The hermanas and I have this thing we say, "SUPERAR!" which means “overcome” in Spanish. It was kind of a joke at first, but now it's kind of a cool mission motto.
We decorated our door with SUPERAR!
I'm doing much, much better. I barely have anxiety anymore. Still feeling pretty lonely at times, but overall, I'm just way too busy to think about myself that much or that often. Friday night was when everything turned around for me. Three miracles happened on Friday night that really were tender mercies. The first was my amazing letter from Dad. He said some seriously helpful things and bore a great testimony to me. I keep that letter in my bag that I carry around everywhere, so when I start to feel a little sad or anxious or need to feel the spirit more, I can read it. I just got mom and sister’s letters yesterday, so now I carry Mom's around too!! I'm so, so, so, so glad to see that my family is already being blessed for my service. It helps me remember that this is all worth it. It is SO hard.
The second thing that happened was I taught my first "investigator" (he is not a real investigator anymore. He was baptized 2 years ago) it was a RUSH! And holy cow the gift of tongues is for REAL. I was speaking Spanish all over the place! It also reminded me of another huge reason I wanted to be here; I love to teach, and I love to help people, and I LOVE SPANISH.
The third awesome thing Friday night was actually a cool dream I had. I was praying really hard Friday night for comfort and reassurance that this was the right decision. Then I had a dream that my district and I were sitting around this huge table and at the head of the table sat Pres. Hinckley. We were all so excited talking to him because he was our president [of The Church] all growing up and we miss him so much. We were asking him all these questions and stuff and we were all crying. He told us he was so proud of us for this amazing sacrifice we are making. He said he knows it is so hard, but to not give up, because he is best friends with Heavenly Father and Heavenly Father told him to tell us we are doing great. How cool is that?! I know it was just a sort of weird dream, but it was exactly what I needed. I know Heavenly Father is so proud of me. I had been praying for help and that just really made me feel like I was doing the right thing. God is so cool!
I've mentioned my "district" twice now. Basically we have companionships, then a district, then a zone/branch. My companion is Hermana Annie Aldrich. She's really nice and is a master of trivia. Seriously she knows everything about everything. Then there is Hermana Naulu, who is half Tongan (cool), and Hermana Alexander, who is from Washington and totally knows mine and Hna. Aldrich's mission!! She and Hna. Naulu are going to Fresno, California. We four are the girls in the district. Then we have six Guys. Three are going with me and Hna. Aldrich to Yakima, one is going with Hna. Naulu and Hna. Alexander to Fresno. The other two elders are going to Ecuador. All of us are Spanish speaking. They are all great and I'm making friends with them a ton because we spend like 16 hours a day together. It's pretty weird though, because 4 of them are younger than Libbie!! It's actually pretty fun because I am the district "big sister" I'm at least 9 months older than everyone else, so they are always asking me questions and I love to give advice. I'm also WAAAAAAAAAAY farther ahead in Spanish than everyone else because they put me in a beginner district! It kind of sucks, because class is boring at times.
Hermana Aldrich & Hermana Knight
Hermanas Knight, Aldrich, Alexander & Naulu
We don't have a bunch of classes we move around and rotate, like HS or college, it's more like elementary school where you stay in your classroom all day and only have one teacher. Except our teacher is only actually here 3-5 hours of the day. The rest is self-taught study time, or we are having devotionals, or meetings. Except David A. Bednar told us not to call them "meetings", he said "revelatory experiences”. Anyway my teacher is Hermana McBride, She is about 24 or 25 but she looks like she is 12! We are becoming good friends.
For the most part I'm really really enjoying the Spanish, but when Hna. M. is here I am so bored. She teaches us stuff that is like super, super basic. Like "hello, how are you" the alphabet, numbers, ser & estar, how to conjugate verbs, basic sentences etc. It's basically like Spanish kindergarten. The other day after class was over she pulled me aside and asked if anyone had told me about the intermediate or advanced Spanish tracks. I said no (because I didn’t) and she said she really wished they could move me to an intermediate level because she could tell I already knew everything she was teaching. I was already praying and bearing my testimony in Spanish on the 2nd day, and these days I'm speaking about 80% Spanish most of the time.
I know it's only been like a week, but it seems like forever to me! There's a saying here that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days and it is so true!! We all do pretty well though, except around 3-5 pm when we start to get burned out, plus we all get homesick because that's the time of day we are used to going home and telling our moms about our days. Once 6pm hits though, we are usually fine though.
It also helps a lot on Sunday and Tuesday nights when we get to see our Branch President, Kevin Doman and his wife and the counselors and their wives. The wives are really good at giving "mom hugs" and seriously "Father" Doman is like a future apostle or something. He is really good at giving specific advice that I'm just like "how did you know that about me?”
I have to go pretty soon but I just wanted to tell about 2 more things! First, we got to hear from an apostle, Elder Neil Anderson last night. COOL. And 2nd, we had a testimony meeting with Father Doman, Mother Doman and our district last night afterwards. The Spirit was so strong. We all went around the room and told our name, where we are from, where we are serving, why we decided to go on a mission, and what we had to sacrifice to be here. When I was talking about my sisters and missing them so much it made me cry, but then I shared my testimony and told about how I was already seeing little miracles and blessings for my dad, and I cried even harder! But for the first time, they were happy tears. :)
I love you all so so so so so so so much. I can't even put into words how much I miss you, but I know it will all be worth it, and as long as I am selfless and focus on others that I am teaching (I have 2 investigators right now) I am fine. Heavenly father is for real, and his love is for real. A cool quote from Elder Anderson last night. "Heavenly Father knows it is so hard, and it hurts to be away from your family. He might not always take away your pain, but He will always give you a way to overcome it." SUPERAR!!! Overcome. My new fave word.