Week 24 – Transfers!

Don´t have much to say this week other than transfers are this week and I´m going to train a newbie!!! Whew it´s a lot of responsibility but I feel ready. Plus, I´m not arguing about having the washing machine and air conditioning in the house for another 3 months 😉

Hope you had a great birthday! We had three birthdays in the ward so we ate cake 3 times haha.

The wedding looks pretty; glad they could finally tie the knot. It´s been a long time coming! Happy for Nicole.

I´ll have more pictures and news next week with my new companion.

Can´t wait to see Deer Lake! I try to explain the cabin and hunting to people here and it´s an entirely foreign concept.

I was surprised to hear about Grandma. Such a big step for someone who doesn´t like change that much. It´ll be nice for her to be close to Brad & kids and Maddy. Send my love and congrats to her.

I´m still happy and healthy.

Love you tons,
Abby

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Week 23 – Accumulating the Light

People ask me what America or Americans are like, what the church in Michigan is like, etc. I always try to explain similarities and differences but the conclusion is always that no matter where you go, you can find the good, trustworthy, responsible, faithful, hard working, and the lazy, brutish, ignorant, proud, and annoying. And everything in between. Thanks for sharing; sounds like a good read.

Good news: We found a chinese restaurant that isn´t half bad and pretty cheap. It was a dream come true. In this little hole-in-the-wall place while enjoying our lunch, my companion and I were accosted by a man who is a huge Trump fan. He interrogated me in my political beliefs and then I started questioning him (calmly), only to find out that he knows nothing about America and is just racist against Mexicans. It was a funny experience and I know that before the mission I probably would have argued more and would have been frustrated by his puffed up ignorance full of hot air.

The work here is going slowly but surely. Our problem is getting people to come to church on Sunday. They simply can´t get baptized if they can´t keep the Sabbath day. We are working with two families each with 4-5 people so that´s exciting. It´s pretty amazing to see how powerless we really are and that the miracle of conversion is the work of the Spirit and no one else. I can´t do anything to soften the hearts of these people except to be worthy of the Spirit so I can bring it to them. I´ve learned that we can only bring the Spirit and the gospel to the doors of the hearts, we can´t penetrate them. The rest is up to the person and God´s will.

There´s a quote or a phrase from James E. Talmage´s “Jesus the Christ” that I think of often. He talks about “darkness of mind produced by persistence in sin.” I see this everyday. One of the tricks to success in this life is accumulating as much “light” as we can. Sin blocks the happiness, knowledge, understanding, power, and love in our lives. There comes a point where people are servants to their sins so much so that they can´t understand or see anything that is truely good.

We had a miracle yesterday. A couple weeks ago we did a family home evening in a member family´s home. The wife´s father isn´t a member and he was there as well, but he didn´t want to participate and wasn´t in the room. Yesterday he showed up at church! He told me that during that night he was in the next room listening to everything and that morning he felt like he should come to church. We have another lesson with him this Wednesday.

Carolina and Salvador are doing great and are working on their family history!! Also, Vanessa, her family, and Nelson Santamaria (my converts from Libertad) went to the temple for the first time last week! I was a proud mama. I forgot to tell you guys this but two weeks ago, Cecilia (Nelson´s mom, the woman who accepted the gospel but could never leave her home to go to church or to get baptized) passed away. I can´t visit them but I sent a letter to Nelson. He´s only 14 and I was nervous about how he would react to this test of his new faith. I learned later that he went to the temple and was able to witness the baptism of Cecilia 🙂 Temple work is such a beautiful doctrine! I count her as my convert even though I couldn´t be there for the baptism. I´m so happy that she could finally have the baptism she always wanted but was never able to do in her mortal life.

I´ll try to get a picture of the door of the house of my proposal if we pass by this week.

There are always less-than-perfect moments but those memories fade. I only remember the good. Especially here when I see so many bad parents. Even compared to parents in the States you guys are awesome, I´m not only comparing you to the worst haha 🙂

Fall is always an exciting time for school and sports. I want pictures of Seth, Sam, and Reagan kicking butt!

