Well hello again! I say this every week, but where is the time going?!? I'm blown away by the mission life--It's crazy and amazing and hard and wonderful and FAST!
Thanksgiving was AMAZING---I have never eaten so much food in an 8 hour period in my ENTIRE LIFE! I'm serious! We had 6 dinner appointments, but thank goodness we only ate at 4 of them, the rest of the families--understanding our immense fullness--gave us plenty of food to take home for future days! And it was way too much fun to have a Latino twist to the festivities! We tasted a few different twists on Turkey, which were all delicious, but the winner was definitely Brother Perez with his meet-stuffed turkey. I don't know how he did it... but it was just amazing! they're from El Salvador and said that one of these days he'll make us Papusas (or something like that...) I'm very excited! We also had an array of food from Mexico to Peru and more than the food, it was just such a blessing to be with big loving families all day, I was FULL of food and gratitude for the many many blessings God has given me, and It felt like I was with family every moment :)
This week in the Visitors' Center was CRAZY! especially the Saturday after Thanksgiving--we had over 1400 people come in (as opposed to the regular couple-hundred) for the lighting ceremony of Temple Hill! They had a whole presentation with music and people (I couldn't watch because I was in the back of the VC) and it was just amazing! The entire temple grounds are FILLED with twinkling lights, from the little flower beds to the big palm trees! Every VC sister companionship (plus a couple extras) were assigned to specific rotating stations and we tried our hardest to help the visitors have a spiritual experience while maintaining the flow of traffic :) All I can say is that we slept like babies that night! It really was great, and we'll be having many similar busy days like this weekend as we near Christmas! So we're holding on to our seat-belts and trying to learn how to make it smoother!
This week I had an amazing experience in the VC, one of those "Oh this is why I'm here!" moments. A family came in, young mom and dad with 3 beautiful children, and the grand-parents too. We welcomed them at the front and invited them to listen to the powerful words of Jesus Christ at the Christus. The spirit was immediate and we just had a really good connection with this family, they were so easy to talk to, it turns out the grand-parents are not members of the Church, but the grandpa seemed as though his heart had been softened to the idea as he saw the blessings the gospel brought to the lives of his children and grandchildren. We took them into "God's Plan For His Family" which is just so so so strong, teaching about how Families really can be together forever, it's not a fairy tale! and It turns out it was really what they needed, they just had a son pass away (brother other of the mom and dad) and they felt the comforting truth that they were going to see him again, and it turns out that Sister Garcia had a brother pass away they had a heart-felt conversation about it and and they asked me why I decided to serve a mission and I talked about the role the church has played in my life and how it never changed even though I moved a lot growing up, and it turns out this family was about to move and the oldest girl who was 11 was really scared and nervous to move, but my testimony really comforted her and everyone was crying but we were all strengthened too and it was just a very powerful experience. the Lord works in mysterious ways! I typed that really fast, I hope it all makes sense :)
My Spanish is improving, slowly but surely--Sister Garcia (She says Hello by the way!) is helping me a lot, and even though at first the Visitors' Center seemed to be a hinderance to my speaking ability, it's actually helping a ton because when we have a greater need for spanish tours(which is quite often), Sister Garcia and I go on splits and I'm pushed out of my comfort zone to lead tours and It really forces me to learn so much more than I would without! I'm learning more than just words and grammar through practice, I'm learning how to be comfortable welcoming and learning more about every person that comes in, really listening to them and also to the Spirit. I've realized that when I focus on the fact that I'm learning spanish and don't speak it perfectly, I actually speak it worse! But when I'm sincerely listening to the visitors and not letting what I don't know hold me back, that's when I can let the Spirit speak through me. It's a lesson I'm slowly learning and I'm just so amazed--this realy is a gospel of changing, and I'm seeing it in myself the most!! Many sisters say that for only 6 weeks in the mission, my Spanish is amazing, I just need to keep it up--maintain what I have and allow it to improve every day as I serve the Lord!
I LOVE YOU all! have a wonderfultastic week!