This cambio is already over!! How did that happen? This transfer has officially been the fastest one that I have ever had. It’s been really great and also bittersweet. In these 6 weeks that have blown by like wildfire, Hermana Choque and I have both learned a lot of things. There have been some amazing amazing times and also some really difficult moments too. But overall, I’d have to say that this transfer has been one of the most rewarding, fun transfers of my whole mission. And it was my last complete transfer in the field! Guys…. like, this is almost over! I’m going to be done at the very end of this month. I feel so incredibly torn. I feel like I just want to stay here and keep working. Hermana Choque and I have had so many ideas for this place and we feel like we’ve finally figured it out and what we’re going to do here for the next while and everything… and before I know it, they’ll be kicking me out! Just after we’re finally getting the hang of everything. This is craziness!
So yesterday we finished up the very first month here in the best Family History Center in the world! It’s been a blast. Getting to spend time here has been such a blessing and a pleasure. We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people and see so many little daily miracles happen here. In total, in these three weeks, we’ve had 222 visitors! It’s so exciting! 20 names were sent directly to the temple system to get done and 141 were printed off to be taken and done there. To be honest, I would never have guessed that I would be doing all of this genealogy and family history stuff. Never would have even had an INKLING about it! But here I am and for Thanksgiving, I am so glad that I have gotten the opportunity to develop my testimony more about it. It’s so exciting to see in the world how much missionary work is changing and the church is developing. We all know that the church has three purposes, right: Perfect the saints, missionary work, and redeem the dead. Every day, the world is beginning to see that these three are more connected than ever. They aren’t three separate departments in the church, but really they are all made by the same redeeming power of the Atonement! (See President Kimball’s quote in Preach My Gospel, in chapter nine, the Family History section.) We realize that as missionaries, if we find a person who has a true desire to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ and join the church, and they decide to get baptized, and if we teach them about family history too, it will give them that root desire to live worthy of going to the temple and naturally they will become more perfected bit by bit! It all makes sense! :)
At the same time, being in the center has been a lot of fun, but it’s also been hard because it has taken us away from our sector and investigators and our members that we’ve been visiting. We can’t help but feel a little sad. But next cambio will be a lot better now that we’ve trained the other companionships — we’ll have more time. But our last investigator dropped us yesterday, and it was really really sad. It wasn’t because we weren’t visiting him enough or anything, but for personal reasons. But he’s really great and we’ve been visiting him for a few weeks now, talking to him about the Plan of Salvation and everything. He promised us that he was going to come to church yesterday, and he was really excited about it, but then when we went to his house (with our ward mission leader) to pick him up in the morning, he just opened up the door, gave us a little note, and closed the door again. The note basically said that in the war, as a marine, he had killed someone and felt like he had lost his soul and that he could never face stepping into a church again, etc….. It was really really really sad. Our mission leader was moved too and he speaks English well so he went and found a beautiful talk that Gordon B. Hinckley wrote called War and Peace, and he wrote a really sweet note on the back saying that we will always be there for him, whenever he feels comfortable to come to church, and he bore his testimony to him. We’re going to ask the Elders to take it over to him today and slip it under his door. Being a missionary is really great because you get to see miracles, and when the people around you have success, it makes you so incredibly happy, but it’s hard because when those same people suffer, you suffer too. :/ But sometimes, all we can do is just pray for them.
On Thursday, we had our multi-zone meeting with the President and the assistants. It was between our zone (Magdalena) and Rimac. It was maybe one of the best trainings that we have ever received. It was all focused on the basics — the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. He asked us to study a talk by Elder Uchtdorf first, and then we discussed it there. It was called ”Pues ya no temáis, y su escudo seré.” It was a very spiritual and emotional meeting. President Borg is the best!!
That night, we got to celebrate Thanksgiving! There is this really awesome family of members in our ward who had been planning to give us Thanksgiving dinner since more than 6 weeks ago. They are so sweet! Thanksgiving happened to be on the same day as Elder Gonzalez’s birthday this year, so we got to eat cake too. First we shared a spiritual message about gratitude and for an activity we drew little hand turkeys and wrote what we were grateful for. It was really cute!
We talked to the family about everything beforehand and got approval for everything, and they told us that they were expecting a flour war. It was fine because they are in the process of gutting their house and so there was nothing that could have been damaged. It was a lot of fun and it’s a Thanksgiving that I’m sure none of us are going to forget. To say thanks for everything that they did for us, we went back to their house on Saturday and painted just about the whole thing as a service project. I am so grateful for the members who are like our families down here!
On Sunday, our little cute Yoreli Graciel was baptized! She was 8 years old, so it didn’t count as an investigator baptism but we still helped her get prepared by teaching her the missionary lessons and everything because she is just so sweet and special! She’s one of those little girls that you just like to be around because they have a sweet spirit. I can’t wait for her to serve a mission someday!
Tomorrow I have to give my final testimony in the cambios meeting. It’s a tradition for all of the people who are starting their last transfer to give their testimony in front of everyone. I’m really nervous and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to say. But when it comes down to it, a testimony is a testimony.
I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it’s a complement to the Bible. I absolutely would not be here without it. I know that the church was restored through a prophet that was called of God — Joseph Smith. I know that he lived and died with honor, and that he sealed his testimony with his life. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everything that is unfair, incorrect, or painful in life can be recompensed. I know that before we lived here on the earth, we lived with our loving Father in Heaven, and that we’re here because he wants us to know just how much we truly can achieve, and what our divine potential really is. I know that everything that happens to us in this life is designed to give us, in the end, the greatest joy possible. And one of the greatest spiritual truths that I’ve learned in this time is that the hard things in our life really are for our good, in the end.
I sure love you guys so much and I hope that you have an absolutely amazing week. I’ll let you know what happens with cambios. I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere though.
TAKE CARE, EVERYONE!!!
With a lot of love,