Cute kids making dirt castles.
Wow! hello everyone! So, this week i have even more to say than what i usually have to say so get ready for another novel.
There are grass balls that grow on the telephone wires. They are literally just balls of grass. I don’t understand why or how they are there, but they are.
One day hermana Alva and I were walking to an investigator’s house. There were two dogs by the door we needed to go to and usually when there are dogs, i just pick up a rock and they leave. (that was what our mission president told us to do. when we see dogs, we are supposed to carry rocks for our defense. Never throw them. Just scare them.) So I picked up a rock and kept going. Hermana Alva stopped behind me and i didn’t even realize that she stopped, because she was too scared, until i had almost reached the door. All of a sudden, the dog CAME AT ME. Like fuuuuuull on. It was bearing it’s teeth and snarling and barking and growling and foaming at the mouth and was running at me in zig zags. MY HEART STOPPED. I lifted the rock up like four times and it hesitated once. So I started backing up because this dog was seriously determined to rip my face off. Then finally I got far enough away that it left me alone and i through the rock on the ground and hermana alva and i RAN. She was so scared, she couldn’t talk for a few minutes and I felt like i had seen a ghost. It was the most FRIGHTENING thing ever. So, we’ve tried to visit that house again, but when we see the dog we turn around. Unfortunately, that investigator will have to wait till that dog dies until they can hear the gospel because there is no way to safely get to her house. 😦 That was harsh, but very true.
I really like the custom here of how they say hello. We always put our cheeks together and make kissing noises (only with women, duhhhh) and it is just the most endearing thing ever! ahah, so i will be doing that when i get home. sorry bout it.
So, this week was my Christmas!! We got to go to Quito with our zone and the north orient zone. We met at the Mission President’s house and had a dinner. When i walked in the room, i almost cried. It smelled like Christmas and the decorations were SO homey….Hermana Richardson also acts like my mom and it is so sweet…so comforting. I talked with her a lot and even helped her bake some things while everyone else was waiting to be fed. We had turkey, jello, mashed potatoes, something close to sweet potatoes with marshmellow. We also had rolls and it all tasted just like home! 🙂 I also got to talk to the Pres and Hermana Richardson’s daughter more…she’s 14 and i almost started to cry!! I was like, “my sister is 14 too!!” and of course she was just like “coooool…. ;)” ahhaa buuuut it was a touching moment for me… Then we had tres leches for dessert which was DELISH. After that, we watched a video on our mission and then we went outside to carol. I was so beyond excited to go carolling so i lead all the songs and even the mission president asked me after each song what we would sing next, so that was kind of cool. Then we went back to the mission house and watched more videos on Christ–which were soooo touching. The zone leaders then acted out the nativity scene and it was hilarious because the tallest, whitest elder was baby jesus. haha. Then we played some christmas songs with bells and chimes! After that, the president and his wife gave some closing remarks and also gave us journals and candy as our presents. They also gave us a new goal to memorize “Jesus The Christ” in the next six weeks. I have already memorized a paragraph and a half! We are doing it in spanish as a mission and it is amazing how beautiful it is. More homework, peeps. Read it.
I also got a package from Jan and it is SO AMAZINGLY SWEET. So thank you SO much for that 🙂 You have no idea how happy that made me!
Saturday we went out to this pueblo called Concepcion. It is the coolest little pueblo. All of the people looked at us like crazy because not very many people go over there. We were there for a service project with our district. We ended up cutting avocado trees, and tilling the ground. I LOVED it. There were so many times where i just stopped and soaked in the beauty….the life i am living. It is such a blessing to be here. The mountains were so gorgeous, the sky as well, and everyone was so happy. It seriously feels like a dream. I also found a lot of obsiddion and i went a little rock crazy finding more. So that was really cool! Overall, it was such a great experience. And after, we ate dinner at the mayor’s house and I cleaned the dishes with hermana Henderson in the place where they wash clothes because they didn’t have enough water in the kitchen to clean dishes. I felt like i was in a movie! Like, gosh! I am so lucky to be here in Ecuador, getting to know the people, serving them, and just feeling exquisite joy!
This week we also taught with a member (finally) named Hermana Mayra. She said something that also really touched my heart. She said that she always tells her children why it is so important that we read the scriptures and pray and go to church. She says, “Jesus Christ died for you so you could have these things. How would you feel if you created a church with all the things necessary for your family to return to live with you again, but then they never went to church. They never did any of the things that you asked them to do because they just didn’t feel like it. or it was too hard. or they had grown to love other things. And you DIED for them. You died for them so they could live again with you and they didn’t act like they cared. How would you feel?” I thought that was so powerful. We always talk about how in order to understand people better that we should try and put ourselves in their places…do that with Christ. What do you think Christ thinks about you? Are you making Him proud?
Hermana Alva also has taught me to thank Heavenly Father for trials in my prayers. Thank Him for the experiences. D&C 58:4 says “for after much tribulation come the blessings”. Trials give us room to grow and they also give us opportunities. They allow us to change and to become who God wants us to be.
Here are some other scriptures that i really enjoyed reading this week:
D&C 59:18-20 I thought were so beautiful and touching! “both to please the eye and to gladden the heart!”
Matthew 5:45 is very beautiful too.
Romans 5 included. Really really amazing.
I like how in D&C 59:14 it says that fasting=joy. Cool way to think of it.
D&C 63:47 says “he that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.” it’s SO powerful! And how do we overcome the world? By staying faithful to Christ, and resurrecting in the end so we can live with God once again.
I have also come to realize something really important. The Atonement, Christ suffering for us, is how Christ provided a WAY for us to be saved. But in order for His Atonement to apply to us, we have to repent. The Atonement made it possible for us to repent of our sins and be forgiven. By our faith we will be saved, but faith without works is nothing. We can’t assume that we can just do whatever we want in our life and then because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we’re saved. He didn’t suffer so we can sin all our lives and then after we die, POOF everything’s all good. No. If we do not repent of all the wrong things we have done, and move forward–changing our ways…then He suffered in vain. I know this to be true and it is so important that everyone knows this. This is why all the prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon are always “crying repentance”!! It is crucial. I came to know this to be true by reading in these scriptures: Helamen 5:10-11 and Alma 34:16-
We found someone that God has definitely prepared to meet us. His name is Jonathan and he is 17 years old. We taught him about the Restoration of the church, and he believes EVERYTHING. He has read and prayed and he knows it is all true. We took him to a baptism the elders had on saturday and Jonathan said “what do i have to do to get baptized?” Then he came to church with us sunday and he turned to me and said “when can i get baptized?” And hour later he asked when he can SERVE A MISSION. What the heck!!! Seriously, I know that i am meant to be here at this time and that God truly has be preparing Jonathan to meet me and hermana Alva. Jonathan truly knows for himself that this church is true and is SO anxious to become a member!!! He is amazing and i wanted to just brag about how great he is for a minute. Everyone should have the same excitement about the church ALWAYS! This church is TRUE! and if you know it, then show it! Let people SEE the happiness it brings you!
I love you all and hope you’re all still doing well. I pray for you day and night! Take care and keep reading your scriptures and praying!! ;D Love always,