I'm happy to hear that everyone is doing well and had a good Easter. I also had a wonderful Easter but I'll get to that in a bit! This week has been long but it's insane to think that this is the last week of the transfer. I literally feel like I just got here. And I'm starting to get a little bit of anxiety because Hermana Gonzalez and I are both fairly certain she's getting transferred. She's been in this area for 9 months, which is unheard of. But I have very little interest in taking over the area and adapting to a new companion. I love mine a bit too much.
Leigh is still doing really well! She's out of town but she texted us and told us that she went to church anyway and had even contacted the missionaries in the city that she went to so they would walk in with her. And she brought one of her non-member friends! She's seriously a rock. The light of Christ emanates out of her every pore and I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to learn from her as much as I do. She has such a desire to share the Gospel. Sometimes even more than I do! Hahah.
We've had a really good week, met all of our goals, felt the spirit really powerfully, and strengthened our companionship. A lot. Every Friday, we have what's called weekly planning, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but we always go to Sonic and buy everyone in the district slushees (because we know how terrible it is) and then we sit in our den for two or three hours and just plan. It's... really fun. We usually end up just painting our nails and playing with play-doh so that we can stay focused. Trust me, it works. But at the end of weekly planning, you're supposed to have Companionship Inventory. Which I hate. Because it's awkward. I have no problem pointing out strengths, my companion is full of them, but I hate giving constructive criticism and I hate receiving it. Luckily, so does she. So we usually just say "Something you could work on... let's see... Could you please stop being so beautiful because it's getting distracting..." And then we move on. Probably not the best way to go about it. But over the past week or so we've been better about confronting our feelings and I've learned that when you're doing all that you can to better yourself, giving and receiving feedback isn't a scary thing. It gives you something to work on. And usually things I need to change are minute and I'm pretty aware I need to be working on them anyway. I think it's a good thing for everyone to step back every once in a while and say, "Am I humble enough to be teachable?" And if the answer is no, it's time to start thinking more about others and less about ourselves.
So here's the miracle for the week! We've been teaching a man named Mark, and Mark is... Christlike. To say the least. He claims he's not a "churchey" kind of guy, but he goes to a different church every day of the week and if he isn't at church, he's serving others; feeding the homeless, giving away his own posessions to people on Craigslist who need help, you name it... We've been teaching him since I got here and he has never dropped a committment. He always does his reading, he reads all of the standard works and True to the Faith. Religiously. He aks questions until he understands, but there was always something missing. No matter how much we explained the priesthood, prophets, every thing that differentiates our church from others, he wasn't getting it. We finally decided to stop just answering his questions in our lessons and teach the Word of Wisdom. We knew he had a problem with smoking and we were trying to help him gain a testimony of Joseph Smith before we taught it so he would understand its origin, but we decided to teach it anyway. So we did. And he was so touched. He said he knew this was from God (who'da thunk the Word of Wisdom would be what testified of truth to him?!) We invited him to pray to see if God wanted him to quit smoking a be baptized. He said an incredibly heartfelt prayer full of sorrow and belief. He cried, we cried. He knew this was right. We said we knew it would be hard for him so we would give up sweets (Because candy keeps us going through the day!) He agreed to give up smoking and he is getting baptized this upcoming Saturday! The Lord works in amazing ways. Really, truly.
And last but not least, Easter! Church was beautiful. We had a wonderful Easter Cantada in Sacrament and our choir was beautiful. (I bet Mama sang beautifully this Easter like she always does--sorry I missed it!) Then we went over to the Bishops house and played with his horses and donkey. Eventually I'll figure out how to send pictures from my camera but for now you'll have to settle for those which I steal from my companion. Our bishop and his family are hispanic and they always cook the most amazing food so we all helped cook dinner which was a huge metal pan set on top of a firepit that was filled with, like, six different types of meat. Then, out of nowhere, it started pouring rain. (Again, we're in a drought, so...) then it started to MONSOON. I've never seen rain like this in my life. The entire driveway flooded. We were cooking underneath a metal roof and the lgihtening and thunder started to get out of control. It was terrifying. But by the time we cooked and ate, it stopped raining and we were able to go outside and do what they had planned for us. I guess it's a tradition in their culture that they take eggs and hollow them out, then paint them, fill them with confetti, and cover the holes with tissue paper. Then you go and smash the eggs on peoples heads. It is... probably the most fun tradition ever. Way better than decorating eggs American style. I got some epic pictures of me smashing eggs on our Bishop's bald head. I've decided to steal this tradition and do it always. Who's with me?!
Anyway, that's my life.
I've been studying the atonement a lot which has been strengthening my relationship with Christ. And it reminds me why I'm here, proves to me how much God needs hands to comfort those in need. I hope everyone realizes how much we're all in this together, everybody on this Earth. We need each other to feel joy, we need each other to help each other. And we are responsible for one another. That is a huge responsibility that I know we will be held accountable for hereafter. So never forget how much influence you all have. I love you. So much!