July 28, 2014

Week Thirty-Two: Lots of Activities, Lots of Fun

Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Bucarei

Dear familia,

Hahah, I just laughed at all of the pictures and stories you sent this week. My wonderful, wonderful family. I sure miss you guys, but I am loving serving the Lord!

Ahhhhhhh, the pure trunkiness I had this morning when I thought about Spencer and Savannah going off to EFY. Ayayaya, I am so grateful for the experiences that I had at EFY!! I hope that you guys have a wonderful vacation allá in good ol' Canada, eh?

This week was nuts. It was full of heart-break and drama and joy and the spirit ... basically another week in the field.
Una vaca next to the main road? What the random?? I still don't have a clue
where it came from, but I figured that I might as well take a picture with it.
On Tuesday, we had a lesson with Katerine. We talked about the Atonement a bit and about how she could apply it in her life ... and I began to notice that she was a little bit fidgety. She had to say something. I was afraid to hear what she had to say, but I said, "Is there anything that you want to tell us, Katerine?" She said, "The thing is, Hermanas ... I don't really want to get baptized. I don't think Martin has any interest in learning. I don't know ... I just thought I should let you know." Ahhhhh, dang it. I tried really hard not to let my disappointment show. She began to express her doubts and her fears ... she really has gotten closer to God in this time, but she doesn't have the real intent to get an answer because she doesn't want to act solo. 

On top of that, she has a completo shop that she keeps open on Sunday mornings because she gets more business from the people on their way to church. I felt sooooo guided by the spirit as I talked to her. I said, "Katerine, I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I am here to say what he would say and do what he would do, and I can also promise what he would promise." I promised her that if she would close her shop that Heavenly Father would make up the difference and MORE. That he would bless her family and help them to have more unity and happiness ... but in the end, she didn't want it. It was a little bit frustrating because I KNOW that Heavenly Father was willing to give her everything ... but in the end she has her agency. We are going to keep working with her through the families in the ward. I still think that there is hope for her and her family.

We had a pajama party (making cookies and watching Legacy)
with the girls from the primary. Sooo fun! :) I love these girls.
We had a cute little lesson with two menos activo girls in the ward. Basically the reason that they don't come to church is because their parents aren't really supporting their decision to stay active in the church. They are twelve years old and they told us shamefully that they have been having problems with reading the scriptures. I wasn't really sure what to say to help them with their problem ... when suddenly I remembered the little prayer rocks that we always did in activity days. "Let's go outside," I said and they followed me. We went out and picked up some lovely rocks from their yard. I explained to them that our testimonies have to be based on the rock of Jesus Christ and that the little rocks could remind them to do the things that they were supposed to do. They loved the idea. Dang, I love teaching!

Darlene and Dafne (they were the girls that
we had the rock lesson with)
The big drama of this week was with one menos activo girl that we are working to reactivate. Both the Elders and us are working together to try to get her to come back ... because it is such a tough case. She is the one (mom) that I talked about in my letter to you. The success of the week is that we committed her to go and have an interview with President. She was really hesitant to go, but we went and visited her right before and walked with her to the appointment. She called us afterwords to say that she had a great experience. Still, she doesn't feel comfortable enough to go back to church ... so we will keep working.

We had cualquier activity planned for this week. For the first time on Thursday, we held an English class! It was amazing to see how many people were there for the first week ... and I think that it will continue to grow. Hermana Bucarei knows English and both the Elders are Gringos, so I think that we are going to be really successful in making up a fun curriculum that will expose people to the church.
Mabel Cuevas (love her!)
This week, we also planned a spur of the moment Noche de Pelicula activity for the youth. We invited EVERYONE and really talked it up. We were able to bring a ton of menos activo kids to the Movie Night and they LOVED IT! It was such a success for being so last minute. The kiddos watched Frozen (I really have regrets not seeing it before the mission ... everyone loves it here, but we aren't allowed to watch it. Ahhh well, I love the mission so it can wait), and we made popcorn with our Mission Leader and the missionaries. Super fun!

Yesterday, we had YET ANOTHER ACTIVITY. This time about the Book of Mormon. Basically, Hermana Solange mentioned this activity to us a couple of weeks back and just ran with it. She is soooo talented! Her idea was that we could have a Sacrament Meeting planned by the Obra Misional centered on the Book of Mormon with musical numbers and talks by the kids in seminary. She also planned an exposition for the Book of Mormon put on by the ward members, where they would draw or paint things about the Book of Mormon and we would have them on display before Sacrament. Man, I wasn't really sure if we would be able to deliver exactly what she was envisioning, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Hermana De León and I. Ahhh, I sure do love her!!
Hermana Antillon (from New York)
Hermana Montañez
I was SOOOO stressed out about my talk and about my class and about my musical number. It made me sick to think about, especially because I didn't have much much time to prepare ... and the thought of my last talk lingered in my mind. But Heavenly Father worked everything out. I felt guided by the spirit as I gave our class in Relief Society, I sang pretty decently, and I felt the spirit as I gave my talk. I know that Heavenly Father did it all for me. I did my very best to prepare, but I was amazed that he took my very best and made it powerful! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!
Hermana Harris! Dang, I really, really love her!
She gave her goodbye testimony at this past zone conference
 and I was sooo proud of her! We went through a lot
 together and I KNOW we are going to be friends
forever!! We basically stuck together like this
 the whole conference catching up and swapping stories.
 Ahhh, I can't believe this is her last cambio ...
it is nuts how quick the time goes by ...
she had less than a year when she started training me!
We have sooooo many more things planned for the future. We still have a month left of this cambio, but the people are starting to command me not to leave. I really don't want to leave. I love Frutillares. I love the people here! It was slow in the beginning, but now we are starting to catch on fire. It still is a struggle with the investigators, but we are working hard every day to build the kingdom and the rama is starting to see it and get fired up! Whoooooohoooo, what a great time to be a part of the work of the Lord!

Another awesome thing that happened this week is that we brought a whole menos activo family to church this week. We have visited the Family Garrido just a little bit during my stay here. They frustrate me because they always have excuses for why they cannot go. But this cambio, we have gone to visit them weekly, and Heavenly Father is really softening their hearts! Hermana Bucarei invited them to come to church and they accepted! We went during Sunday School to go get them and they were able to be at the church for Sacrament meeting. It was such a blessing when I was speaking to look out at the rama and see them sitting there. Heavenly Father LOVES his children and really wants to bless them! It makes me hurt when I see people that don't really recognize that ... and miss out on the blessings ... but it makes me SOOO happy when people finally realize what they have to do to obtain the blessings of the Lord and then reach out and take them. :)
Onward, Ever Onward
I love you SOOOOO MUCH! Thank you for all of your prayers!! I really can feel 'em out here! I hope that you have a wonderful, wonderful week!

Hermana Blau

Zone Conference

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