The national colors are red, white, and blue, just like the States', so it was like celebrating the 4th of July early! Wow, the Dominican Republic has been settled for a long time; this is the place Columbus discovered (his grave is here, but it and nearly all the other historic & tourist stuff is in the East mission next door). Dominicans are such an interesting mix of people; they physically don't have anything in common except for their hair. I've met Dominicans who are white as Spaniards and dark as Africans. A lot of the time, every member of a family is differently colored. they come in all shapes and sizes, like the States, but there are many who are naturally much smaller than Americans. As I've said before, Dominican Spanish is very different from the rest of the world's; I can relate to all the Haitians here who are trying to learn it. Haiti is dangerous enough that Americans don't serve missions there, and a lot of people cross the border to have a better life. The problem is that Dominicans don't like Haitians...one of our investigators was going off about how God loves all of us equally except for the Haitians and doesn't know why He every created them...but anyways, at least I've gotten to hear some Creole, so that's cool!
The chicken we ate at the barbecue last P-day sat outside of the fridge too long before it was cooked, which caused all of the missionaries to get totally sick that night. when we showed up to the multi-zone conference the next day, we were all just a bunch of sleep-deprived, sun-burned, sickly zombies haha but hey, I got to accompany, and we learned SO much! I've never had a conference like that; we spent the morning in 4 different workshops with MTC teachers about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, repentance, and baptism. I've been wanting to know how to teach the BOM better, and I found the way, yeehaw! I got to apply everything from Tuesday to a BOM lesson we taught on Wednesday with a new investigator. Never have I taught the Book of Mormon more effectively than I did then, and the Spirit was amazing:)
Thursday, we had a great lesson with a new family we found last.week. A member was with us, the young adult son, Miguel, had read the entire Restoration pamphlet we gave him, and turns out that he'd been at church with his little sister on Sunday, but we didn't know it because they came during the last hour! I'm really excited about Miguel; he has a friend who's serving an LDS mission, so he's had some exposure to the Church, which is awesome:)
When we went to Maribel's for our 10 commandments lesson with Perla and Laura, Perla's boyfriend was there! He had some great Word of Wisdom questions, so I gave him the pamphlet about it, and I hope we can follow up with him about it! Laura and Perla are progressing a lot slower than Maribel, so we're working to have her be baptized at the end of March and the girls later.
Comment of the week: "Wearing skirts doesn't make you look any more professional--it just makes you look like Jehovah's Witnesses".
Hermana de Leon and I got to wake up at 5 on Friday morning and head to the migration center to do Visa stuff with a bunch of other missionaries, super special, and then they told us that we have to come back on Tuesday morning, cuz I kind of need to return to my native land someday. We lost a good chunk of teaching time this week, but we worked with members to leave with us, and la obra misional is really coming along! Well, my comp lost our cell phone, so that complicated things, but we're making it work!
After being physically, emotionally, and mentally wrung-out the past 3 weeks, I finally crashed on Saturday and got pretty discouraged. I knew smart, little Satan was in my head, so I just thought, "I have been called to serve," got back up on my feet, and directly after, we found PURE GOLD!!! This is a man who has been prepared; his name is Jorge Rodriguez, he's 50 years old, and his mom is a totally active member of the Church. He was taught all the discussions 20 years ago, and the only thing he had left to do before baptism was his interview, but then he got totally sick, and everything fell apart. he told us that he's been wanting to go back to church, and he straight-up asked if he needs to be taught everything again before he gets baptized!!!!! Guys, he said that he knows the Church is true!!!! He wants to be baptized!!!!! I am nothing short of ecstatic to go back and teach him, and guess what? Unlike every other Dominican, he's married by the law to his wife, which will make this process a million times faster!! As my companion said the closing prayer, I silently thanked Heavenly Father for allowing and inspiring us to find this wonderful man who wants to come unto Him.I haven't met anyone this ready since my sweet, darling Karla from Ocoa. God really is a God of miracles, and He truly prepares people for this perfect, glorious gospel:)
It's times like this that make all the hard work and sacrifice worth it. People have asked me a lot this week, "Don't you miss your family so much? Isn't it hard to give up everything you had back home?" I said, "Yeah, sometimes it is hard, but it's worth it. I know why I'm here and what God needs me to do. It's a privilege to share the peace and happiness I have from the Gospel with my brothers and sisters, and I want to help them understand the importance of the Gospel in their lives." Exactly 1 year ago from Saturday, I received my mission call. I remember that day so perfectly, and I want to keep that excitement I had and have of sharing the Gospel for the rest of my life. I know that every call is inspired from the Lord, and I'm so grateful for this time I have here to serve:)
Alma 34:31-32 "Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."