Can you believe it? Just started my 5th week out here in the mission field and it blows my mind! Honestly the whole saying "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days" is a REAL THING. It couldn't be more true. Well....actually my first 3 days here at the CCM literally felt like 3 years. Hahhaa. So sometimes the days can actually feel like years.
It's been a really fantastic week...probably the best week I've had so far. Today we said goodbye to all of the Latinos that came two weeks ago, which means tomorrow we get the new batch! I'm so so excited to meet them. I actually think one of my friends, Morgan Lesh, is coming in that group tomorrow! So hopefully I'll get to see her! TWO MORE WEEKS IN THE CCM.
One reason why this week was really fantastic was because I got TWO letters and a little package in the mail! Such a surprise!! One letter was from you mom (which means REAL mail instead of pouch mail is faster) and one was from Sister Melissa Skinner serving in her mission in NY! She was one of my good friends from school! I also got a package from the one and only Sister Maisey--they were Christmas cookies, so it totally made my day! Thanks so much, Sister Maisey!!!!
GUESS WHAT! Another one of my really good friends from school, Sam Cagle, is serving his mission in the Santiago North mission. I honestly never ever thought I'd see him, but the other day as I was practicing my Spanish on this computer program, I turned and BAM! There was Elder Cagle, sticking his head in and waving to me! Honestly, it was such a tender mercy from the Lord. I felt so comforted by the advice he gave me and how HAPPY he seemed to be! Plus, it's pretty cool because I was there when he opened his mission call and NEVER knew that 6 months later, I would be opening mine and reading the SAME WORDS--"Santiago Chile". So amazing!
The previous batch of Americans that came two weeks ago brought the Flu over with them....great. Haha. The flu is NOW spreading like wildfire and everyones freaking out. Please please keep us missionaries in your prayers! We're trying so hard to learn and do our best and it's so hard to do that when you're sick!! hahaha
Little random tidbit, but down here in Chile it is completely normal to see stray dogs EVERYWHERE. Literally everywhere. As missionaries, we aren't supposed to touch them because they could have fleas and that would be nooooo fun but it's so hard cuz all they want is LOVE! There's this one sweet dog named Nefi (Nephi in Spanish) and she has one ear (yes, she's a girl haha) and she just waits for us missioaries to leave the CCM gates to go exercising every morning and just runs with us and follows us and it's the sweetest, saddest thing ever.
We have these two INCREDIBLE teachers. Hermano Gonzalez, and Hermano Diaz. I had a really cool experience with each of them that I want to tell you about.
Hermano Gonzalez ALWAYS has the Spirit with him. He brings it instantly to ANY room ANYWHERE. The other day, our entire district was just having a really really hard day. We couldn't focus, we weren't motivated, we were just really down and hard on ourselves. He comes into the room after a break and says, "I have a suprise for you all. Close your eyes!!" So we did. All of a sudden, the sweetest sound filled the air, and the Spirit just hit us like crazy. He plays the harmonica--like for real, but started playing "Come Come Ye Saints." For those of you who don't know the lyrics to that song, the lyrics kinda go like this: "Come come ye saints, no toil no labor fear. But with joy, wend your way. Though hard to you, this journey may appear, great shall be, as your day. Tis better far for us to strive our usless cares from us to drive. Do this and all, your hearts will swell, all is well, all is well." As you can imagine, it was EXACTLY what I needed at that time, and after he was done playing, we all opened our eyes and we had all been crying. It was such an amazing experience.
Hermano Diaz is the ginger-iest Chilean you will ever see in your life. ACTUALLY, everyone thinks he's a Gringo the first time they meet him and its hilarious. His relationship with the Lord is unbelieveable and the LOVE he has for everone is unreal. Yesterday, Hermana Maxfield and I had a lesson with our investigator, Amador, (who is played by Hermano Diaz, but modeled off of one of his REAL investigators on his mission). Amador, a few years back, had lost his son in a tragic accident, so we were really trying to help him. It was our last lesson to teach him, and we had a really strong impression to take him to the temple grounds to teach him. When we got there, we walked around the temple, and then went down and sat in front of it. As we began our lesson and began talking about how the temple makes it possible for families to be eternal, the Spirit was just so strong. There was one point in the lesson where Hermana Maxfield was bearing her testimony and I just looked up and the sun was reflecting off of a window onto us and the wind started blowing and I just started crying because I knew that our Heavenly Father was so pleased with us, and knew the real intentions of our hearts. Hermano Diaz called a timeout in the lesson, and just started crying. Turns out he had just found out that the REAL LIFE Amador, his real investigator and convert, was getting sealed with his family for all time and eternity next month. We all sat there and cried. It was an incredible experience and truly reminded me why i'm here.
I'm so grateful for this experience. As scared and nervous as I get sometimes, as much as it can be out of my comfort zone, I love it so much. Jesus Christ, our Savior, is my brother and my best friend. I'm so grateful for the sacrifice he made for us, and for the blessing to HAVE the Gospel in our lives. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. If you ever want to know if this church is true, or if you want to receive a direct answer from God, then I challenge you to read Moroni 10:3-5 and pray to our Father in Heaven to know if what you are reading is true. I promise that you will receive an answer!!!
Guys, I love you all so much! Hope you have the best week!!!!!!!!