Returning Home!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Regocijad! Jesus nacio!

Hola mi familia! Y hola a todos quienes leyendo esta email. I don't know if I typed that right, but hey, it's Spanish! I'm getting there.
What a weeeeeeeek!
First off, let me say that I think hispanics are the best. They are SO funny and kind. I think I know part of the reason why the Lord called me to go Spanish speaking: because hispanics are 10x nicer than white people. haha. I don't mean to say that in a mean way, and yes we have lots of nice white people in the world, but let me tell you, the white people I run into on the streets are a million times meaner than the latinos. The latinos at least are polite and don't yell at you. They are sweet people. I'm so glad I'm called to serve them.
Hispanic people are so funny. There isn't a night that I don't come home with at least two water bottles in my purse. They love feeding us and giving us water bottles for some reason. I ain't complainin!
I noticed a huge improvement this week in my Spanish skillz. Although I don't understand everything they say, my mind is able to get what they're saying quicker. It's awesome! Yesterday in church we taught both Sunday School and Relief Society, and I understood what was going on AND I was able to say some stuff! I didn't say anything crazy either -- thank goodness. I was just freaking out before R.S. because all the women are native Spanish speakers, and I didn't want them to think I'm an idiot or anything. But Hna. Lawrence reassured me that they are practically in awe at what we're doing as missionaries, trying to teach in Spanish. And they seemed to understand me! Progress!
Okay, so a few experiences that happened this week:
1. We had this awesome lesson with our most progressing investigator, Josue. He's SO SO close to baptism. Just trying to kick his smoking addiction. He doesn't drink anymore, so that's awesome! We were teaching him in the library this last week, and he was telling us about an experience he had last weekend. So, last Sunday we watched the First Presidencia Christmas Devocional with him, and after we left, he told us he was getting ready for bed when he saw the Bible on his nightstand and thought, (in Spanish of course) "Hmmm... let's try this. Let's see if God is really there." And so he told he prayed for 15 MINUTES, just confessing everything to God and having a conversation with him about the darkest parts of his heart, etc. And he told us that afterward, he felt like a huge burden had been lifted off, and he felt joy. We were in awe. But it was an amazing experience for me because as I was trying to listen to him, I didn't have a CLUE of what he was saying. It was just not coming to me. But for some reason I felt the Spirit SO strong. I had no clue why until Hermana Lawrence told me what had happened. How cool! The Spirit works even when you can't understand what someone is saying! We told Josue that he had experiences forgiveness and that he felt the Spirit. We then had a great lesson on the principles in Alma 34. It was so cool. Josue just needs to get dunked already. This guy is already reading the Liahona by himself, coming to Church without us prodding him too much, etc. He's obsessed with President Monson too. haha.
2. Second cool experience! We were having dinner with Antonio y Dalia, who just had a baby girl this last week, and as we were eating one of Antonio's friends comes in. His name was Natalio, and we got to know him a bit before he started asking us what we believed. He said he goes to a Baptist church right now, but he loves reading and learning and studying. At this point, I had no clue what was going on, but all of the sudden I felt the Spirit change in the room drastically. It was so tangible. Hna. Lawrence told me we were teaching him the first lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ right then, so we just taught him the whole thing right there. And he kept saying afterward that he felt this energy in his heart, and it felt so good. And the neat thing was that Antonio y Dalia were sitting in the living room not far from us, and they were pretending not to listen, but they totes were. They are kind of iffy on taking lessons, but we know they were listening cause Antonio kept jumping in with comments here and there. It was awesome! The Lord dropped Natalio right into our laps. The Lord is so good to us!
