Hola mi familia!!!!
I could sing it from the mountain tops!!! I LOVE THE MISSION!!! I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!! I LOVE THIS CHURCH!!!
First off, that quote in the headline is a direct quote from Elder Stewart in our district. He was teaching one of our investigators, Luis, and he said that, which translates into, "We have many fish in this life." He meant to say "pecados", which is sins. LOL. Gave us a good laugh.
Second off, will you post this on my Facebook: DO NOT send me letters here please!! I don't know if anyone has, but seriously, the mail takes 4 weeks to get here. Don't write me any from here on out until I get to Kentucky please!! Its not that I don't want letters. Cause I do. Just not here. I will never get it. :(
Third off... send me pics of yall!! And send me pics of my paintings! Enciso, my teacher, is a painter and he wants to see my temple paintings. Also, tell me how much moolah is in my bank account. Some guy sells jerseys in la tienda here on campus, and I want to be one of the cool kids who has one of those jerseys for gym time. They cost $35. (I bought Mexican scripture cases and a metal picture of the SLC templo today at the tienda by the templo!!! It only cost $30 for both total!)
Fourth off.... LIFE IS GRAND!! Where do I even begin!
Last Tuesday when I emailed you, I was feelin ROUGH. I mean seriously. I apologize that my email was so depressing and all over the place. I was just not feeling the Spirit. I was missing you guys too much, and I was not learning the language. Satanás was getting me down fo sho. We had a devotional that night by Elder Holland (it was a recorded one), and I don't think ANYTHING has ever hit me as hard as his talk did. EVER. It was a devotional from a couple years ago, but he gave a talk in GC about it a while ago titled, "Peter, Do You Love Me?" I SO WISH you could have heard him speak the way he spoke to us missionaries. He never could have done that in GC, but it went right to my core. I kept thinking all night, "Lord, do I REALLY love thee?" And he told us about how after Christ died, Peter and the other Apostles just went back to fishing because that was what they knew how to do. Then Christ appeared, asked Peter 3x if he loved him, and when he said he did, he said, "THEN FEED. MY. SHEEP. FOREVER!" You are not called to be an Apostle just for a little while. You are not just called to be a missionary for just 18 months or 2 years. When you receive a call from the Lord, you are called to be that FOREVER. FOREVER. You are to be a missionary FOREVER. You are to FEED HIS SHEEP FOREVER. This isn't temporary! The things you learn on the mission are to convert YOU, and YOU are to FEED HIS SHEEP. It just hit me so hard. SO hard.
Wednesday was ROUGHER. Hermana Baker and I both woke up just NOT feeling the Spirit. It was the worst feeling ever. I can't even explain it. I was just moody, not getting any revelation in morning study, and anytime one of my language teachers asked me a question, I was on the verge of tears. I was a hot mess. But not really. Anyway, later that afternoon, things kind of got better. I still was not feeling so great about myself that day.
Then came Thursday.
Thursday was just the turning point for me. And every day since has been a fantastic learning experience.
First off, before I explain, I just need to talk to you about Hermana Baker. I can't say ENOUGH good things about what an amazing person Hermana Baker is. She and I are on the same level about everything, and she and I just GET EACH OTHER. I can't even explain it. She is just AWESOME in every single way. She is so patient and diligent, and when she's feeling down, I help her, and when I'm feeling down, she helps me perfectly. She is so in tune with the Spirit, and she has made my life here in the CCM so much easier. Not just easy, but FANTASTIC. I can't even explain it! She is a specter from the Gods! (That is a quote from the Testament movies...) So with that being said...
We were sitting outside on Thursday and I just had to have a talk with her about how I was just so frustrated yesterday, and then that morning I just had the revelation that the Lord is going to help me through what He needs me to do. He hasn't called me to fail. He has called me to succeed GLORIOUSLY. Although every day has it's rough parts, we just need to look at it like, "Lord, what do you need me to learn from this? What are you trying to make me into?" I can't exactly remember everything we talked about or what I said, but I remember it being a turning point.
