Sounds like everyone had a good week. It has been a good one for me too. The first thing I'm sure you noticed is that today is Tuesday, not Monday. There's a reason for that - transfers. No, I wasn't transferred this time; I'm still in Villahermosa and still with my companion, Elder Enriquez. But the zone leaders told us that from now on, when there are transfers (every six weeks) the p-day in the entire mission changes to Tuesday. Remember how six weeks ago I was traveling all Monday and thus wrote on Tuesday? They decided to make that standard for all missionaries, whether or not they get transferred, to make things a little more uniform. So, every six weeks I'll be writing on Tuesday instead of Monday. I'll try to remind a week ahead of time so that no one has a meltdown. ;)
Now, down to business. This past week was a good one. We worked really hard and got quite a bit done. I came home every day feeling just exhausted, and that's a really satisfying feeling. We're refocusing ourselves a lot, especially since it's the start of a new six weeks of work. It's a time to reevaluate our goals, take a look at where we are, and plan for the future. Of course, every day should be like that (see the article by Elder Holland in the January Ensign, for example), but sometimes we get a little caught up in the routine and aren't able to see our progress. It's definitely cool to look back on the last six weeks and see how far I've come, though. For one thing, they tell me I'm not quite so white anymore (and I thought I was getting pretty tan before too), that my Spanish is sounding better all the time, and that I've lost weight (sickness plus exercise plus healthy eating). And, naturally, the spiritual blessings have been amazing. Honestly, I've grown so much, and in just six short weeks. I've realized as well how much more there is for me to learn and become. With the Lord's help, our potential can be achieved, but it's essential to rely on Him - as you mentioned in yesterday's letter, Dad, it's impossible to do it without His help, but a sign of humility and spiritual maturity to lean on Him. It's a show of strength, in fact, that we are willing to ask for the Lord's guidance and assistance. Humility and faith equal power, because we are opening the door to let the Lord work miracles. I've indeed seen miracles these last weeks and months, and I know there are plenty more that the Lord is ready to send - depending, naturally, on obedience, faith, and hard work. This really is "a marvelous work and a wonder," and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.
Some exciting news, as well - we have three investigators who accepted baptismal dates! They're three young brothers - Diego, Sergio, and Victor. They've had a pretty rough life and are being raised by their grandparents, whom we happened to contact on Saturday. The kids have had trouble with lying, stealing, fighting, etc., but really have good hearts; they just need direction, love, and friendship. And, of course, the Gospel. We brought them to church Sunday and they absolutely loved it, and afterward you could see the change in them. Their grandma commented on it later - she said that they were more helpful, more obedient, kinder. It didn't last forever, but we're going to keep working with them a lot and help them become integrated into the ward family. We're also going to keep teaching their grandma - I think she'll be baptized pretty soon here too, but might take a little more convincing. :) It's so cool to be able to see people change, even younger kids, and to see the effect that the restored Gospel has on their hearts. I'm looking forward to teaching them more and helping them get to baptism and find more peace and love and direction in their lives. Please remember them in their prayers as they work to come closer to Christ. :)
We're also continuing to work with Martiza, who is still progressing very well and is exciting about the church, and we have a few more investigators that we're teaching. One is a teenage girl named Bellaflor - she's really hard to pin down because she leads a busy life, but she told us she received an answer to
her prayers and knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. She's extremely open to the message and a fairly ideal investigator - we just need to find a time when we can teach her and help her learn more. All in all, the work here in my area is starting to pick up, and we're starting to see the blessings of hard work. Now we just have to keep at it and keep relying on the Lord, and I know great things will come to pass here.
I'm excited to be here in Grijalva for another six weeks (at least), to be with my companion, and to be allowed the privilege of representing the Savior and helping convert other people to His message to the world. I feel incredibly blessed and profoundly thankful for those blessings; I want to work the hardest I possibly can to pay Heavenly Father back just a tiny fraction of what He has given me. I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful experiences I'm having and have had all throughout my life. When I take a second to be still and look around me, the world surprises me with how intricate and vivid it is. It's a joy just to be alive, and when you add to that families, friends the Gospel, learning, and experiencing all that our bodies and the world have to offer - well, no wonder we shouted for joy in the premortal life! :) This is my brief spiritual thought for this week - take the time to enjoy every second and every opportunity life has to offer. This mortal experience is something magnificent. :)
Okay. Who's up first?
Mom - First, I have a couple of questions. Actually, now that I think about it, anyone in the family could find this out, but I thought of you first haha. The bishop's wife was wondering how much the gold Young Women's medallions cost - they aren't available here (the golden ones, anyway), and her daughter receives hers pretty soon. I think a friend is going to the US soon, and she wanted to know how much money to send to buy one. If you know or can find out, I'd appreciate it. Also, for the record, I have only eaten out of the trash... well, maybe once or twice. ;) Haha but never here. I'm not quite sure how I got the flu; it was probably something I ate, but I don't really know what. It really wasn't too bad - it just drained me of energy, which made it hard to do much. But I recovered fully and am doing good now.
