As promised, here are some Mormonja pictures. Today is a particularly rainy day, so we took these right before we left the house.
Happy June! I literally cannot believe that it is June. The months fly by. I remember when January started and I started to think of 2014 as "the Chile year." I was only here for the end of 2013, and once 2015 gets here I will be getting ready to go home. So, the Chile year is almost halfway gone! And the mission....is halfway gone too! "La mitad" is "the half" of something. Half of the mission. Like you were saying, all at once it feels like I just got here and it feels like I've been gone forever. But I can very joyfully say that these nine months have been amazing. They have been the hardest nine months of my life. But I have never been closer to the sweet and tender mercies of the Lord, and I have never felt more His pure love for me and for every person. I am very happy with the service I have given and the things that I have learned in these nine months, and I am so grateful that I have nine more months to serve as a full time missionary! It's funny that Nana would connect nine months of the mission with pregnancy...because that is what the hermanas here in our mission do, too! On our "hump day" our companion gives us a pretend pregnant belly and we take pictures. It's kind of a weird tradition. But it is what we do here! haha. And since Hermana Núñez and I have been together for the past 4 months, I made her pregnant belly back in February and she made mine this week. lol. I also really like and totally agree with what Daddy said...the second half of the mission will be much better than the first half. I know so much more. I speak better Spanish. I rely better on the Lord. I am a better Preach My Gospel missionary. I am so excited for these next nine months! I know that they will be gone before I know it!
Hermana Núñez took about a million pictures of me. Here are a couple :)
I forgot to tell you a couple things last week...last Monday I was coming down with a cold, but now I am getting much better. The sad part is that....my companion got the cold from me, and now she is sick. :( I guess you have to expect to get a cold when the weather suddenly takes a turn for the winter. It rains pretty much all day every day. The rain doesn't bother me that much, being from Georgia. But the hard thing is the wind. The wind picks up the rain, and the umbrella, and your hair...etc. lol...I think my hair will be in a ponytail pretty much all winter. Also, my umbrella died today. The one that is in the Mormonja pictures from this morning lives no more. So I bought a new one. That was the other thing I wanted to talk about. Last week you asked me what things I would have brought and what things I would have left home. The little black umbrella I brought was great in the MTC, but it was not strong enough for the wind here. Once I got here I had to buy a good, strong, big umbrella. So I would recommend bringing a little one for just in case and buying a good one once you get to Chile. If I could do it again, I would buy more stuff for the cold. I guess that I thought that whatever skirt would be fine and that my legs wouldn't get too cold if I wore thick tights. But I only brought 3 or 4 pairs of thick tights. I would bring more thick tights for all of the seasons except summer, and skirts that are more sturdy for the wind. I didn't think at all about wind when I bought my skirts! I would buy good, warm boots with a good sole in the United States before coming here. The boots I bought here are okay, but not fabulous. They are really flat inside and make my feet hurt if I wear them too many days in a row. Also shoes. I would buy three pairs for my parents to send me one later on. The shoes I bought here are not Danskos, they are a brand I hadn't heard of before. They are good shoes, but the leather stretched within a month or so of buying them. I still use them, though. A backpack is completely essential. No matter what the call packet says. lol. So I wouldn't bring a purse. I wouldn't bring so many hygiene products. I can find all of that stuff here. It is not exactly the same, but it's fine. Hygiene products weigh down the suitcase a lot. I would bring a laundry bag without holes. My mesh laundry bag is somewhat frustrating.
"Mormonja" is a nickname Melanie and her companion have given themselves. In the area they are in there are monks, or "monjes" and she told us when they wear their rain gear (big black rain coats and rain skirts over their clothes) they feel like the monjes, so they refer to themselves as "Mormonks" in English, or "mormonja" in Espanol.
This week has been so incredible! PXXX, the lady I told you about a couple weeks back with two daughters who is really receptive, accepted a baptismal date! We are SO excited to prepare her for baptism! She also came to church this Sunday and stayed all three hours! She loved the meetings and asked us if there were more meetings at night that she could come to. We told her that our next meetings were for the next Sunday, and she told us she is planning on coming again and that next week, she wants to wear a skirt. She is FABULOUS! Today we have another appointment with her and with a member she knows. It was so great to see her in church. And then, as sacrament meeting was coming to an end, a less active family that we have been visiting came into the chapel! We are so, so, so happy to be a part of the miracles that are happening here in Río Bueno. One lady that we have tried to visit for the whole time I have been here let us into her house this week. She shared with the elders a couple years back but couldn't get baptized because she wasn't married. Now she lives alone, and she told us that she knows that she needs to be baptized in this Church. It was such a beautiful moment! Also, despite the rain and the fact that both of us have colds, we went out on Saturday and the Lord helped us to find four new investigators! They had all been really great contacts and all of them accepted for us to come back next week to visit. AHHH!
Sometimes life can get you down. Things can be hard. But I know that things get better. I know that what the Lord has in store in the future is better...and as we keep going with faith, hope, diligence, and patience...the blessings come. They come in giant ways that you never would have imagined. He is aware of us and our lives. He loves us! And the future is truly as bright as your faith.
I love you all so so much! I am so happy that you are enjoying the beginning of the summer. Soak up some sun for me. :) Thank you for telling me about how Abby and Benjamin are doing! I love and miss them and I hope that they always remember that.
Love you always, Hermana Latham