Monday, July 27, 2015

Chilis, Spiders, and Miracles

Familia! I have been waiting for this day all week. Like I mentioned last week, it is crazy how much you think about family when you're gone! I am so happy that you were able to talk to Mckell's mom and Tanner's mom too. They're both so great and YES. I find so much comfort in knowing that there are other missionaries, some great friends, and an army of 88,000 missionaries doing exactly what I'm doing every day. I haven't gotten any letters from you guys yet but I did get one last week from Aunt Jen. Will you please thank her for me? :) 

Chili's was a huge blessing. Of course I got the oldtimer burger and it was everything I wanted it to be haha then after we got some icecream. The other hermanas and I justify it by saying "we live by so many rules as missionaries that there aren't any rules for how much treats you eat". I say that knowing full well that I am going to complain to you in about 3 weeks that I've gained a bunch of weight. They didn't lie when they said all you eat here is rice and pototoes. Don't get me wrong, it's great but there's not a ton of variety. I know you said to ask for a small portion but that's our only real meal of the day so we stock up! I haven't eaten any fish yet (we normally eat chicken) but I'm trying new things every day. Yesterday we had fresh papaya juice that was weirdly thick, but really good. The only bad thing is I think it is doing weird stuff to my skin. My acne is pretty bad and the other day Daniel, Jose and Jessica's 5 year old asked me what happened and if my face is okay. yeah....

The weather is kind of cold but nothing I can't handle. It's crazy to think that it is 100 degrees at home! Anyways, every Wednesday we do service as a district which is really fun to be wearing pants and to be with the whole district! We were basically shoveling and transporting huge rocks out of a members "backyard" and every time we moved them, there were tons of spiders! We caught some of the huge ones and put them in a jar placing bets on whose Spider would be killed off first. It was kind of like in Harry potter when the class watched the Spiders be tortured but hey, it was fun. All of the Elders were laughing too because I told them that my last name was like Hermana Piedra. Between Page (Pagina) and I, they got a kick out of our English translations. It's hilarious because here they throw random English words in among Spanish. For example they'll say "necesito un break". Que en el mundo?¡ haha My favorite though is when they say "freaking" among the rest. The elders said I'll come home saying it with an accent. Another funny English thing is the songs you'll hear sometimes in the buses or motos. The other day "1000 MIles" by Vanessa Carlton (I think) came on and it struck me as so funny. Hermana Valbuena was very impressed I could sing along to every. single. word. hahaha Another funny moment was when the 20 year old son of the Mosquito family tried to kiss me (in the manner that we greet the women). My eyes got as big as they were in my drivers permit picture and I just said "no no no no" really quick and stuck my hand out. Everyone was laughing but Hermana Valbuena said I handled it mas o menos alright ;)

I don't remember if I talked about this last week but there is so much trash in the streets! Everyone literally puts their trash on the ground between the streets that go opposite directions (barrier), including us. Every time we take out the trash Hermana Valbuena says: ¡Que Vergúenza! What shame! People and dogs pick through all of the trash and literally the streets are a public bathroom. IF only pictures could capture smells.... Again, crazy to think that here people urinate in the streets and if you were to do that in the US you'd go to jail. People just live such different lives. The dogs are EVERYWHERE. They don't bug me and some of them are even kind of cute. THey are a little scary though at night.  

On a more serious note, I was struggling a little bit and feeling pretty down. Elder Page gave me two talks that really helped him out in my stage and they were both on patience (Monson and Uchtdorf). Wow literally an answer to my prayers. I have been really working on being patient with myself this week. One line from one of the talks was something to the effect of "when we are impatient, we are being selfish". This is so true. I need to trust in the Lord and his timing. Note: will you please send me the talk by President HInckley that talks about forget yourself and go to work? We had a conference with the President on Thursday that was focused on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. The whole thing was great (from what I could understand) but what stood out the most to me was when he taught about how God communicates with us spirit to spirit. This is the reason why we need to strengthen our own spirit through sincere prayer, reading and meditating AND APPLYING the Scriptures to our own lives, because when our Spirit is strong and close to the Lord, He can more readily communicate with us and give us the revelation we need in our own lives and for those we associate with (how to bless an investigator or help my companion etc). I know that I have already become so much closer with my Heavenly Father as I have been humbled SO MUCH and had to rely on Him literally every minute of every day out here. A miracle that we had this week was we went to teach a lesson to a woman we contacted on the street named Monica. We couldn't remember exactly what she looked like but we went to the address we had written down and were ready to teach the first lesson. When we arrived, we asked for Monica, who apparently wasn't home but here's the thing: it wasn't the same Monica! Their last names were different but we were still able to teach the two women who answered the door and have another appointment for this week. Another miracle is that mom made me buy the ugly sister missionary shoes. haha I am so grateful for them every day hahaha 

I really am doing better and I pray for help and happiness probably literally 50 times a day. Hermana Valbuena always says "Sí o sí podemos que hacerlo" Yes oh yes we can do it. I am so lucky to have her and I am so lucky to have you guys, as you said, as my cheer section. I really appreciate the support and can feel your prayers and love for me. Know that I too pray for you every day individually and feel so blessed to have not only such a wonderful family, but a wonderful family who ALL enjoy the blessings of the gospel. I love you guys so much!

How was the 24th celebration? Tell Joseph and the boys hi for me! Send pictures! Love you,


Found the other hermana Eliason!

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