Transfers are in one week and honestly I´m looking forward to it…3 months with one companion is enough. I like change in my life.

Love you always,
Abby

Week 22 – Back from San Salvador

Someday I need to pass by Washington, at least to rekindle my patriotism a little bit 😉 I think the things I´m most interested in would be the Library of Congress, the Holocaust Museum, and the Smithsonian. If I ever go you guys can tell me what is worth it and what´s not.

Since I´ve arrived I´ve been serving in or around the city of Santa Ana and there´s not much to do on Pdays. I´m hoping that soon I get transferred to somewhere cool so we can go hiking and see waterfalls and volcanoes. I´ve heard of really awesome places here in the mission but if we aren´t in the same zone we can´t go. Someday I´ll have some sweet pics of tropical naturaleza.

Like I expected, we had to wait forever to see the doctor in San Salvador. It was super boring. We took some good pictures of me messing around in the doctor´s office. She has a fungus that develops due to lots of sun, sweat, and heat. It´s easy to get rid of and it doesn´t pass from person to person. So pretty much I just need to shower everyday and I´m fine.

So in our zone there are a lot of missionaries who have returned to this zone for the second time. Our zone leaders organized an interchange so that these missionaries can return to the former area for an afternoon and show the present missionaries where all their old investigators live. It was a way to help the areas find new, promising people to teach. As you can see, we do everything we possibly can to baptize people. In our area it went great, we found a lot of new people and many of our investigators that are progressing now are references we got from the sister that came to introduce me to her old investigators that for some reason or another didn´t get baptized. Saturday, my companion left to give her references to a neighboring area and another sister came with me for the afternoon. It was a nice change to our routine.

Thank you for the pictures, you guys look great! Seth and Sam are significantly taller than Maddy. Reagan looks more grown up too. Glad you guys had fun!

Love you,
Abby​

Week 21 – A Proposal

I loved my gifts, expecially the wasabi almonds!! All kinds of nuts and seeds are super expensive too so that was the first time I had almonds for a while. I also miss asian food so much. Thanks 🙂 So far my shoes are fine, I´ll let you know if I need anything.

Today we´re going to San Salvador to see the doctor because my companion has a huge rash and no one knows what it is. That´s my excitment for this week. Oh, and I got proposed to this week; for real, not just from drunk people in the street. We knocked on the door because the house was suuuper cool looking. We always joke that we want to baptize a rich family so I saw this huge castle-type looking house with an oversized wooden door with pretty carvings. It´s like the modern, Latin version of Northanger Abbey. After meeting the 50-year-old man that lives there with his two daughters, I got the feeling he was being especially weird with me but I wasn´t sure because he seemed so harmless. He finally goes, (i´m translating) “Look, I just want companionship and I don´t like anyone of my age. I don´t like wasting time either. You seem like a really nice, smart girl. I speak English and I could provide for you anything you wanted. You could visit your family very often or I could get a house for them here. What do you say?” I felt like Charlotte Lucas listening to Mr. Collins. Or the girl from “The Making of a Lady”, if you remember the proposal at the beginning of that movie. My companion didn´t help me at all because she thought it was hilarious. I did too until I realized he was serious. Gahhh. I just laughed uncomfortably and declined. We left very rapidly. I laugh it off now but it was one of the wierdest experiences. Needless to say, we aren´t going back to that neighborhood 🙂 So I can check off having to opportunity of marrying for money from my bucket list!

Last night I participated in a musical program about missionary work. I played the piano accompanying the choir and other special numbers and it was pretty fun. Two of our investigators showed up! It was a testimony that as long as the Spirit is there, nothing else matters. The choir sounded awful and the flute and violin that accompanied them weren´t even close to the right notes but I felt the Spirit anyway because “a song of the heart is a prayer unto me”. It was a good night, over all.

Can´t believe it´s already August!

Have fun in Gettysburg!! Love you all. I´m going to mail a letter to you and Maddy here pretty soon. I hope it gets to you fast. I´ll update you on investigators when they progress a little more.

Love,

Abby