So something a bit crazy happened on Friday...I hit my 1 year mark!! Time really does fly when you're having fun:) It has been such a nutsy, unexpected, wonderful journey that I wouldn't trade for anything. I'm SO glad that the Lord sent me here to do His work, that I get to serve my awesome Dominican siblings every day, that I get to learn Spanish, experience a whole new way of life, strengthen my knowledge of the gospel, and help people realize what is most important & how they can apply the Atonement of our Savior in their lives. Being a missionary is the BEST!!!
So lots of great things happened this week. First off, I went on splits with Hermana Villatoro in Quisqueya, where we had lessons literally all day long! Seriously, it felt so good to teach so much, and the investigators and members there are awesome! Our ward had an indexing activity, and it was a hit! Basically all members of the Church here are only the first or second generation in their families, so there's a TON of family history work to do for their ancestors.
We had a fabulous lesson on Saturday with golden investigator Rafael and his wife, who we met for the first time. Guess what her name is? Melissa! Too perfect:) They totally understood the first part of the Plan of Salvation that we taught--they have been so prepared for this knowledge! During the week, Rafael had started reading the Book of Mormon, completely remembered what he studies, and had even looked up extra information about the Latter-day Saints' journey in the beginning of the Restoration, so now he knows lots about Utah and even BYU, ha! He's so cool! They were totally planning on coming to church the next day...but they didn't show up and didn't answer their phone...
BUT someone else cam to church for the first time in my time here: Patricia! She's my best less-active friend in Bella Vista and always says she'll come but never does. It was seriously a miracle to be with her in the church, we were all so happy! Plus, less-active Daniel Martinez was sustained as a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood! And now he and Starlin are at EFY this week! They have come a long way basically all on their own--they are never home, so we haven't been able to teach them in about 2 months. They are solid:)
Today was my P-day because President and Hermana Nuckols took a group of older missionaries to the East mission to visit the historic center of the Americas (so I was with Hermana Balls, not Hermana Ventocilla). It's called the Zona Colonial, and it was absolutely incredible!! Seriously one of the most fun days of my entire mission! President gave an awesome tour of America's oldest, most important area; Santo Domingo was the capital of the New World, founded by Christopher Columbus. I learned SO much about him and the colonization of the Americas--best history lesson ever! It's amazing that these buildings and artifacts have lasted for 500 years, and even more fantastic is the story of the people who created them. In preparation for today, we studied 1 Nephi 13 in the Book of Mormon, which prophesies of America (go read it, it's amazing!). Verse 12 specifically talks about Columbus, which says:
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
I am so grateful for all that has been done to settle the American continents. I'm especially grateful for all that my ancestors sacrificed to give me a knowledge of the gospel in these latter days. I love America, and I love you all! Until next week!
Proud to be a Dominicana,
-America's first cathedral--so stunning!!