So yeah! Those were my neat experiences of the week! Otherwise, I've just been moving along, learning learning learning. Always more to learn. Saturday I was just not having a good morning for some reason. You should've seen me, I was a hot mess. Everything was making me cry. We were reciting our purpose and the first vision, etc., and I would just start tearing up cause I was so....bleh. Just one of those mornings. And it got worse when we started talking about how I can learn the language better. Woof. But I talked it out and just went from there, and my day went great. The work we do as missionaries is hard, yes, but it's worth it. I'm learning a lot about myself and about the Holy Ghost and how much our Heavenly Father loves us. And how we all really need to partake of the Atonement of Jesus Christ every single day. I could go on and on about the Atonement. Christ is amazing.
Funny thing that happened this week: we were at a party where all of our members and investigators were on Saturday for a bit, and we were doing some contacting in the party, and one guy there was this guy that Hna. Lawrence ran into a few weeks before I got here who said he was a Nazi and that he wasn't afraid to shoot her. Yeah, this guy was nuts. So he's at the party, right? And what happens next? He starts chit chattin with us like he doesn't recognize Hna. Lawrence. I of course haven't met the man before, but Hna. Lawrence was a little freaked out. He was telling us about how he used to ride with Hells Angels and some other biker gangs. I knew what he was talkin about (thank you Arizona!), but Hna. Lawrence didn't and was totally freaked. It was so funny. We had a fun time. (We took pictures in the photo booth, so we'll be sending you all Christmas cards this week!)
I wish I could send pictures! But I don't have a camera anymore, and the computers here at the library don't have a place for me to put my SD card in. Boooo. Corydon is such a cute little town. Very classic downtown. Except for the store called Butt Drugs. That kind of throws off the whole cutesy classy town thing.
Christmas is almost here! And you know what that means! :D You get to see my face! JK. I get to see yours! I'm so excited! Thank you to everyone who is sending me letters. You made it possible for me to get a library card here in Corydon IN. That means I can use the computers without asking! ha ha ha!
But for reals. I am so grateful for everyone who's helping me out and supporting me on my mission. You are all so good to me. Many blessings are coming your way! I pray for you all every day and night! I really do want to hear from all of you. 
 I try to send out 5 or so letters every pday to random people in my address book, so I hope you all feel like I'm trying to keep in contact. I love writing letters and talking to you all. You are my liiiiiifeeee!
A couple talks that really helped me this week were "Lord, I Believe" by Jeffrey R. Holland and the talk "Those Whom I Love I Rebuke and Chasten" by D. Todd Christofferson. Especially that last one. I am just in awe at these general authorities and their inspired words. I want to be as tune with the Spirit as they are. This inspiration and revelation stuff is great!
Although the mission is hard, and although we are all called to pass through hard missions of our own throughout our lives, we have the promise that we are not alone in it. Our Savior Jesus Christ lovingly sacrificed His life for us so that He could know how to succor us and help us when we had hard times. I have really learned so much about the Plan of Salvation out here on the mission. The Fall of Adam and Eve was not a bad thing. Although it meant we would be called to pass through really hard times in our lives, our loving Savior and Heavenly Father created a plan so that we would not have to suffer those hard times alone, and so that we could be happy and live with Christ and Heavenly Father again after this life. That plan meant sacrificing the Savior Jesus Christ. "Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me!" It really is wonderful. Study and learn of the Atonement every. single. day. That is what I have been doing, and it has carried me every day of my mission so far. I am forever in awe at what the Savior has done for me and how much I have to try to give back to Him.
I love this work. It's hard, and sometimes I don't feel so great about it, but in the end, I learn how to lean on the Savior, and He in turn helps me grow and become better. What a marvelous chance we have to become like Him! I love my Savior.
Well, I have tons of stuff to do in preparation for la Navidad! Be on the lookout for Christmas pictures! :) I won't be able to email next week since the library will be closed and I will be in Louisville on Monday, but I will call you next Wednesday!! LOVE YOU!
Hermana Porter

