Thanks for the letters and emails! I liked the all in one email, but since we don't have a printer here, I have to read it during my alotted 45 min. I don't know the best way for you to communicate with me. I love getting dearelders and I got a bunch today (the ones from around Oct 10) so I think it takes about a week and a half for them to get here. But the emails are nice because they are so recent... so I don't know. Maybe keep doing both? I really love hearing about all you're doing and your funny stories (Mike had me laughing out loud and everyone was looking at me, and I just thought "haha, my family is funnier than yours...") Anyway, so seriously thank you for writing.
This week has been a lot of fun. I'm getting the hang of things a little more and we have had/watched some amazing devotionals that have really made me want to use every minute more effectively and focus on following the spirit. One of them was an MTC devotional by Elder Bednar about the Book of Mormon that he gave in May. It seems like we have been focusing a lot on the Book of Mormon lately and I love it. I have always had a testimony of the BoM I think, but I am seeing that book with new eyes and my testimony is growing so much. The BoM is such a priceless and precious gift that we have! I have been taking it for granted my whole life. My desire to study it as much as I can, to make connections and study themes and find ways to answer every question with the Book of Mormon has grown so much. What an amazing book. We had a few zone meetings where we took a step back and looked at an overview of the Book of Mormon. It really helped me put all the pieces together and see how everyone fits and the magnitude of all the work Mormon did. I wish I could share all the details.
Okay, so the most exciting right now is divisions tomorrow! We get paired up with a missionary in either the central or south guatamala missions and get to go out on splits for the whole day tomorrow (back here for dinner). I am so excited to actually get to see a little bit of Guatamala. So I will have to tell you how that goes next week.
It's been great to get to know the latino missionaries down here. The other night we had a little "fiesta" that turned into more of a testimony meeting with all the hermanas. Some of the latina hermanas have been having a bit of a hard time so we all got together (12 of us) in our room and had popcorn and each took turns sharing things we were grateful for (in Spanish of course) and it was awesome to listen and get to know some of these sweet sisters better. It felt like we were so unified and we have such a love for each other. We also had a big activitiy where we were divided up into tables of four (mixed elders and sisters) and we were supposed to find out the "stories behind the faces." It was amazing to me, first of all that we could communicate to each other, but mostly to hear some of the challenges and trials that these missionaries had to overcome to get here and how much their missions mean to them. Wow, it was inspiring. It is good to learn how to ask the right questions to get to know people's hearts and to listen and care for them.
Two more quick experiences and then I'll have to go. One of the funnest things is going to the Casa de Cre to practice teaching our teachers and on the way back a few days ago, Hna. Fuka and I saw this darling little family coming across the street from the temple towards us. This cute boy of about 12 with combed hair and a little suit came right over and hugged and kissed Hna. Fuka and I on our cheeks! I was a little surprized by it and started laughing. My first kiss in while, haha. We talked to his mom and little sister for a few minutes and she told us that she had been a member for 26 years now. She told us the names of the missionaries who found and taught her and called them her angels. She had such a love for the church and for missionaries. I love when I can understand people in Spanish!
One of our teachers (Hno. Cuque) took us out to the canchas (where we have gym) one night during class and just gave us 20 minutes to speak with and listen to the Lord. We spread out and I sat on the concrete in the middle of the basketball court and just looked up at the stars for a minute, breathing in the thick moist air and listening to all the sounds of the city around me. I started thinking about all the people I am going to have the chance to meet and teach in the next 17 months. I asked the Lord to let me feel the weight of the importance of what I am doing here, and pretty quickly the tears started to flow. It is completely overwhelming to think about the reality of a mission and what I have been called to do. Overwhelming in a good way! I can't take it all in, but when I get little glimpses like that, my heart is so full of gratitude I think it might burst.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - the gospel changes lives forever.
Sorry I couldn't respond more individually to you. I'll try to write a few letters this week. I love you all so much.
Oh, Dad. Hna. Fuka is from Tonga, she is going to the Honduras, Tegucigalpa mission and I still feel short. :)