Friday was rough too. I got shut down again because our teachers gave us 12 new investigators. TWELVE. Hermana Baker is so intuitive. She notices that I just shut down when I get stressed and think I can't do something. She took me outside and we had a nice talk, and my attitude turned around. I was still thinking about Elder Holland's message and how I am not devoting everything I have to the Lord. I kept asking myself, "What can I do better to devote EVERYTHING to the Lord?"
Basically, I've decided to keep Hermana Baker for the next 17 months. Because she and I work together like....like nothing you can even imagine!
Anyway, so Thursday proved to be the turning point. And you know what happened Sunday? We began our fast on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning, we were both receiving crazy awesome revelation for our investigator Carlos (Hermano Enciso--I will tell you about him in a sec.), and then our District Leader, Elder Feuz, comes in and says, "Hermana Baker and Porter, President Machado wants to interview you two right now."
And guess what happened? He assigned us to be the new Sister Training Leaders!!!! We were so thrilled!! Pres. Machado and Pres. Avila interviewed us and extended the assignment to us, and then they both said, "Thursday, your names just came into our heads, and we've been emailing back and forth since then. We have known since Thursday that you were to be the new training leaders." WOWZA. The Lord is so good!!
We have seen blessings beyond measure since then! One of our investigators, Carlos, committed to baptism yesterday! We had a lesson about chastity with him, and he read D&C18: 2-3 and just started crying. He is a fake investigator, but the Spirit was SO strong in that room. We read Alma 7: 14-16 together, and just like that he committed to baptism. We were so struck by the Spirit. I can't even describe it. If you don't have the Spirit in your lessons, you cannot teach. Because the Spirit is the teacher, not you. You are just a mouthpiece for the Spirit.
Yesterday was rough for me before the lesson. I was actually feeling really well, because I had finally figured out an answer to my fast. I have been pondering how I can more fully devote myself to the Lord, and then in Relief Society on Sunday, Hermana Pratt said, "Clean up your comfort zone." That hit me, and as I've been thinking about it, it came to me yesterday. ENGLISH is my comfort zone. I had a talk with Hermana Baker about how I feel like I am failing to learn the language, and I explained to her how I feel like English is my comfort zone. I avoid talking in Spanish because I get too scared of messing up. I just resort to English because I can express myself. But I am not learning Spanish, and my purpose here is to Preach the Gospel in Spanish. Anyway, she helped me reevaluate my language study plan, and I feel like I am finally organized. (You know me. I need to be organized, and when it came to learning to Spanish here, I was NOT organized. I did NOT know where to start, and I was all over the place, but noting was sticking.) Again, Hermana Baker is amazing! She's so diligent.
Hermano Enciso. I MUST tell you about him. He is one of our afternoon teachers, along with Hermano Castellano. They are both hilarious and awesome. Both of them are investigators for us. Enciso is actually a convert. He learned English on his mission in Ecuador, and he just got home a few months ago. He is engaged and moving to Provo and then Texas next May. He got baptized the DAY AFTER ME! He got baptized Nov. 22, 2009! How crazy! He is the most helpful teacher ever! He told Hermana Baker and I the other day (it was a secret!) that we are the best missionaries in the zone. Lol. He is always saying, "Eso!!!" Enciso is the best. Yesterday Enciso and Castellano were having a meeting with all of us about language study plans, and Castellano goes, "Hermano Enciso will be leaving us Wednesday because he just found out he has a child in Bolivia he needs to take care of." He doesn't really, but they made it pretty believable. LOL. He will be leaving us Wednesday though. He will be teaching a new district. :( Encisoooooo! (He told Hermana Baker and I to tell people we are from Xochimilco.
So, guess who likes sports now? I told you miracles were occuring every day here!! Hermana Baker and I play soccer and kickball with 3 other districts every day for gym time. I love it because it's not competitive! No pressure! Plus Elder Fastle yells "GO PORTER!!!!" every time I get the ball. haha.
hahahaha soooo....our district. We are SO TIGHT NOW. I love my district. Yes, the Elders are really immature sometimes, but Sunday morning Elder Fastle and Elder Seager were called to be the new Zone Leaders. We have 8 Elders and 4 Hermanas in our district, and we have both the ZLs and the STLs now! All this leadership is blessing us so much! Hermana Baker and I were so grateful Sunday morning for everything. Especially for calling Fastle and Seager to be ZLs. Let me tell you about them.
