September 1, 2014

Week Thirty-Seven: Trainer Mom

A picture posted on facebook this week with Laney and her new companion.

Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Caseres
Dear familia,

Training ... What a crazy experience. This week has been so random and wonderful and hard. On Tuesday, I said goodbye to Hermana Bucarei. I really, really loved working with her. She taught me so many things about life and about the mission and about Chilean modismos. The great news was that she is in our same zone still ... because she can't go many other places in the mission because her family lives there haha.

Anyways, I made my way over to the mission office and was feeling pretty stinking nervous. I had no idea what to expect. I don't know how to be a good trainer ... I mean, it is something that I have always wanted to do ... but I never really thought about how I was going to do it. I didn't know if my baby would be Latina or Gringa ... I didn't know what I wanted to happen. It was nuts. I remember being the newbie in the mission office and how nervous and unprepared I was, but I think that I felt even more nervous going in as a trainer. I wonder if Hermana Harris felt the same way? Hmmmm, all about perspective.

All of the trainers had to go to a meeting/training thing before we were to meet our babies. I think that all of us felt the same. Nervous. Excited. Ready. Totally not ready. A ton of my friends are training this cambio, so we had some joyful reunions. After a lot of shuffling around waiting for the greenies to get here, a huge group of gringas entered the room. They kind of flocked together, but I went over to talk to them to make them feel more comfortable. Super cuties! We talked about what they did before the mission, their hometowns, etc. etc. We had our training and I felt the spirit soooo strongly. Heavenly Father called me to do this ... and he is going to qualify me to be able to do my very best.

I've heard that people know who their companions are going to be when they get up and bear their testimony before being assigned. I paid close attention to all of the Hermanas and I felt nothing. I guess I was waiting to see a bolt of lightning or something, but I just felt normal and peaceful. With the assignments, that peace left. I was sooo nervous.

Hermana after Hermana went up to be assigned ... and then they announced my companion ...


Whooooooooooo! I didn't really know how to feel. I was still nervous, but I was so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me a Latina that could help me with my Spanish AND that was willing to work. Hermana Caseres is my hero -- she is 21 years old but looks like she is 15. She has got a rock solid testimony and is really, really good at conveying her emotions to the people. They love her already and it is because she is SOOO charismatic. I have the best little companion.

Hermana Caseres has a crazy life story. She got baptized 7 years ago ... her mom was walking down the street, saw the missionaries, grabbed them by the arm and said, "I need your help." They got baptized a month later. She is a professional fencer and is super friendly. She laughs at everything and makes fun of my Spanish because I have a Chilean accent. She is the sweetest girl I have ever met!

It has been a little bit hard for me being a trainer, just because I want the first couple of months for Hermana Caseres to be the best. The first day that we went out to work, we saw so many miracles. We were talking to everyone. We entered in houses and taught lessons that were short and effective. Hermana Caseres did a great job chipping in her part. It was a FANTASTIC day.

The day after, not so much. We had a lot of appointments, but they all fell. We had members with us all day, but we weren't able to get into the houses of the people. Hermana Caseres was so frustrated and I could tell. I felt so heartbroken that we weren't having success ... and for the first time in my whole mission, it wasn't heartbreak for myself. I was just hurting for Hermana Caseres and that her expectations were lowering.

The great thing about the week is that even though we had a lot of days that we walked for a little bit, we saw so many miracles. For example, with Hermano Carlos (our really awesome investigator right now), we went by to visit him. I knew that eventually we had to talk about marriage, so I just laid it out for him point blank. "Carlos, what is keeping you from getting married right now." I kind of closed my eyes half way and braced myself to hear that it would be impossible. There are so many people that I have taught that can't progress because they are waiting for their divorce ... I thought that Carlos would be a situation very similar. To my surprise, Carlos immediately said, "There'e nothing that is stopping me. I am divorced ... I want to get married to Hilda, but she doesn't want to." 

I started to cry -- I WAS SO HAPPY. That there wasn't anything preventing him? That the only problem was that his pareja didn't want it? That he was willing to do it to get baptized? Wow, I am not sure what caused the teariness. We knelt with him and he prayed that the way would be opened so that he could get married with his pareja (he said in his prayer, "Hilda, my future wife"). Yeah! I am so excited for this man. He has really experienced a mighty change of heart -- and it is a miracle!

I really am reaping the blessings of being here in Frutillares for so long. I really have felt the support of the members. I love them so much and they really love me. I am excited to develop these relationships even more and to help the people here to participate in missionary work. It is something that makes me so happy and I feel like Heavenly Father is helping me to know what I need to do to keep the work moving here. We have got a great group of people that we are working with. I finally feel like I am finding the equilibrium between baptizing, reactivating, and retaining.

So, a pretty random letter today. Just know that I am really, really happy. Training is a little bit hard because I am still learning, but I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to start off the mission of Hermana Caseres on the right note. It has occurred to me so much this week how similar training might be to being a mom. It has also occurred to me how much our Heavenly Father must love us. He loves me enough to help me to know what to do when I am completely out of ideas. He loves me enough to give me challenges and to help me to meet them with joy. He loves me to give me the best, best, best daughter that I could have ever asked for. She has a great attitude and a great desire to be the best missionary that she can be, so I know that we are going to continue seeing progress.

[Random Mom question sent to Laney this week: So, what's up with the crazy flowery red shirt you are always wearing? The funny thing is, while looking through other people's pictures who are serving in your mission, it seems as if several sister missionaries have that shirt. Is it the same shirt passed around, or is it the newest craze in Chile?] Laney's answer: The flower shirt -- Here in the streets of Chile, the people sell THE UGLIEST shirts in the whole world. They are super cheap and super warm. I don't know why I love them so much, but I wear them with pride because I know that I only have this precious year and a half to wear whatever ridiculous thing that I want, and the people won't judge me.

I love you so much! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MINSY MOO. Have a great, great, great day and be happy! :)



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