Hey everyone (especially those luckies in China),
So both the packages arrived this week and my companions and I have been enjoying the delicious contents. Unfortunately the goodies are not helping me fit into my clothes any better. The shoes are lovely and very comfortable. I noted all the sweet features Dad, thanks. :)
Okay, I have to tell you about the day that just wasn't our day this week. Saturday we battled with the internet in the morning and only got to watch a tiny bit of conference. The evening session went a little bit better, but then the evening took a turn for the worse. After dinner we had an appointment with a man we had contacted earlier in the week. He lives in an area called Carlos Rizo. I knew about where the area was but wasn't familiar with it at all. So we finally found it and started asking around to try and figure out exactly where he lived. The addresses here are crazy and very vague so you pretty much have to get as close as you can and then hope the neighbors know the person you are looking for. Well, we were directed to climb up a huge dirt hill and ask again. Once we got to where we thought was plenty far up, we asked and were directed to keep climbing. At this point I started thinking of how on earth we were going to get down without slipping to our deaths. After a little while, we were on a narrow dirt path between some houses and the hugest pig I have ever seen was standing in the middle of it. Hmmm... what to do now, right?
So we looked around and saw some ladies standing in front of their house. I called out to them and one of them turned out to be the mother of the guy we were looking for. We crossed over to their house and as we were passing by the side of it, one of their dogs suddenly jumped up and bit Hna. Bustillos. She was very brave and held back tears as she asked the extremely disinterested lady if her son was home (which he wasn't), if she had heard of the church (which she had), and invited her to church (to which she basically shrugged her shoulders). She was also very uninterested that her dog had just bitten my companion. Well, after that complete waste of time, we made our way slowly down the hill and only slipped a little bit.
When we got back into town, Hna. Bustillos pulled out her agenda and promptly dropped it through a grate in the street. It tottered for a few heart-wrenching seconds between two bars and then down it went. Two little boys heard our cries of dismay and one of them quickly offered to shove his hand down into the filthy darkness to see if he could reach it. He couldn't. So the other one went to the opening of gutter system and jumped down the hole and crawled through the garbage the fifteen feet to where the agenda was. Seriouly disgusting. So we rewarded them with 5 pesos (about a quarter) which probably made their week. We stopped by a less active family to try to get them excited about the conference and to my utter dismay, on our way in their dog bit Hna. Bustillos on the heel. This time it wasn't hard, but seriously? Two dogs in the same night? Then our last appointment for the night stood us up as well. We got back to our match-box house, laughing incredulously at our bad luck and feeling very very tired, but happy to be done with the day. Wow, that story turned out to be very very long. Thanks to all those that are still with me.
So, what a great conference it was! It made me pretty trunky because I swear every talk was about how to be a good mom and raise righteous children. Turns out I have some pretty deep and poignant emotions related to that subject, all of which were brought out in abundance during conference. I was pretty ready to pack my bags and jump on the next plane home to get started with the real work. But I know I am where I am for a reason and I really do love being a missionary. My experience here is preparing me better than anything could for the rest of my life and the unequivocally important work of raising a righteous family.
We worked really hard this week and the Lord truly blessed us and helped us so that we could get a whole lot of people to the conference. I think the "official" count was 125, which is about 35 more than we had last week at church. And we had 16 investigators. Wow. It sure makes a difference working with two more missionaries. The best thing was seeing some people show up who we had been working with all week. One of them is a recient convert named Rosario. She is about 55 years old and I think she was baptized quite a while ago, but just within the past year a missionary found her records and resubmitted them because she wasn't in the branch list. Anyway, I don't know who the missionaries were that baptized her, but she had some crazy ideas about the church and about Joseph Smith. I don't think she ever really had a clear idea of what the church is about or where it came from. A week and a half ago, she told Hna. Aguilar and Juarez that she didn't want anything to do with the church, but Hna. Bustillos and I have been visiting with her and listening to her. We showed her the video of the restoration and it really touched her. We asked her to say the closing prayer of the lesson and as she started to openly speak with her Father in Heaven, the Holy Ghost spoke to her heart and she started to cry. She aked for forgiveness for not staying firm and for strength to make the right choices and press forward. She committed to coming to conference and she actually showed up, and even had her grandson with her.
It touched me to see other members crammed on the bus on the way to conference, who haven't been to church in a very long time (anywhere from a month to five years) and to know that Heavenly Father is using us along with the members of the branch who are willing to lend a hand, in rescuing the souls of those who stray. He has plenty of work for us to do. We just have to show Him that He can trust us and that we're ready to work.
Being a missionary truly is the best thing in the world - at least for 12 more months, until the real work begins. :)
Love you all tremendously,