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Refiners Fire

So...I'm in Kentucky. Well actually, I'm in Indiana. I got assigned to Corydon, Indiana, and my trainer is Hermana Lawrence. Let me tell you, I got things pretty easy coming here compared to other missionaries, but it's still SO SO hard. I had no idea the field would be so rough. Don't get me wrong, I love the mission.... but WOWZA. Ever heard of the Refiner's Fire? Well, if not...look it up. The process hurts, and sometimes I wonder what the heck I am doing. I am very aware of my inadequacies (thanks to Satan), and I have a really hard time being myself when I don't know what anyone's saying or how to talk to them. My companion has been on the mission for 10 months, and she is completely fluent, so she's developed some pretty great relationships with the members and investigators here in Corydon.
I don't want this to be negative, and I hope it does not come off that way. The mission is an amazing thing. But I wish I had prepared myself better. The CCM was a great experience, and I'll admit, I got comfortable there at the end. It's like a cycle. Let's relate it to the Fall of Adam & Eve. We were put in the MTC, and woof, it was like being thrown into the lone and dreary world. But slowly, we turned it into the Garden of Eden. Life was good, we were the top of the food chain, we knew the most spanish in the place, and then BOOM. Thrown right back into the lone and dreary world. Being in the world is hard, but I have to learn how to turn it into a garden of eden again. Does this make sense?
But anywho, yes, the mission field is not what I was expecting. Actually, I don't know what I was expecting really. Lots of flowers and birds and baptisms all over the place. I would get things pretty easy. But I don't know what it is about the mission field that humbles you pretty dang quick. I was at a really low point on Wednesday I think where I just did not know what to do. Our mission president gave us this packet with a million different articles about the Atonement in it, and we have to study it every day. And I was reading a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland yesterday, and I found this gem:
"I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ--and we are. But mark my word. That means you must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, to at least occasionally sometime during your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed."
I don't know what class Elder Holland took to be as awesome as he is, but I want to sign up for it.
Missionary work is hard work, and sometimes I don't know what the heck I'm doing. But I am representing Jesus Christ, and I am here in behalf of Him and His Church. It's His work, not mine. I am going to learn pretty soon how to forget myself and focus on His work, not myself. It's rough going, but the Atonement is there. Each day I am learning what it really means to partake of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for it. I can't even comprehend the greatness of it all.

Entonces. Let me tell you a little about my life this week. I left the CCM at like 3 am. My roommates are AWESOME. Hermana Hill and Hermana Baker woke up with me and lugged my...luggage over to Recepcion for me. They stayed there until I drove off. I miss Hermana Baker SO much. I love that hermana to death! But anyway, my flights were uneventful. It was hard to say goodbye to the two elders in my district. I miss my district a lot!
President and Sister Woodbury are GEMS. They are THE kindest people I have EVER met. I don't know what it is! They are the sweetest, kindest....bah! Can't even describe it! President Woodbury knew everything about me already (sneaky man! he got info from bishop somehow) and interviewed me. :)
Theeeeen we went to transfer meeting on Tues. We have 15 new missionaries in the mission. I got my trainer, Hermana Lawrence. She reminds me of Candice Christensen. :) Love her! She knows her stuff and has been so helpful to me. I was so sad when I got to the mission office because I didn't have a package or anything waiting for me. It's freeeeezing here mom! I need all that stuff you said you were going to send. :( I did have a little thank-you card from Rob & Michelle though!
Oh. P.S. If you all want to write me (PLEASE DOOOOOO I desperately want to hear from everyone everywhere all the time) my address is:
2250 Heritage Way NW #4
Corydon, IN 47112
Okay, Thanksgiving was awesome. The Van Uderts are a family from Utah in the English ward here, and they fed us and the elders. Thanksgiving was just an awesome day. Lots of yummy food :) Speaking of food, the people out here loooove to feed us. Yesterday we had a late lunch with Jose y Maria, and I ate like 6 tacos, and then we went to visit Hector y Erica, and then they fed us some shrimp tortillas...wooooooof. We were STUFFED. The food is good though! I had pasoli the other day.

The members are great out here. We have a small branch of Spanish Speakers here in Corydon. About 50 people come on Sunday. Small but strong. We are working a lot with less-actives. We have a lot of great examples and conversion stories. :)

Well it sounds like life is busy and fun at home! I miss yall a lot! Keep praying for me! I think about everyone and keep you in my prayers. I am doing well out here. We got to decorate a Christmas tree with Dalia, one of our investigators, last night. Felt like Christmas/home :)
I hope I have more time to write next week! I will give you more details about life here in Corydon next week.

Oh funny story. We were walking out of church yesterday and some random guycame up to us and talked to us for like 45 minutes about his life as a gangster and jail and his weapons and knives, etc... it was interesting. Nice guy though! And one of our investigators just got out of jail a couple weeks ago. Solid dude. Love him! We're finding that the main problems these have, have to do with the Word of Wisdom.......

Anywho! Love you all! WRITE ME POR FAVOR. I will send you stickers!!!!
Hermana Porter