Monday, November 30, 2015

Lantern Ready?

Familia! What the.... I didn't even know that Taryn is pregnant!! But tell her congrats haha To clear up a few things from my last email (sorry I am always suuuuper scatterbrained when it's internet time) Elder Reschke was my District leader but got transferred. My new District leader is Elder Rivas (from Equador) and my zone leaders are still Elder Parra (California) and Elder Pastenes (Chile). I am still in San Felipe and I love Hermana Gaona. She is my third Mexican companion like I mentioned last week and we have a good time haha siempre estamos bromeando (always joking) and laughing. We're in the same house (with Hermana Yuri) and everything is going well! For Thanksgiving (dia de gracias) we didn't do anything because it doesn't exist here. Also, I'm not convinced that there is other kinds of meat available besides chicken (a joke but medio-serious) Hermana Gaona and I did cook "pie de queso" though to celebrate. It is a mexican pie that is with cream cheese, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and a crust of cookies and butter. It tasted like cheesecake and was SO. GOOD. We also got to try a drink from Equador that we made with our district- palta con leche! It's avocado with milk and sugar in a blender and it sounds weird but it's so good! Like an avocado smoothie. Toshi, Yuri's oldest son, had his 7th birthday and Krystal, her sister in law made an incredible cake based on "animal planet" that also tasted good. They told us that they feel like we're part of the family. It's nice to have one away from home :) 

We were able to do a big service project in Collique this week filling and hauling sand bags up a cerro. It was a lot of hard work and we looked a little like the scene from the Prince of Egypt when the slaves were hauling things to build the pyramids, but it honestly feels so good to make a difference and to help people. We were sweaty and sunburned and our legs and arms were basically useless for the rest of the day, but the eyes of the family that lived there were all the thanks we wanted. We also were able to do another "mini" service project sanding the paint off of old fire extinguisher canisters. The man said that the powder inside is only SLIGHTLY toxic. haha pray for me ;) 

This week I was able to reflect a lot on my own testimony. I was thinking about how often I can feel the spirit in the lessons and throughout the day and was disappointed by the lack of it. I didn't really know what to do- I'm teaching, bearing testimony, praying, being obedient. Why wasn't I feeling it more often? Then, like an answer from the heavens, I was told in conversation during a lunch that we need to CREATE spiritual experiences. This hit me hard. Later that day I was reading back on some notes from a capacitacion and read a quote from one of the elders in my zone that said "no existe bendiciones casuales"(casual blessings don't exist?). I realized that I was waiting for these things to happen instead of creating the right circumstances to allow the Spirit to testify. I changed something in my prayers and am trying to really love the people and to not let frustration or impatience deny the Spirit. In Mateo (Matthew) is the famous story of the 10 virgins. As I was studying this story I realized that all ten of these women WENT to the event, but only half of them were ready. I felt like this applies to us. We may GO to church, BE on a mission, but are we really prepared? Do we really have our lanterns ready? Are we creating spiritual experiences that can't be borrowed or bought? 

I love seeing the pictures and smiles on your faces. Try to think of something to talk about on Christmas because I'm telling you everything about my life via email.... haha Stay sweet and eat some food that I miss. Your favorite Hermana,


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