Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, guess what tomorrow is...

My half way point?! Can you believe it? I sure can't... So much has happened in the last 9 months... I figured it would be a good time right before I hit the peak to look back and comment on the last 9 months.

Spanish: The Spanish is going well, of course I still make mistakes, but at least I feel like I can speak more fluently, mistakes and all, meaning that I don't trip over the words any more. I can understand almost everyone, especially over topics I have vocab for. There are still some people that are hard to understand (our investigator Thelma is one of them, she speaks super fast and uses a lot of expressions I don't know). All in all, I feel confident enough to talk to people. In fact I still prefer talking to people in Spanish.

VC: well, seeing as how I am not in it right now... but I have gotten used to the VC, there are of course still some hard things, it takes a lolt of faith to call people. They are getting ready for the Easter Pageant in 2 weeks! The stage is huge and I've heard so many things about it. I wish you all could be here to watch it too! And I can't record it to send it home, so we will just have to go back.

Other Missionary stuff: The routine is easy to handle, I actually really like always having a schedule. If we don't schedule out or preparation days well, then they can get a little stressful. Teaching is my favorite part of being a missionary. My least favorite part has got to be a certain type of contacting. I say a certain type because there are other types I do like. For example, I have no problem when we get a referral through the church referral system contacting people who ran into missionaries outside our area, or accepted at the VC or through calling in or being called. They at least are expecting something so it is easy to talk to them. Also, if members give us referrals and say that we can tell their friends the member sent us, it is a teeny bit harder, but really not that hard because we can find some common ground. However, when members don't want us to tell their friends (or neighbors or family or tenants...) they sent us, or if they tell us "well I think there are hispanics in x house" I still struggle with that. I don't even know what to expect, let alone the person we are contacting. That, however, is one of the reasons the Lord gave us companions, to help support each other and encourage each other. It is like the scripture in Ether 12:27 - "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." The scripture could have easily said "then through the help of their companions will I make weak things become strong unto them." That can apply in any situation, because we all have companions of some sort, whether it be our missionary companions, our fellow ward members, leaders, parents, spouse, children, brothers, sisters, coworkers, friends... We should all help each other overcome our weaknesses and develop strengths. That is one reason I am grateful for my companion.

Anyways, nowadays the mission feels like normal life. I love something that Elder Holland said in a talk called "Miracle of a Mission." He said that the mission IS real life. I don't remember exactly what he said but it made me realize that as missionaries we aren't taking a break from real life for these 18 months. Instead, we are getting the chance to spend all of our time living real life, helping our brothers and sisters gain eternal life. I like thinking about it like that. The most important things in life are not those things we gain from the world, but from God.
On to the investigator update. Laura is great. We went to her son-in-law's baptism last Saturday, which was beautiful. She had been telling everyone already that she is going to get baptized. Her date is April 10th. The one thing that we are struggling with right now is getting her to church with us, because other things just keep coming up, and they are good excuses. Last week was fine, because she went to his confirmation and his ward, so still at church be we want her to meet our ward. She can't go this week because her daughter-in-law is having a baby (had a baby?) today and it is a c-section so won't be out of the hospital til the weekend. But, she has a strong testimony and her family is super supportive, so we are going to keep working on that.
Thelma now understands the importance of baptism, but doesn't know if she wants to be baptized. We told her to pray about it, and she told us that she already knows the answer will be yes, that she needs to be baptized, but she doesn't know if she wants to. She has been with someone since she was 16 (who actually just moved back in a week ago to our suprise) and she told us she may want to explore other paths before she gets baptized. We are really trying to make it clear that she will not find joy on those other paths, especially since she knows she needs to be baptized.

Like I think I mentioned last week, we have been really emphasizing our use of the Book of Mormon in our mission meetings. We had a good experience with this the other day. We have been trying to contact a referral from the VC for a few days but every time have only found his brother. Finally we asked his brother if we could share a message with him. He had to think about it for quite a while, then he let us in. We began teaching the Restoration, but then his brother came home. He was clearly under the influence of something so we told him we would come back. He said that we were going to bring him a book (he had asked for a Book of Mormon). We showed it to him, but rather than giving it to him, testified of the treasure that is was and told him we would give it to him when he was in a better state to understand it. Before all of our training we probably would have just given it to him, but we didn't. We left our phone number, with him, and then his brother, who we didn't think was interested, asked for our number too. We could tell that something had changed in him. I know it was because of the way we treated the Book of Mormon, and now he is interested. He was not under the influence of drugs like his brother, so he was able to notice how we treasured the book and in a way protected it. That was just 2 days ago, so we haven't been back to see him yet, but I am excited to give him a Book of Mormon, because he seems like he will respect it more.

Time almost up, so I have to go. Love you all!

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

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