Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Holy cow! I passed my 15 month mark this week. It is so crazy to think about it all. The cool part is that on that day we were on an exchange and for the first time in my mission I was in a bike area haha! It was actually so much fun!! It was hot and I couldn't carry nearly as much stuff with me, but I was so happy riding around on my little bike. It was so cool to be riding around and then you see someone and you can just stop and talk to them haha! Or you can get off the bike and walk alongside people. And I loved when we were riding how I could just wave and smile and say "buenos dias!" to absolutely everyone! It felt so great and I feel like people were sometimes looking at me doing that and they probably turned and laughed, but that's okay! They'll remember the girls in skirts on bikes and they'll be wondering what it is we bring to the world. Haha! I've heard it said that cars are little anti-proselying bubbles and that is kind of true haha. It's interesting to see many ways in which the culture of the mission has changed from when I started until now and that is one of the changes. When I first came on the mission, there were only two bike areas for hermanas and the rest were car. Now there are getting to be many more bike areas for hermanas... not quite 50% percent yet, but as more areas are opening up and more new missionaries, it gets closer and closer to that. 
Oh, and thank you so much for going ahead and shipping me an English quad to give to Hermana Vila! We got the slip to go pick it up at the post office on Saturday night in the mailbox, so we'll probably go right after we get groceries in a few hours. She has no clue that is what is in the package. She just thinks that I got a package haha! I'm thinking I'll tell her something like, "you know what? You never get packages (because she doesn't... her family for a long time on her mission wouldn't even write her because they don't support her), so why don't you go ahead and open it up for me?" She's going to flip haha! I can't wait. You can go ahead and transfer over the $40 dollars from my account to yours when you get the chance to pay you back for that. 
Haha! I have a feeling this letter is going to continue being scatter brained. But last week we also had interviews with the President and I learned another thing that he was talking about perfectionism and what has helped him out in his life. He says that the way he naturally tends to think about problems is the engineer way because he was an engineer major originally (and I have that way too because it is the same principles of calculus) and that is that there is one best way to do something. The whole way of thinking is that there is the optimal way do anything and you are supposed to find that way, to work in the most efficient way possible. But he says that more often than not in the real world, the solutions are more like grains on a piece of sandpaper where it doesn't really matter because one bump is just the same as any other. He calls it sandpaper optimization. And sometimes in the hands of someone else, a different solution could turn out phenomenally well also. But part of allowing myself to be imperfect and knowing that the atonement makes up for it is also allowing others to be imperfect and let them try out their own ideas because maybe their idea is just like another bump on sandpaper and in their hands it could turn out marvelously. Or terribly, but they should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from it too. 
Also, President Hall told Hermana Vila to stop and smell the grass. haha! It sounds so silly, but it is true. When you stop and smell the grass that means all the work of cutting the grass is done and now you just get to enjoy it. But that being said, why not learn to enjoy smelling the grass while cutting it?

Another thing of this week is that a the member friend, Missy, that helped introduced the missionary I met at the MTC whose mom is my investigator came to a lesson with her this week and there was a really neat analogy she used. It was fun being in the lesson because Mayra the mom doesn't really speak English and Missy doesn't speak Spanish, so we got to be the translators. But she said that people like herself and Hermana Vila and her son did a lot of studying and they did their homework in the pre-existence. So much so that when they found the gospel, they immediately recognized it and joined it within weeks. They literally already knew it. Not everyone did so much studying in the pre-existence. I had never considered that before. I had always thought of it like a tabla blanca- a blank slate such that we all start life at equal spots. But that isn't how anything works. What everything about the gospel leads us to know that it isn't equal. It is based off of individual faithfulness and diligence to increase intelligence upon intelligence. After all, if there is the scripture that says that if one studies diligently to really know here on earth, we will have so much more advantage in the world to come. Why would it not be the same way with how diligent we were in increasing in testimony and intelligence in the life before? But that is the thing... it still isn't too late. If someone didn't do their studying in the premortal world, they can still learn it here and that will make all the difference for the rest of their eternity. They may just have to do more work now to make up for the work they didn't do earlier. They'll have to really fight to get their testimony. I am not sure exactly how I fit into that analogy being lucky enough to be born in the gospel. But maybe I did my homework too and I was reserved to come here at this time to help others come unto it. 
It was so nice to be able to see Jose get the gift of the holy ghost yesterday. Hermana Vila had made him a little memory book during one of the language study times that had pictures, the testimony he told us from the day after his baptism that we wrote down, and the notes we took from his confirmation. He like couldn't look at it because every time he did he would start tearing up. He is so great!!! 
And it has been really cool to be able to go work with the hermanas and see how many miracles we get to experience with them. For instance, last night when we went finding with some hermanas, we found this guy who was so ready for it. His mom just passed away a month ago and a week or so ago he got back from being in Mexico where he dug her grave, built her tomb out of cement, and planted trees there to remember her by. He is filled with so many questions and he says that he has always had this hole inside him that he didn't know how to fill. He thought being with his wife and him having his children would fill it and it did for a time, but it never lasted. We told him that we know what he is missing and we have it. He actually lives in Sylmar too, and it was amazing to see the process by which we found him. Absolutely everything that we went through that night lead us to him. The timing of the exchange, the street they happened to pick, the house that we started off at because Hermana Vila recognized it, the fact that they weren't interested so we knocked next door, that guy was leaving for work but we asked for referrals and he told us to go to the second house from the end of the street, we went there and that guy rudely told us to get out of his yard, then we found that person right next door. It was a miracle. Absolutely and completely. It feels so great to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and to see that he really is directing us to find his children who he is preparing! 
~Hermana Whetten

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