Hello all! Happy almost Halloween!
What an incredible week! A LOT a lot happened. Hopefully I'll be able to type quickly and get it all in. Sort of like a lesson here at the CRE (kind of like the TRC... an opportunity to teach teachers who pretend to be investigators), when we only have 20 minutes to get to know them and share these beautiful truths of the gospel in the best possible way. Except I already know ya'll, and this isn't really a conversation, and I get a half hour... so... here we go. :)
The week started with Divisions (on Wednesday... which I can't believe I forgot to mention to you last week!). This was where all the North American Missionaries went out into the field for a day! I was put with Hermana Campo, a Latina from Guatemala, and I served in the Guatemala Central mission. I was blessed to get a Latina companion... most of the Nuevos (or new missionaries... so those who got here on the same day as I did) got North American companions, and getting a Latino is a special treat. She was very sweet, and my only frustration of the day (as it usually is in every day) was not being able to understand as much as I wanted to from her. It is hard working with a companion when you don't speak the same language.
2 experiences I want to share from Divisions: The first lesson we taught was at a tiny home, dirt floors, smoke from a fire in the kitchen billowing into the house, and 2 big beds for 10 people to share. There were a lot of small children, and the father was sick and barefoot. It was very humbling to see. I got to sit in the nicest chair they had, which was a plastic one with a big hole in it, so I sat on the edge.
The father (David) was really excited about the Book of Mormon. When he read what he liked, his son had to help him with the words... I think the son had more education than he did.We also talked about prayer and I told them how having family prayers with my family has strenghtened and unified us. So humble, so poor, but the Spirit was strong. It was a wake up call that people actually live that way.
The other experience was when we went door to door, contacting. The first house we went to was a man who talked to us for quite a while. He used to be a member of the church but now was very anti. We didn't want to waste our time, but he kept talking and talking. He tried to discourage us, letting us know how dangerous it is for any girls to be walking on these streets, and saying that there is no way our God will really protect us. I bore my testimony that this is where I need to be, and I know that I am protected. My spanish had been not great until that moment, and he seemed surprised with the change in my ability to speak. I know it was only through the help of the Holy Ghost.
So, divisions were really fun! It was nice to go out into the world and practice for real what we've been learning. We get a chance to do it again in 3 weeks, (or I guess just 2 weeks from tomorrow) just before we leave for the field.
We saw our first cockroach this week! My companion was pretty scared, but I was just so excited to be seeing one! A Latina sister stomped on it 4 times before it died, and it was just a little one.
On church this last Sunday, we had a musical number of two Latino Elders singing "A child's prayer", accompanied by another Elder who played evey other chord with the left hand and the melody line with the right. It's amazing how music doesn't have to be beautifully arranged or perfectly in tune for the Spirit to be there. Also, one of the talks given was by an Elder Valdizon, who I've never heard speak and never had eye contact with. From his first day here, he has walked with his head down, in his own little world. I've never known what was wrong, and President Christensen told us to just treat him like everyone else but not take it personally when he doesn't respond. Anyway, he spoke in church about enduring to the end and perserverance. It was great to hear his testimony, although ironically, I was on the front row and the podium was so high that I couldn't see his mouth moving. Kind of eerie to see his eyes but still not know what he looks like talking. Pres. Christensen shed some tears. I think it was a miracle for this Elder to have the courage to speak in church.
On Monday we went to Las Colinas or "The Hills", a beautiful place! We had the day to play and spend time with the Latinos and Viejos before they were leaving. I went on a hike with about a third of the group through real jungle. It was really really great. :) Wish you could see what it's like here.
Last night was very touching. We said goodbye to all the Viejos (the Northamerican districts who have been here for 3 weeks more than us) and all the Latinos. I have made such great friends with them in just 3 weeks! Elder Illescas, who took rubix cube lessons from me sometimes during gym, Elder Mejia who is incredible at soccer and has the sweetest testimony, Hermana Noj who really confided in me and became such a close friend. It was hard saying goodbye, thinking I may never see them again in this life. Just the first of a lot of times when I'll have to say goodbye, I suppose. But I'm also very excited for them to go out to their respective missions, and for us to have 3 more weeks to prepare our best before ours.
Are my Emails too long? Let me know! Sorry... we have an hour for email this week because there are only 20 of us here today. That'll all change tomorrow when we get 70 Latinos and no more North Americans!!! I'm very excited!!
I love you all and am having a wonderful time! and want you to know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. Please share your spiritual experiences with me when you write back!
Love, Hermana Francis
PS: Just got my first snail mail today... one from Mom sent through pouch written on Oct. 11th. I guess it takes a while! Thanks for the emails... it's really great to hear how you all are!!!
PPS: I leave this MTC on Nov. 16th, just to let you know.
March 2017 - Trip to Texas
5 weeks ago