June 9, 2014

Week Twenty-Five: Sunday ALWAYS Comes

A really ugly picture of me and the rainbows that we see basically every day here in Frutillares. I don't know if it is because it is always off and on raining ... or maybe the sea ... but it is really gorgeous. With my jacket, I wear that jacket, a huge down coat underneat, and my rainskirt ... basically every day. It is crazy.
[Mom's Note: I thought this picture fit perfectly with the message of Laney's email this week ...}
Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana De León

Dear, dear, dear, familia!!

Wow, English is a little unfamiliar! This week was the baptism by fire Spanish wise ... actually in every aspect it was the baptism by fire. Ahem ... let me expound.

Right now, I am with Hermana De León from Guatemala. It is actually her 22 birthday, so we are going to celebrate like nobody's business today. She is a gem and a half. A little bit quiet, but her humor is exactly like Savannah's, so we get along really, really well. She loves bold colors and playing soccer and English (so, basically, she is like a good ol' Latina haha). So far, I have LOVED being with a Latina. It has been soooo different, but not crazy hard. The thing is, I got super lazy with my Spanish when I was with Hermana Peterson because there wasn't really the necessity for me to speak. When I did speak, I stumbled over words and I didn't hear a single compliment about my Spanish (I am a little vain about my Spanish hahah). This week, my Spanish has just flown out the roof. It is still way difficult to communicate ... just because I lack in vocabulary, but it has been a pretty good transition. I love Hermana De León.

Hermana De León -- cutey patootie
This week has been the absolute hardest and most beautiful weeks of my mission. When we left the terminal and I gave my last hug to Hermana Peterson, I almost felt the weight of Frutillares slip on to me. And boy oh boy, the weight is HEAVY. I realized this week that I have never felt very responsible in the mission. So far it has just been ... wow, I am the new kid here ... I don't really know that much about being a missionary. But as soon as Hermana De León and I entered the bus in the pouring rain on the bus to Tomé, I felt the responisibility. We got home, I sat down in our study room ... and I started to cry. I cried for a good five minutes. Why? I was afraid, for one thing. I have never had a Latina companion. I was nervous to show the sector around. I was also scared out my mind for interaction with the drama prone members without Hermana Peterson. They loved her SOOOO MUCH. They loved her so much that it didn't really matter when we were in Executive Committee meetings and she said, "We're still looking for investigators!" Without her, I felt a little bit like I was drowning.

Hermana Blau and Hermana De León
We left to work on the first day. The plans that I had made were AWFUL. We walked and talked to a lot of people. We met some members. We didn't teach a single lesson. In every lesson, I could not feel the spirit because I was thinking about what we needed to do next and I was anxious as heck. As we walked, I tried to tell Hermana De León about the sector in a way that made it seem like paradise, but I knew that by the work we were doing, she would know that it has been a little bit of a struggle here. I remember thinking that it was really stupid that all of my companions so far have felt really pressured to be perfect in the first week of being together ... but now I know that those feelings are REAL. I felt like all of the pressure was on me. I had to make the plans on my own. I had to introduce Hermana to all of the drunk men on the street and to all of the members. I had to explain to her that we don't really have that big of a pool of investigators.

I cried the second day, too. I felt completely out of control. Of course, I didn't tell this to anyone else. I only cried in the time that Hermana De León was showering ... but I felt like the world's worst missionary. I had nightmares for the first time in my mission about coming home being a failure. I had crazy anxiety when we were in houses for more than fifteen minutes. It was crazy. I have never experienced that on my mission! It was something that I had to work through.

The good news is that this week we had a focus as a mission on the Atonement. I have never had to rely so much on the Savior in my life. I have never felt the need to repent for my shortcomings so much in my life. But as I studied about the Atonement and what Christ did for me, I began to apply it to my situation of the week. I didn't cry the third day. I told Heavenly Father, "You know what, I am doing the best that I can ... and I know that it isn't enough. Please, please, help me." From that moment, I felt an insane amount of tranquilidad. It washed over me. I still was a little anxious when we were in houses for a long amount of time (just enough to help us get out of there). I was still a little unfocused with planning. I still made mistakes ... but I realized that if I really did my best, Heavenly Father would make up the difference.

This peace kept growing and growing. I have been having a hard time loving the people of Frutillares ... but after this week, I think I have found true charity for all of them. I think that you have to shed a few tears for people before you can really start to love them like your family. I have been trying for so long to brace myself for some imaginary fall when it comes to attaching myself to people ... now that I have felt the fall, there are no barriers between me and loving these people.

We ended up having a lot of miracles happen this week. We went to this member family's house and baked cookies that we were going to share with their neighbors ... and found a sweet family that we are teaching now. We ran into members on the street that were willing to come with us to lessons with less-active members and our new converts. We asked references from everyone and we were able to find more news from that. My Spanish has really improved in a way that I can talk and joke with Hermana De León in a way that makes life enjoyable for her. I have felt the strengthening power of the atonement more in this week than in my entire life ... and really, it has been such a humbling and beautiful lesson.

A noche de hogar with the family of Melanny (the little girl ... she is a new convert).
Denisse, Justina, Melanny, (I don't remember her gma's name)
Hermana De León shared a talk with me this week called Sunday Always Comes by Joseph B. Wirthlin. Basically, in the talk he talks about how there will always be Fridays like the Friday of the Crucifixion (I don't know how to spell that anymore) ... basically like the entire week for me. But, he is quick to point out that SUNDAY ALWAYS COMES. This week, it wasn't Sunday that came for me ... it was Saturday. We met all of our goals. We taught a lot. I felt a little less of the pressure. I felt love. Suddenly ... I wasn't looking up from a bottomless hole. Things were managable. The rain wasn't pouring. There were rainbows. I know that Heavenly Father gives us exactly what we can handle. I know that He is shaping me into a better person and a better missionary. I needed to cry for the first couple days of this week ... it helped me to realize how awesome my life actually is. Now, I have learned that if I rely on the atonement, everything will end up working to my good. It is a good life lesson.

Feliz Cumpleaños, Hermana De León!
Anyways, a sweet story from this week ... We were in a neighborhood contacting a couple of references that we had when we came into contact with this Evangelical man that I have talked to before. He really was not interested at all in our message, but Hermana De León is a perfect excuse to talk to people again and to give them a second chance. Basically, he gave his same shpeel about being a member of the Ejercito Evangelico de Chile ... blahblahblah. He stopped talking suddenly and just looked at me. Uhhhhh, weird. He started talking again, "You know what ... you look like a disciple of Christ. His image is in your countanance. I am happy that you are trying to go about doing his work ... even if we think about his work a little differently." I was soooo touched by his comment. I am trying really hard to be an example of Christ ... but sometimes I feel like I fall soooo short. I was happy to hear this ... even if it was from a random man on the street.

Anways, I hope that this was a better letter for you guys! Have a wonderful, wonderful week. I am praying for you every day!!! LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!

Love, Hermana Blau

In Concé today! :) It is super fun to go to the office ... because we can talk to the old couple missionaries and we get to see all of our friends. I love being closer to Concepción.

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