It's been such a good week! Merry Christmas everyone!
Me and Hermana Tolliver
Monday was a great P-day. We went down to Selah and played VOLLEYBALL with our zone. It was really fun. We also found out where the Target is......yes.
We had a meeting later that evening with our SGL (Spanish group leader), Brother Robins, and he's a genius! He suggested that we start practice teaching a few people and it's been working so well! Miracles are happening because of it.
Tuesday I had personal breakthrough. I don't know why I was just kind of in a little slump the last month or so, and finally broke out of it. I started looking back through old journals and notes and stuff and started remembering everything I have learned and it's just been wonderful since. I feel like me again finally.
Wednesday- I have been reading through the Book of Mormon in Spanish, and it's been helping a ton. When I find a word I don't know (which is a lot in scripture language), I look it up and make a flash card for it so I can learn it. So I was reading in 1 Nefi 5:9 and it said "y ofrecieron sacraficios y holocaustos al senor" so ofrecieron- that means, they offered. Sacraficios, that means sacrifices, but I was like what does holocaustos mean? It looks just like the word "holocaust" like WWII.... so I looked it up and it means BURNT OFFERINGS......Then my mind blew up. I was like whoooaaa..... who would have thought reading an ancient book of records from the Americas like 2600 years ago would help me understand WWII better? It was crazy.
That afternoon we had an amazing breakthrough with Rosa. We finally understand each other! We're having open communication and honesty now. Turns out my resting mad face is still a problem even though I'm trying SO HARD to always look pleasant! She thought that I just didn't like her at all and that Hermana Tolliver thought she was crazy! She was just reading our facial expressions wrong. But if you think about it, it makes sense. You basically make the same face when you're confused/lost trying to keep up with a foreign language as when you are disgusted and or think someone is crazy.... Poor Hermana Tolliver. I'm just so glad Rosa finally opened up to us. It was so cool because the reason she did was because of Practice teaching! (Thank you SGL!) We were like, "We'd like to ask a favor of you," and she was like, "Okay, what is it?" We said, "Can we practice teach the missionary lessons to you? We really are trying to improve our teaching skills and it will especially help Hermana Tolliver as a new missionary. We just really respect your opinions and know you'll give great feedback." She was so shocked! she was like, "Wait, you guys actually care about what I think?" then the honesty came out! I was SO grateful for that lesson. Now she's like our best friend. and the lessons are going much, much smoother.
We saw Aria (potential investigator) again that evening and had the chance to give her a Book of Mormon! It was really cool. Then that evening we had dinner with the Walters. They are so, so sweet and gave us all a pair of gloves, a bunch of food, and four rolls of toilet paper! Ha ha! It was a missionary dream come true.
After dinner we had the COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER WITH HERMANA REINA. We started practice teaching her as well, and it was crazy how much she opened up to us too! She told us about a big doubt/question she's been having in relation to some deep doctrine. I ended up sharing a personal experience with her that I've never shared with anyone, about a really hard question I was faced with during my mission. I talked about how faith is usually defined as believing in something you can't see, and then acting on that belief. But how it's also believing in things you can't fully understand right now and just believing that God will help you and give you the answers when you really need them. It's trusting Him with His timing. It was such a cool experience, there were tears and a little bit of shaking! And the gift of tongues is real! I'm pretty fluent by now at Spanish, but there's still a lot of vocabulary I don't know or don't use very often. But I remembered words while sharing my testimony with her that I didn't even know I knew! It was so cool.
Thursday we started focusing our TAMs (teaching active members) lessons a little more on member missionary work again. It was a huge push and focus in our mission over the summer, and I just remember how wildly successful it was in White Salmon. I shared all the trainings we received over the summer with Hermana Tolliver and we started teaching it to the members again. It's already been going really well. So many members just have fears about member missionary work, and it's so nice to be able to identify and resolve those concerns.
That evening we visited Rosa again, and the coolest/cutest thing happened! We were teaching her in the back corner of her store (like usual) and one of her friends came in to bring her a bunch of bread to sell from Yakima. They were talking as friends usually do, and then he was like, "Oh, hey…who are they?" gesturing to us. And Rosa said, "They're Mormons." We were a little sad, thinking, you're a Mormon too, Rosa! But we didn't want to impose or do anything to make the situation weird, so we didn't say anything about her being in our church. We just told him a little about what a mission is, etc. Then right as he was about to walk out the door, Rosa just blurted out, "DO YOU WANT A BOOK OF MORMON?" and he was like, "......Sure!" Then she just started bearing her testimony about it, and we taught and explained a little more about it--what it is, where it's from, etc. We gave him a card with our information and an invitation to church on Sunday. It was SO AWESOME. After he left we were all like "ALTO CINCO!!" (high five!) Jumping and dancing around and so, so, so proud of her! It's not too hard just ask them! If they say no it's no biggie!
