|Even with the poncho, we were soaked on Thursday night! My skirt was so full of water, it was falling off!|
|That apartment up on the second floor is where we live!|
|We visit this big field every morning to run laps. Hurray for fitness! (And for losing two inches off of my hips, because that happened.)|
|Birthday stash! SO DELICIOUS! (And that blue striped dress is the cutest ever!)|
¡Buenas tardes! It is another lovely afternoon here in in Santa Barbara, about 88 degrees and sunny (there is a new weather feature on my Missionary homepage, so I am now very well informed about the climate here). And today is my first Pday as a 21 year old! We borrowed the oven in the church to make a cake (Parents sent the cake mix and we actually found real Duncan Hines frosting in a random pulperia). President Dester wished me a happy birthday first thing on Tuesday, I was sung to by two large groups of elders (because the only other sister for two zones is my companion) and I had a new, pretty dress to wear. Add in the bag of peanutbutter M&Ms and it was the perfect cumpleaños.
We didn't do very many exciting things with our Pday after the pizza explosion last week, but last Tuesday was our multi-zone conference. We went to a place called Merendon, which is the zone just outside of San Pedro (and one of the most dangerous zones in the mission--they can't send sisters there! FUN!) and were enlightened and inspiried by the wise words of President and Sister Dester, the APs (of which we have four, two assistants in the office and two "training assistants", who are constantly traveling to assist in training) and the Zone leaders of zona Cofradía (my zone) and zona Merendon. Here's a Its a Small World moment: my two previous district leaders, Elder Pace and Elder Rodriguez, are now companions, serving as the zone leaders in Merendon. As I greeted the two, there was a look between them like "You know her!?" It was kind of funny. Sister Dester reminded us of the Church standard of emergency preparedness, and we have all been assigned to prepare an emergency backpack. That brought back so many fond childhood memories of Jansport backpacks in the storage room, amid piles of canned dried apples and powdered milk. I guess only Mormon kids have childhood memories of food storage, right?
On Wednesday, we were blessed to have as our companion hermana Cindy Lopez, who is our branch president's wife. She never had the chance to serve a mission but she is a spectacular missionary! We were amazed, moment after moment, by the power of her testimony and teaching, and were inspired by her example of fulfilling our duty to preach the gospel. We were also incredibly blessed to meet a beautiful new family, though on Wednesday we only met two of the members. More to follow below.
We spent more time in on of the outlying neighborhoods of our area, a place called La Ceibita, also accompanied by members. The members actually are willing to go out teaching with us here! It's a miracle! Hermana Davila and I had the opportunity to learn how to form a semita, which is a delicious and pretty roll commonly enjoyed here in Honduras. We also had a great visit with a woman named Suyapa, who seems very prepared to progress and is only missing the opportunity and drive to come to church. That night, we had the first of what will be many in the branch practice of Fellowshipping Nights, which (for right now) are gatherings of about 15 people in the home of an investigator or less active member, wherein the lesson is taught by members and the purpose is to increase faith. We visited a woman who has not come to church after having a bad experience with other members, but she gave us a reference to visit her family member after the lesson (she's never given us a reference before) and her son, who is only slighly more active than she is, did come to church. Baby steps. There fell a torential downpour that night, so we huddled under the emergency poncho (another 100 points to Mom) and spent the evening in the dark. It's going to be such a shocker for me when I live in a place where the lights going out isn't a daily occurance.
Now then, I mentioned an awesome new family. They are composed of Marvin and Judith Hernandez (which is officially my favorite last name) and their small son, Johnathon. They had been being taught previously by the elders, but Marvin did not share his wife's interest in the gospel and requested that the missionaries stop coming. Upon arriving, we, the elders, and Judith alike were pretty worried that Marvin wouldn't be interested in having Mormon missionaries in his home again. But his sweet wife has been praying that he would listen to us, and he is listening. Last night was our second lesson with the pair and Judith offered a beautiful prayer, asking to know if the gospel was true so that their family could recieve the blessings of eternity. I am sure I will have miracles to share about this family very soon.
This really is a wonderful area. We are working our way up to achieving our wildest dreams slowly, and I have yet to see one of our investigators come to church, but we met a woman last week named Walquidia, who has been inactive for 14 years, but who came to church with her children and stayed for all three meetings, like it was the most natural thing in the world. We are finding more people every day who are happy and interested to hear the gospel, and who look at us like "Do you have what I have been waiting for?" And then we testify that yes, we do have what they are searching for. I know that this is the true and living church of Jesus Christ, and that it stirrs the souls of our investigators because it is the only way to receive the blessings that every child of God yearns for. I love Him, I love the gospel, and I love my opportunity to share it.
I love being a missionary! This Saturday I completed my thirteenth month in the mission, but it still feels like I started yesterday. We taught yesterday with a young woman who recently returned from her mission in Guatemala, and I love seeing her light up as she participates in the work. I know that being a missionary is something that I will never really finish, even if I have to take my plaque off eventually. I may not always be able to wear my Savior's name on a badge, but I will certainly be able to have it written upon my heart forever. I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and that we can all take the opportunity to share this wonderful gospel with someone!