Monday, June 16, 2014
I've decided that I'm going to be Hispanic and run away and eat Tortas all day
Crazy week! Crazy week! But much needed. I needed to feel useful, and this week definitely was that way.
Monday I decided to throw Hermana Gonzalez a birthday party because her birthday is later this week but I knew that she was getting transferred and I didn't want her to have to spend it with a bunch of people who barely know her. So I commissioned the East elders to go pick up tamales from one of our Mexican investigators, because she makes the best tamales ever, and then we somehow gathered a bunch of dulces from a store called La Michoacana without her noticing (which truly is a feat seeing as we had to be in sight and sound of one another...) and the Elders got her a pinata and they frantically stuffed it in the car while we were bowling. And it was a grand ole' day. Pictures attached. It was a very wonderful way to say goodbye. Actually, it was sad. And when she actually got transferred, I locked myself in the bathroom... I guess you could say I was a little nervous she was leaving.
Tuesday was Michelle's baptism! The font water, once again, came out black, and we didn't find that out until twenty minutes before the baptism. So once again we scrambled around to make arrangements and she ended up getting baptized in a member's pool. (I promise our ward isn't as wealthy as it sounds, we just happen to have two doctors who have pools in it...) Michelle's baptism was absolutely powerful. I have never been so overwhelmed with the spirit testifying that in that moment she WAS making a covenant with God. And she knew it. She had been prepared since 2005 to step into that water. I had the opportunity to speak at her baptism, and she wept the whole time. I love her. Sooo much.
We have another baptism on Saturday! Her name is Wanda and we met her at Taco Bell! From the moment we met her she said, "what do I have to do to become Mormon?"
"Okay. Then I just had my last one. What else?"
"Stop working on Sundays and come to church."
And she hasn't smoked a cigarette and she hasn't missed church once. She knows that these things are true. And it has changed her life. The Gospel truly does have the power to change a person for the better, which is something I've been able to ponder a lot lately. We have this relentless desire to please everybody, to show people what we have and how we dress and who we are. But by receiving compliments for those things, we already have our reward. Oddly enough in Texas, being Christian is trendy. People love to flaunt their Christianity. But if we ask them if we can pray with them, they glare at us and kick us off their porch. So to see somebody so humbly make changes to their life that shows God their commitment, not minding if others notice their change, is a powerful testimony-builder for me.
My new companion, Hermana Oquendo, is amazing. She is from Puerto Rico and she has learned English on her mission. To appease us both, we alternate days to speak English and Spanish. Today is a Spanish day, but I don't think any of you would understand this email so... I'm a cheater. She's such a hard worker and she is a champion at picking out Spanish speakers, so it's been a stressful week because I'm taking over this area and I have to drive because Hermana Oquendo doesn't have her license, but I'm not even kidding when I say that the Holy Ghost has literally directed us to every appointment. Sometimes I get behind the wheel and just drive and we always miraculously appear where we need to be. She is patient with me and encourages me to be confident in my Spanish and in my teaching skills, and it has helped me a lot. She and I have been able to connect really well and she is rooted in the Gospel, in love for others, and in a sincere desire to bring others to Christ. Her example has encouraged me to be better. For which, I am grateful. It has made my prayers more sincere, my motivation and desire stronger, and my love for others has increased.
I still love this work. And I'm looking forward to another wonderful week! I love you all back home. I hope you had a chance to celebrate Fathers! I know I have an amazing Father in Heaven and and amazing Father on Earth, both of which support me and inspire me to be better each and every day.
God loves you! I love you!
-Michelle's Baptism! Don't ask me why I straightened my hair... Quien sabe...
-My new companion,Hermana Oquendo