Friday I got a couple of unexpected Christmas packages from my mom, so that was awesome.
Most of our plans that day fell apart, then we made new plans, then they all fell apart! It was because, of course God had a better plan in mind. We ended up having an amazing lesson with our investigator, Amelia. She gets talking about all this random stuff sometimes, and it gets really hard to direct the conversation back to the spiritual and gospel-related subjects we want to teach about. We were sitting there on her couch while she talked on and on about something random and I just said a prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father would open some sort of window for me, some random subject would pop up in her story that I could somehow tie back to the gospel and get the conversation back on track. I promised that if an opportunity arose I would take it, and then as soon as that sentence went through my head, it popped up! I was so grateful for the power of the Spirit, helping me to be bold but not overbearing or offensive with her. We had a very loving conversation after that addressing what exactly all of our expectations were regarding our visits. She said, " I really want to talk about God and learn more about Him and what He wants for my life, but somehow we always end up talking about other things." We were like, "that's totally what we want, too!" Then we formally invited her to take the missionary lessons from us (something we usually don't do, we usually just go straight into teaching) and she said she would love to do that and that she wants us to teach her kids, too.
Saturday was Christmas Eve. We had a great day making some stockings and cookies and little thank you cards for our investigators and members who help us out so much and who we love so much! That evening we went to dinner with the Bergs, then Christmas caroling with six other missionaries in our district. It was so fun! All the investigators and less-actives we visited really enjoyed it and felt so good to see their happy smiling faces light up when we sang and gave them cookies. :)
Gift exchange with the District
I got a Razor Scooter! Ha ha!
Me and Sister McCourt
Sister Michalek and I
Sunday was CHRISTMAS! We woke up at 6:30 (like regular) and opened up all of our presents! Good job everyone! We loved them thank you so much. It was so cool and funny because I mainly asked for some new music, and I got ten new CDs!! Woo hoo! I finally got some new jams. :)
Church was good. We were a little stressed, because even though we reminded our investigators like a thousand times that church was going to be at 10 that day instead of 12:30 like usual, they still forgot and missed it because they were planning on 12:30! Gah! It was still good though, Lebron and Rosa still came, so that was good. Also, the musical numbers were really, really good! We have a lot of talented people here in Ellensburg! After church we went to lunch at the David's house. They were so nice, and gave us so much food! Thank you Davids! After that, we went to the Roberson's and Facetimed our families! It was so great. I got a little bit of 1-on-2 time with everyone. Ha ha! I split the time up so I could do couples--Mom and Bobby, Emily and Hannah, Libbie and Adam, and Grandma and Grandpa, then after that I Facetimed my dad. It was so good to catch up and see people's faces! AND MY SISTER LIBBIE IS ENGAGED! Woo hoo! So exciting. Also MY SISTER HANNAH IS BRUNETTE. Apparently that's not new, but I don't get told anything out here! Ha ha! also my Dad got his dog a really funny punk rocker jacket.
After Facetime, we ate dinner with the Robersons. It was actually a huge gathering! It was so fun and there were a bunch of non church members there! We got so many referrals for the elders! My favorite was this super sweet girl named Janelle. She just loves Mormons so much she said. She moved in the middle of her senior year of high school and that the Mormon kids just came in a took her under their wing and they are just the nicest people ever. She even got a little choked up just talking to us about it!
Dinner with the Robersons
After dinner we visited the Gills, they actually did this really cute 12 Days of Christmas for some of our Spanish members, and we just thought it was so sweet. Then we visited the Allreds. Brother Allred told us the craziest story about one time when he went hiking alone and almost died. DON’T GO HIKING ALONE! Ha ha! They also have this super cute little girl, Nola, who loves Harry Potter, and she showed me so many cool things that she got! She got the Marauder's Map, Luna’s wand and glasses, and some liquid luck! So cool.
Well I guess that's it for this awesome week! I hope everyone is doing well. I love and miss you all.