SO MUCH TO SAY, SO LITTLE TIME! I only have about 40 minutes left today, so this won't be extremely long! As always, I have learned SO much this week. Every day, it seems, my mind is just blown by something someone said or some crazy experience. Last P-day, I started to feel as if reality had finally hit. Wednesday night (when classes start up again) we taught Guadelupe again, who is actually our teacher Hermano Rasmussen. I started getting nervous, I started worrying about what my teacher was thinking about my Spanish rather than teaching with the Spirit, and remembering my purpose. In a place where every day is full of near-constant embarrassing moments, I just have to remember that all that matters is that when I pray to Heavenly Father I can say truly that I am TRYING MY BEST. He is what exists, He is what is real, He is who I will strive to please. This is a unique opportunity. I'm not trying to "move up" in the world, so to speak, my words don't decide my career, etc... Beyond the reach of social pressures, I have the chance to just BE. I have the chance to become better, to dedicate every second of my life to getting closer to God SO that OTHERS CAN TOO. To be closer to Him, THAT is my goal. As I continually remind myself of what matters, I will speak LOUDER and FIRMER. I will LISTEN during lessons, I will be EXCITED to teach. I will stop WISHING for a different situation, because THE GRASS WILL BE GREEN EVERYWHERE.
On that last P-day, I wrote in my journal:
'DON'T APOLOGIZE BEYOND TONIGHT'S PRAYER. DON'T THINK OF TODAY AGAIN. JUST LOOK UP, ALWAYS, AS LONG AS YOU'RE HERE, LOOK UP. DO AS YOU DID ON DAY ONE.'
In essence, BE BRAVE.
'LOOK UP AND LEFT AND RIGHT, BUT NEVER DOWN. THIS IS MY CHANCE TO BE BRAVE. IT HAS NEVER BEEN SO CRUCIAL THAT I BE BRAVE.'
Thursday was also hard, I was randomly asked to teach the Plan of Salvation in Spanish in 2 minutes by myself. Needless to say, it was ruff. We also taught Guadelupe in the morning, and Hermano Pemberton (Ivan) in the afternoon. Hermana T. started crying in the middle of the lesson with Ivan, and I wasn't sure what to do. I wasn't sure what to do and neither did Ivan, so we basically just ended the lesson with testimony. She was just tired and frustrated, as we all were. Before this lesson, I was a little upset with myself as well because I had let myself slip completely into English during my prayer at Branch Council Meeting, plus the PoS debacle. I had a personal prayer before the lesson with Ivan, and I felt I was blessed with a clear, focused mind. I was a bit disappointed we didn't get to finish, but looking back on it I realize that I was only pleased with it because I was speaking the language well and felt like I had a lot of answers. I didn't wait for the Spirit's confirmation before talking, and my companions could feel that something wasn't quite right. How grateful I am for COMPANIONS.
I ended up fasting the next day for a bit of help. It was a FANTASTIC day of learning, you guys, I can't even tell you how incredible it was. We taught Ivan and I thought it was fantastic, same as the day before. He asked a few questions that I was excited to answer with scripture. Again, my companions didn't think it went well. I suddenly became discouraged, because I felt like we had all the answers and things were great. We had a Companion Inventory after this lesson, and we came to truly understand each other. They really re-focused me, and I came out of that Comp Inventory with the goal to stop focusing on myself, and my needs and my successes and my failures. This is about US, THE INVESTIGATOR, this is about HIM. Yes, self-improvement is required in order for us to be in the right state to truly help people, but THAT WILL COME NATURALLY AS WE FOCUS COMPLETELY ON THE NEEDS OF OTHERS. The other tender mercy of that day, the other answer to my prayers, was a talk given to us by Hermano Rasmussen. That guy scares me. I have such a hard time speaking Spanish freely when he's teaching, I'm not sure why, and every class I have with him I leave frustrated. That day, though, he left the Spanish lessons behind and talked about us being INTELLIGENT MISSIONARIES. He talked about using every moment of our day to learn and serve. I've been focusing on 100% obedience lately, and that's going well, but my day needs to be more than just learning words and eating food and NOT doing anything wrong/against the rules. We need to go the extra mile in everything we do. We can't just NOT do WRONG - we have to DO RIGHT. For example, we can use our meals to speak Spanish, we can use our gym time to boost the confidence of others, we can use our personal study to re-focus, we can pray SINCERELY at every opportunity.
