Too bad it's not tomorrow, huh? If it were, you could go crazy receiving this letter over and over and over again every day! :D
So today is my two hundred and seventy-second (I think...give or take a day or two because I didn't check my journal this morning) day as a missionary! That means that in a grand total of about 5 days, I will officially hit my halfway mark. Man, 9 months...somebody could've had a baby in that time !! Oh wait...at least one somebody DID have a baby in that time! It's weird, and yet strangely NOT weird to be halfway through my mission. I really like the way the family we ate dinner with yesterday put it: this is a great time of the mission because I've been in it long enough to really get a feel for things and feel like I more or less have a handle on this mission thing, and yet I still have plenty of time left to enjoy and improve in being a missionary! And it's true! Although I know and feel that I still have plenty left to learn and lots of growth ahead, I don't really feel "new" anymore, and am MUCH more confident than I was 6, 7, 8, or 9 month s ago!
And on to of it all, we're coming to the end of yet another transfer here in the CLAM...and the word has been spoken: I'll be training again next transfer! Thankfully I'll get to stay here in Marina del Rey, but I'm losing my beloved "daughter" companion, Sister Dickson! It's been such a blessing to be her trainer and companion, and I'm really going to miss her, but such is mission life, and I'm excited to see what happens next! There's always a good bit of nervousness around the time of transfers, but more especially with training and wondering what my brand new companion will be like, and wanting to be the trainer that she needs, but also really hoping that she'll feel up to the huge task that it is to be a missionary. I just have to keep in mind my own experience and feelings when I first arrived, and try to be sensitive to that while also teaching, training, and moving the work move forward. Speaking of moving the work forward, we're (planning on) having two baptisms this Sunday!!! Estela and Alicia are both scheduled to be baptized at 4:30 this Sunday, Feb 7th, and we're SO happy and excited for them!!! We walked to church with Alicia and her kids and Jorge (he's her cousin) again yesterday, only this time, they were all up and dressed and ready to go when we got there at 9:30! Well, all except for little Juan (the 4 year old)... pobrecito (poor little guy)...he hadn't eaten breakfast yet, and Alicia said that he eats really slow, so we left without him. Although we didn't find out that that's why he didn't come until we were halfway to church! Had we known, we would have totally waited for him! He really wanted to come to primary too... :( oh well. Alicia is doing great though! In one of our lessons earlier this week, she basically told us that she's more than willing to keep the commandments so that she can be baptized; she just needs to know what they all are so that she can keep them! She's awesome :) Estela is our other baptism on Sunday, and she's just the most incredible lady! She has SUCH a sweet spirit and countenance about her, and is so happy about getting baptized! One thing I love about her is that she always talks about God "illuminating" her with the gospel. I'm SO happy for her, and am SO grateful for her open heart and spirit, as well as her incredible patience through these lessons as we've struggled, but made it, through the english-spanish language barrier. Last night she just thanked us over and over, telling us what an impact and blessing we've been to her (because of the gospel!); she even called us her "angelitas" (little angels). I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this woman, and what a privilege it has been to be so involved in her conversion! She is truly an "elect" It's times and people like Estela and Alicia and Patricia and Cindy (the last two of whom are still working toward baptism, but aren't quite there yet) that make it all worth it. All the walking, all the tracting, all the rejection, all the early mornings and long days, all the strugglings are just made so sweet and joyful through people and experiences like these!
Speaking of tracting struggles, I have a quick question for Alex Dunlap...did you run into many Orthodox Christians there in Croatia, and if so, HOW DO YOU TEACH THEM?!?!?!?! We've been running into quite a few lately, and I'm pretty lost on how or what to say to get/keep their attention and teach them the restored gospel! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Well, that's all the time for today -- thanks for all your love and letters! Hope you all have a wonderful week! I'll definitely be praying for the condo sale and your trip out west with David (congrats!)!!!
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!!!!