What a wonderful time of year to be a missionary; you appreciate everything you have and know so much more! Right now, I´m so incredibly grateful for my new companion, Hermana Alas from El Salvador! Oh my goodness, she´s the BEST! I love her!! Like my face hurt by 2 pm on our first full day together from smiling so much! We have a blast, and she´s an amazing companion; she´s very obedient, patient, hard-working, happy, fun, and energetic. Our teaching styles go perfectly together, she´s working on learning English, and she´s adapting to the area really well...besides the first time I showed her how to shower and flush the toilet with just a bucket haha her other 2 areas (the same ones as Hermana Dibble´s!) had running water in the houses, so now she get to learn how to rough it:) Mission step-moms can be really hard or really great, but it´s only been fantastic with Hermana Alas. Heavenly Father knew that I needed her for so many reasons, one being that it would push my Spanish. The immersion of speaking Spanish 24/7 has been such an amazing experience; I hadn't realized just how much I knew, and talking so much more in my mission language plus the Spirit and gift of tongues has really increased my ability to not only speak better, but to understand, which I've had a harder time doing than talking.
I think one of the best words to describe how I feel is ¨free.¨ I have stepped out of the shadow of my trainer and am experiencing the true joy of missionary work as I take on new responsibilities and am contributing more. I get to take the lead in all the lessons, am understanding my investigators and less-actives much better, recognizing their needs, and am gaining an overall greater love for the work and the people. This is what being a missionary is supposed to feel like! I have so much joy every day!!! Of course, we still have our challenges, but my love for the Gospel totally overcomes that!
I was asked to accompany and do another musical number with Hermana Gomez for our Bani zone meeting on Saturday, so we did the medley I wrote a few years ago of "As Sisters in Zion," "We´ll Bring the World His Truth," and "Called to Serve." I originally wrote it as a piano solo, but I put a mix of Spanish and English words to it, and it was awesome! The Spirit was so strong, and the whole meeting was just dandy:)
Karla, who has now been a member for one week, is so happy! We had a fantastic lesson about missionary work with her yesterday, and she´s going to come out with us to lessons this week and practice teaching and sharing her testimony. It´s a really good way to strengthen recent converts and anybody else, for that matter. So go help the missionaries! They always need you! And investigators & less-actives always need support from the ward! I was asked why the youth here seem to be so much stronger than the adults; it´s pretty ironic, because almost all of the youth are the only members in the Church in their families. They don´t have that support, but they give support. The youth are unified; they work together and support each other. They come to appointments with the missionaries and get to know those we´re teaching. I love them soooo much! I love little kids to death, but teenagers are my favorite group of people to work with, like if I were a teacher, I would teach high school. The youth here are so strong and knowledgeable that I forget that most of them have been converts for only 5 years or less. They openly defend the Church when their school teachers publicly criticize them for being Mormons and proclaim that the Mormons will not go to heaven and bunch of other terrible things. I have so much respect for these valiant youth who press forward with faith and courage, no matter what Satan throws at them. What wonderful leaders and examples they are:)
When I was younger and one of the only LDS people in my school, I couldn't fully appreciate just how precious a knowledge of Christ´s gospel was. Now that I´m older and am once more living in an area that is not 99% LDS, I can better understand the significance of being born into a stable, happy, Christ-centered home where I was taught about the scriptures, the restoration of the Gospel, and God´s plan of salvation, a plan of happiness designed to test our faith in Him and willingness to obey the commandments, where we could come to Earth, learn, grow, use our agency, have families, and eventually return to God´s presence. It´s such a privilege to be able to share my love of that message with the people here; my passion for the Gospel has never been stronger, and my faith, knowledge, and desire to serve Heavenly Father and His children continue to grow each day. I am so thankful to be a missionary! I love it SO much! I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; I love my companion, the Dominicans, the scriptures, my patriarchal blessing, and all of you who are supporting me, especially my wonderful parents and five younger siblings. I´m so glad that both of my parents served missions--that they met while serving in the same mission and began their friendship in a spiritual setting. They are marvelous teachers, and I´m so grateful that through the Plan of Salvation, we know that our family gets to live together for eternity. What an incredible blessing that is. I am thankful to have been called to represent Jesus Christ in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission! I am thankful for you! Thank you all for your examples to me, for your encouragement, love, and prayers. Know that I love you and am thinking of you!
Hermana Melissa Randall
-We call ourselves ¨Oreo¨ because that´s what we look like together
-My fabulous comp and I feeling the Thanksgiving spirit