Hola familia y Amigos!
Thank you so much for all the Birthday wishes and mail! I feel weird saying that I'm 19 especially since now I have to think before I say my age in Spanish (I kindof had the phrase "I'm only 18 years old" memorized pretty soon after I got here, haha)! The Sister Missionaries surprised us with a "Happy Birthday" banner on our door when we got home and Saturday night, Jose Torres took the English Elders, us, and Trenidy Thomas (other ward missionary who is awesome and just cut our hair like a pro) all to Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate. It was way fun even though the attention was the last thing I wanted, I'd much rather be out helping people, but it was nice to have people care. Even better, Jose let slip when his birthday is in December so we'll get him back >:) haha!
Now as for this week, guess who we saw at Walmart after emailing last week. Jazmin! She and her doctor worked something out where she's still struggling with seizures at night but is able to get out of the house and function during the day and she is super grateful for that! On that note, she told us that November is epilepsy month so wear your purple! Aside from that, we've been getting busier and busier every week! It's great! We are starting to have to be careful with when we schedule people because our schedules are filling up. We have to make splits for 3 hour periods every Sunday evening now! It's so much fun to be able to work with people instead of wasting time trying to find them!
This week's Challenge:
Take a picture with someone who you are grateful for and put it on Facebook, pinterest, this blog, or just send it to someone (like for example someone living far away such as in Florida especially if they will be there for a while like more than a year just as a hypothetical example ;) haha) with a little note, a sentence or two, about why you're grateful for him/her. Happy November!
Birthday boy with his
One thing that was huge last Monday was that we had our monthly Stake Family Home Evening (Noche de Hogar) with all the Spanish members who could come from the whole stake (I'll attach a map of the mission and areas and all just in case you all don't have one yet) and we had a blast! Jaime and Maria (who live across the way from the Sisters) came and really enjoyed it. Last month, they got the guitar out and passed it around until they convinced me to sing something. The only song I could remember how to play and sing all the words on a moment's notice was "Grandma's Feather Bed" so I played and sang it in English and they still loved it and it was super fun to be able to sing! It had been a while since I sang just to have fun with people and it was a tender mercy to be able to. This month, though, I came ready. Even though I had no time to practice it on the guitar (and thus strummed barely half of the song), I had translated the song "Apostles" by the Nashville Tribute Band into Spanish so that it matched the rhyme scheme and everything earlier in October, so I sang that in Spanish and it was a blast! I'm starting to realize that, even with my limited vocabulary in Spanish, I have a knack for translating songs. I only made two mistakes that Jose corrected for me in the whole song without help! I'm starting to feel like I really kind of know what I'm doing in Spanish. I rarely struggle understanding anyone anymore and occasionally lose track of which language I'm having a conversation in because I'll just be talking about whatever we're talking about, not worrying about how to say it. That's just occasional, but it happens, and I can feel God's help in every aspect of my learning here. His help is enabling me to accomplish so much more than I possibly could with my progression and learning on my own. I mean, you all know me! So you know this is crazy: I speak Spanish. I rarely use my dictionary because people can just explain in Spanish what a word I don't know means. It's wonderful to be able to sit in a lesson and focus almost 100% on their needs, concerns, struggles, triumphs, and challenges and on how we can help them to receive help from the Savior in changing their lives. It's beautiful to see the joy behind people's eyes grow as they embrace and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ more fully to themselves than ever before. I love the people here. I thank God each day for allowing me the opportunity to interact with them and be His representative in helping them come unto Him and be healed. I love this Gospel and I love my Father in Heaven and His Son, my Redeemer, Jesucristo. They're real. They live and are active in the day to day affairs of every man and woman on Earth. They know what you're going through, and can help you overcome whatever trial you may be facing. They can make us stronger. I know that because they've done it for me, and continue to do so. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's kingdom on earth for the sole purpose of freeing us, all of God's children, from all forms of bondage. It's true, and you can all know it for yourself. Ask Him. Change. Let Him help you to grow.
I love each of you more than I can say and am so grateful for the support you give me, the opportunities you give me to be a part of your life as you write me and read my experiences, and for each thing that you all do to grow and improve daily so that tomorrow you can do more than you did today.
All my love and gratitude!