Companion: Hermana Caseres
This week was humbling and good. I cried on the way home after writing last week because I was so scared to be here for another week ... well, another cambio ... and it turns out that basically another week in Frutillares is just another week in Frutillares. A lot of heart break. A lot of prayers. A lot of miracles. A lot of wonderful things.
Where did the fear come from? I guess I was afraid that the members were going to be way bored of me. Or that I had already talked to all of the prepared people and that I had killed them all off. Or that I didn't have anymore love to give this place. But, I came home, said a little prayer and expressed all of my concerns to Heavenly Father, and then got up and got to work.
I felt soooo much energy at the beginning of the week. It was a beautiful thing. I began to focus on the blessings that I have for being here another cambio and I focused on the beautiful view that Tomé has. After that, I was pretty much okay with being here. God has a pretty wonderful work that He has got going on for me.
One miracle that happened this week: We found outthat the Elders had lost their cell-phone. It was a fiasco waiting for them to figure out what to do. We had to stick together for a couple of hours trying to call back and forth with the office. Ayaya, I felt sooo bad for the Elders. It stinks to not have a phone. It also stinks to have to confess that you lost a phone. Well, we got a good laugh out of the Elders and then kept on living our lives. They were going to head to Concepcion the next day to pick up their phone.
The tragic thing is that the VERY NEXT DAY, we lost our phone. I left it on a bus seat when I went to pay for a bus ride and I had forgotten that it was on the seat. We got up to leave for our lunch in a hurry and I forgot to grab the phone. Oh, I realized almost immediately that it wasn't in my backpack. I use the phone for just about everything ... to tell the time ... to call the members ... so, when I realized that it wasn't there I started to silently panic. Hermana Caceres only walked very veeeeery slowly behind me in silence. She was a little ticked. I don't blame her ... it is one thing to not have a phone. It is one thing to confess that you don't have a phone. It is a WHOLE OTHER THING to say that you lost a phone right after the Elders in your same sector have lost their phone. I was way embarrassed.
The thing is, I didn't feel too bad. I mean, I was panicking a little bit, but that is a normal Laney thing. I didn't pray that we would find the phone in my backpack ... I had already figured out that that wasn't going to be an option. I only prayed that a nice Evangelical lady would pick it up and be willing to give it back to us. We went to our lunch and I hardly ate anything. We called using Hermana Andrea's phone over and over again ... and nothing work. I realized with horror that I had left the phone on silent mode because we had just been in a District Meeting. Oh my ...
After a couple of minutes, I tried to call again ... and again ... and again ... Praying the whole time for a nice lady to pick up our phone. To my surprise, after twenty calls, someone answered our phone. "Hey, I am a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ," I said ... quickly so that the lady wouldn't hang up. She told me her name and where she lived and told us that we could come by anytime to pick up our phone. Oooooooh, what a sweet relief I felt. What joy. What gratitude. I sure am grateful for a Heavenly Father that listens to our prayers. Even when we are stupid enough to lose cell-phones. He is willing to help us. I think that He knew that another mishap would send me over the edge.
I am amazed at the patience and endurace that Heavenly Father is blessing me with. I have had a few crisis moments this week ... just thoughts like, "Man, I am not doing anything for this place." and, "I am such a terrible missionary." But in these moments, Heavenly Father has really communicated with me. He has communicated with me in a way waaaaaay clearer than anything I have ever experienced. My prayers are starting to become more and more personal and uplifting. It is like coming up for air every night ... something so necessary and so vital.
Hermana Caceres and I are getting along pretty well. We had a good companionship inventory ... I am learning more and more the importance of good communication.
Something that has been frustrating me lately is that my confidence with teaching and with Spanish has gotten worse. I was sooo sure of myself in every other companionship that I have had (even when I was just starting out!). Now that I have been training, I feel sooo weak and inadequate. People make fun of my Spanish and they don't always understand my lessons. This has never ever been a problem for me. I don't know what to do about that ... but it has been forcing me to study harder ... both with things of the gospel and with Spanish. I guess every hard thing has its benefits.
We helped an old man to get to church this week. He is in a wheel chair and we see him basically every day of the week. It makes me so happy to talk to him a little bit and to see his countenance light up when he sees us walking his way. He has a hard time getting to church because the road to get to his house from the church is a steep incline. So, we were walking down the street. We offered to take him and he said, "Why not?" It turns out that this guy is a member of the church. I asked him about his conversion and he said the exact same thing about baptism, "Why not?" Haha, I was astounded by his faith. What a good guy.
There was also a miracle this week with menos activos. When I heard that I was going to be in Frutillares for one more cambio, I prayed to know why. Who can we help that I haven't helped? A lady's name came to my mind. She is the mom of a kid that comes to church pretty frequently. With Hermana De Leon, we went by to visit her, but she never came to church ... so I kind of let her go. This week, we passed by a couple of times with a member ... and I know that she is going to start progressing now. She came to church. She has been reading and praying. Heavenly Father knows His children.
Actually, I guess that this is the thing that I have been learning more than anything. A lot of the members have asked me if President Arrington has forgotten about me (all in good fun). I know that he hasn't. I know that the cambios are inspired by God. In the scriptures, it asked if a mother of a newborn child will forget her child. I know that that cannot happen ... but it also says -- even though that possibly could happen ... that Heavenly Father will never forget me. I know that. He loves me a lot. He wants me to grow. Sometimes the loooooong trials of faith make us want to cry, but He knows what is best. I am grateful for that knowledge.
I hope that I can have the faith that I need to help to the best of my abilities here. I really want to make a difference. I really want to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I hope that I can do it.
I love you all a lot. Yesterday, after planning and getting ready for the night, I thought about you guys and for the very first time in my mission, I miiiiiiiiissed my dear family. I missed hugs and unconditional love and consistency. I missed counsel. I missed you guys. But I know that I am doing the right thing, and that makes me feel good. When I am focused on others, it isn't so hard ... just sometimes it is. Just know that I love and appreciate you!! Have a wonderful week!!! Make good choices and demonstrate dominance!!