Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We shall be eating a plenitude of green foods this Thursday, and I've got food coloring to dye the rest! Speaking of comida, I can't believe how long it's taken me to tell you guys about it here in the Dominican Republic, but better late than never:) In Spanish, "bandera" means "flag," so they call the national meal "la bandera." It's rice, beans, and meat, and it's what Dominicans eat every day. If you're fortunate enough to have the money to buy a bigger variety of food, then yeah, you eat better, but people generally eat the same thing every day. In Ocoa, the people were too poor to give anything away, so we always cooked for ourselves. The national drinks are beer and Coca Cola. I won't get into the ridiculous amount of drinking that goes on here, but I will say that in the Ocoa branch, they gave the kids Coke in Primary haha yeah they drink it like water. Dominicans are also super big on homemade juice, which I can appreciate after working at Jamba all those years:) The best is chinola juice, which is a pulpy, yellow-orange fruit that's illegal in the U.S. because there's a way to transport drugs in it. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, and dinner's really not important, so we work the whole afternoon straight and don't eat until we come home at night. It took me about 2 months for my stomach to adjust to that haha:)
Okay, this week: we had zone meeting on Wednesday, and it was focused on praying fervently (the March mission emphasis) and working with the members. It gave us a lot more animo about visiting and using members, and the zone goal is to visit one every day for even just 15 minutes; it's already making a a difference!
Hermana de Leon got a severe infection that caused a fever and unbearable pain to the point she could hardly walk, so we spent yesterday trying to get a doctor's appointment, traveling there, and being at the hospital. We were assigned to a doctor who is actually in our ward, and she has been the biggest and best help all week. Esteffani and her husband, Luis, are my favorite couple in the ward, and they were nice enough to invite us to dinner last night. Luis is one of the best translators in the Caribbean, so he always helps the Apostles and General Authorities who come, super cool. Anyways, we were gone all of yesterday doing that, hence why you're receiving this email today. Esteffani told us to not work for a couple of days so that my comp can heal faster, but she'll be okay, no worries. Things have never been better between the two of us; I'm so grateful for that:)
It all worked out because we don't have lessons set up for this week because no one would or could meet with us last week. Seriously, we walked and walked and walked and no one would give us the time of day. There was just one woman who was actually interested, but when we later called to confirm a second appointment, she didn't answer. We don't have a solid pool of investigators, so we're visiting new residential areas to find more, but nothing's come out of it yet. And you know what? I've had a big sense of peace through it all. I really took to heart something my wise dad wrote to me: "There is no guarantee that your situation will be made easy or that the challenges you face will be removed. However, we have clear promises that we will be given the strength to endure our challenges (our burdens will be made light), our perspective and understanding of what to do and how to deal with situations will be enlightened, and we will be blessed with peace in our heart and mind."
That truly happened this week, and we were able to persevere/endure and keep working hard. I focused on seeing these people as my brothers and sisters, and Luke 23:34 took on new meaning: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." They don't realize that they're rejecting the path to everlasting peace and joy; they don't know how much happier they could be. But we're going to find someone who does realize the importance of the restored gospel, and it will be done in the Lord's timing; I have faith in that. ¡Vamos a encontrar oro puro! Thank you for your love and prayers, I can definitely feel them! Love you all so much!
Su Hermana Dominicana,