Monday, March 7, 2016

Oh yeah, I am going to hit my year mark this Friday! Crazy , huh?

This week was the best/ longest week. ¡Muchisimo tocondo en
las puertas! So much tracting! Every once in a while stopping in on
members homes for galletas y jugito- cookies and juice. Their doors
are always open for that. Landa figured out we walk an average of 45
miles/ week here. Our pickup lines grow daily- don't worry, maybe I'll
send them when I leave Lancaster. Maybe. (Btw, Super jealous Hunter
can wear backpacks- we aren't allowed. Book of Mormons+ shoulder bags
are killer on your back and shoulders.) Our efforts have been focused
on finding those who are prepared to teach. It has been a huge faith
building experience being in an area where you rely so heavily on
finding.. This week we spent every possible moment out. No meals, just
snacking in between houses, not eating dinner til we get home for the
night, haha. But we ended the week with 15 new investigators! Some
incredibly promising families I'll tell you about later. However, this
area has a way of messing with your heart. On one hand the Hispanic
people are so kind and welcoming and open.. But they also have a habit
of leading you on. Being too nice to say no so you spend weeks trying
to discern if they're actually interested or just nice. You've
probably noticed I'll talk about people.. Then they just drop off the
face of the earth. I get my hopes up so high for each person we meet
and teach. This week I realized I needed to stop getting my hopes up
and start getting my faith up.
     Funny Felix moment of the week. The one we teach English to. I
gave him some "homework" to do, and told him "no cheating." He asked
me what that meant, so I explained it and he kept trying to say it,
but could not say the 'ch' only 'sh,' so he kept saying "no sheeting,
no sheeting" over and over again hahaha. A friend called him on the
phone and when he hung up he was like 'hey- no sheeting!' He really
didn't understand hahah. Felix is the funniest guy ever.
     The people here can cook! It's horrible. It's just too good.
Estas cachetones no mienten. These chubby cheeks don't lie. I figure
it's time I come out with it, I'm sure you've all started to notice in
my pictures. I guess all these tostones just go straight to the
cheeks. Whatever. It's okay though, everyone still calls me
'flaquita,' skinny girl. So when I stop hearing that then I know it's
a real problem.
     Back to the work. So Saturday, in particular we had a day packed
full of lessons set from 12:00 until 8:30 at night, they all fell
through. We spent the day tracting instead. We ended up meeting two
incredible people- who were both English speaking so have to be passed
on to the English elders. Nights like those I just come home and
rebuke myself via scriptures or a talk of Elder Holland until I'm
sufficiently motivated to get over it and work harder. Jacob 1:19 is
my self- rebuking scripture of the week.
     So anyway, when Sunday morning came around we were feeling pretty
discouraged after a long week. We feel basically like a jealous
girlfriend seeing the elders with Lisandra and Erick hahaha. As soon
as their divorce clears we can start planning their wedding/ baptism.
All the elders really have to do is keep our seat warm. Hahah. Good
news though, supposedly it should be a quick process. And they went
out and bought a wardrobe of church clothes! Erick showed up in a
brand new suit, white shirt, and tie- which he watched YouTube to
learn how to tie. Lisandra is singing in sacrament meeting for Easter
Sunday. Right now the branch is lacking a first counselor..... Erick
will be there soon.. He hasn't smoked a single cigarette since we
taught the wow.
     Victor ended up surprising us and coming to church. We hadn't
been able to teach him the first lesson yet because we couldn't get a
woman member out with us so we could go inside (slim pickings in a
branch so small.) He hadn't been to a church in five years, so
everything religion is new. It was awesome, he just cut in at one
point in gospel principles and was like "Alright, who is Nefi, and how
do you understand the Book of Mormon?" It turned into the best gospel
principles class. Even other investigators in the class were helping
him. In sacrament meeting he was basically asking me questions the
entire time. "How can someone get baptized? Have you read the entire
Book of Mormon? I'm going to. I know I don't understand it all right
now but little by little I will. Do you think I can stay in the middle
if I'm changing my life, but my friends aren't doing good things?" He
is so ready to change. Stay tuned.
     There ended up being ten nonmembers at church, they made up half
of the congregation haha. It was such a cool day, it was fast and
testimony meeting and the members knew there were so many
investigators there, so all their testimonies were so sweet and
directed to them. I love the Columbia branch! Days like this I'm
like.... Nope, I'm never going home. I can't.
     So let me tell you about some of the people we met this week. One
was Kam- from Berma. Wow, he shared all about his culture and his
Christian upbringing. He was one where we didn't have to hold anything
back. By the end he was intent on reading the Book of Mormon. If he
reads it right, he'll get an answer. Unfortunately we had to pass him
to the English elders.
     Turns out Lancaster is a pretty diverse place! This week we met
some from Berma, India, China, Nepal, Africa, and of course, every
Hispanic country you can think of. I decided I'm just going to have to
learn every language. It is the most horrible feeling when you realize
you can't speak to someone because they done speak English or Spanish,
and you literally can't do anything for them. You walk away feeling
like the worst human being on the planet. I have such a soft spot for
those we meet with such diverse cultures- kindest, most humble people.
The ones that just a smile and a wave melts your heart.
     We taught an incredible new family from Puerto Rico. When we met
them, the father talked about how he just wants to bring his kids up
the best he can- with whatever little knowledge he knows. After we
taught the restoration, I asked them what it would mean to their
family if the gospel had truly been restored, the church of Jesus
Christ is again on the earth, and there was a prophet leading us
today. Cynthia, the mom just said "everything. It would mean
everything. You came at the perfect time for us, we are looking for
the right church." Her nine year old son said "we go to a church."
Both the parents just said- Not the right one. Not the right one. This
is so rare to find, most people have the attitude that all churches
are true, because we all worship the same God.
     So the cycle continues. My hopes are officially up. Haha. The ups
and downs of mission life. Weekly emails will never do the mission
justice. So much happens in a single day- miracles! Things are good.

The church is true!

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