Fastle knows Spanish. He took 6 years of it. And he is LOUD. He is the unnamed leader of the classroom because he demands his attention. We have a hard time being patient with him sometimes, but he knows he needs to work on his pride. Then his comp, Seager, is more mellow. (I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT SEAGER IN ANOTHER EMAIL.) He is an awesome guy. But he knows nothing about Spanish. And Fastle takes over in lessons because it's frustrating not to get his message out. Anyway, so Seager taught me as an investigator the other night, and the Spirit was just not there. He was too worried about the language. Hermana Baker took Fastle to the side afterward while I had a talk with Seager. I gave him feedback and told him to just not worry about the language. I gave him some ideas about how Hermana Baker and I learn vocab for the lesson we will be teaching that day, and then we go in with an idea about what we are going to teach and let the Spirit use the vocab we learned. And I'm tellin ya, when we teach PEOPLE, not LESSONS, everything goes 10x smoother from there. It's amazing. So I had a nice little talk with Seager and helped him relax, and then BAM. ZL. He is going to grow so much these next few weeks from this calling. Hermana Baker and I were crying with joy in sacrament meeting when we heard they were the new Zls, because the night before we got a glimpse of what great leaders these two Elders will become. I can't express my thanks appropriately for the blessings the Lord has given us here in the CCM as a companionship and as a district. The men in my district are amazing guys. Sure, they still are kind of immature (Fastle stuck a note in my purse the other day while I was gone that confessed Whipple's "undying love" for me, but I just laughed it off and never brought it up), but they are great men. They will be great Elders. I can't wait to see what the Lord turns them into in 2 years.
haha. On Thursday, Dia de la Muerta (Halloween), Elder Fastle got a package of Krispy Kremes and A&W and candy and chips and salsa in the mail from his mom (from some website. I think its called MyDear Missionary or something like that). All that sugar is EXACTLY what a group of teenage boys with nothing to do in the afternoon need....NOT. They were having chugging contests, and I don't think they focused AT ALL that day. It was insane. Oh also, the elders love telling racist jokes. The hermanas hate it, but some of them are actually kinda funny... Seager, Fastle, Whipple and Hopkins love me because I laugh on accident.
AAAANYWAY. On the second day of Dia de la Muerte, Hermano Hernandez brought us Pan de Muerte (Death Bread) from Walmart. SO GOOD. It's basically just a huge sugar donut. YUM.
Let's see what else...
There is a guy in my district named TANNER NELSON. No way. I could NOT believe it. I almost died. haha. BTW. I still know everyone here. I keep finding a million connections with people. I love it. My roommates hate it. haha. It's so fun getting to know people though! I walk into the TALL lab every night and everyone is like, "YO PORTER" and they talk to me about people they know or places we've been or mutualy friends, etc. It's the beessstttt.
Life is good. It's turning around. I am learning how to be especially sensitive to the Spirit and how to crack down on Spanish. The Lord hasn't called us to fail. He has called us to succeed gloriously. We are in the FINAL dispensation. The dispensation of the fulness of times. And this is the dispensation that WILL NOT FAIL. I love this Church! I know it's true! We are so lucky to have continuing revelation on Earth today, both personal and through the prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are so privileged to live in these times! Although living the gospel is harder than dying for it, it is definitely more rewarding. No matter how hard life gets, we must remember that the Lord is going to exalt us on high is we but endure to the end faithfully. NOTHING is worth giving that up. Nothing! I love being a missionary, and although there are hard days, the Lord brings us low just for the purpose of bringing us higher. He loves each and every one of us so much, and I wish we all knew the potential He sees in us. Because I see that potential in every one of my investigators and friends and family members. I love everyone so much!! God be with you!