October 20, 2014 e-mail
For church, we always attend the Spanish Ward. We cover a whole stake, but within that stake there is only one Spanish Ward. We do teach some lessons in English, but we have our main focus with those who speak Spanish. There are three missionary companionship who cover our area – one senior missionary couple (English–work mostly with less actives), one English speaking companionship (Elders–they actually cover two stakes, including ours), and us — the Hermanas. No, we don’t plan on attending any English wards. We just have our Spanish Ward. We don’t usually go to Ward activities unless we bring an investigator or less active with us to introduce them to the Ward members.)
Yes, we are fed very well. We don’t have a dinner appointment every night, and some we can’t go to because they live outside of our stake and zone (but still attend our Ward), and we would have to call the APs (assistants to the President to ask permission), but we are doing fine. The members are really sweet and kind (and adjust for my dairy intolerance). We went to Walmart, and I bought kale, carrots (yes, I love them), apples, pears, bananas, oatmeal (cocoa powder and vanilla extract as well to make it chocolate oatmeal), eggs, and peanut butter. Our landlords provide us with two quarts of milk each week (one cow milk and the other almond milk), which is really sweet of them. So we are always okay on having enough to eat.
Like I mentioned above, Hermana Martinez and I cover a whole stake, but it’s only about the size of a ward in Texas. It’s crazy how many church buildings there are here. I can almost see them on every street corner! In Texas I have to look for them. And apparently the mission presidency thinks our area is small enough for us to walk everywhere. It’s not terribly huge, but it is stretched out and long – it takes about an hour to walk from one end to the other. And it is very mountainous — when we have to walk up a long, steep incline, we just say to ourselves, “Just keep walking, walking, walking, up that hill, hill, hill. Find more people, people, people, to hear our message, message, message. Build strong muscles, muscles, muscles; exercise faith, faith, faith.” Haha. It helps us keep going up. One step at a time. There is so many symbols everywhere. We can learn so many principles every day even from the mundane tasks we have to complete each day….
I love my iPad. It is so useful. It carries the area book, my daily planner, emails, Facebook, gospel library (with the scriptures, General Conference talks in writing and video, PMG, pamphlets, gospel principles books, Ensigns, Liahonas, etc., and I can change the language from English to Spanish and back at the touch of a finger.), notepad, to-do list, prayer journal, camera, maps, clock, etc! It’s amazing. And it saves my back, because carrying around a heavy bag is hard. With all the walking and hills, my knees are doing okay so far. They got a tiny bit painful a couple weeks ago, but now that I’m using shoe inserts, I’ve been fine.
My invitation this week is to start a prayer journal. I learned it from another sister missionary, and it has helped me focus and have more meaning in my prayers at night. Throughout the day, I can write down thoughts and impressions on people I can pray for — it makes it easier to pray as well, especially since I’m exhausted but the end of the day. I keep mine on my iPad, but other missionaries carry around a little journal.
This week we saw miracles. I know the Lord is actively involved in His work. He has not stopped speaking. The work is hastening. The time clock is ticking down faster than we think, and we need to be brave. We need to live our testimonies everyday, serve, and love one another (President Uchtdorf). The language of love is powerful, and that is how the Lord works.
[For our PDay we went bowling. Here are some pictures.]
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to send you the information about my experience I had on the plane ride from Dallas to Salt Lake City. I sat by a gentleman and we talked for the entire 2 1/2 hours of the flight. The first 1 to 1 1/2 hours we spent talking and getting to know each other. He is married with two little girls. He works one week on and one week off fixing railroad tracks (and he was on his way to his next assignment). He was born in Mexico and had learned English in the U.S. He grew up Catholic but had some issues with it for a while, but he did desire to know God. I told him about my family, school at BYU-Idaho, belief in God and prayer, study at the CCM (Mexico City MTC), and now my calling to share my testimony (without monetary payment) of Jesus Christ.
As we talked, I found myself using techniques I learned in the CCM on how to listen and teach. I felt great love and care for him and saw a glimpse of how the Gospel could bless his life. In the end, I gave him the first lesson–God is our loving Heavenly Father, Prophets, Jesus Christ, apostasy, Restoration with Joseph Smith, bearing witness of the temple. He said he liked to research places and go visit them on his trips for work, and one of those places had been Temple Square.
Here I was, an absolutely exhausted, new missionary in the field (I hadn’t even reached Provo), and I was sharing the Gospel. It amazes me even more now that it even happened because as I started talking about the Apostasy and Restoration, I almost caught myself thinking, “How did I remember all of this is Spanish?” I know it was the Spirit speaking through me. It wasn’t me. I was willing and showed the Lord I was willing, even though I was tired. I felt impressed to pack my Spanish Book of Mormon with me in my purse, and I felt impressed to share it with him. And the way he held it in his hands — my heart sang. He held it like a treasure as I shared how precious it is to me. (We went back and forth in English and Spanish.).
I don’t know what will come of this, but I hope with all my heart that the Lord will continue to guide him and bear witness of the truth to his heart.