Also, Donny Osmond did NOT show up at the Sunday devotional, even though all my roommates tried to make everyone think he was, so immediately I started pumped everyone up for MITT ROMNEY next Sunday... :)
Monday and Tuesday were a little crazy, because we were suddenly given a lot more teaching opportunities. Hermana Captain became a new investigator named Estefany. Estefany is Catholic, has a 2-year-old daughter named Kelsey, and cleans a hotel at night (so she's always really tired). As of today, we've only had one lesson with her, and it was basically a "get-to-know-you," since when we got in there she said she actually only had 10 minutes instead of 20. Also, we've started Progressing Investigator TRC! Our investigator is named Maria, and I don't know if she's secretly a member or not, but we're not supposed to speculate so I won't dwell on it. She has a LOT of tough questions. She works as a custodian at BYU, she's young and has only lived in the US for four months now. Talking to her was a wake-up call. I didn't understand it ALL, but in the 40-minute lesson we had I understood enough to cite a few scriptures, bear testimony of a few specific things she was wondering about, teach her how to pray, etc. The Spirit was definitely there, and that's all that matters. Oh, also Monday night was cool as well. We were getting ready to teach the Plan of Salvation to Guadelupe, and Hermana Heinz was struggling a bit because she wants so bad to contribute to the lessons but the Spanish isn't coming. One of the Elders noticed, and offered to give her a blessing. The blessing really brought the Spirit, and even though it made it so we only had 7 minutes to teach, it was AWESOME. Right before we went in to teach, I felt that we should just bear our testimonies to him. I shared this thought with my companions, and they agreed. It was perfect. Words flowed. Hermana Heinz bore a great testimony she had written in Spanish, and Guadelupe/Hermano Rasmussen even shed a few tears along with us. THIS SHIFTED MY PERSPECTIVE ENTIRELY. We've been told that teaching should be the highlight of our day, what we look forward to. I think the last few lessons with him I'd been thinking of teaching as maybe an opportunity to test my Spanish, show my teachers how far I've come, or come closer to being able to tell the rest of the district "GUADELUPE/IVAN IS GETTING BAPTIZED!"
EVERY LESSON SHOULD BE A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. I can speak slowly, I can sit in silence and wait for the Spirit's confirmation before speaking. It's okay to spend the whole lesson on one thing, if it's important. Disregarding the lesson plan is becoming "the usual" - and that's okay. Bearing testimony is always better than pounding tons of information into peoples' heads, even though they still don't understand the very first topic. Also, they don't need to know everything before they can be baptized. TAKE IT SLOW, PRAY CONTINUOUSLY.
We talked to an RM sister who served in Argentina at the Copy Center. She said that if you strive to have the Spirit with you, not being able to speak the language WILL NOT STOP YOU FROM BEING A SUCCESSFUL MISSIONARY. I know, it seems obvious, but it was just an awesome reminder. She was once told that the only reason a lady had invited her into her house was because she "had the eyes of Jesus Christ." She was a new missionary, and had no IDEA how to speak Spanish. But her Spirit prompted this woman to welcome the missionaries into her home, and this Sister's Argentinian companion took it from there. BOOM.
Thank you again for all your wonderful support. The letters and emails are just so very kind. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
This church is the only true church on the Earth. It's the only COMPLETE church, and it was established by Jesus Christ himself. I love it, and I love you.
En el nombre de Jesucristo,
Big keeees, leetle keeees