To begin with, let me just say that a mission is never boring--every day, so much is changing, so many people to find and teach, and so many adventures to have! Second, this email is kinda long, but the nifty story is at the end, so bear with me:) With transfers last week, we got a newbie in the house! So I´m a toddler now because I´m not the baby! The greenie, Hermana Gomez, is really nice; kind cool because her ancestors are from Spain, yet her parents are Mexican, but she was raised in Texas, and then she went to college in Utah, so she knows perfect English and Spanish. Now that Elders have been permanently removed from my area, two things happened: the Hermanas have to basically whitewash the Elders´ area because they didn´t keep records (there seriously has been zero paperwork done for months), and since we don´t have a district leader, we now drive an hour every week for district meetings with a Bani group.
Random fact: Dominicans start putting up Christmas decorations in October haha but I will still refuse to listen to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving:) My companion, Hermana Dibble, and I made a lot of progress this week! She finally opened up to me, and we´re doing much better now.
A couple of weeks ago, we had an appointment with a less-active 16 year-old named Mario, and having forgotten about eh lesson, he brought his friend, Alexander, home with him and found us missionaries sitting on his couch. We ended up having an awesome discussion that led to talking about the Plan of Salvation, and now he has become one of my two favorite investigators!! Alexander has such a strong desire to learn and is setting a really good example for Mario. Alexander even came to an hour of General Conference and stayed for ALL 3 hours of church yesterday and loved it! He has been very prepared by Heavenly Father to hear the message of the Gospel, so on Friday, I asked him if he would be baptized onNovember 28th and he said yes!! It was amazing! I cannot tell you how much I love the youth--they are my absolute favorite people to work with and completely energize me:) I really is the youth who keep the branch going here in Ocoa; I´m so grateful for them. Their testimonies during lessons with us strengthen the investigators and help the investigators to become familiar with member of the Church. So if you are old enough, ask the missionaries in your area to join them in lessons! I promise that they will ALWAYS need you!! Especially for teenagers, going on splits with missionaries is great practive for becoming a full-time missionary, so at the very least, get some practice and prepare NOW to serve!
I´ve been reading the March 2007 ¨New Era¨ (Church magazine for youth), which is about missionary work from cover to cover. Whether you´re preparing to serve a mission, are currently, or have already served, or if you´re a parent of a missionary of just want to read a treasure chest of awesomeness, look it up and read it! In it, Elder David A. Bednar states, ¨The single most important thing you can do to prepare for a clal to serve is to become a missionary long before you go on a mission.¨ SO TRUE. If you start living like a missionary now, not only will your transition to the mission field be 100 times easier, but your life will straight up be happier because you´ll be receiving so many darn blessings from being obedient, living the commandments willingly with a continuous desire to improve, and follwoing the example of Jesus Christ! God is not trying to make this hard to understand! Everything we need to know about how to be happier/live better and return to God is in teh scriptures and from modern-day prophets and Apostles (in General Conference)! It´s all right there! So everybody just needs to listen to the word of God and act on it, and then we´ll all be happy and prosperous, and life will be great!
On that energetic note, let me tell you about an adventurous situation you don´t want to be in. Yesterday, we were in the town of Parra up in the mountains again. The roads are just dirt and rocks, and if you aren´t walking, you´re riding a beat-up motorcycle in a country with basically no traffic laws where pedestrians do not have the right of way. So I was one of those pedestrians, and a motor came down the road. At the last minute, I realized that the driver was steering right towards us, so I jumped out of the way to go left, but then he went left, and BAM the motor hit me. I went flying through the air and landed straight on my back. I think I was in shock more than anything and just scrambling to pull down my dress, and thankfully that action stopped me from whacking my head against the ground. The driver didn´t even get off of his motor or do anything, but the woman on the back of it, the neighbors who saw, and my group rushed over to pick me up and speak a bunch of Spanish I couldn´t comprehend at the moment. Then the pain hit, and we walked to a nearby less-active´s house to get me situated. Because I had grabbed the tire of the motor when we made contact, part of my palm was shredded and cut, and it was filled with blood, dirt, and nastiness. That was my worst injury/pain; cleaning it killed. My left leg and foot had hit the side of the motor, so I was scraped but not bleeding. The biggest mircle of all was my back. My mission president lets us wear backpacks, but I never wear mine except for on the way to Parra; that backpack (and probably the fact that I was endowed) saved me and protected my back from the rocks. So I have some scratches there, but it should have been so much worse because I landed so hard. The point is that Heavenly Father completely protected me. I´m so blessed. He allows events to happen that help us grow and learn, and we use our agency/ability to choose, but He still absolutely watches over us. Pretty ironic that just last week, I talked about God promising me (in my patriarchal blessings) that according to my faithfulness, my body will be strong, have the ability to heal, and will be able to do whatever is asked of it. So after we cleaned me up a bit, I said, ¨Well I can walk, so let´s go do the work.¨ So they let me go to one appointment before the branch President picked us up and took us home, and by then I was pretty weak and in a lot of pain. But guess what? The Lord will never give us more than we can handle! I know that to be true. No matter what is thrown at us, we can do all things! I love my Savior, who has felt my pain, and I am eternally grateful for Him and our Heavenly Father, who love us so very much. I love you guys, and God loves you even more!
Hoping that none of you get hit by a motor this week,
Pictures: my makeshift cast and my new district (we have missionaries from Mexico, Costa Rica, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic, Panama, two from Utah, two from Idaho, and one from Texas)