Tuesday - Brief resumen (summary), we met some really neat people like Connie and Marta. Marta was someone we ran into while trying to contact someone else and we had a really awesome conversation with her. She praised us for having the courage to knock on doors and prayed for us at the very end and asked God to bless us with strength. People like that make your entire day, knowing that there is someone out there that even if they aren't super interested, they love Christ and support you in your work. We built a shelf for service which made me feel at home and ate cabbage biddogs for dinner that night. They were like little meat, onion, and cabbage rolls, they were actually really good and also probably a little bit made up since I'm not sure that biddogs is a word. That night we planned on tracting on 4th street but right as we got there about 5 cop cars sped over there and blocked the street off due to a tweaker house so we decided to take a different route.
Wednesday: We had a court adventure where we went through some security to try and get papers to help out a less active with her divorcio (divorce). It was funny because after checking my companions bag and taking out all of her scriptures he barely glanced at mine. There was a well dressed man behind us who were probably laughing at us since we were two young, white, clearly lost missionaries, speaking Spanish to a small Latino lady and getting mixed up about where to go. It was great. Later that day we met Pedro and had a really neat conversation with him. There are three things that come up in almost every conversation we ever have in Spanish.
1. We're so young!
2. You speak Spanish very well but you're so guerra/white!
3. Where are you from? Wow, Missouri, why are you here? How long are you here?
I love the Latino people. Sometimes I really count my lucky stars that I get to serve them and not white people because white people aren't very nice sometimes X)
That night we found Arturo and he seemed legitimately excited to talk to us again the next night.
Thursday: We tried to bring the papers to the less actives house and it didn't go very well. She opened the door and said, "Hola hermanas, disculpeme, no sabe Espanol" (hello sisters, excuse me, you don't know spanish) and slammed the door. In other words, we don't speak good enough Spanish. It's tricky because sometimes we can understand people really well. And then there are others who we don't understand as well. And over the phone, it's really difficult to understand well. We decided to try some potentials after that and found Aurelio. He's very kind and a little bit shy but seemed quite interested as well. I'm really excited to be able to find people who aren't just being polite but actually want to know more.
Friday: The temple!!! I am seriously the luckiest missionary ever. Only two weeks into the field and I have the privilege to go to the temple. It was absolutely incredible. I love the temple so so much. There is so much peace there and it is a wonderful opportunity to really grow and find things that you need to change. It was an amazing day. We went to 5 Guys afterwords and it was amazing. I've never been before. The drive was about 2 hours and it was funny because right after we get home, we went to dinner. So much food! If there's one thing I'm good for, I have just enough spanish ability to make jokes that are funny to them at least. After yet another amazing dinner, I said, "Yo comi tanto comida hoy." (I ate so much food today) Now it isn't that hilarious, it's more of a statement, but they usually find it hilarious that I eat so much food pretty much all of the time. I was asking how to say "I've gained weight". Then the fun really began. Hna Gitta is from Ecuador and their Spanish sounds like Italian. The way they fluctuate their sentences sounds like an American pretending to sound Italian except that it's in Spanish. Hermana Dungan, my companion, was doing the dished and Hna Gitta turns to her and more or less says, "You've gained weight! You look much more gordo" (fat) I died as Carla, Hna Gitta's daughter in law, freaked out and said, "No you can't say that! That is offensive in their culture!!" Poor Hna Gitta was so confused. "No it isn't, it's a compliment, why would it be an insult?" In their culture, being flaca, or skinny, isn't good. You would rather have some meat on your bones. So then we had a nice long conversation about features and cultures. Their culture is my favorite, they all have nicknames and they are due to their features. Carla is darker tanned than the rest of her family so her nickname was Negra. Her friend was Gorda. If someone had a big head their nickname would be big head. It made me laugh honestly, and sometimes I really wish our culture was like that. No one would get offended about what we all look like because we're all human, we're all different and we're all still children of God. What does it matter what we look like? It doesn't! She also taught us to only read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. It is the fastest way to learn another language. It's a promise, especially for missionaries. It was quite humbling. I really love their family and I can say now from experience that yeah, reading only from the Libro de Mormon has helped my Spanish grow in leaps and bounds. That night we had a lesson with Arturo again. He was so excited about the Book of Mormon. We've been told that we are sent to the places we are so that we can find the people that we need to teach. And for me, Arturo is one of them . I love the Book of Mormon so so much. It is my favorite book, my favorite thing to study and read. And Arturo already has an excitement for this book, already has this desire to learn more and I get to be a part of sharing that love for this amazing book.
Saturday: That morning we had district meeting and it was wow. We talked a lot about charity. There's a quote that says, "Charity is the neverending search for someone else's happiness." And if you look back on the life of Christ, he was the perfect example. Everything he did was for someone else, to the point of laying down his life for the happiness and the benefit of the world as it says in Ether 12:33. Moroni 7:45 describes charity in a way that lists the characteristics and gives us something to shoot for. There's a talk called the 4th Missionary and as it describes all four types of missionaries, 3 and 4 are really similar. The only real difference is charity. For when you lose yourself is when you find yourself.
That night was Brenda's baptism!! It was such a privilege to be a part of that. I realized, once again, that the opportunity to be here for her baptism wasn't for me to be able to say "Yeah I had a baptism the second week of my mission." but to remind me why I'm here. This mission is not mine, it is selfish of me to think so and to act as such by being afraid to open my mouth. I want to be the kind of missionary Hermano Garcia bore his testimony about. I am so so grateful for that opportunity.
Sunday: In relief Society we talked about how we are all missionaries. We discussed the different "muros" (walls) that we all have when it comes to bearing our testimony or being a missionary in everyday life, or the walls we may come across. Every last one of us is a missionary in our own way and it's so important to remember that. There are so many amazing promises we have, in D&C 84:85 and 88 - 85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
I know that that promise is given to each of us and I encourage everyone to be a missionary in your own way this week. Pray about it, ask how you can be the miracle someone is praying for. I've really learned this week how much listening to the Spirit truly blesses us and those we find. It's just up to us to take that promise and act upon it.
We sang in Sacrament meeting with Brenda after her confirmation. She's only 11 and she is such a special person. I love her so much. I am so grateful for our ward as well and the support that they give us.
Thank you all for all of the support, emails, letters, food, love, everything that you have sent. It has meant so much and I am so grateful for the blessing so many of you have been to me.
Les quiero mucho.
Guess which lunch is mine and which one is my companions. I'm obviously making good life choices.
The baptism!! And our family :)
E. Nielson, H. Harston, E. Oliver, E. Brassanini, Brenda, Mercedes (in the back), H. Kennedy (in the front, yours truly, H. Dungan, E. Solis, and E. Wunderlitch
All the missionaries who have taught Brenda (give or take) and the Garcia family (minus Mariela) :)))
View from the church