Nov 4 at 12:25 PM
It sounds like you guys had a great week. :) I'm glad that Grandma's surgery went well. I'll be keeping her in my prayers! I'm really sorry about the car. :( Hopefully the new car will be a good thing for our family. Thank you so much for all of the things you have put in the mail for me! It will be so nice to get a little piece of home when I am so far away. Thank you also for your advice about what to do with the Primary. I planned a lesson this week....and the Primary president was actually at church (usually she works on Sundays), so I taught Young Women in Spanish off the top of my head because the Young Women president wasn't at church (it's a crazy life in our branch). And just so you know, we didn't even know about the earthquake until you told us about it. haha so we are fine on that front. I love what you said about how this mission is also for Hermana Latham to grow and for her family to grow. I understand more each day just how much of a personal journey this really is. I didn't sign up to serve a mission to get blessings from Heavenly Father...but He has me under His watchful eye and this mission really is a chance for me to grow personally.
This week was really, really tough. (I'm going to tell about the bad stuff first and then the good stuff. :) ) I told you last week about all of the problems we were facing. Well, this week we got some more. On Tuesday we got a call from some of the senior missionaries in our mission that we needed to start looking for a house. As you saw in the pictures, Pucón is a super fabulous tourist place. So our rent normally is about 170 thousand Chilean pesos a month, but for January our landlord wanted 450 thousand, and for February 600 thousand because the houses are in such high demand in the summer. Sooo....we are searching for a house in Pucón, but no one wants to rent to us for a year-long contract. All the houses are up for temporary rent, with a charge per night (like a hotel). But if we don't find a house, the mission is going to have to close the hermanas sector in Pucón. Transfers are on the 20th. So if we find a house in time, I will be moving to another house in Pucón. But if not, I will be transferred for the 20th. We are so sad and so worried! There are so many wonderful people for us to serve here in Pucón, and we don't want to have to leave them. If we do, then the elders will be in charge of their sector and our sector (which is a super gigantic area) and we JUST committed our investigators to baptism for Nov. 30th.
Then the other really tough thing is my companion's health. She has chronic insomnia, and we went to the doctor three times the past couple of weeks. We take a bus for 30 minutes to get to Villarrica, then we walk for a while to get to the clinic, then we sit and wait for Hermana Nappa to have a 3 minute long appointment with the doctor where he basically says, "Oh, that medication's not working for you? Try this one and come back in a few days." It's super frustrating. None of the medications are helping her to sleep at all, and the most recent one she took made her really sick. So we called the mission doctor and it turns out that this medication is prohibited for missionaries, so she can't take it anyway. We have pretty much exhausted our resources and she will probably have to go home to Paraguay for treatment.
So as you can imagine, with all of the problems that are going on, I've been feeling super overwhelmed. Now here's for the good parts.
On Tuesday we had a GREAT lesson with our main investigators and committed all four of them to baptism on November 30th! We are so excited for their progress. And the biggest part of this for me is that I was the one who invited them all! Every time I do more things in Spanish, I feel more confident. The lesson was fabulous. We both gave our testimonies and helped clear up concerns they had about the first lesson.
On Wednesday night we went to Villarrica to do exchanges with the hermanas there, Hermana McNeil and Hermana Niño. (Hermana McNeil said her mom is friends with you in the mm group!) It was so wonderful for me to spend time with Hermana McNeil. She is fantastic. She is such a positive, spiritual and hard-working missionary, and also so loving. We had two really great lessons and I just felt the Spirit so strongly. She is a really good friend to me. We stayed the night with the Villarrica hermanas to travel with them to Valdivia for a special conference. It was a 3 hour bus ride, so Hermana McNeil and I read for a while and then we just talked. She helped me to feel a lot better, thinking about my goals as a missionary and just being able to talk to another gringa! :) But also she helped me to remember that in times of a lot of trial (like now) it is so important that we remember to love ourselves...which is one of the things I am working on.
Our training in Valdivia was with 3 different zones, and President Rappleye gave us all little booklets about how to manage missionary stress. This booklet could not have been more timely! Hermana Nappa and I are both just SO stressed out, but we are trying to utilize the booklet to be better (there are four levels of stress--the best is green, then there is yellow, orange, and red) I am at orange and Hermana Nappa is at red, so we are praying to manage our stress better. :)
What with this booklet, prayer, studying the scriptures, and everything, I have still been struggling to feel strong and happy this week. I knew that I just needed to feel the peace and love of my Heavenly Father. So yesterday after branch council meeting, I asked the elders to give me a blessing. The words that Elder Whitaker used were just the words that I needed to hear. Now I feel more peace and hope. I know things aren't going to be so tough for forever. I know that the Lord is with me and that He loves me so much! I just need to press forward with faith. Hermana Nappa and I talked a lot, and she reminded me that we didn't come here with money and medicine and tools to solve people's problems. We came here with our testimonies and with the gospel, and sharing that light is the way that we can help other people. We can help them to feel God's love and the hope that is in Christ. I know it will take some time for me to get stronger and reach the green level of stress, but I know that I can. I have been realizing more and more as I've been here that Satan doesn't want me on this mission. And for that I want to fight as hard as I possibly can to beat him! I know that I have the potential to be a wonderful, helpful missionary...and Satan can't take that away from me unless I let him. So I'm not letting him. I am keeping a prayer in my heart always, with faith that everything will work out according the Lord's will. I can do this!! I can do this because I've got Jesus as my best friend. Difícil, pero nunca imposible. Difficult, but never impossible.
I love being a missionary. Every day we have an hour of personal study, and then after that we have companion study where Hermana Nappa and I share with each other the things we learned from personal study. It is so great! I have never felt such a personal connection to the scriptures. All the answers to our questions, our investigators' concerns, and everything are in the scriptures! They are a fountain of truth and light. I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES!! haha I thought I was a super Mormon nerd before this mission...I love the scriptures and the hymns more than I ever did before. And I love my Savior more than I ever did before. This is His mission. And the darkness of this world will never put out His light again! How blessed we are to live in this time.
A couple fun facts...every Sunday we eat with a different family in our branch, and it's like Thanksgiving. We eat SO much on Sundays. I always feel so huge afterwards! Hermana Nappa says it gets easier once you get used to it. lol. Also the movie Despicable Me in Spanish is Mi Villano Favorito, or My Favorite Villain. Just some fun food for thought. lol I hope these things made you smile!
I miss you all so much and I love you with all of my heart! I will keep you always in my prayers! Stay warm. :) I do not envy your cold weather! (also thank you for the weather forecast...we never know what the weather is. I just have a sense of, "oh, it's warm today," or "oh, today is a cardigan day.")
Love always and gigantic abrazos from Pucón, Hermana Latham