Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 17, 2015 Letter

Hey Familia!!

So just to update you on the changes that transfers brought:
1) I am staying in Gijon.
2) I am getting a new companion named Hermana Santiago. She's a good friend of mine, from Texas, has 2 transfers less in the mission than I do, and she's awesome.
3) We are sister training leaders together for the Leon Zone. Our new mission president, president Pack, instituted this new thing where there are 2 STLs in all the zones in the mission, and that they are companions. It's the first time there have been STLs in the North or the Islands and it's pretty exciting. It means that we do intercambios and that we also go down to Madrid for Concilio once a month with the zone leaders, and we do zone trainings together. It's pretty cool. It's cool that I get a second try at this thing, because I feel like it was trial by error the first time, and I'm excited to apply the things that I learned. I am feeling a little overwhelmed, but in a good way. I'm so so so sad that Hermana Stephenson left. She's one of the best friends I've ever had and seriously such a great companion and missionary. She's going down to Villalba, a pueblo outside of Madrid. I sent her down this morning and right now I'm chilling with my friend Hermana Freestone in Oviedo until our new companions get here. It's been a good day, although sad. Im EXHAUSTED, though. So tired. We have gotten little to no sleep in the last few days, thanks to transfers and packing and cleaning the piso and just trying to get caught up on everything. It was a bit of an emotional week, but it turned out great. It'll be so good to start a new transfer and see what we can get going in good ole Gijon. I'm so glad I have more time! It's my third transfer here and I'm loving it.

Ok. Experiences this week: We made it in the news! See photo below:

So last pday the Oviedo Hermanas came up to Gijon and we went to the fair with our branch mission leader, Santi. He took us out to eat "comida basura, estilo americana" (garbage food, American style- his words, not mine) and then bought us all a gift. Like, seriously, nicest guy ever. This is what he made us eat while with him (he was paying, we couldn't say no. Literally, we tried, and he just refused it) : a literal platter of meat. Bread. A huge slice of cake. A ginormous ice cream cone. Coke. And then, 20 minutes later, he bought us another ice cream cone. And then he offered to take us out to snack and we were like, Santi! We have seriously eaten so much today! And he was like- what do you mean? You've eaten so little! He just didn't understand why we were so full. Did not understand at all. Anyways, that was just a little side story. As we were walking around in the fair, this guy stopped us and asked to take our picture for the paper. He was doing a piece about the fair, and he was trying to show that the fair was international. We literally stand out so much- haha. He took our picture, and the rest is history. We had to laugh because it probably just furthers problems with people thinking that Mormons are polygamists- its like Santi with his 4 young wives. 

But the Hermanas in Oviedo has a cool experience with it- this guy stopped them and told them that he saw them in the paper and that he wants to know more about the church! It was really cool. Hopefully they'll see progress from him. We had breakthrough lessons with P. and F. this week. P. told us that she knows the church is true. She just feels it, she said. The situation is hard with her family right now but she's so sweet and just so strong. We love her so much. She was sad to say goodbye to Hermana Stephenson yesterday. She still doesn't feel prepared to get baptized, so we're working on it with her. Little by little. I told my companion that I'm really sick of little by little- i feel like it's been the motto of my whole mission and it's getting old- but she was just like "you're not going to progress any faster now than you did at the beginning. Life just comes one day at a time. Just because you have more time on the mission now doesn't mean that progression will suddenly come faster." I liked that. Patience is so essential in all facets of life, and it's something that I've had to learn so much about out here. Anyways. I liked that. She taught me a lot. 

Also, F. is just progressing so well. He's receiving answers right and left, he's so sad he can't come to church more because of his work, and he's just the sweetest guy. He's read the whole Book of Mormon. And now he's reading it again. He's just... Prepared. It's the best way I can think of to describe him. Just ready. He told us that he wants to wait to get baptized until the work situation evens out a little bit because he doesn't want to make a covenant with God and then just not be active. He took tithing really well and he's just so amazing. I can't even begin to describe how lucky we are to have the chance to work with him.

We had a zone training meeting this week in Leon and they announced a new rule that we have as a mission. They're changing Medio dia. So what we're doing is that we usually have 2 and a half hours of study in the mornings and then we go out and work, Medio dia starts at 2:00, we eat and rest a little, and then we're out the rest of the night.
Every mission has 2 hours to eat, we just have ours together in the middle of the day. Now what's happening is they have changed it all up so that we have one more hour of proselyting and one less hour of food/rest time. Well now just have 1.5 hours of study in the morning, leave the piso and hour earlier, and then during Medio dia, we have one hour to eat and rest and another hour to do companionship study. It's still two hours, but one of them is for study. It's s pretty big change, and I'm thrilled about it. When I got my release date, I was really sad because I felt like it was just too soon. So I was praying and I asked God to give me more time. I told Him I would take any opportunity I had to have more time on the mission. As I said that prayer, I felt a lot of peace. I felt like He was gonna give me more time. I was sort of waiting to see if there was an option for an extension of the mission or something, when this announcement came along. He gave me more time, in the form of one more hour of work a day. It adds up to roughly 115 hours total, or, in other words, 2 weeks worth of more prostleying time. Exactly the amount of time that was taken off of my mission. It was an emotional moment to realize
that God answered my prayer. It may seem like a little thing, but it didn't feel little to me. I'm grateful for it and excited to have more time to work! I'll probably drop dead at the end of it- I can't imagine getting more tired than I am right now, and yet I get tireder
everyday. It's insane.

I've been learning a lot lately and realizing just how imperfect really am. I have so much to work on- so much. I know I'm inadequate and always will be- but I'm learning how to better trust in Christ and Heavenly Father. They are my everything, and it's only through them that I am able to do anything. I'm so grateful to have them and to have the chance to serve them. I'm not perfect- soooooo far from it. But luckily, this isn't about me! My motto as of late is "forget yourself, and go to work", with emphasis on forget yourself. I'm trying to forget my will, forget my desires and forget my struggles and just do my best to help the Lord. It's a work in progress and it always will be, but it's in the journey that we find what we need.

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