Well, this is it! This Thursday marks my one year mark here on the mission and might I say...WOW! It's amazing to look back on the last year and see how much I have changed and how much I have experienced. It's crazy to think that it's only been a year. It seems like it's been way longer! I have just been too busy to notice that it's been a year! I love it more and more every day, and look forward to continuing to learn and grow out here. From what I hear, the last year goes by even faster...NO! I don't want it to end. I LOVE IT! But now worries right now. I still get another year! YAY! I look forward to what Heavenly Father has planned for me in this next year. :)
This week just what I have been waiting for. I have no other way of explaining it. I LOVED it! The hard work is starting to pay off. This week we found someone GOLDEN, we saw success in our lessons, people opened their hearts to the message, and we had so many wonderful experiences that I will definitely be keeping with me for the rest of my life.
For starters, we have found a true truth seeker. Her name is Ana Gomez, and she is so awesome! Originally, her husband was the source of the referral because the Samoan sisters met him tracting and he invited missionaries to come back again. However, as we went to contact this referral, he was not home, and instead, we met his wife, Ana. I have never met someone so earnest to know the truth in my mission. It was such a powerful moment. At first, she was very standoffish, but as we explained a little bit more about what we do, we watched her heart open and have already seen a huge change in her countenance, and this was just Friday that we met her! She explained to us about how she has so many questions, and as she shared with us the questions that she has been trying to be answered for years and years of attending other churches, we were able to share with her all the answers. She was so impressed and aw-stricken that she invited us to come back the following evening to meet her husband and share more of our message. It was the best contact ever! The following night was even more powerful as we returned to do as she insisted. It started out a little rocky as she explained to us that her husband said no, and we were a little afraid that that was a no for her as well, then, but it wasn't. We proceeded to have a VERY powerful lesson with Hna Monge accompanying us (she's a return missionary and wife of our ward mission leader, so she's awesome in lessons!) and we answered so many of her questions, and she continued to be so impressed that we knew the answers. It was pretty funny at one part, because, after sharing her personal witness of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of this Church, Hna Monge asked her if it is important for her to find out if this is all true. She said no. We were all immediately thrown back because she had been so into it all. You could tell even Hna Monge was caught off guard and confused. But then, she did the unthinkable, she turned to us, looked square at us and said, "I know it is true. I don't need to find out." It was so powerful! We were all so happy to hear that. The lesson concluded with the same power, and we left her with 3 Nephi 11 to read. She committed to being baptized on the 1st of September as long as she feels ready by the day-of course, we never force anyone to be baptized. I could go on and on about her, but this paragraph has already become a novel ha. The only setback is that she is most comfortable with English. However, her husband is most comfortable with Spanish, so if they were to go to church together, they would go to a Spanish ward because there will always be someone there to translate for them, but not always vice versa. So PLEASE keep her husband in your prayers (Poncho Gonzalez-hes different last name, but WHEW they are married ;)), that his heart will be softened and that all will go well with them.
Other than that, this week was still full of finding and I had a blast as I went on exchanges in the North Elders' bike area for the first time in FOREVER! It was fun to ride around on bike all day. :) Plus, we had a pretty hilarious story come out of it. ;)
After visiting one of their investigators, we noticed that there were some kids messing with our bike (3-6 year old kids; nothing too dangerous ;)), so we told them to not touch the bikes and whatnot. Well, they thought we were cool and hung around to talk to us (keep in mind all of this is in Spanish), and one of the kids around 5 years old looks at my companion at that time, Elder Richards, and asked him if he lies a lot. ha A little bit puzzled (he's still learning Spanish) he responded, "no", of course. Then the kid decides to respond asking, "then why is your nose bigger than all the others'?" I died. I was laughing sooooo hard! It was right as we started riding away, so I almost crashed my bike. It was SO funny. What made me laugh even harder was that Elder Richards didn't understand what he said. He was so puzzled, but I couldn't pause from my laughter to tell him yet. So I quickly told the other companion that was with us, Elder Contreras, that is a native, so I knew he would understand, and he started dying laughing too haha. Then I explained it to Elder Richards and we all started laughing together. It was amazing to us that a little Hispanic 5 year old could draw a connection between the nose (rather big, I'd say ;)) of Elder Richards and Pinocchio. That kid is going places. ha
Joke continued, Elder Richards got a done a little bit early today from emails here at the library, and as I watch him looking back and forth at the books, I, again, started to crack up because right beyond where he was standing was a poster for Pinocchio, and he was tuned just to where his nose was pointing at it...as recreated in the picture I've attached ahah. It's going to be an ongoing joke that will stick with him for quite some time, I'm sure. ;) He completely agrees that his nose is big and he jokes around about it all the time, so no worries, I'm not making fun of him. ;) He's a good sport.
All around, this was a dream week. I had so much fun working, and it sure has been great to see the fruits of the labor. I am so grateful for this gospel, and I grow to learn more about it and love it each and every day. Thank you for all the love and support, I love you so much, and I can't wait to talk to you soon! See you in a year! ;)
"Be believing. Be happy. Don't get discouraged. Things always work out." President Gordon B. Hinckley (thanks Vane! :))