(I inserted the punctuation where I could for Meg to make this easier to read. It was quite difficult to read without any type of punctuation! I also have to laugh at how many times she types a Spanish word here or there and doesn’t even realize it. Each week I have more and more words that I have to fix to make the letters easier to understand. Hopefully she doesn’t completely forget English before she comes home. Haha!)
Excuse my lack of emotion in this email, but the punctuation keys are broken...of course only in the Jungle!!!
First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAKE!!! I’ve been thinking about you all day long!
I’ve made it to the end of another transfer, its been another crazy week. Conference was a ton of fun and I was so pumped to be able to watch it in English. I loved the focus on The Work of Salvation, no longer just the Missionary Work and women. It was amazing. Since the people here don’t have satellite, they all came to watch it in the church, and us 5 “gringos” were in our own little room.
Funny story. The mixture of sun and dust and riding on a back of a motorcycle everyday has affected my eyes and, well, I’m officially a glasses wearer. I bought some cute little black ones and I kind of like them. Well, there’s a cute little girl in my branch that saw me this week with my new glasses, my short, straight hair, and wouldn’t talk to me and I didn’t understand why.
Then, she passed by to check on me when I was watching the conference with the Elders in English, and she heard me say something in English. Then, she passed by again during Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk and saw me crying like a baby.
At the end of it all, I went up to hug and kiss her and she almost cried and informed me that she didn’t even know who I was anymore because I was crying and speaking English and look different. She wouldn’t talk to me until I took off my glasses, and she inspected my planner to see I still was writing in Spanish. It was a heartbreaker, but really sweet at the same time. Sometimes we don’t realize how much the people really watch us.
I can’t believe how ridiculously strong Satan is right now. He sure did a good job at ruining my week! We were pumped to bring people to conference and set a seemingly reasonable goal to bring 7 investigators to conference with us. We ended up with nobody. We called, we passed by houses, and we did all that we could. I was bummed.
We had one investigator who already has come to church with us before accept a baptismal date, and then when we called him to remind him about conference, he asked us to please not call him again because he is Catholic.
We had a Baptism planned for this week but she couldn’t make it to conference and so today they’re going to tell us if she can still be Baptized Saturday. One awesome family was progressing, until we showed up at their house to walk to conference and they told us flat out no, even though they had been planning on it all week. Signs have started going up on houses saying that “This house is Catholic today and forever and to please just accept that”.
Little things like this sure weigh on us, but I’m just remembering why I’m here. The little victories are the best part. Sure, all this is happening, but last night a complete family: father, mother, and 2 children committed to be Baptized and that little moment seemed to erase all of the bad that had been happening.
Nevertheless, I love, love, love this work. I love it. I love the new focus being put on the fact that this isn’t just mission work, its the work of salvation I love that now its not just about Baptisms. Its about visiting the people, helping the less actives, giving more service, teaching converts, showing love, and really just saving the people. I hope that I am really saving them.
Hermana Vasquez is headed home today...what a heartbreaker. We already said goodbye in Iquitos a month ago, but knowing that now she is really leaving the Jungle today is hard. It’s amazing how much difference one person can make in your life. I sure love that girl to death! I guess this is the hardest part of the mission; letting yourself love and love and love, but just saying goodbye at the end of it all.
I guess this is really why I am grateful for the knowledge that we are eternal. 1. Because being away from my family for this time kills me. 2. I know that one day I will see all of these people again and it will be a most joyful reunion.
This is why the Work of Salvation is so important. We have to bring these people this hope that we have. God is hastening his work. I had the most intense chills as in conference it was explained that God would indeed hasten His work in His time, followed by the powerful words Brothers and sisters, This time is NOW! I know it is. I am so glad to be a part of it.
I am also very aware of the manner in which God is blessing me to be a part of it. As I reread of the blessings mentioned in my setting apart this week, I remembered that I had been promised to learn the language almost immediately and find comfort in the culture. As the Amasifuen’s gave me a plate of complete fried fish: eyeball, tail, and all with juane (yellow rice and chickens foot fried in a banana leaf) and tacacao (banana pounded with a stone and mixed with green onion then made into a ball) and I ate it all with out thinking twice, I realized how real that promise is.
I was also informed this week that even the American Missionaries that are already ending their missions never talk with the people just to talk like I do, their Spanish is only for the lessons and meetings. I had no idea that I was really that advanced with the language. My companion looked at me very seriously and said that I really do have an amazing gift. God wants me to be here and He is helping me out every step of the way. I love it!
Love you all so much. Thanks for everything!
|Coconuts in the Plaza and NEW glasses :)|
|Part of the village where Hermana Simonson lives|