything. I learned this weekend that missionary work really and literally is in the Lord´s hands. If it needs to happen, it will happen.

The other ward had a baptism scheduled at 6! It started right on time. Aurora said it was beautiful. Jaquelin said, ¨I feel like I want to cry and I don´t know why.¨ It was a beautiful day, a day where I realized that God is so perfectly aware. That I can depend on Him. That if I do everything in my power, He won´t let a single one of His children fall.

Oh, and Sunday. Sunday Emmanuel got baptized. Right after the church services, when all of his friends from the ward could be there to support him. It couldn´t have been more perfect. ¨All we have to do is work our very hardest and get ourselves out of the way so Heavenly Father can do his work through us,¨ (as my nursing school buddy Libby Jensen wrote me this week).