Espero que todo este bien con ustedes:) This week was crazy and memorable, and I couldn't ask for anything better! The theme of the week was my mission president: President Nuckols. Last Monday, we had that choir practice at his house. Then we had interviews with him and Hermana Nuckols. That night, Hermana Vazquez taught with a counselor in the bishopric and a member woman, while President Nuckols and the stake president went to teach with me and Marlina Mercado (the American mom who owns our apartment). Um, hello, talk about pressure!! We first went to teach Victor and his mom, who we've only met once, but he misunderstood and didn't come, so we taught his mom and step-dad. We had a super powerful lesson about Jesus Christ and the Restoration, and now they better understand why their son chooses to wake up at 5 am for seminary and is doing so much to learn about the gospel.
After that, we visited Wbert, who will be getting married civilly on the 21st to Mariela and baptized on the 22nd! He is so incredibly dedicated; to be able to attend church on Sundays, he works the Saturday day shift AND night shift, goes home to change his clothes, and heads straight to church with his kids (6-year-old Wellington and 8-month-old Melanie) without even sleeping. He reads the Book of Mormon every morning and night and can't wait to be baptized:)
On Friday night, I got to sing at President Nuckols' house for the mission's stake presidents, some other leaders, and their wives. It was awesome because one of my favorite Bella Vista couples was there, the Peraltas! IT was them who I met in Los Angeles before I even got to BV:) An Hermana who's serving in LA right now sang two duets with me: "Write Thy Name Upon My Heart" and "Love is Spoken Here." With some Elders, we sang "Hark All Ye Nations" and "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." It was all in Spanish, of course (which is much prettier than English), and the Spirit was so strong:)
Espanol facts for the day. Dominican and Mexican Spanish have quite different vocabulary, which has been fun for Hermana Vazquez to learn. For example, "gua-gua"--Dominican: bus, Mexican: baby. "Guapo"--Dominican: angry, Mexican: handsome (and probably means that everywhere else in the Latin world; Dominicans just do whatever they want). Also, you never say a Spanish word starting only with "s"--an "e" always comes before it, hence why I sometimes write recent convert Starlin's name with an "e" before it:)
11-year-old Natasha is doing great! She will be getting baptized on the 15th and went to General Conference yesterday! 11-year-old Eduardo went to Conference as well and is progressing slowly but surely. He knows that this is the only true church and is preparing to be baptized on November 5th. We found ORO PURO (pure gold) this week: 24-year-old Virginia! She's a reference of her aunt-in-law, who's a member. Apparently Virginia has been to church before, celebrated her wedding reception in the chapel, and presented her baby daughter in the church when she was born. Even with all that involvement in the Church, the missionaries have never taught her before, so we're the lucky ones! She read the entire Restoration pamphlet in one night, understood and remembered in perfectly, is praying to know that the Book of Mormon is true and that this the true church, received an answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, and wants us to teach her every day! Virginia is incredible!!
Then, to top off the week, it was General Conference!! Crazy to think that one year ago, I could hardly understand what was being said when I watched it for the first time in Spanish, and now it's a million times easier:) It was amazing to hear so much about prayer, missionary work, overcoming the natural man, repentance, and a ton of other wonderful things. I loved Evan A. Schmutz's talk about having trials fora reason, and Elder Gary A. Stevenson's Book of Mormon talk was perfect for investigator Angela, who was there for that session. It was special to see J. Devn Cornish speak because he's been my Area President my whole mission up until his recent releasement. I received so many answers to the questions I had previously written and pondered about, and it was wonderful to listen to Prophet Thomas S. Monson speak. The Saturday afternoon session was the most incredible one of my life. We called it "the missionary session;" what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear it as I serve as a full-time missionary. When Elder Yamashita spoke directly to the missionaries, I can only describe it in Joseph Smith's words that he used to describe reading James 1:5: "Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart."
I have never been more grateful to be a missionary called of God. I have never had more animo to share the gospel. I left the church with an energy like never before. I wanted to contact every person I saw, cry repentance unto all, and invite them to the next day's Conference so that they could hear what our living prophet and Apostles have to say. I love this gospel, I love our Heavenly Father, and I love my Savior.
Feeling full of love,