This week was so cool. One of the cool people we met was a person named Blanca and she was a referral that came through the "system" (basically we get a text saying that someone referred someone who lives in our area. or sometimes they are the church headquarter referrals like at the visitors centers or mormon.org). We were finally able to contact her and her story was so great. At first she was very apprehensive about us, but we just got to know her and listened. It turns out that she had a friend who has even given her a Book of Mormon (but it was in English so she couldn't read it at all) and she's also been to a church dance. She has questions and she really opened up and told us a 20 minute long crazy story about her kidney transplant. She was on dialysis for like 9 years and she was getting tired of it, so she prayed for like 6 hours on a Saturday and was basically like an all or nothing thing with God and then the next Monday at dialysis she found out that they finally had a kidney match! She has a lot of faith and we're excited to work with her.
I think the coolest thing from this week was a recommitment to actively work to develop the character of Christ which is turning outward when the natural man would turn inward. One of the things that started that recommitment was an absolutely amazing district meeting. The topic was simply having effective studies, but the spirit was able to teach me some important things. When on a mission you are supposed to study for others. Study for your investigators, for how you can better work with the ward, et cetera. I really like studying for myself---things that I find interesting, things that I want to know more about, etc. But through my mission I've been trying to put that off little by little and I've been okay with that because I just tell myself that after my mission is over, then I can study for myself. But the spirit taught me something very important and that is that my studies should always be in a way related to others. I was kind of sad with that conclusion at first.
But then the next day something clicked. I realized that slowly throughout my mission I have been learning certain skills (like how chapter 1 has that quote about how we need to be devistated. It took me about a year to finally learn how to effectively be devistated as a missionary) and that Britt and Courtney need to learn what I have learned so that they can be effective missionaries from the start. So I decided (and I hope you are all okay with the decision) that when I get back from my mission, I'm still going to be studying for others. I'm going to teach you all little by little about how cool Preach My Gospel is, especially Britt and Court. I was thinking that could be like my companionship study for like 15-20 minutes or so with you all every day. It could be so fun.
That vision started me onto brainstorming and I began writing in cross references into my Preach My Gospel manual of inspiration I've received from my Book of Revelations, of notes I've taken, of scriptures I've found, object lessons I've used, stories and experiences I've had, et cetera. It is good because I've already been doing fun little family home evening training things for Hermana Hardy every Sunday night, so I just have to continue putting together ideas in my head. Preach My Gospel is so amazing that we could even have a whole 15 minute comp study on a paragraph of it or something like that. I'd also want to help you all have little missionary experiences of service or sharing the gospel often. Like for instance, when I read that you had a new neighbor moving in, my immediate thought was "oh, I hope they bring them cookies!" I think that has a way of breaking ice. They are moving in too, so offer and keep on offering service. Love them, talk to them, invite them over to eat just to get to know them, et cetera and I think it will all be good.
Life is so wonderful! It is hard sometimes too, but it is hard for everyone, so why not just help each other out in this journey? I think that's partially why we were sent here in families, why we have parents, siblings, companions... so that we never have to go through it alone. But at the end of the day, life is so good. It is full of simple joys and tender mercies. I love simple joys like being able to sit next to Hermana Hardy and sing with her when she plays piano, singing powerfully at baptismal services like last night, spinning in circles on the grass, driving with the windows rolled down and singing hymns loudly at red lights, crying during spiritual thoughts at our own little noche de hogar, seeing a recent convert finally coming to church again. It really is the little things. Talking to the fruit vendor on the corner because you felt you should go to a street and it turned out being a street with only businesses and he is the only person in sight. Going on hikes in the mountains. Getting to train the someone who gets excited at the smallest things (like, "guess what! I wore socks today and my feet didn't stink!") but who has a testimony like fire in her bones. Calling drunkards to repentance. Life is so great! I love being a missionary. Sometimes I think I was made to be a missionary.
Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week. Know I am on your side and I love you!
Tenga el espiritu consigo siempre!