Hello there my dear loved ones,
It has been another great week in Hollywood. Things have been really difficult for me lately, but the work continues to progress. In the midst of these difficulties I have found an inner strength that I didn’t know existed. I have found that I can do really hard things, seemingly impossible things, and it feels great! Hollywood Hills Ward has had a lot of misinformation placed in them throughout the months/years about what a missionary is supposed to be or what they are supposed to do. One missionary’s motto is “be best friends with the members because most of your investigators will fall.” WHAT!!! Talk about no faith at all in the Atonement. Some of the missionaries worked really hard to be in the in crowd in the ward so that they knew all of the gossip going on. Or some knew how to work the system so that they hang out with the members more. As Elder Oaks says “No more hanging out!!”It is hard breaking those false preconceptions and notions and to remind them of their responsibilities as members of Christ’s true church. Of course they don’t want a missionary in their ward who won’t drop everything so that they can hang out with you. Of course they don’t want to work hard.
It is a tremendous task with very little external successes, but we know that with our efforts here and now, some missionary somewhere will reap tremendous success in the way of baptisms and retention will never be a problem for them. But, getting to that point is arduous and slow moving. One experience that really pinpoints this inner change happened on Saturday night. This last week we have been really working with our ward mission leader, trying to get him to catch the vision of true Christ-like missionary work. He caught on, like a moth to the flame, but apparently he got too close to the flame because he burned out really quickly and told us that he didn’t have time to find rides for our many investigators. I parked the car (my companion was on the phone as I was driving, and when he said this she looked at me, with the blankest stare, and asked what she should say to him). So I parked the car, took the phone, and walked outside pacing around the car. I think I even punded the outside of the car a bit. I was sooooooooooooo frustrated with that little man from Columbia. So I told him what I thought. Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I really don’t let loose on people very often. Oh, but I did. Another side note, don’t criticize Hna. Barros’ missionary skills, especially when she has a headache the size of the Grand Canyon because she will not just lay there, oh no no no!! It was a very liberating experience for me. Then, one of our investigators (who I was inspired to call after that) told us that she had just made empanadas and we should come over and eat them. This same investigator had dropped us the day before, but I guess not. We talked about the temple a little bit more and then she just up and said that she wanted to be married in the temple. Perfect, you need to be baptized first. She said that she also wanted to do her family history. What a tender mercy. The night before I had cried when I thought that she had dropped us, but really she just had to work a few things out first. The Lord is so mindful of us all.
My companion is amazing. She helps me with everything, and since we are so young we both lift and carry the other throughout everything. We are equally yoked, something that feels amazing. We even drive around in our car “discussing the doctrines of the kingdom” because we do not have time to waste on frivolous/worldly things. We seek revelation and repent diligently, for that truly is a sign of a diligent servant, and that is what we want to become.
The work is progressing, we are actually teaching a lot of families, which I absolutely love, they just require a little bit more time, something I am not used to, but am finding it enjoyable when compared to teaching single men, especially as sister missionaries—blah, and sometimes a huge waste of time, double blah.
And we have been teaching a lot of Cubans. I love Cubans. Everyone needs to meet and become friend with at least one Cuban. There is nothing better. It is funny when people think I am from Cuba because I am so pale with a “Hispanic” apallido. They always ask me where I am from. Cuba? No, just Portugal and Europe. They then ask the age old question, how would you say your name in an American accent. My answer –BEATS ME.
It was so great talking to you all. I hope the babies love their dolphins. And that mom puts that flamingo up in her car; hanging on the rearview mirror (it is to remind you of all of our conversations in the car as I tried parking at BYU. Happy New Year!! We are going to a Cuban’s New Year, which will prove to be interesting because, let’s be honest, if anyone knows how to party, it is a Cuban. We even get to help clean and dress the dead pig—yum. Good times are coming.
Have a great week,
And love love love love you