Wow, great email. I had no idea there was a skinner reunion planned. . BAKAN! Wow, everyone looks so old in that picture. So, I usually plan a little of what I am going to write you, but this week I didn't. We were so busy. The reactivation plan is different. I’m not really sure where to focus our efforts yet. Its a little difficult, cause in normal missionary work, if an investigator is not progressing then you drop them and find someone else who wants to complete with their commitments. But in this situation, if an inactive is not progressing you can’t just drop them and knock the next door, cause there is only a certain amount of inactives in the sector. But, I think that after some time I will adapt better, and learn how to help these people return to the fold.
We are out looking for the lost sheep, and when we find them, just like Jesus, we put them over our shoulders and bring them home. We had three inactives in church this week, and two investigators. In our sector there is like a group of young men of 18 to 20 years old that are inactive. I don’t know what happened with this group, but they all went astray about two years ago, so Hermana Alonso and I are working with them specifically, cause they are the future leaders here in Santa Maria.
Hermana Alonso is amazing. I think I already told you about how she is a doctor and has 2 younger sisters. We live with two other sisters. It is so fun living with other sisters! Last night we turned our gas stove on and made shmores! So fun! Our house is freezing! The water in the shower only gets like luke warm, and the electricity is terrible so we can’t have all the heaters going at once. But, my sleeping bag keeps me warm in the night. The worst is studying in the morning with wet hair, also at night when the sun goes down and we don’t have any appointments so we freeze in the streets! Santa Maria is one of the coldest sectors, but it is so beautiful.
Once or twice a week we go out to a little pobalcation, La Higuera, to work, and it is breath taking. The valley of Santa Maria is filled with autumn painted vineyards that stretch to the base of the snow caped, Andes mountains. Beautiful.
The branch is tiny. We actually don’t have a chapel. We meet in a house. Yes, a pink house on main street. I think about 40 people came last Sunday. I had to give a talk, and we taught the gospel principles class. We are focusing on creating branch unity. Every Friday night the missionaries host a FHE in the "Chapel." We are reading the Book of Mormon as a branch, and in the FHE we try to make the reading fun. This Friday we split into two groups and each was assigned a chapter, and given a bag of objects. Your group had to act out the chapter using all the items in the bag. My group had 1 nefi 3 . . super awesome! There were only 5 people in my group, but I encouraged everyone to participate, and though in the beginning everyone was a little timid, by the end we were all laughing at the ridiculousness of our skit. On Sunday, a couple that was in my group thanked me for helping them have a good time and break out of their shell.
Also, on Saturday at 12 pm we teach english classes. This Saturday was our first class. When Hermana J handed me the marker for the white board and said I was in charge, I felt like I had returned to my territory. I love teaching English! Hermana Alonso also speaks English, so we took over the class and made a pretty good team.
I love finishing the training of new missionaries. Today I was talking to Hermana Alonso about it, and she commented that from her first trainer she learned about the missionary schedule, about how to teach, about the rules, what you can and can’t do, but from me she said that she is learning how to love the mission. She said that she is learning how to have patience, how to love the people, and how to make the service fun. I think that after the terrible experience I had with a companion, God has given me the chance to teach the new missionaries what I was never taught, to give them what I didn't have. To love them and teach them to love.
I love my mission, and I can’t imagine my life without it. I know that I wasn’t called to baptize everyone, which is a good thing, cause I would have failed. But, I think that more than anything, I was called to help the other missionaries who struggle, which is why I had to pass through all those challenges in the beginning of my mission. The Lord truly knows what He is doing. I was called on a mission to serve Gods children, and that includes my companions.
Bueno, like I said, I didn’t really plan this email, so I don’t really have much else to say. But, I hope you enjoy. Have a great week! I love you all! Also, just so you know I visited some amazing old people this week! They are the best!