God works miracles. Here are some I saw this week:
>Concepcion and Josué finally got baptized! She was insistent that they were going to be baptized the 6 of October, but this last Sunday, we went to her house and she said she couldn´t be baptized the 6. She asked when she could be baptized, and I almost jokingly said, ¨This Saturday if you want.¨ Then she said nodded her head and said, ¨Así sera.¨ I just about cried.
After months and months of her telling us there´s no possible way prophets exist in these days, that there´s no possible way the priesthood exists in these days, that there´s no possible way the church was restored through a modern-day prophet, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions, and when we asked her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration (if she believed that the church had been restored through him and that we have a modern-day prophet), she responded ïn an old-lady growl ¨seguro que si!¨ You´ve no idea how happy I was. J She is so beautiful. Mi abuelita de la misión.
>This week I finally got up the umph to try out Sopa de Mondongo, which is cow stomach soup. It´s actually pretty good. One side of the cow stomach is all smooth and muscular and the other side is like a honeycomb of flesh and muscle. It was really fascinating to look at, and it tasted pretty good too. I was telling someone about it afterwards and they asked me, ¨oh, sopa de tripe?¨ It was only in that moment that I realized I had just eaten tripe of the cow variety. I know we always joke about people who eat tripe, but don´t hate it ´til you´ve ate it. Hahaha It´s funny. Some of you might remember my first-ish week when I ate chicken feet and was absolutely repulsed… now I see people boiling chicken feet and I almost want to try them again. I hear people talking about cow tongue and I get all excited. I hear about snail soup and I get all curious to try it. I think Honduras might be messing with my tastes in food……. Hahahaha
>Happiness is that moment when your recent convert shows up to church in a white shirt and tie and sits himself at the Sacrament table. Happiness is watching him worthily and respectfully parting and blessing the sacrament, then hearing him bear testimony twice of how happy and grateful he is for the gospel. Happiness is when he accompanies you to an appointment to teach another man of roughly the same age and spends the entire lesson testifying of the miracles and tender mercies that led him to be baptized. Happiness is when he tells you of his plans to marry his recently-active-again girlfriend in the temple in one year. Happiness is when God takes over and we get to sit back and see the hand of God.
>We challenged Alan to be baptized. Alan, who didn´t believe a single thing we said. Alan, who had innumerable doubts. Alan, who rejected all we said. …He looked at us for half a second, then said, ¨Porque no?¨ He will be baptized the 28 of September, and receive the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood the 29. He has already told the whole ward and all of his friends. He is so excited.
>If you want to talk about faithfulness to the Lord, let´s just talk for a moment about Ana. Ana is approximately 1,576,248 years old. She can´t hear a thing, and she is always chomping gum with her slightly-too-wobbly-to-be-healthy jaw. She comes to church every Thursday, just to watch the kids play soccer and watch the Relief Society have their activity (which usually involves verbal cooking instructions for new and exciting recipes). She comes to church every Saturday, just to sit and watch the people come and go as they enter for Institute classes. She comes to church every Sunday just to sit in a Holy place for three hours. She doesn´t hear a single word during all three hours of church. She doesn´t come for the words; she comes for the spirit and she comes to obey the Lord´s commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy. She shuffles to the hard metal chair in a room that is too hot and lowers herself painfully into a sitting position. She then sits, chewing her gum as she waits for the first hymn. I pass by to say hello, and she screams, ¨Mi muchachita! Cómo está? Cuando puedo invitarle a comer pollo?!!!¨ I give her a hug and a kiss and say, ¨Cómo está mi abuelita?¨ She pats my hand and smiles. She doesn´t hear a thing I say to her, but still she smiles as if she knows exactly what I mean. We all sit for Sacrament meeting and we begin singing the first hymn. She shoves her hymnbook in my hands and says, ¨Busquemelo¨ as she fumbles with her glasses. Then, with my finger tracing the words we´re singing, she begins croaking out a warbly testimony of song. Sometimes she gets impatient, waiting for the rest of the congregation to sing the words she´s already read, so she skips ahead of where my finger is indicating and sings as she pleases in her little croak of a voice. The whole congregation can hear her singing as they pause to begin a new line or verse. Some children giggle, some adults shift their eyes, but she just keeps on singing. The song ends and we pray. Later they pass the sacrament tray and she stops chomping her gum long enough to take the bread and water.
Faith is not going to church for the members or the songs or the talks or the benches. Faith is loving God so fully and completely that you would hobble your way to His house of worship, just to be able to feel of His Spirit and partake of His sacraments as you chomp your gum and make faces at the missionaries in your happy little world of silence. Who says the pioneers are dead and gone? Who says sacrifice ended with crossing the plains? Who says faith can only be counted if we´re pulling a handcart. May we all grow up to be a little more like mi Abuelita Ana.
These people are changing my life right before my eyes. I wish you could meet them and see the change they´d work in you. These people are family.
I love yáll oodly doodlies,
I sent a different letter separately, but just to respond to yáll and give you some heads-ups:
I have changed my pday back to Monday. It´s a long story, but from here on out, Monday is the day. You can still write me on Friday if you want, but I won´t be reading until Monday.
I´m loving being the nurse. It´s just enough of a dramatic change of pace every day that it´s keeping me moving like crazy and I like it a lot. Thanks in advance for the package. As far as Copan goes, I will probably not ever be able to go. Assuming I´m nurse for the rest-ish of my mission, I will probably not leave SPS for the next 9 months. That´s a bit of a bummer, but that whole ¨I´ll go where you want me to go¨ thing applies in-country too. haha. I´m sad to hear about G and G. I wish I could help them out, but God wants me here more than He wants me there right now. Take care of them. They promised me they´d be in my wedding, and we´ve still got a ways to go before THAT happens. hahahaha.
You can send things directly to me. They've changed the mission rules in the whole world if I´m not mistaken so now anyone can write me and I can write anyone. That doesn´t necessarily mean I´ll have time to respond to all those letters from the whole world, but I will always respond to your letters. :) You´re top 3 in the response list. Actually it´s about a tie for number one. I loved the quote and I loved the clothes story. hahahahaha. It´s funny how sometimes we say things without realizing how it sounds from the outside. hahaha. Whenever I wear pants, the whole world is suddenly very surprised that I have legs above the knee. Surprising, I know.
We´ve definitely had some wet weather these days. haha. But it´s not sooooo bad. We were completely soaked the other day because we gave our umbrellas to some hermanas and we were walking up the river, errrr street, in water almost up to our knees. haha And you thought Vegas flooding was bad. We went to Marina´s house and she just looked at us all confusedly as we dripped on her front step and wrung the water out of our skirts. hahahaha.
Well, I love yáll lots and lots. Take care and do something crazy for me.