We got a separate letter from Em this week. She's pretty homesick, and described herself sitting in a random Internet cafe in Mexico with tears streaming down her face. She said she can't even think of our names without getting homesick. I know it's all part of mission sacrifice and that in time her homesickness will be eased, but please pray for her that she can continue to be strong and that she can get through it. In the meantime, I believe a Halloween package is in order ...
Juance again, I´m faced with the impossible task of summing up a week of misión life! A week of disappointment, failure, fatigue...but also incredible joy. A week of goal-making, blisters, and a LOT of prayers. A week of stumbling: over words, over the always-uneven sidewalks. A week of merciful moments of inspiration, and some of the most awkward moments of my life. A week of cereal. As Hermana Salinas would say, "Welcome to misión!"
You know, it's real hard not to be super homesick when you're in a different country - a whole different world - with a companion who doesn´t understand many of your words or frustrations. Many of my goals this week have been geared toward steering my thoughts away from home, honestly. Some of my favorites (and most helpful) this week have been:
-Focus on memorizing one phrase to use in contacting per day, as I walk
-Choose one perky hymn per day to read over and have in mind when feel a ´lil sad
-Replace selfish thoughts with the missionary purpose. Sometimes I just say it over and over in my head!
-If having a hard time understanding, pick out a few words and use those to guess the question or just acknowledge that you didn´t understand!
-Focus on what you CAN do, and do a lot of it: that is, ask for references, contact, testify, share a scripture and thought, smile, walk fast...
We taught a lot of members this week, trying to build trust and get references. Sometimes it´s hard because Hermana Salinas will tell me to prepare a thought, but then will talk about something different and I´m left scrambling to put some Spanish together to go along with her topic. "Welcome to misión." There have been a lot of cool moments, though, where the Spirit has helped me to know what direction to go. I often turn to the Hymn Book. During an FHE on Preparation and Obedience we did spur-of-the-momento (not my forte), I decided it would be a good idea to read a few verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and then talk about needing the Spirit´s promptings to serve, then I had the 18-year-old daughter in the house share about her decisión to serve a misión. There was another time when I prepared a thought but then Hermana Salinas opened the lesson to something completely different that I honestly barely understood. We were in a member´s house, a family of six adults. It came time to share, and I was praying so hard to be able to add to this discussion which included some random scientific aspect I just couldn't follow! I talked about Jesús Christ Being the center of our religión, our guide. I apologized to Hermana Salinas and asked "What WERE we talking about?" and sure enough, she said it was about Jesús Christ being our guide and light! Jejeje, just a silly Little thing, but Heavenly Father knew I was having a rough time and just needed a Little help in that momento.
We also had a zone conference this week. President Whitehead knows my needs and is sensitive to them - a lot of the conference was catered to the needs of the newbies. A lot of "All you need is the Spirit" kind of talk, so good to hear they don´t expect me to be pro anytime soon like I honestly thought they did. President told me it took him about 9 months to understand, and he still misses about 40% of the Spanish he hears. Super comforting, much needed. Guys, missionary work really is the greatest feeling. Sitting in a spur-of-the-momento visit with a woman named Dalila as she held her daughter...H.S. and I sang "I Am a Child of God," we talked a lot about eternal families and she loved it. I shared how I´m here, so very far away from my own family, because I know how true and important our message is. You watch peoples´ faces as you tell them this great message of hope, and there´s nothing better.
I had a bit of a rough momento the other day. Elsa (soon-to-be-missionary) and H.S. were joking and making fun of my Spanish, like I knew was bound to happen and vowed to not let it affect me, but I felt like I was having one of my best days Spanish-wise, so it was a bit discouraging jejeje. You know, it doesn´t matter how dumb I look. I will do this work at the pace He wants me to! I think one of the things that He wanted me to learn here was that publicly making mistakes and looking idiotic in the name of something good is just fine. We´re on this Earth to learn, and making then correcting mistakes is usually how. Here, you can´t allow yourself to care too much what others think or THE LORD´S WORK SLOWS. This isn´t to say I just go up and start talking to people without a thought in my head, I have to work and prepare to the best of my ability, first. I have to work on my Spanish, I have to work on learning doctrine, but most of all I have to work on becoming closer to Him. This means praying sincerely, often, and striving to see others from an eternal perspective, which isn´t always easy!
It´s not just the language I´m unsure of here. I´m unsure of how to work with members, how to make appointments, how to approach less-actives. There´s no doubt in my mind that this would still be way super rough even if I was speaking English! But that´s why I have a trainer, that´s why I have a brain, that´s why I´ve been promised so many times to simply trust in Him and all will be well. TUNNEL VISION - God and my investigator. The opinión of man doesn´t matter - think about it, if I really truly got that through my head, how different would my life be? I would walk into every room with a smile on my face, my head held high. I would greet everyone in sight. I would let no compliment go un-said. I would volunteer my thoughts, I wouldn´t dream of comparing myself to others. I would view every day here as such an incredible blessing. BECAUSE IT IS! I was born into the true church. I was born into a faithful, wonderful family. I was able to leave for 18 months to worry about nothing but the important, crucial work of the most high God. I´M LIVING IN MEXICO. I HAVE A TAG THAT DECLARES ME A REPRESENTATIVE OF JESUS CHRIST. I GET A FREE, AUTHENTIC MEXICAN MEAL CADA DIA. I´ve waited for these days my whole life, honestly, and I just want to make the most of them. I know better now how this work, WORKS! Organize, contact, get references...I´m starting to get the hang of it! I´m so grateful to my Savior for carrying me these past few weeks. I´m so grateful I get to talk to my loving Father whenever I want. I´m so grateful I have the fullness of the truth in my life. I love you all so very, very, much...words simply can´t describe!
Beeeeg Keeees, Leeeetle Keeees,
Just for ya information, Dear Elder is the best way to send a letter! I haven´t gotten sweet Kitty or Goosey´s letters yet, I Heard they rarely come through, or they don´t make it for months. Pouch mail is how we opérate here