The way doctors work in the mission is that the church employs (or maybe it's just a calling - I think it's a job
though) doctors that are assigned specifically to missionaries. Ours is Doctor Brunt, and he covers our mission and a couple others. He lives in the States and has his normal life and everything, but he's on call for the missionaries. We call and tell him the problem, he gives an over-the-phone diagnosis, and we follow his instructions. Of course, if anything is life-threatening we go straight to a doctor or hospital here, and if things don't get better after a day or two we do the same. But I followed his instructions and got better just fine. That's the basic setup of the way it works though.
Sounds like President's Day was fun - say hi to the Clemons the next time you see them. How were the Olympics? How's the good ol' U. S. of A. doing? :) Miranda and Gabbie sound like they're doing well - I'd like to see a picture of Gabbie's coat of arms sometime. Good luck with the homework this week! John's birthday sounded cool too. Wish him a happy birthday for me, okay? And as always it's awesome to hear about Reagan. I'd love to be able to see him sign and show off what he's learning. That sounds so cool to me. Give him a hug and a kiss from me. I'll see what I can do about sending home a short video clip of me talking to Reagan - I agree that it would be a cool thing to do.
190 days - really? Wow. That's a long time, huh? It doesn't feel that long to me. Time is really flying by here. Mom, I hope you know how wonderful of a parent you are (you and Dad both, but this is your section). You have influenced me and taught me so much, and almost every day I remember something you taught me or something you do and realize how much you know about life (and cleaning and planning and organizing haha). I really appreciate everything you've done for me, and all your love and support. You've done a wonderful job and continue to do so. Thank you for everything - I love you very much! Have a great week!
Gabbie - Hey Gabs! How's it going? It was cool to hear what you've been up to. When you mentioned Plants Vs. Zombies I had to laugh - we went to the house of one of the young men in our ward who got baptized about five months ago to see how he was doing, and he was playing - guess what? - Plants Vs. Zombies! It was pretty funny. (He was pretty good, too - not as good as you or Randa, though.) That was a pretty fun game.
The hike with Nikka sounds like fun, as always - when I get back we'll have to go on lots of hikes up in the mountains to make up for the lost time. That little puppy's always chasing something, huh? I wonder what she would do if she saw the iguana I sent a picture of... probably try to eat it. :) Gabs, you sound like you're doing really good. Good luck with all the homework this week! When you have to say your poem, pretend I'm there and giving you a little wave from the back corner. :) Keep having fun and doing lots of good things!
Thanks for always writing me. Have a fantastic week! I love you very much! :)
Miranda - Congratulations on the license! That's pretty cool. I remember I didn't do the parallel parking perfectly, but good enough. I also messed up on some U-turn thing too - but hey, still passed. :) Just keep practicing and driving carefully. That was sad to hear about Timp Lacrosse being canceled - kinda dumb. If you can play for PG, though, that might be pretty fun. You could meet new people and still get to play - I guess it depends on what you prefer. Let me know what you choose and how it goes. Going up to Kelsey's cabin sounds like a blast - I miss the snow! :) All that snowmobiling sounds fun. What classes are you taking next year? How was it talking to Matt and Cam's brothers? Oh, I was reading in the scriptures, and 2 Nephi 27:29 reminded me of our discussion a while back, and your comments on them. This chapter is talking about the Book of Mormon coming forth, and I really like the way it describes the Gospel message in this verse - it fits in nicely with what you said about the song. Cool stuff. :) By the way, how's your scripture study going? Where are you now? What cool things have you learned recently?
Keep up the good work, work hard in school and have fun with your friends, be good and enjoy life. :) Thanks for your letter. Te amo también, y me gusta mucho leer tus emails y ver tu progreso. Estás creciendo y progresando mucho, y me encanta verlo. Gracias por ser una amiga y mi hermana. :) Thanks for all your support and friendship - I love you a ton! :) Have a great week!
Dad - Man. As always lots of great stuff - your letters always teach me a lot, and always seem to fit in with what I'm thinking about or studying at the moment. It's really cool to read your insights and learn more. I don't have a whole lot of time at the moment - we have to get to a lesson right now that we scheduled without knowing that today would be p-day. We're going to head to the lesson and then if we have time I will stop by the cyber and finish my part to you. But I'm going to send this off right now just in case. And, in case I can't write until next week for whatever reason, remember that I love you very much and look up to you as one of my best friends and my example and hero. Thanks for everything you've taught me and experienced with me. I'll write more in an hour or two. I love you. Chow for now.
- Elder Greer