Como estan? It sounds like your summer is still super busy, and you guys are on fire. I love reading your emails, even if they are long and lamo . . . jajaja, hearing from home is never long and lamo!
Soooo . . . I usually plan out my email and so its all organized and beautiful, but this week . . . . wow, what a week! I don't even know where to start. First of all, let's start with answering your questions. Yes, I was much warmer with the sleeping bag and the back pack did come! Thanks a ton!! Language advice . . . yep, I got nothing. It's hard . . . it is the hardest thing he will ever do!
Hermana Leyva and I were talking about learning another language yesterday, and no matter how many people tell you that you speak well, you will never believe it, cause every time you open your mouth to say something it is ten times more simple than you would say it in your own language, and it just makes you feel dumb, and like no one really knows who you are. It is the most humbling thing I have ever had to do, and Hermana Leyva told me that when she decided to go on a mission she knew that she would be going to somewhere where she could speak her own language cause she knew the Lord did not need to humble her again like he did at BYU. She knew He would not make her suffer in that way again, but that He had other lessons to teach her.
So stay close to the Lord, Harrison, cause it's gonna be hard. I won't tell you that you won't suffer, that you won't cry, that you won't miss home . . . cause you will. You will come to a point in your mission where you literally cannot keep going. Where you will ask yourself what is the purpose. In this moment you will be missing home so bad, your body will be so so so exhausted from all the walking you have done, you might even be fasting and weaker than normal. The sector you are working in will probably be hard. You might not have any investigators, and no one will be assisting church. You will look at the sky, the street, somewhere, and you will ask God if he is really there. When this moment comes, I promise you that He will answer, because He is there, and he does love you, and He has a purpose for everything.
This moment for me came, and it wasn't pretty. But, my answer came in the form of my companion. Yesterday, as we were in the streets, fasting, knocking doors to empty houses, I stopped walking cause there was something wrong. I started talking to my companion, and asking her if she was okay, she said she was fine, and I could tell she really was. I realized than that what was wrong was me. I really don't have the words or the time to tell you the whole 2 hour conversation we had on the side of the road, next to an old white car, but it was the turning point for me in my mission. I don't think I have ever in my life cried the way that I cried yesterday. But don't worry about me, Hermana Leyva was there, but as she was talking to me through this incredibly difficult time, I know that it wasn't her talking, because Hermana Leyva is a better listener than talker, but I am so grateful that she was spiritually in the right place so that the Lord could use her to remind me why I came on this mission. I told Hermana Leyva that I really didn't think I could keep going like this, and I knew that I needed to change, and I needed to truly put my heart and mind in the mission, and I wanted to, but I didn't know how, or if I could. Hermana Leyva said that we needed to pray. So right there in the middle of the sidewalk, with people passing, we kneeled, and Hermana Leyva offered a beautiful pray, and somehow I understood every word. The moment my knees hit the ground, I felt it. I felt the love of the Lord encircle me in a way I have never felt it before. I literally felt His presence in a way I will never forget. I will forever be gratefully to Hermana Leyva for being there for me in that moment of complete loss. She told me that she recently passed through the same experience, and that just the week before, she had been asking a lot of the same questions I was: is this worth it? Why am I here? God, do you really love me, and if you do, why is this happening to me? I think every missionary goes through it, and its different for everyone. But because Hermana Leyva had already passed through it, she was able to help me.
Sorry for the lack of details, but I wasn't even going to account this story, it just came out. So the only advice I have for Harrison is stay close to the Lord and pray for a companion like Hermana Leyva . .. jajaja. You will be humbled in ways you can't even imagine on your mission. Well, only if you let yourself.
So a lot of this week has just been me struggling with these questions. But we had a lot of fun this week too. Like, the mission isn't all tears and heart brake. Sometimes that's all I send home because . . . well, because typing it out helps me sort it all out.
But this week there was a giant fire at a factory. No one died or got hurt. But the sky was black with smoke. Hermana Leyva and I were just leaving a super awesome lesson and we saw the smoke. Soooo . . . we followed it of course! I have never seen a fire like this. After the mish I will show you the video I took. There was also an accident at a construction sight, and two 18 your old boys died, and another is in the hospital in critical condition. Super sad. Oh, and the father of a ward member died and the funeral was yesterday. We were eating lunch in the house of the member who lives next door, so we met the whole funeral party. A super weird week.
We had no one in church again, and we have decided to dejar all of our investigators and start looking for new ones. Even JP & C*. Super deficil. We did intercambios this week again, and this time I left the sector. It felt like a vacation cause I didn't have to worry about anything. But both Hermana Leyva and I learned a lot. We also started deep cleaning the apartment, cause . . . well, it's been awhile. We didn't realize how dirty it was. That's why I am emailing later, we didn't want to leave until it was all done. Now all that is left is to reorganize all our stuff.
Oh, and so I've been thinking a lot about cleaning the apartment this week, and how every pday we clean it, but we never realized how dirty it really was until we started scrubbing it. All the while we had just been surface cleaning it, and then leaving it until it was dirty again. Then we would do another big surface clean, and leave it, but that is not the way to keep a clean house. Though it may look clean, all you are doing is reorganizing the surface when it looks dirty.
I think sometimes we do this with ourselves. When we feel pain, when we are passing through a problem, how many times do we just clean the surface. Do we just treat our symptoms instead of our problem and than leave ourselves the same until the sadness, the problem comes back. But this is not the way we change. This is the way we rationalize staying the same, when what we really need is a deep clean . . . we need an Angie clean! It takes longer, but as you start looking inside yourself, you realize that there was a lot of bad habits, and change that needed to take place. Sometimes it hurts to get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor, but it is better than just sweeping away the dirt once a week. Then once you have the house clean, YOU CAN'T LEAVE IT UNTIL IT GETS DIRTY AGAIN. Because it will. Problems, and sadness will spill like milk in the fridge, and sometimes a little spilt milk in the fridge doesn't seem like much, but if you leave it then it will be joined by more filth until you are back where you started.
Keeping a clean house means that you have to constantly be cleaning. It is the same with us. We can't just think that we can change once and than we are good. We have to constantly be cleaning out our inner self, and constantly be trying to improve. Never think that God is done teaching you.
So there is my metaphor for the week, I hope it makes sense. Hermana Leyva says I need to compile all my metaphors in a book, and I told her that my dad is already planning on making a profit off of my genius.
Also, sorry, the spelling is so bad today. MY FINGERS ARE FREEZING!
Oh, and I still can't believe Brennen is home! Wow!
And Mom, when I left BYU Hawaii, I think a part of me also knew that I wouldn't be going back. It hurts a lot to think about it sometimes, but I really feel like I have learned everything I could on that little island, and now my path is turning a different way.
Sorry, for the unorganized email. I'm not going to say that I am doing great, but it is getting better. I love you all! And the pictures are super bacan!