Spanish Brain got fried this week. So it was great to read about the reunion, and all that jazz. Sounds like a ton of fun, and I would have loved to have been there. But I´m here, and I only have like 15 months left so I'm not going to wish any of it away.
So as for my week . . . well, it was another week of knocking doors and not finding anyone to teach. The new sector that we are focusing in hasn't seen missionaries for a while. The people we talk to are all very amable, pero they are too busy, not interested, or Catholic. The beginning of the week was pretty hard. Hna Leyva and I were just super down about not having very much success, even though we felt like we were doing all we could. To our best knowledge, we were following PMG and working as effectively as we knew how. We were testifying, talking to EVERYONE, asking for references, contacting references, visiting less actives, asking for references, visiting members, asking for references, calling members to accompany us to lesson, and did I mention that we asked for references!!!! But nothing. We didn't find anyone new to teach, and we only had like 3 or 4 investigators.
Then on top of all this, we find out that our golden investigator, P**, who was supposed to get baptized this week with her son, isn't actually "legally" married to the man she is living with. In the first lesson that we taught them, she told us that her and J** have 4 years of marriage, but when we taught the law of chastity this week, she told us that they aren't actually "legally married," but that having a kid together is just as good a promise as a certificate.
That was a super hard lesson for us to teach. We discovered that she is super feminist, and doesn't want to get married. We testified to her of the blessings of marriage, and we were both crying so much! P** said she would pray, and ask God if marriage was the path for her. We said a kneeling prayer with her before we left, then we went around the corner and cried some more.
That happened , and all week we have felt her slipping away. We had two appointments with her that she cancelled, and then showed up an hour late to the third lesson. She was never like that before. It has been really hard. We just love her so much, and she really wanted to get baptized. She knows that this church is true, but now she is offended that she can't get baptized because she isn't married. She doesn't understand the importance of chastity.
So now we are working on gaining back her trust. Her son is still going to get baptized, but he needs a few for assistances to the iglesia first. P** has seen the change in D** since he started participating in the young mens program, and going to mutual, and church. So have we. The gospel is really amazing. It changes lives. And we are praying that God will soften P**´s heart, and she can be baptized with her son.
So after all these things were happening: no one listening to us, losing P**, all our lessons with members falling through, we starting asking ourselves, "is it them? or is it us?" In the end, we were doing everything we could . . . but were we being everything we could? We learned what it means to qualify yourself for the work and for the guidance of the Lord. Yeah, we were asking for references, we were knocking doors, we were talking to everyone, but why? Was if for another number, or for the opportunity to invite another soul so come unto Christ? We realized that we had to sanctify ourselves first through repentance, fasting and prayer. We had to give ourselves to the Lord, heart, might mind and strength so that He could mold us into the missionaries He needs.
I realized this week that even if you are doing all you can, you can always do more. I learned what it means to wait on the Lord. I learned that having faith means having patience to suffer through the trails with hope, and hope is the patience to wait on the promised blessings of the Lord when you are not only doing all you can, but being all you can.
This week, as I turned to the Lord in all my thoughts, in all my prayers, I felt him walk beside me, and strengthen me as yet another door was slammed in the face. I´ve taken another step in my journey to understand the atonement of Jesus Christ.
This week, when I would get down about the situation, sometimes I got frustrated with myself. I would think "Why am I feeling like this? In my life I have done hard things, and I've had other days like this on my mission, why haven't I learned how to make myself happy?" I guess I felt like I had passed through enough refiners fires in my life, and I should be at the point where I am confident in who I am.
I remember the thought "I thought I already discovered who I am," pass through my mind this week, and that got me thinking about the word discover. I'm sure you have all heard that middle school is where you start to "discover" who you are, but I´m sure you´ve also heard that high school is where you "discover" who you are . . . but wait . . . isn't it college where you "discover" who you are. The thing is, that you can´t discover something more than once. Pirates discover buried treasure, and mothers discover that their children don't like to eat vegetables, but people don't discover themselves. They develop themselves.
We don't just go through one hard experience and come out saying "now I know who I am. I discovered myself." No, because what happens when you go through another hard experience? Another day of knocking doors? Do you discover a new person? No you are the same person.
It´s like a log. Every log has the potential to be carved into a chair, a table, or a desk. But the log doesn't wake up one day and say "I´ve discovered that I am a chair!" No, it´s still a log. But through the skill of a master wood carver, and by chipping away piece be piece, one day that log can be a chair.
We all have potential to be something, someone great! But we don't discover that person, we develop that person. I realized that sometimes when I feel like I´m in the same situation that I was in when I first started college, or when I went to Mexico, or when I started my mission, it´s not because I didn't discover who I was during those challenges, it is because I am still developing who I am, and I will be for the rest of my life.
There you go dad. Another analogy for you. I hope it made sense.
Something else I have been learning is the importance to laughing everyday. Yeah, the mission is hard, but if you can't laugh through it, if you can't have fun, then you will have few happy memories of your mission.
I remember Leyva and I were pretty tired, so we stopped to eat some chocolate and take our 20 minute break. We could have just sat on the cold ground, and thought about how hard the mission is, and how we would rather be at home, but instead we started talking about how we needed to make a commercial for our new sector because none of them have really seen the missionaries before. We started scripting out what we would say, and it was super cheesy. We would use words, or phrases that we always used while contacting people . .. and it was just so ridiculously funny to think of making a "contact commercial." We laughed so hard!
It´s moments like that that will make the memories of your mission worth remembering. Or yesterday, at lunch, when I couldn't speak Spanish to save my life! Hermana M**, her daughters, and Hermana Leyva were just laughing so hard at all the little mistakes I was making .. . it was so funny! I just couldn't seem to say anything right!
I think the hardest times in your life are always looked back upon as the best, because that is where you learned to smile even when you are hurting.
I realize that I am not the perfect missionary. Something I think about Amanda and Jackson and the types of missionaries they were. Yeah, incredible . . . right? They probably taught with such power and authority, they probably asked inspiring questions, and taught by the spirit. Chuta! Why can't I be like them!!! But I´ve realized that I don't have to be like them to be a good missionary. I don't have to be like Hermana Chamberlain, Hermana Leyva, Elder Huaman, or Elder McKinly to be a good missionary, I just have to be me . . . cause I'm different, and I have my own talents.
So it was a hard week, but a good week . . . cause I learned a lot!
Okay, now for some business:
Yes I finally got the packages with the pills and the leggings!! Thanks! Also, I got a letter from Hna Chamberlain! Thanks so much!! I loved it! Also I got letters form my lil bros . . . you guys are the best!
About the packages .. . the mission really doesn't care. Chile is chill.
And yes mom, that is exactly what it feels like to be a missionary.
Also, question: I need to know if you were planning on sending a backpack or a sleeping bag, cause if no then I need to buy one. But don't feel like you have to .. .I just need to know!
Well, that´s all I got for you this week. Thanks for always writing me and just being the best family ever! Love you all!! Like a lot!