Remember how last week I was praying for a Christmas miracle? Pues, this week I sure got it. MY VISA CAME! Oh yeah. And I even got to take a day trip to Las Vegas to get it. THAT was a weird experience, let me just tell you.
We had to wake up at 4 in the glorious morning to catch the bus that didn't even show up until 5:15. It took us to the SLC airport, where we waited for our flight for the next two hours. Hna. Wood and I went to breakfast at McDonalds, and I got the McGriddle because 1) It reminds me of Dad and 2) It was delicious. They were playing "real" music though, so that was interesting. There are already songs on the radio that I do not know.
Anyways, as we were waiting for our plane, I struck up a conversation with this Native American woman who had really awesome earrings. (She was headed to Las Vegas for a tribal convention). So we talked about Fort Hall and other things and pretty soon she was just kind of spilling her life to us. Apparently she was born in the church, but because of the insensitivity of a bishop to her culture she has fallen away. She had a lot of questions and a lot of concerns, and I know that we didn't really do a whole lot to help her, but I did bear my testimony of the importance of church and asked her to give her new ward a chance. She was really nice, and it was just really cool to have a mini missionary experience before 8 in the morning!
Then we flew to Las Vegas. I felt real weird because I have never actually flown without my mothers permission, but apparently I am an adult and a misionera and so it was okay to leave the state without notifying her. Landing in Las Vegas was even MORE weird because--and this might come as a shock to some of you--LV is NOTHING like the MTC. Nope. So much awkward and uncomfortable-ness. No me gusta. A bit of a shock to the system, if you're pickin' up what I'm puttin' down. This service missionary picked us up, took us to Del Taco, and then took us back to the institute there to talk to us for 3 HOURS about nothing. Well, that's not true. He did tell us a lot about Mexico, but according to everyone else we've talked to everything he told us is false. So that's awesome. He told us we could lay our heads down and sleep if we so desired, and I desired so I did, and then he got mad at all of us. It was a wonderful 3 hours with him. Bless his heart.
Then we went to the Mexican consulate, where we had to get our fingerprints done and take a picture, (mine was awful) and check to make sure all the paperwork was correct. It took probably 20 minutes total for all of us. I didn't have to speak Spanish there, but we did try to translate the insurance commercial that kept playing over.. and over.. and over......
Then the brother in charge of us took us back to the airport, where we had to wait for another 3 hours for our flight home. But 'sta bien, porque I talked to like a thousand people. And by that I mean like 4. We had a conversation with the lovely man at the Cinnabun counter about Sri Lanka and their government (he was from there and was the COOLEST). The woman at Starbucks was from Mexico. When she saw our tags she said, "Oh ya! I have heard of your church. You have really nice commercials." and I said, "We also have an entire website! Maybe you should check it out!" And she said, "I have to go make the smoothie. Good luck in Mexico." So that wasn't really effective... but it was still cool. Then we started a conversation with a woman from Romania and her daughter. They were really nice, but we didn't talk for very long. So really that one was just cool because she was from Romania.
But the coolest story ever happened on the flight home. Four of us hermanas were sitting in the second to last row of the plane, and directly behind us were four Mexicans (I KNOW) and a member couple. Unfortunately, I was by the window so I couldn't really talk to them.. pero the two hermanas on the aisle were chattin up a storm! Long story short, we ended up giving them a Libro de Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet. And the two members next to them testified of it to. Powerful. It was the coolest thing ever.
Ever since we got our flight plans last week, I've been freaking out. I don't know why. I guess it all just got really real for me in a hurry and all I could think was "I DON'T KNOW SPANISH OR THE GOSPEL AND I AM NOT READY TO ACTUALLY TALK TO THESE PEOPLE." But the Lord knows me, and he gave me this day in Vegas as one gigantic tender mercy. I realized that with the Lord help, anything is possible. And apparently I am already passed the fear of talking to random strangers, so that's probably a good thing. It was so nice to get that firm testimony re-established that the Lord really loves me and really wants me to succeed. And when I'm doing His work His way, how can I fail?
Also, Hno. Russell reminded us that "Spanish will never be the limiting factor. It is ALWAYS your faith." Humbling, right? What in YOUR lives is keeping you from sharing the gospel? Remember your faith, and the miracles you've seen before. It is always worth it to open your mouth and share the joy that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Anyroad, that was probably the biggest part of my week. Elder Quinten L. Cook came on Tuesday for the devotional, but we were flying home so I didn't get to hear what he said. #Estoyticked.
I'm so glad things are good at home! I LOVE hearing about everything--especially when you narrate exactly what's happening right then. I can just picture it all so perfectly. Good job to mis hermanos y padres por being so super talented. I love all ya'll. :)
Remember how I called finally receiving my visa my "Christmas miracle"? Well, it was definitely a miracle, and I don't doubt that, but I was reminded this week that ALL miracles are "Christmas miracles." Without Christ--the reason we celebrate Christmas--there would be no miracles available to us. The atonement of Jesus Christ and the ability to return to live with our Heavenly Father and continue to progress with our families for eternity is the REAL Christmas miracle. All the other miracles and tender mercies we experience in our lives are also because of Jesus Christ, and His love for us. Christmas on a mission is awesome. I have never been so focused on the Savior in all of my days. It's just the most wonderful thing. :)
Well... I'm happy and healthy, and the next time you hear from me via email I will no longer be stateside! AHHHHH!!!! I love you all! FELIZ NAVIDAD!