September 1, 2014
What a crazy week! I haven't had a week so crazy in a while. There is a lot to talk about this week! And with all that has happened, I have really been able to work on learning patience, or "la paciencia."
Thank you so much for the letter you sent me last week. I have read it various times throughout the week and it helps me to progress personally. Thank you also for helping me to notice the ways that I have grown in the past year! Also like you said, my companion is really great. I love her. It has been so fun to be with her and learn from her. I hope we can do stuff together after the mission, too! With respect to the roommates thing that you asked me the other day...she likes to have random roommates to get to know new people. So the quest for college roommates continues. haha. And about the new mission rules...at the very beginning when we knew the changes it was somewhat stressful. But it is helping us a lot to have the Spirit more as we seek to live the mission rules. The biggest one that our new mission president emphasizes is 30 minutes of exercise. Before, we got up at 7:00, and then after we had said our prayers and made our beds, it was already 7:10 or 7:15, and if we had to go to the bathroom or something like that in the morning, our exercises pretty much disappeared and we didn't worry about it too much. But now they ask us to get up a little before 7:00 so that we can have 30 full minutes of exercise. As we have gotten used to it, it actually helps with stress levels. The other one that is hard is trying to change our vocabulary so that we don't include what are called "chilenismos." Everyone here says "bakan," which is like "cool," and adds "po" to the end of a lot of words. Like "sí" becomes "sípo," for example. And our mission president doesn't want us to use those kinds of words as missionaries, so we are working to eliminate them.
This week I passed my one year mark on the mission! I can hardly believe that I have been a missionary for a year! That single thought helped me to feel like a better missionary this week...that I have been working hard, getting up early, studying the scriptures, praying, loving, teaching, speaking Spanish, living in another country, etc. for an entire year! So we went to Osorno (one hour away in bus), and while we were there, Hermana Ball treated me to ice cream to celebrate one year. We also bought a pizza. It was a fun day!
Celebrating One Year on the Mission in Osorno!
The whole week we were working hard to invite people and to get ready for the activity we were having on Friday. Our investigators and all of the members got so excited for the activity! It was a talent show, so we practiced our talents throughout the week, we made decorations, and we invited just about everyone that we could think of. It was such a huge success! But it was a crazy, crazy night and I didn't get the chance to take pictures. But one of the elders played the violin, the other played the piano, I sang "Part of Your World" in English and "The Olive Tree" in Spanish, and Hermana Ball and I sang "Soy un hijo de Dios" to the beat of the cup game from Young Women. It was a talent show and a potato night, so everyone brought different potato dishes. We had NINE investigators in the activity. Nine investigators! All of them were so excited to come, and our mamita and her family brought two friends. It was such a great opportunity for our investigators to meet other members and to feel the Spirit in a really comfortable way. I love activities. They are honestly so fabulous for missionary work, especially for the chance the investigators have to get to know members. Five of those investigators came to church on Sunday! Our investigators are on fire!
This week was fun because I could use my musical talents. I loved practicing to sing at the talent show, and I also taught a beginning piano lesson to some of our investigators. It was interesting trying to teach piano in Spanish without a book to guide me...but I think they learned a little something. The district leader has been telling me for the entire transfer that he wants to play the violin with me on the piano one of these Sundays and since this coming Sunday is the last one in the transfer, he told me that he will give me the music. Here's hoping, because that would be cool to do a duet with a violin! Also, last week I taught a workshop on how to direct music to the Young Women. It was fun to share my talent with them.
So how was this week a lesson on patience? The things I told you about all took a little bit of time out of proselyting time. And then Saturday was the day that taught me the most patience. We volunteered to help a lady paint her walls. We planned an hour and a half to do it. I had no idea how hard it is to paint a wall!! I figured it was easy! hahaha...there is a reason that no one says "it's as easy as painting a wall!" I am terrible at painting. So it was long and stressful, and we were late to our appointments in the afternoon, and I felt bad because I am so terrible at painting and although I tried to help Hermana Ball, she ended up doing most of it and I just painted the details (like the corners, the parts next to the baseboards, etc.). I got so frustrated with myself for being so bad at painting, and chopping firewood, and building fire, etc. And then I ended up getting frustrated with my companion for little picky things....but we talked through everything with my companion and she reminded me that I really don't have to be perfect. I have been good at noticing the good things I've done this week...but the little things I do wrong always have a way of driving me nuts. We talked about having patience with yourself, loving yourself, and remembering that your opinion really does matter. I am feeling better and better every day.
We had a zone field trip to Lago Ranco today, and it was cold and rainy and crazy because we were trying to walk fast enough to be in pace with the elders...they walk so fast, even when we are climbing up a mountain! But it was really fun. I will send pictures next week. I really can't believe that this transfer is ending! I'm havnig to face the reality that I will probably be leaving Río Bueno, and I don't like it! It will be so hard to say goodbye to this place that I have loved and served. But I am also excited to find out where the Lord will want me to serve next! I will be telling you next week!
I love you all so, so much! I hope that you had a lovely Labor Day and that you have a wonderful week! I also hope that you will pray often to our Heavenly Father so that you can feel His love, and so that you can be inspired to know how you can love and help others.
Abrazos, Hermana Latham