Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Best Week Yet!

March 3, 2014

 This has very possibly been the best week of my mission.  I am absolutely head-over-heals in love with Llay Llay, here, in the middle of nowhere, with its beautiful mountains and beautiful, extremely humble people, and a companionship that loves me and treats me with respect.  It has been just plain fun to work here with these sisters who are truly dedicated to the service of the Lord.  I am just so happy.  Not to mention, I´m losing weight!  I know that probably doesn´t matter to you, but to me it´s a big deal. Here, the members give us lunch maybe once or twice a week, and so we don´t have to worry about shoveling down ten pounds of food in one sitting.  And we practically sprint around all day, barely able to catch our breath between appointments.  My senior companion is downright fantastic.  I have never seen a missionary as powerful as her.  She truly has the Spirit and knows how to use it. I love learning from her. In one week, I feel like I have improved more than I have in my whole mission.  Sister Quintana is also great and the three of us get along so well that it's shocking. I´ve never had a companionship like we have.  It´s just... really cool.  And the people are absolutely wonderful.  There is some pretty extreme poverty here. I´m talking dirt floors, cardboard walls, and tin roofs with holes.  But wow.  They don´t even realize they´re poor because they are so happy.  And the truth is that I didn´t even realize that these people are poor until just yesterday when I noticed that the floor in one of the homes wasn´t exactly floor.  It´s beautiful stuff.

We are in charge of 8 other sisters.  President made smaller groups this change in order to assure that more people have more time to learn how to convert.   As sister training leader two, I go to their sectors, evaluate their work, and set an example of how to improve what they are doing. In the meantime, Sister Arroyo stays here, directs our sector and sets the example of how they ought to run their sector.  I have only done one intercambio, but it was pretty cool.  I got there and the sister told me about how they had been having trouble finding people to teach and how she was frustrated with the work.  Because everything here in Los Andes is so far away, we ended up having only about two hours to work, but in those two hours, we entered three houses for the first time, and committed almost all of those people to be baptized.  She was kinda like... uhhh... whoa.  I´m not sure how it happened.  I just know that the Lord qualifies who He  calls and, if they are willing to magnify their calling, He will make sure it it is magnified.  And that´s what happened that day.

This weekend, Elder David F. Evans came to visit Santiago.  Because we live so far away, we went to stay the night with the mission secretary on Friday.  Such an adventure included flagging down a bus in  the middle of the highway.  That was new.  In the morning we went to hear him speak in the stake center in Pudahuel with the other three missions.    I remember how dad once told about how Elder Oaks told them all off because they had been talking and wasting the Lord's time.  Yep.  That happened.  But he came in right as the time started, so he didn´t see it.  But oh well. My companion and I sat our butts down and studied hard until it was time for him to speak. I honestly think we were the only two (our other companion even left with some other sister to take pictures.... arrrrrgggghhhhh) in the four Santiago missions there.  But oh how we enjoyed the talk that he gave.  We listened as he taught the doctrine of Christ from 9-1.  Then everyone but the zone leaders and sister training leaders left to work and we stayed from 2-6 in a leadership counsel.  I´m telling you, he left us downright awestruck.  It was fantastic.  Then from 6-7:30 we had a leadership counsel just with those from our mission.  Then Sister Arroyo and I (Sister Quintana had left with the secretary) walked and took the metro back to the office with the elders of the office and the secretary drove us home to arrive in Llay Llay around 11:30 at night.  It´s a little complicated for us LlayLlayians because there is no locomotion after 6:30 at night.  It´s funny.

I love you all so much.  Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers on my behalf.  Seriously, I have the best family and friends I could ever ask for!!

Hermana Thomas