Saturday, March 30, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello all! I can't believe how fast time flies! It's already Monday again. I'm kind of scared the second half of my mission is just going to fly by like that and suddenly I'll blink and I'll be on a plane. I'll try not to think about that too much. But yeah, how has everyone been? 
This week was really busy and great. I told you last week about how Hermana Tavoian is really struggling with Spanish still, so we've been studying Spanish together for the whole language study time. I am teaching her principles of Spanish: grammar, vocab, pronunciation, songs I learned in my Spanish classes, et cetera. It is really helping her and it isn't that bad of a review for me, clearing up the fuzzy spots I have here and there. She hasn't had a companion yet whose really just sat down with her and helped rewire the mistakes that maybe she didn't even know she was making, so she's really grateful and I feel like she's understanding more and then noticing the things we've studied more and more. It really has been a blessing for me. With Hermana Hansen, she was the one who knew all the Spanish. Since then with Hermanas Mulliner and Tavoian, I was in a way thrown under the train in that suddenly I was the one having to do most of the texts, telephone calls, starting many conversations, teaching much, et cetera. It has been good for me because I can now do that stuff. I'll still have moments when I'm like "wow, I just met someone who speaks no English and I was able to communicate!" Anyway, I feel like helping out Hermana Tavoian has also been preparing me for training in the future because it's very possible I'll have a complete beginner in Spanish to train, so I've been learning the patience that takes on my part and also how to be charitable and help them feel good about their Spanish but always help them learn more and more. 
This week, Hermana Tavoian also got sick with stuffy nose problems, so she's had to come home and take naps a bit early sometimes but I think she's on the uphill side. Haha-- I feel like my companions have been getting sick a lot with me. I wonder if I have a ton more energy than them and I'm wearing them out. But it hasn't been holding her back too much. 
Oh, one really fun thing about this week is that a recent convert, Juan had us come over on Saturday. He fed us saviche which is actually not too bad even though it is seafood. It's like a mixture of shrimp, crab meat, and some veggies like cabbage, and cucumber with some juices like orange and lemon. I'm honestly not sure what else is in it. But then you eat it on tostadas. But anyway, after we ate, he had us go outside and we got to dump out some of the wine he had. He wasn't drinking it, but he had it from before he was baptized and he said he didn't feel good when he gave a bottle or two away, so he just wanted to dump it all out. It was a fun little dumping out wine party (though the backyard stunk quite a bit hahaha). 
We've been meeting lots of new people and preparing others for baptism. We even set a baptismal date with an eternigator who finally received his answer because of a very spiritual experience they had in the LA temple visitor's center. He promised his wife he would give up drinking and he wants to get baptized on their wedding anniversary in May (shh-- don't tell his wife! it's a secret for her).
We've been meeting lots of new people and I had a really spiritual experience meeting with this lady who has cancer. That visit really helped me to love people better for many reasons. Don't ever judge someone. Chances are when you talk to them you'll love them so much as you learn of everything they've been through. I remember last Sunday at church judging her a little bit because she was sitting there coughing and wheezing loudly right behind us during the sacrament and I was sitting there praying that our investigators would have a spiritual experience during sacrament meeting. (I had no clue who she was at that point) But getting to talk to her at her house made me feel bad and want to be better. She told us of many experiences she's been through in her life, of everything she went through to be baptized, of how her catholic family completely rejected her afterward, of how she had to defend her faith for 3 1/2 months on the bus when a Jehovah's Witness wouldn't stop tormenting her, of experiences she had as a child when the catholic people in her pueblo went from house to house taking people's bibles and burning them because they said that only the priest could interpret the word of God for the people (but her Grandma had stuck the Bible onto their roof and she still has it), of how since she was baptized like 40 years ago, she's only wanted to go through the temple but she got baptized without her husband's permission so she decided she had better at least get his permission for that. She told us of how she smoked and drank before she was baptized and she returned to it when she was inactive for 8 years and it is only now that she is suffering from it all. That her left lung is drying up and her right lung is having fibrous growth and so she is imprisoned in her house basically on oxygen and what used to take her an hour now takes her all day. She is dying of cancer, but her husband finally gave her permission to go through the temple and that is the only thing that matters to her. She will go through on April 6th. Meeting her changed everything for me. It helped me see what it is like to have the pure love of Christ for someone. Having that changes everything. I met an angel and at first in that appointment, I was only concerned about whether or not we would get a referral from her (because we had prayed about who to visit to get a referral and we were sent to her house). But now I see that the Lord wasn't sending me there for a referral. He was sending me there because there was something important I needed to learn from her: LOVE. Sometimes I get too logical about missionary work, I think. I see where I've seen success in the past and then I start creating formulas for future success. But that isn't what missionary work is about. This is about learning to be guided by the spirit in all we do. This is about "feeding my sheep." He didn't call us to feed his sheep in some robot-like mechanical manner. He called us to love them and care for them so that when they hear our voice they will recognize the voice of the master calling for them and so they will follow him because they love him, like sheep run to the voice of their master. I realized that I was thinking to myself "there is no missionary point in us being here since she's not going to give us a referral" and "man, she's talking so much like all Hispanics, how are we going to get out of here?" and then it hit me... I was basically talking to an angel... or at least someone who will be one very soon. I was talking to an angel and thinking to myself "I have to go." Meeting her changed a lot for me and I now have the desires to really love people better. It isn't about loving them because they're changing. It is about loving them enough that they want to change. I really hope that during my mission (and I'm sure I'll be working on it through the rest of my life) I can keep on seeing the people around me as Christ sees them and that I can truly be the servant and friend he needs me to be. 
Haha... sorry... that was a lot of typing to read through. I would love to hear experiences you've had that have helped you learn to love people better! 
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre jamas! 
~Hermana Whetten

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