Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Letter #76 - February 28, 2011

Hello everybody,

This week was pretty uneventful which is just as well because I only have about five minutes to write about it. Haha. Well We are still working hard with the families we're teaching but none of them were able to come to church this week. Carlos hasn't been drinking at all, which is great, but Julio has been drunk all week despite our super human efforts to help him to stop. We practically camped out at his house a few days this week but to no avail. However, we have also been contacting families and have found a few more really positive families to work with.

Thanks for the good counsel, dad, about writing those things in my journal. To be honest, it has been harder and harder to write in my journal and I really need to dedicate some time to it and record EVERYTHING.  One day this week I was walking home from our dinner appointment with the other three hermanas, joking and laughing with them as we went. It had been such a good day, full of great experiences and I just felt so full of joy, full right up to the brim. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks how soon all of this would be coming to an end and I got quiet and a little bit sad. Oh how I will miss people arguing in Spanish in the streets, saying "adios" to all the little kids who shout out "Hermana Crosland!", talking to anyone I want to in the street, walking into any house and becoming instant friends with complete strangers, testifying of Jesus Christ and how the gospel will change their lives. It really is a strange and beautiful thing to be a missionary. I know that this is a singular experience that I will only live once and now it is coming to an end. How strange it feels. All I know is that I am going to squeeze all the juice out of these last two weeks, every last drop.

Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the world - angels on earth.

Love, Hna. Crosland

Letter #75 - February 22, 2011

Hello fam,

How are you all?  Seems like your all busy and doing well, which is great. Felicidades to Nick and Jessica on their mission calls!  I was thrilled to finally hear about where they are going.  And congrats on Will's first date.  She's a cutie, Will.  Nice work.  I want to see more pictures of baby Ada.  I'm pretty much obsessed with her, telling the whole world I'm a tía and I have a severe need to see more pictures of her.  Please send them. Asap.

Well, this week we had a few set backs.  The night after we taught a great lesson about the Word of Wisdom to Julio y Dulce, and committed them to keep it (Friday), we found out that Julio was drinking on Saturday, breaking a three month streak without a drink. Cool, love when that happens.We were doing better when we hadn't taught the commandment. So that kept him and Dulce from coming to church this week. Also, Carlos y Christian didn't come after two weeks of coming all by themselves, because Saturday night, Carlos was drinking as well after three weeks of being clean. Very disappointing. But we are not discouraged and we're going to keep working hard with these families. But we were happy because Nubia and Edwin came. They are a couple that keep breaking up and getting back together so I'm not sure what to think, but on Sunday they came to church together and said that they wanted to get married and baptized. Well, strike while the iron is hot, I say. We're going to try to baptize them this weekend.

The work is going well and I know that there is so much I can do here in these last few weeks. But I am longing for the cold of Utah.  The sun here is brutal and it is really starting to heat up.

Yesterday we were invited to a Super P-day with two other zones who have also been consistantly baptizing families and we had a fun day playing with water. It was fun having a huge water fight and dragging unsuspecting victims outside to be hosed down and thrown into the blow-up slip-n-slide. There was also a giant blow up slide and those crazy elders ended up tipping the whole thing over because there were about 10 of them all up at the top. Sometimes elders are so smart. :) But we had a great time even though I think getting wet really worsened the cold I had been fighting because it came on full force today and I feel slightly miserable. But who can let a
cold slow you down?

Well, I've been thinking a lot about agency and the atonement and changing in the last week and I've got a lot of thoughts swimming around in my head. I don't think I will be able to adequately be able to formulate them in this email, but it's been amazing to note the ways in which I have changed. The power that the atonement has to change us, change our attitudes, our thoughts, our habits and to heal us our hearts is truly incredible. But so much of it has to do with our agency and our actions. The atonement can have just as much power in our lives as we let it, but we have to choose it, and we have to work for it.

This journey is not easy. My mission has not been easy. It has been the most challenging thing I have ever done. But I chose to come and I choose to be here every day, and not just to be here, but to invest here - in myself as well as in the people all around me. I have made countless mistakes, but I choose to be better and overcome. Then the atonement makes that choice a possibility for me and erases the imperfect past. The process is continual but can be easily reversed if we are not careful. A good seminary teacher once explained it to me using the example of walking up a downward-moving escalator. If we stop walking for even a second, we get pulled down.  Now, I don't know if you have ever actually tried walking up the "down" escalator, but I was a little dare-devil of a child and I have.  To make any upward progress, you really have to be moving, almost running, in a constant effort to overcome the
down-moving stairs. It's hard and sometimes you fall. But just as in the battle against satan, if we keep a constant eye on the goal and never stop fighting, we will all make it home.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - no matter where in the world you are serving (Guatemala, Belgium!!)

Love you,

Hna. Crosland