Ok, well I have tried to do pictures but 1) no memory card converter thing and 2) the computers don't read my memory card when I try to insert it sooooooo you'll get pictures after I can figure that all out!!
I thought last week was crazy, but this week was crazy in a different way. I feel like I'm finally settling into the groove of things, but at the same time there is so much new stuff going on! On Thursday, I got to go to Las Vegas to get my Visa! It is funny, basically the most different place you could get from the MTC is Vegas. I had heard rumors of this strange, boring guy who picks up missionaries from the airport, but I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, all those rumors were RIGHT. He took us to Del Taco for lunch when there were options of 5 Guys, Cafe Rio and In N Out all within like 2 mins of the institute building we were going to. We were all kind of bitter for the rest of the day hahaha but the guy REALLY liked Del Taco. Apparently he takes all the missionaries there who go to Vegas to get their Visas. He then gave us an orientation thing for like 2 hours, and said if we didn't ask him questions then he was going to have to start asking questions about scripture stuff, we managed to muster up questions for the next 2 hours....and we never actually found out if he had been to MExico or not. SO CONFUSING!! BUT the good news is we got our Visas!!! So there won't be any delays going to Mexico! This was one of the LONGEST days ever, we woke up at 4 and got back around 10:30. I'm really starting to feel like an old grandma with sleep these days.
Some cool things about this week: 2 of my teachers are from MA!!!!!!!! SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT!!!! Brother W. aka Sylvio aka our first investigator went to Argentina on his mission and is from Concord and then my other teacher, Brother L. is from Lawrence. Not really close to Norwell but still in MA! Ruth sent me cupcakes!!! They were all so delicious!!! She sent me a Mexican chocolate one, yes i did pick up on the irony in that. Did I use irony right? Who knows, it's about spanish now!! I was especially grateful for the cupcake I gobbled down after class on Saturday night, since the next day was fast sunday. Gracias Ruth!!! More cool connections: Hermana R’s boyfriend was roommates with my roommate Bre's fiance! I could have met Hna R if we had actually gone to Jeff's apartment when he invited us all over! Also, one of the teachers for my zone was in my ISys class last semester! He recognized me! THE MORMON WORLD IS SUCH A SMALL PLACE!!
We have a new investigator named Iris. She's a native of Trujillo Peru, and she actually taught Zach - Ruth's friend - in the Peru MTC! He was in her last district before she came to the US! We went into our first lesson, and that it was ok, but apparently we were sounding a lot of like we vs her. And we had no idea! Sometimes we got so wrapped up in the language that we forget to focus on her body language and tone. We felt terrible after, I cried. I seem to be the most emotional one out of my tria companionship. The 'member' who was in the lesson with us told us that our next lesson was going to be our hardest one yet, since we had such a rough first lesson. If I wasn't stressed before that, I was now!! For the next lesson, we brainstormed for hours about what to teach her. What did she need? What did she want? What were her priorities? And all of this in spanish. GAHHH!!!! We practiced with a teacher, having her pretend to be Iris - this strong Catholic who loves her church and sees no reason to change. Well, the Practice and stress all paid off!! Our next lesson was SO amazing!!!! We were trying to explain how we were representatives of Jesus Christ, and wanted to help her return back to her Heavenly Father. In the spur of the moment, I shared with her Romans 10:13-15, ( For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!) and after reading it she said "Son Ustededs!" (That’s you!) EXACTLY!!!!!! I wanted to cry, she was finally getting the point! After that, the tone, the spirit and the love in the lesson was undeniable. I am so grateful for the spirit, and the pathways it helps us to communicate. Something they keep emphasizing here in the MTC is that we should speak with love, not spanish. THAT IS COMPLETELY TRUE!!! If there is no love in your words and actions, the investigator can totally tell and our lesson will go no where. But if we show our love, and ask her to repeat herself like a million times, she appreciates the fact that we are trying to understand her. LOVE IS KEY! I cannot emphasize this enough. The love here in the MTC is undeniable. The love I feel for Iris is basically bursting out of my seams. When I think about how much love I am feeling for her, being channeled by the spirit, the thought of my Heavenly Father's love for me comes into my mind, and it's like adding hot chocolate, blankets and more logs to the fire on a freezing winter night. So much love!!!!!!! I love it!!!!
Sundays and Tuesdays are my favorite days. We get to sing in choir and get to go up to main campus for a change in scenery which is nice! It was pretty cool! Sunday's devotional was by President Littlefield, who was Anziano Finnerty's stake president while he was at UVU! His message was all about things we need to do, know, and things that investigators need to be willing to do for a successful conversion process. There were a lot of steps, it all seemed very calculated. There is so many spiritual messages, I never know what to include! There's never enough time for it all! At mission conference on Sunday, they told us that in 1995, there were 47 temples. Now, there are 114 temples with 15 under construction and 14 more announced. The growing of this work is INCREDIBLE!!! Speakers also referenced my farewell topic, Alma 5:26,(And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a achange of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the bsong of redeeming love, I would ask, ccan ye feel so now?) in their talks, and I just like finding little connections to back home. This is all just so amazing!!!
Tuesday's devotional was also very poignant. For choir, we sang "Be Still My Soul", which I think a lot of missionaries needed. We all get so caught up in the stress of everything, that we forget about our own personal soul welfare.David Evans of the 70 spoke to us about the Proclamation to the World. I also thought this was an amazing topic. A lot of missionaries don;t really think about life after mission, but this devotional reminded us of the importance of families, how special they are and how much they support and help us. Family: I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!
It is getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning. This less than 8 hours a night is catching up to me. But I try to treat each day like it was my first day at the MTC. If I did it then, I can do it now!
Today on pday,(preparation day) we went to the main MTC to print off emails, if we print them off there and read them before computer time it doesn’t count as part of our hour. In there, I saw Sister Openshaw! It was crazy! She helped me get some of the stuff I needed, and it was so nice to see a familiar face.
My spanish if improving each day, and I am so grateful for it. There are so many blessings and miracles here that I can't count them all, but I do know that I am lucky beyond belief to be here. I love the MTC, I love my investigators, and I already love the people of Xalapa so much. Thank you for all your support and love, I feel every ounce of it!
Love, Hermana Westergard