Querida Madre y familia!
Como les va? Sorry the past emails have not been enough flavor of what has really been going on. Time is such a funny thing out here in the mission and finding a computer is a trick. How to even describe my experiences in New York and the mission in general is just something else. It's impossible to explain in a few sentences. All I can say is that New York is completely opposite of my cozy little home in murray and I am making adjustments in order to adapt. Its such a good growing experience and its stretching me to my true potential. New York has so many different types of people here.
Mom, thanks for your letters. Thanks for the forwards from A.J., Rissa, & Jaci. Their letters and the way I relate to their stories mean a lot to me. They are amazing people.They are always inspiring and I love reading each one of them. I just barely got that dear elder you sent me before I left. One of the sisters in the MTC left the day after me and she picked it up and mailed it to me which I thought was sweet of her. Once again please know that I loved all those thoughtful packages you sent to the MTC as well. A couple of nights before my district and I left the MTC we had a little farewell night. We used the sparkling cider and pumpkin bread to toast to the upcoming mission and the good things we hoped to accomplish through the Lord for the next 16 months. It was really fun so thank you for your thoughtful gifts. It always makes me feel loved and adored.
Yes mom, I will try to keep a list of the questions that I receive from you in my mail and emails from now on and answer them. I've been trying to do that since I got that letter but just remind me if I don't get back to you right away. If you send me mail it usually takes about a week for it to reach the mission home so keep that in mind. I also have a little more time than I did at the MTC to write email so if you want to shoot me a quick email monday mornings before I write I can answer any questions you have for me there. Its hard communicating through mail all the time. lol. Yet I'll be talking to you in a few weeks for Christmas though so don't worry about it too much. :)
Mother I have a favor to ask you. When I checked my bags at the airport and bought groceries my first week I used my visa. Would you be willing to check my card and pay that off for me asap?! You would be my favorite mother in the whole wide world forever and always. And that card expires at the end of the month and I'm not sure if they send me a new one or what. I don't need it necessarily but I just want to make sure it gets put someplace safe. So look into that new card that should be coming or if you forwarded it here. Just let me know.
You asked me what I want for Christmas? I have no idea madre. Your support for the mission and the letters mean more than you know. You've given me the greatest gift I could ever want right now. I'm so thankful. I mean there are practical things I could use for the mission yet I feel like by the time you have to send it, it would be cheaper for me to just buy it here. I'm good with what I have honestly. However, have you sent my coat yet? :) I'm not quite sure how much longer the weather is going to hold out here and my winter accessories are limited. My liner to my coat would be delightful, earlier that later desirably. I would like letters and pictures from the family for Christmas. If there is any healthy recipes you would like to send, or healthy food... I would be spoiled rotten by that type of stuff. I miss your home cookin ma! Even thought I have all the time in the world in the mish, there is no time at all. It is the weirdest theory. Oh and I would like some recent pictures of Paisley, fam, etc. What fun things are you all doing while I'm gone. Send me pics of SunValley etc! You should ask callie if she has a 4x6 or wallet size that she could send of Paisley for Christmas. Oh I bet she is growing up so fast! Aunt Cheryl sent me a really fun Thanksgiving card and told me about life. She always sends me the funniest cards. I love them and I'm grateful for such good family. It's so fun to hear what a proud g-ma she is. I love it.
My first weekend I was able to attend two baptisms that took place in my district. Franklin is from the Dominican Republic. He has family that are members and he has been coming with his cousin to our ward. He was supposed to travel to the DR but decided out of no where he really felt strongly he needed to get baptized. So the Elders taught him EVERYTHING in a week.They were really busy with him and getting him prepared for the step he wanted to take. Yet he had been coming to church for a couple of months and had this sudden prompting that he needed to do it so he acted. Crazy no? And he is solid and has this burning desire to feast on the word of God. It is the perfect example of how God has prepared people and we simply are the instruments to help them learn and obtain covenants to make with God. Francisco is from Equador. he also was one of those miracle baptisms that seems to appear. He was baptized and its just so great to see people changing their lives for good as they obtain this faith in God. I feel the spirit so strong everyday when we have the opportunity to teach and be instruments for good. Its a great feeling.
Yesterday was the primary program in the ward. I love church. We had a couple of really hard days this past week with people juking our appointments and increasing our pool to a point that we would like etc. Yet when I go to church my spirits are lifted and the ward members love me despite the fact that I struggle with the language and I don't necessarily understand everything that is going on etc. The primary children always warm the soul and it was good for me because I could understand the simple truths they were teaching in their speaking parts etc. We had a legit potential investigator show up at church yesterday that wanted to experience the church and what it was all about. She just "happened" to be in Sister Stephens and my area so we arranged to visit with her later this week. I'm hoping something good will come from that.
Last night we had some appointments fall through and so as a backup plan we decided to visit one of our investigators unannounced. Adriano is from Ecuador I believe. He practiced a Christian religion with some other prophet when he lived there. He has a hard time with the prophet Joseph Smith yet he loves the Book of Mormon. We've been giving him some space lately just because he hasn't been following through on his committments as well as we would like etc. Yet we felt we needed to visit last night. It was such an answer to our prayers. Adriano was home and the lesson and the things we talked about were beautiful. I was really blessed in that I understood the conversation and the words that my companion taught. I was able to bear testimony when my companion looked over to me. Basically what it comes down to is "Is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints true or not?" At the end of our lesson we knelt in prayer with Adriano where he gave a beautiful and sincere prayer. I felt it. Sister Stephens felt it. I know he felt it. What a wonderful God in heaven we have. He works in many mysterious ways yet his timing is always the right timing.
There are so many good things, people, and places out there. They lead us to do good things and even bring us closer to God. Yet why would you ever just want part of the reward instead of all of when it so freely accessible. By living the gospel of Jesus Christ we are able to truely feel all the blessing that God intends for us. By following Jesus Christ and changing our lives we experience those blessings of happiness we've always wanted but didn't know could be so sure. God does care about us as his children and we have the gospel of Jesus Christ as the rod that ensures that we experience those good things that God intends for us. A home built upon the principles of the gospel is a place of love, security, and learning. We raise a righteous generation that is successful, competent, prosperous. I can add my testimony that I have never lived a principle of the gospel and ever regretted it. I know that God lives. I know that he has purpose and expectations for each one of us. If we truely want certain blessings of family, love, and purpose we can find it by following our faith in Jesus Christ and obeying the laws of obedience he has set for us.
I love you all with all my heart. Your in my prayers and know that you are my love and inspiration.