February 23, 2015

Week Sixty-Two: Hitting My Stride ...

This is the poster we made for our next ward activity. :) Soooo cute!
 Area: Penco
Companion: Hermana Antillon

Dear familia,

What a week Hermana Antillon and I have had. We have been running around like crazy people. We are trying so so so hard to find people in every moment ... because our old investigators are starting to fall off the face of the earth. It's all good. We have got it under control ... but it has been quite the experience. Así es la mision. At least right now we aren't starting from zero. We have got such a great relationship with the members and they are always willing to come out with us and give us references. I love them a lot.

On Wednesday, we had interviews with President Arrington. I LOVE INTERVIEWS!! I love them so much. The one on one time is priceless. What was even cooler about this interview is that Presidente asked us to stay over for lunch! That was pretty much a highlight moment of my life. During interviews, I was speechless. I am always a little speechless when people ask me how I am. I am feeling really good about my work as a missionary right now. President says that I have hit my stride ... and I only feel guilty sometimes that it took me so long to hit my stride. I know what things I need to work on ... so I just returned and reported. We talked about obedience ... I have really tried to be as obedient as possible on the mission and it has been such a blessing. I feel confident when I am asking the Lord for blessings ... because I know I am trying to do everything that I can to deserve them. It is a good feeling. 

President and Sister Arrington with missionaries at lunch.
Something that I felt like I should change from that interview is just giving my all. I know that there is always more that I can give. I don't want to come home with anything left. So I am going to stop thinking about worldly songs. I am going to spend the time before bed a little bit more wisely. I am going to get out to run in the mornings now. And I am going to FAST AND PRAY for more diligence and drive. They are all little things, but I feel like they will help me to continue reaching the potential that Heavenly Father sees in me. I don't know if I will ever fully reach that potential ... but I am a work in progress ... so far so good.

Lunch with Presidente was great. We had real American tacos with ranch dressing and everything! Basically, lunch was a conversation of Presidente and the Asistentes getting ready for the huge conference that the mission was getting ready to have on Thursday. It is always interesting to see HOW MUCH WORK goes into running a mission. It definitely isn't a piece of cake! I am so grateful (and am more and more grateful every day) for the efforts of Presidente to help us to learn and to grow.
Elder and Sister Di Giovanni with President and Sister Arrington
We had the conference on Thursday and I think it changed me ... and my mission. It was incredible. Elder Di Giovanni of the Seventy came to visit us and the things that he taught us were soooo good to hear. It was the right portion of encouragement and comfort at the same time. He talked about the covenants that we make in the temple and I was just blown away. I had forgotten a little bit ... because it has been so long. He talked about sacrifice and consecration. I don't even know how to  describe all of the things that I learned. Something that really sunk in this week was that this is the only time that I have to bring people to the church through baptism. I can be a great visiting teacher when I go home ... but I will never be a full-time missionary again. So I have to use every single opportunity that I have to love people and to find through them.

I'm sorry that my description was super awful. I will send pictures of my notes another day. Just know that I loved this conference!
Poor quality pic of half of the mission
Better quality picture of the other half of the mission
Hermana Antillon and I had the privilege of going out with Hermana Arrington and Hermana Di Giovanni after the conference to a cita. Elder Caulder (the assistant) called us a few days before the conference and told us to fix an appointment ASAP to be able to have everything ready the day of the conference. We got everything ready and even called the lady that we were going to visit ... and she still cancelled on us. Oh, you've never seen two sister missionaries so stressed out. We were calling everyone on our phone and the people either didn't answer or they weren't home. Que vergüenza. [How embarrassing.]

I basically shrugged my shoulders and smiled saying, "Heavenly Father will help everything to work out!" Because I have learned that he always does. We drove around our sector in the van of the mission ... tried two houses of investigators that we have without any luck. On the third try, I directed the elders to the house of a lady that is basically bed-ridden (I knew that she would be there haha). We went in and had a pretty decent lesson. I felt so embarrassed for not having anything prepared but I took it as a learning experience. It is all just a learning experience. I think that the biggest thing I took out of that is ALWAYS have a Plan Z. Also, I learned about grace in the face of stressful or uncomfortable situations. Haha, what a day.

The Hermanas and me.
Did you know that the members here think that I am hyperactive? Haha, they talk about how energetic and crazy I am all of the time. It is kind of hard to maintain that kind of energy sometimes ... but I think about how awesome missionary work is, and it just sets me off again. I LOVE being a missionary. I feel like that desire to share the gospel makes everything else matter so much less. Stress? I just have to work harder and then the stress melts away. Things at home (school, etc. etc.)? I just have to work harder and I know that everything will work out perfectly. I have been feeling just a little bit more stressed in these weeks that I have been leading the sector. Back is the familiar feeling of blaming all of the bad things that happen on myself ... but I feel like I am a lot better equipped to handle it now. Stress is there to help us to grow! :)

Hermanas at the conference lunch.
Hermana Antillon and I get along soooo well! I love her so much and we are working really hard together. I know that as this cambio goes on and on, we are going to keep making magic happen here in Crav (the promised land!).

Hermana Antillon and I did a service project, and the lady gave us cold drinks
(that all the Mormons drink here). It was super delicious.
I have been reading a bunch of General Conference talks these days and I recently read the talk where Thomas S. Monson made the age change. As I read it ... I remembered that day sooo well. I can't believe that that was more than two years ago. Really, I cannot believe that. That announcement changed my life. I am so glad that I am where I am at right now at this very moment (a run down cyber in Chile). I am amazed! It is amazing what following the spirit can lead us to do! I hope that you guys are following the spirit in all of the decisions that you are making (big and small!). Heavenly Father is so concerned about every little detail of our lives, and I know that he will always make it known to us what he wants us to do!!

I love you all so much and I hope that you have a great week!! Keep smiling and staying warm! What the random winter wonderland?? Don't do silly things while driving (cough, Spencer, cough). I LOVE YOU!!

Love, Laney

We played dodgeball again today.

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