Happy NEW YEAR!
I'm glad to hear you are keeping wonderful traditions alive, that you
are all had a bit of fun and relaxation over christmas break, and that
you missed me. ;)
Quick note: Ali, your a star. I haven't read your email yet because
I'm going to print it out so I'll respond next week. Don't let another
two months go by without writing me!
So my first experience with changes was the 30th of December. The ZL's called at about 10:00pm Tuesday night and told Hna. Bustillos that she had cambios. It was actually kind of hard on her and she cried a bit as she packed everything up. I was just super nervous because the implications for me meant that I would now be the companion who supposedly knew the area and the members and had a plan of action for the people we were teaching. And although I was feeling more oriented, I still relied a ton on Hna. Bustillos to know our way around and to know who we should visit. Because of her personality, she normally took over the planning. (Oh dad, she's from Panama, her mom and younger sister are members, her dad is from the united states and left when she was really little so she doesn't know him, and she only has 3 months left in the mission - now she's training again in Chinandega...) So I was nervous accompaning her to the change conference to find out who my new companion was and hoping she had un monton de experiencia so I wouldn't feel so lost. Turns out, my new companion is Hna. Pineda, a cute little Salvadoreña who was IN THE CCM WITH ME in Guatemala! So technically, I have a month and a half more time on the mission than she does. C R A Z Y. It has been a really stretching and growing experience for me. My Spanish has gotten a lot better just this week because I'm the one that knows the area AND we're both only starting our second change. I have to speak Spanish, there really isn't another option. And before with Hna. Bustillos, I hardly ever contacted and now I'm doing everything, or rather we are doing everything much more equally. It's really hard but I know that the Lord is counting on me and He knows I can do it.
Our biggest challenge is the branch. We handed out the lists of members of each organization to the leaders and we have the list of future elders and we're going to try to find out where each one lives and contact them and reactivate them all in the next week. There are about 100 people on our list, so we're going to divide it up into areas and hit the ground running. There is so much to do, and so much to know. I don't know how a Branch President is supposed to run a branch, or the responsibilities of the Elders Quorum president (speaking of our EQP, he has been working every sunday since he was endowed and sealed to his wife and son about a month ago and hasn't been reading the scriptures or praying, he didn't come to church yesterday and when we went to find him and talk to him yesterday he said he doesn't know for sure that the church is true... we have a lot of work to do), but we are going to start reading the manuals with branch president for a few minutes each day and hopefully remind him of a few responsibilities that he has let slide.
We had the baptisms of Elena y Fernanda Duartes on Saturday, a mother and daughter who's father passed away about 10 months ago. We had to baptize Elena 4 times and Fernandita twice. They were both pretty nervous about the water, haha, but they are pilas (solid) and are going to be a great addition to the branch.
The family we had planned for this week has some problems it turns out. The word of wisdom is a killer and they are still pretty hesitant about getting married. I'm kind of dissapointed because they seemed so positive at first, but we're going to keep working with them.
Anyway, Sorry for this mostly informative and not very spiritual letter. I love you all so much. Good luck with the new semesters and work and all that you do. I am thankful everyday for my amazing family, so strong in the church. Everytime I talk about you, show people your pictures and bear my testimony of eternal families, I cry. It's kind of embarrassing... I love you more than I could ever put into words.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - the Lord truly knows how to stretch us and help us grow in new and amazing ways.
All my love, Hna. Crosland