I really appreciate all the letters and Dearelder messages from everyone and the emails from my family. It is awesome to know that I’m so loved ;) I feel so badly for all the elders in our district - most of them have only received one or two hand-written letters and a couple of dearelder messages.
I wish I would have taken a couple minutes to collect my thoughts, but my companions really wanted to email before lunch so I have to hurry and write right now.
Real Preparation Days are AWESOME! We get lots of personal time to write letters and study. Also, this afternoon I get to go to the temple! I'm so excited! I haven't been for a couple of weeks.
So, my companions and I aren't the greenest of the greenies anymore! A new bunch of missionaries arrived a couple of days ago. It was kind of fun to realize how nervous and lost they must be and realize that we were just like that a week ago.
There's just so much to say, I don't even know where to start! We are kept SO busy so I’ve had a LOT of experiences. Last Sunday was Fast Sunday, so instead of or normal priesthood and relief society meetings; we had a mission conference with everyone in the whole mission. We only got there 20 minutes early and we were LUCKY to find a seat! People are so serious about sitting in the GYM and not the overflows. The meeting was really great and we got to hear from the MTC presidency and some other district leaders. We learned a lot about being obedient and serving with all our hearts. Sometimes it's a drag, but obeying the rules can really bring us blessings if we do it with the right attitude. During the rest of the day, we had a district meeting, a zone sacrament meeting in which we new missionaries were encouraged to give our testimonies in Spanish and a fireside that evening. Our sacrament meeting is so cool! There are only 40 or 50 people in our zone, but I didn't even get to bear my testimony because EVERYONE wanted a chance. It’s cool to have that many people who are serious about sharing their testimonies. There were some really strong ones too - even though some of them I couldn't even understand because they were speaking so quickly in Spanish. I can't wait for that to be me!
We learned that if you can make it to Sunday, Tuesday, and Preparation day (Friday), you can survive the week. Sunday because we don't have to teach and just have the day to study and learn and to be uplifted, Tuesday because a general authority usually comes to speak at a devotional, and preparation day for obvious reasons - it's more restful than other days.
This last Tuesday we got to hear from Elder Jay E. Jensen of one of the presidencies of the seventy. His talk was mostly the history of the missionary program and all the different teaching methods they've used - I had no idea there were so many! But the thing I got most out of it was that feelings really are important and sometimes not so much our knowledge. He told a wonderful story of a couple of missionaries teaching a family. After the first couple of lessons, the mother wasn't too interested but let the missionaries keep coming to teach her children if they wanted and the children did want to be taught. The mother would routinely leave once the missionaries started teaching. Well, after not too long, her children who were of age to be baptized were baptized and as the missionaries were teaching follow up lessons, the mother came to the missionaries and said she was ready to be baptized too. The missionaries were hesitant and said, "But you don't know enough!" The woman was wiser and said that she felt the church was true - she had been listening to all the lessons they were teaching her children and the thing that struck her most was the power of the Spirit when those two elders would sing every time they came over. She was ready to be baptized. Sometimes I discount the importance of feelings - but they're real and they can be powerful.
I played soccer for the very first time in a LONG time last night - it was so much fun! I was panting so hard because I’m not used to running so hard and then stopping all the time. Super fun though!
I wish I could say more - know that you're all in my prayers and I would love to hear from you more!
P.S. We finished teaching our "investigator" Hector this week - we felt the spirit really strong and we even "committed him to be baptized!"