Hey friends, family, and loved ones! Thank you for your letters and prayers and support. I love you all.
Saturday we had a baptism with a little boy named J. P. He is so adorable and loves to learn about the gospel. We'll ring their doorbell and he look over the balcony of their apartment on the top floor and yell to us, "Estoy listo para escuchar la palabra de Dios! Suban no mas!"
("I'm ready to hear the word of God! please come on up")
Mom, I hope you're able to take the Spanish class! How cool would that be! I love hearing about all the cool things you are doing. Your temple calling, your knitting class (my companion and I are knitting mittens right now!! Keep going and don't give up! Have Cassidy help you. Invite her over for a night to knit and watch a movie or something.), your piano lessons, and everything. I love you and hope you are enjoying it all.
And I can't believe the missionaries are going to live with you!!!! WOWOWOWOWOWOW. For how long ? That is so, so neat. I can't wait to be able to help out the missionaries there and on BYU campus (when I get back and have finished my own mission).
Okay, the letters I have been opening every morning have been so inspiring, Mom. I don't know how it worked out this way, but literally every letter has a quote or piece of advice that is exactly what I am needing. It is really amazing and so helpful every morning, Mom. I love you so much and I am so grateful for everything you do.
Okay, really cool to hear that Sam was able to help someone by getting them asea... I didn't get the whole story but I'm putting bits and pieces together. I wish he and I could communicate more often. I keep thinking, 'Once we get into the flow of things in the mission, I am sure we will be able to write more.' But we're in 6 months and it is not letting up. P-days are so short. But I have a letter for him. I will send it this week. I love that kid so much. I wish we were in the same mission. He's teaching Ecuadorians too! Why doesn't he just migrate down here?
Okay, here is part of what I wrote to President:
This last week has been really great. We are slowly seeing a difference we have been working so hard for. Here is the update on the work.
M. has attended church multiple times and is very humble and willing to do what God asks of her. She lives a 60 minute walk plus a 20 minute busride from the church. This has been a challenge for us and for her. But I have really recognized the worth of each soul as we have ALL been sacrificing to make this work. No matter how big the sacrifice, her reward will be 100 times more.
D. is really interested and has a lot of questions. We did divisions Saturday and attended a baptism so he could familiarize himself because he is a little hesitant. He doesn't like the idea of making commitments (this is something I have found with many investigators) but we are working on helping him to recognize that it will be more than worth it. Yesterday he attended church and really enjoyed it.
We put a baptismal date with R. this morning (It was her only free time in the near future so we took a little bit of p-day). She is really excited. The challenge might be that her parents are another faith and I think she doesn't believe they will be of approval. But I have faith that things will work out. We are working on getting her a few hermanadoras (she already has a few member friends) to help her along so she doesn't feel alone.
We have been working a lot with the inactive members here in our wards, specifically in Cotama. There are very very many. Almost every day we contact into someone who has been baptized and fallen away from the church. We are working with a couple families who are really striving to make a difference and better themselves. We are helping one family prepare for the temple and the other attended church yesterday for the first time in months. It is so cool to see the difference; it is so apparent. I have been working on helping them notice the great difference in their lives when they are centered around the gospel.
We have had a few hard moments recently but a friend of mine shared with me the quote by Elder Holland about why missionary work is so hard. He says something along the lines of it not being cheap because salvation isn't cheap. We'll have to suffer a little to understand and appreciate Christ's sacrifice for us (one of this week's letters from Cam). Also, the talk by President Monson about the abundant life. "Mañana volveré a intentarlo." It's really tough, but I love what we're doing because it is so important.
Okay, to answer a few questions, the Q&A papers are with the stuff S. Hess has. None of my companions have spoken English, and I feel good about my Spanish. It always is a little bit worse Thursdays when we leave the district meeting because I have become good friends with an Elder here from SLC and I am in a bad habit of talking to him in English! Although it is nice to have a friend, maybe it will be good when we have transfers and I am back to all Spanish. The shoes fit great, I will work on a list of what I want/need for Christmas. THANK YOU :)
AHHH, too fast! My time is basically up. But tell everyone I love them! Is Mitch still alive? I miss him so much. Tell Abby and Caitlin and V that I need to hear from them and tell all the neighbors I say hi and pray for them often. Tell Justin's kids I love them and tell Uncle Ty's family that I love them. Dad and Mom: don't ever be concerned about writing too much. Love you.