October 21, 2013
I’m 20. Officially. w.h.o.a.
I prefer not to think about it.
This week was so great though. Everyone was so sweet. My birthday party last week was top notch. The Greek place didn’t exist but Chili’s never fails us. And, I may or may not have cried reading “20 Things We Love About Hermana Lewis.”…and I may or may not have it on video. [Thanks to Sister Kenagy]. With dramatic music in the background. Hermana Newbill made me PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE. Which went perfectly with our pumpkin spice steamer. And pumpkin bagels we just bought. We were in pumpkin heaven.
On my actual birthday we had Zone Meeting. Hermana Newbill made me birthday breakfast of french toast. The other missionaries sang to me. I still don’t love being the center of attention. eeeeeek. But it was fun for a sec. I love to feel loved. ❤ I got showered with packages and presents from friends and family. You all rock. Couldn’t ask for better. Birthday Party #3 today includes a nice trip to Target. We haven’t been in a couple weeks and well. I do love Target.
Needless to say. Birthday week was everything a missionary could ask for and more.
At zone meeting on Wednesday we all had to give a training. Ours was on Talking with everyone. It went well, but we had nothing on the Elders that went before us. Elder Langi and Nielson came up with a song [and they both rocked at singing, so okay] and played it on the guitar. Their training was on having a good attitude. Elder Nielson shared a story about when he was around 8 or 9 he and his dad went on a hike. The hike got really hard and, like any 8-year-old, he started to complain and want to stop or take a break. His dad responded by taking him by the collar of his shirt and pushing him up the mountain repeating, “of all the things I like to do, I love to climb a mountain” over and over. He wouldn’t let them take a break until little Elder Nielson started repeating it with him. When they got to the top, they were both so happy, and as Elder Nielson was resting and eating his applesauce, he thought “The whole thing could have been this fun if I had just smiled and enjoyed it.”
Wellp. That changed my life. I now have a paper that says “of all the things I like to do, I love to climb a mountain” hanging right above my desk. Cause guess what. There’s things about missionary work that aren’t exactly my favorite. But I know that if I change my attitude, they can become my favorite. Because I have to do it anyways so I might as well love it.
Of all the things I like to do I love to ride my bike. Of all the things I like to do, I love to wake up at 6:15 am. Of all the things I like to do, I love to weekly plan. The cool thing is, as soon as I start to say it, I start to think of all the reasons why I really DO love to do whatever that thing is.
Of all the things I like to do, I love to climb a mountain.
I’m gonna be so happy when I am done with this 18 months and get to see my family again. Of course. But, I want to look back and have loved every second of this journey.
Of all the things I like to do, I love to be a missionary.
Saturday was the Noche de Hispanidad. I can’t explain this event to you. It’s a stake event put on by our ward to celebrate all the Hispanic countries. Everyone comes and represents their own home country with food and music and a dance. It was the most fun I have had yet as a missionary I think. The dances were amazingggg. I’m disowning my American heritage. I’m now Puerto Rican. Or Honduran. Or Dominican. I can’t decide. But the gringa is gone.
I officially cannot look at Obispo Ramirez the same. He and his cute little family performed a dance and it was adorable. But he stole the show with his hip-shaking madness. I want to be part of that family. And have family dance parties every night. Cause it was awesome.
The whole night was so joyful. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it. Everyone was so happy and it truly was a celebration of all their different heritages. We missionaries set up a little table and got to talk with some of the nonmembers that came as well. In between the eating and the dancing of course. The dancing was the best part. One 80-something-year-old took each of the elders and tried to teach them to dance. I’ve never seen a more awkward situation in my life. It was hilarious. There’s just something about that Latin beat though….we could not keep still! It was so fun! Of all the things I like to do, I love to Latin dance.
Sara and Luigi have been telling us all week that they’re planning on church Sunday. But when I called them Saturday night–multiple times. and left a few messages. and texted them–we didn’t get an answer. From either phone. I went to bed stressed out of my mind after praying my heart out that Heavenly Father would help them get to church! I woke up in the morning feeling that same anxiety. They want to go to the English ward, which starts at 9. I prayed so hard that they would not sleep in and that they could still come. We called another couple times, still nothing. I sat at my desk at personal study that morning having an internal battle. Should we go over there? Is this worth it? Is this too far? Are they gonna miss church?! I lasted 15 minutes when I hastily gathered my stuff and said to Hermana Newbill, “Let’s go.” We hurried out the door and sped as fast as Tiwi would allow over to the Alvarez house.
Eyda answered the door, and directed us back to Sara and Luigi’s room. She wants this as bad as we do. We knocked on their door and waited. Praying. Of all the things I like to do, I love to invade people’s privacy to get them to church. Sara opened the door a few seconds later and groggily said, “We had to go get Xavier late last night, but we’re trying to get up now. We’ll do our best to make it to church.” Well, we did our part. After telling Eyda the situation [she did the best happy dance I’ve ever seen] and putting her in charge of making sure they got out the door, we rushed to church to save them a seat.
The anxiety didn’t stop there. Of all the things I like to do, I love to kill myself with anxiety on Sunday mornings. At 8:57 we hadn’t heard anything from them so I went out in the hall and called. Sara answered and assured me they’re on their way but might be a little late. Okay, I can breathe. I sat back down with a huge grin on and we waited. And waited. The grin turned to another look of despair as I thought, “What if they don’t make it?” I stood up to stand by the door and remained there during all of sacrament. I left the phone in my bag. Still no sign of them. As I went to sit back down, I looked at the phone, “We’re in the lobby.” was the text we got at the beginning of sacrament. Oh man. I looked up to see them come in through the other door with huge smiles.
My face mirrored theirs.
THEY MADE IT.
Not only that but they enjoyed every second. Luigi showed me the Gospel Library app he got on his phone. Which is super sweet now. They met the bishop after sacrament and promised they’d come back next week.
I am so happy for the two of them. The gospel is truly making a difference in their lives. They are going to get so many blessings for coming to church yesterday.
I’m stoked to see it.
Eyda’s daughter, Dailys, also came to church today [Spanish ward] and lovvvvved it. She was tearing up during the opening song, “Tengo Gozo en mi Alma Hoy” or “Sunshine in my Soul.” Eyda told us she’s starting to read the Book of Mormon and wants to keep coming to church and learning more. Eyda is the cutest little missionary and she was on top of the world, showing off her daughter to the ward. “Este es mi hija!” to everyone she saw with the biggest smile on her face.
Of all the things I like to do, I love to get investigators to church.
Of all the things I like to do, I love to see miracles.
Of all the things I like to do, I love to serve the Lord.
This work is amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend this year and a half. I thank Heavenly Father multiple times a day for this opportunity. I am so blessed.
Time for our Hermana Halloween party.
We’re dressing up and carving pumpkins and eating cake.
Don’t you wish you were a missionary?
Enjoying 20 reasons why my family loves me on my 20th birthday!
Birthday celebration… Cuban-style!
Noche de hispanidad
Setting up for Noche de Hispanidad
Love this sisters!!
My desk in our apartment… birthday balloons, inspiration thoughts, and photos!