Hola Familia y Amigos,
Time is very different on the mission. I can't believe another week has already passed. The days seem really long, but the weeks are so short! I love being busy and helping people.
So this week was my birthday. It was very different than any other birthday I've ever had. It was a strange day because Hermana Cruz had training from 9am-3pm so I went on my first split. That morning President and Sister Miller called and sang happy birthday to me. I got the added bonus of getting a hug from Sister Miller because we saw her later that day. Anyway, we drove up to Las Cruces and I spent that time with two other sisters and we went contacting people who had previously been investigating the Church. It takes a lot of courage to be a missionary and not be afraid to talk to everyone that you meet, especially when there is a language barrier. We did however talk to a very nice lady on the street with her 4 kids and set up an appointment later in the week to teach her. It is a little sad that I don't get to know what happens to the people you find on exchanges because it's not in my area and I won't be teaching them.
After we finished the training we came back down to El Paso and had to have a very quick, but yummy dinner with a sister in our ward because we were suppose to be helping a lady move. We didn't even have time to change our clothes, so we just carried tables, chairs and boxes down the stairs in our skirts. Then we had a few lessons planned, so we visited taught and them. We also had a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader. Finally we got back to the apartment a little after 9 and after planning I was able to open my gifts. I love the new bag! It is a great color and I am already putting it to good use. When you basically live out of a little bag all day it's nice that it has lots of little pockets to keep everything divided. The small outside pocket is perfect to keep all of my passalong cards in for easy access. Everything else was great too, so thank you so much! So kind of a different birthday, but I received lots of well wishes and it always brings great joy serving others.
El Paso is great. I have a great ward and the members are so nice. It is fun getting to eat with different members and meeting them and talking about their lives. Which reminds me, make sure you are feeding the missionaries up there, so members will feed me down here. That is the philosophy of Hermana Cruz's mother. :-) We have several investigators but all at very different stages. Even though I have only known them for a short time, I already am so close to many of them and all I want is the best for them. We had a lesson where the lady was feeling a little down and was worried about coming to church, but we read several scriptures together and just expressed how much we loved her. She ended up coming to church yesterday and we sat with her and her children and you could tell she enjoyed the services.
Yesterday was a hard day. We kept trying and trying to find new investigators, but nothing was really working out. Hermana Cruz and I said a prayer and a name of a referral came to mind. We had set an appointment the day before, but no one was home when we showed up. So we decided to try again. Their daughter answered the door and said her parents were next door and didn't know when they would be back. We were just chatting for a few minutes and her mom showed up and invited us inside. We shared a brief message about the Book of Mormon and talked about the importance of families. They invited to us come back later this week and begin teaching them about the gospel, so it was a blessing from the Lord to find two new investigators after a long day of searching.
Hmm there is so much to remember as a missionary sometimes it is hard to keep straight everything. Ok so fun story. This week I was reassured that the Lord has sent me to the right mission because Wednesday night I was writing in my journal and I looked up and perched on our door was a cockroach! It was gross. I tried to get Hermana Cruz to kill it. I told her that she was the senior companion so she should have to get rid of it, but she was all for just leaving it be. I knew that I would not sleep one wink with a cockroach in our apartment, so after man-ing up and a few girly squeals later I succeeded in killing the nasty bug. I would not have survived in a place that had bugs of various shapes and sizes in the apartments. The Lord knows me too well. I should confess that I squealed even though this cockroach was not huge, but in my defense it wasn't tiny either!
I also have to mention that my amazing sister is inspired! In more ways than one... So I got your birthday package, Kristi, and it was very nice. I laughed because on Monday in the store I stared at the nutella on the middle shelf and was so tempted to get some, but I decided that it was expensive and I didn't need all of that, so I was delighted to find all those nutella to go packs. The other inspiration was sending me a Tide to go pen. When I opened it, I was sitting at my desk and I almost went back to my room and stuck it in my drawer, but then slipped it into my bag instead. The next day we were having a lunch-ish snack with a few recent converts. It was my favorite - hotdogs! :) I put a nice helping of ketchup on my hot dog and I went to take a bite, but because the bun was a little crunchy when I bit into it the hot dog popped out and landed right on my shirt. It left a beautiful red stain and we didn't have time to go back to the apartment and change, but thankfully I had my new tide to go pen and managed to get rid of most of the stain! So Yay for awesome sisters!
That was my week. I am doing everything I can to learn the language and serve these people with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I know that this is the Lord's work and that He is the one directing it. I feel so many blessings already from missionary service and I know that I am never going to be the same!
Lots of love to all of you!
Even after Christmas, when people meet me for the first time, they joke about Santa Claus! hehe