How´s it goin first of all? Good? Good for me too..I´m okay. (This is a musical reference. 10 points to whoever gets it).
Actually this week was a really good week. Hermana Morales is the sister training leader for our zone, so she and I were able to go to Villahermosa for a training conference thingy. (Which, coincidentally, fell exactly over the two days of my brethren´s birthdays. HAPPY BIRTHDAYS!). I was really excited initially, because I thought I was going to get to go to the temple and learn all these things.. pero, nope. I was put with three other hermanas and told to pound the pavement! I was terrified because I had no idea what was going on, but it turned out to be the best thing for me.
Hermanas Weaver, Ayala, y Martinez were PROS at hablando con todos. (Talking with all). We met so many random people on the street, and never left a taxi without giving a pamphlet or a pass-along card. Hermana Weaver, who is also very American, did not let her limited knowledge of the language deter her in the least. In fact, she was almost always the first to start a conversation. "Que le gusta hacer?" She would say. She couldn´t understand the answers, but her example of faith over fear inspired me, and when we got home from Villahermosa I felt like my Spanish had improved 100%.
THAT being said, Villahermosa (as in, the actual city) had even more mosquitoes than here. I have not a clue how that is possible, but apparently it is. I came home with SO MANY mosquito bites, and they were all solamente on my legs. (The count this morning was over 100). Saturday, they were itching so badly that I couldn´t hold still. We bought this cream stuff, but as I was putting it on my legs hermana Morales (who is training to become a nurse) got concerned. These didn´t look like the average mosquito bites. So she made me go to the doctor, which was... an interesting experience. I don´t think I have ever wanted my daddy so badly in all of my days. However, my trainer is all about faith, and as I walked with trepidation to this foreign doctor, she bore testimony that God has called me here, and that He will take care of me. God will bless the doctor, and everything will be fine. OH she is the greatest. I was still a little scared... and the doc was still a little sketch.. but the medicine she gave me has made my legs feel so much better, so apparently she knew what she was doing. God is watching out for His little Mexican hermana :)
Also, we ran into a few members of the barrio in the pharmacy, so naturally yesterday every member I talked to asked about my legs. :) No secrets aquí, verdad?
Last week I forgot to tell you a VERY important story. Actually, it´s not that important.. but it is sick. Once a week we eat with this family. The sweet little grandma, who is still very active, always provides the food and it is always delicious. Last week was no exception. I was thoroughly enjoying my chicken and potato stuff. That is, until I looked in the bowl to prepare my next bite, and saw a tiny little chicken heart smiling back at me. A CHICKEN HEART. I´ll tell you what, I almost had a heart attack. I didn´t know what to do. I just kept trying to make eye contact with hermana Morales without the family noticing. I tried to cut it into smaller, more manageable chunks, but it turns out hearts are really tough. I knew I couldn´t just leave it in the bowl.. and they didn´t have a dog... so I just scooped it up with a gigantic piece of potato and shoved it in mi boca. (It took a couple tried to actually lift the spoon to my face). Ugh. I´m gagging just thinking about it. But you know what? It tasted like chicken. And now I have a chicken heart story, and that´s pretty neat.
Oh mom.. you are so perceptive. I was not as enthusiastic last week, and for that I apologize. These emails are written in my mood of the moment, so you don´t really get the full spectrum of my emotions. Sorry :) Every week has it´s ups and downs, but last week I was really struggling with feeling like I don´t have a personality here. As I was wrestling with that one morning during personal study time, I read somewhere... PMG?...that we are here to represent the Lord, not ourselves. It was then that I realized how utterly selfish I was being. How dumb is it to worry about myself and how nobody here knows my personality? SO DUMB. I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ. The personality of Elise doesn´t matter anymore. The whole purpose of this journey is to become more like Christ : to do what He would do, and say what He would say. And so that is my new goal. And I´m sorry if I was a downer last week. :)
Investigators... We have so many WONDERFUL people we are teaching, and we found like 10 nuevos last week, but only a few of them come to church. Work is a major obstacle to overcome on Sundays. It just makes me so sad, because I know how much attending church strengthens and uplifts and maintains. But, we are teaching a wonderful woman named Paola, who is really excited to learn. She just sits and stares with these wide eyes, and is constantly asking questions. I LOVE teaching receptive people!
And then... there´s Leidy. I love her, and she is wonderful. We taught a lesson with her on the atonement this week, and the Spirit was incredibly strong. The cool part was one of her.. "challenges"...participated in the lesson as well! We talked to both of them about Jesus Christ, and how they can achieve peace and joy only through repentance. It was awesome. I explained things that I have never before explained in my life. At the end, I felt really strongly that I should invite them to baptism. I couldn´t actually ask my companion if that was okay... so I just did it. Leidy said YES!!!! I mean.. we don´t have a date, because there are still a lot of challenges ahead...but I have so much hope.
Also, you should know that yesterday I gave my first Spanish talk in church. I wasn´t even nervous! Probably because my entire talk was written down.. But I also think that when you truly believe in your message, and you can feel the love of and for the people, it´s less scary. At least, that has been my experience so far. There has been an exceptional lack of nerves.
Well.. I don´t know what more I can say. Thank you thank you for all of your prayers and support. I have felt them working miracles in my life. Remember there is still a lot of missionary work to be done at home! There is not a single calling in the Church that does not have some role to play in sharing the gospel. Do ALL you can! This is the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and every single one of our brothers and sisters needs it! HABLAR CON TODOS! :)
I love you I love you I love you!
PS.. there´s an incredibly annoying rooster in our backyard that wake me up at exactly 5:45 every morning. I hate roosters. Just thought you should know.