Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 57: "When your wagon gets stuck in the mud....get out and push!"

Lunes, 4 Mayo 2015
     This morning we did some deep cleaning and our cuarto looks so good!  After cleaning and showering, we went to the mercado to buy bananas and eggs so we could make arroz a la cubana. :)
When we showed up at the pension to cook our lunch, we ended up crashing a party.  They were celebrating the birthday of Hna Coca who had served in this mission and was back visiting with her new husband.  We were invited to eat some cake with them. :) It was yummy.
     After lunch, we went and bought some repellent, light bulbs, and a pomegranate.  Then we went to internet.  I was giggling a lot!  I also got a really cool email from my daddy.  He talked about consecrated oil.  I loved it.  He sent me a part of a talk from Elder Russell M. Nelson, that was talking about the olive tree and the oil.

Olive trees are special in the Holy Land. The olive branch is universally regarded as a symbol of peace. This tree provides food, light, heat, lumber, ointments, and medicine. It is now, as it was then, crucial to life in Israel. It is not a deciduous tree, but everbearing—always green. Even if the tree is chopped down, life will spring from its roots, suggesting everlasting life. Jewish tradition often refers to the olive tree as the tree of life. To me it seems to prefigure the Resurrection.
Jesus came to the base of the Mount of Olives to effect the first component of the Atonement. This He did at the Garden of Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew roots: gath, meaning “press,” and shemen, meaning “oil,” especially that of the olive.
There olives had been pressed under the weight of great stone wheels to squeeze precious oil from the olives. So the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane was literally pressed under the weight of the sins of the world. He sweated great drops of blood—his life’s “oil”—which issued from every pore. (See Luke 22:44;D&C 19:18.)
Jesus was accorded titles of unique significance. One was the Messiah, which in Hebrew means “anointed.” The other was the Christ, which in the Greek language means “anointed” as well. In our day, as it was in His day, the ordinance of administration to the sick includes anointing with the consecrated oil of the olive. So the next time you witness consecrated oil being anointed on the head of one to be blessed, and these sacred words are said, “I anoint you with this consecrated oil,” remember what that original consecration cost. Remember what it meant to all who had ever lived and who ever would yet live. Remember the redemptive power of healing, soothing, and ministering to those in need. Remember, just as the body of the olive, which was pressed for the oil that gave light, so the Savior was pressed. From every pore oozed the lifeblood of our Redeemer. Throughout the joyous days of your mission, when your cup of gladness runs over, remember His cup of bitterness which made it possible. And when sore trials come upon you, remember Gethsemane.
I love it.  I now understand so much better and have a greater insight.  I wish I could have understood it a little bit earlier in my mission, when I was given millions of priesthood blessings.
     Once P-Day ended, we went to a cita with Judith, Santos, and Francis.  We read 2 Nephi 2 with them.  I know with the Book of Mormon and prayers, they will grow closer to baptism.
     Then we headed to the park to meet the familia Ysique Garcia so we could go to Family Home Evening together.  We ended up waiting a really long time, so we contacted people in the park.  As we were teaching some people, a woman called us over.  She is a member of the other ward.  She told us that it wasn't safe to contact people here, and that we should just stay in our cuarto.  We thanked her for her concern, but told her that it was our job to talk to people. :)
     The familia Ysique Garcia showed up, so we went to the house of our pensionista for FHE.  We played a game after the lesson, which had everyone giggling!
     At 8:50pm, we had masamora for dinner.  Then we headed home.  When we got to our cuarto, there was a bag waiting for us from our district leader.  It had papers, pamphlets and chocolate inside. He is the best leader!  haha

Martes, 5 Mayo 2015
     Well thanks to our buddies, Elder Brunis and Elder Epperson, we showed up to a leader's meeting late.  We were told that the meeting was at 9am for the sisters, and then another meeting for all the missionaries would follow at 10am.  Well, as we pulled up to the church at 8:45am, thinking that we were 15 minutes early, we received a phone call from President Williams.  After I answered the phone, he said, "We have something to say to you."  and then a room full of missionaries yelled, "BUENAS DIAS!!!"  Then President asked us where we were, because the meeting had already started.  When we walked into the meeting, President came up and shook our hands.  We said that we were sorry and that we received wrong info about the starting time, and President said that he could see that, because the elders weren't there yet either. haha
     Twenty minutes later, the elders showed up and came and sat with us at our table.  We joked with them about giving us "correct" information about the meeting time... and then we welcomed them.  The leader meeting was so great.  One of my favorite parts was when President Williams read part of a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland called "The Miracle of the Restoration" (Oct. 1994).  It was so powerful and spirit was so strong.
     At the end of the meeting, all the missionaries who were going home in June got up and bore their testimonies.  One of the missionaries was Elder Coons.  How crazy.  I can't believe that he is already going home.  I still remember starting my mission with him in Motupe....but it makes sense because I have 13 months in the mission!
     For lunch, we got to eat hamburgers from Chili's restaurant!
     After the meeting, I took a picture with the sisters leaders in my group, Hna Blackburn and Hna Kennedy.  It was nice to see them again.  I also got to see Hna Corona.  She is a sister leader, too, and I am so happy for her.  She will be so great!
     After we got done, we went home and headed to San Antonio to pick up the familia Ysique Garcia to go to the church for their interviews for baptism.  As they each took their turn, the zone leaders (Elder Brunis y Elder Epperson) showed up.  They were really nice, and apologized for making us late this morning.  Then we planned what we were going to do on Thursday night for a ward activity for Mother's Day.  The elders want us to sing, so we decided to sing a Mother's Day song in Spanish. Really creative....I know. :)
     Good news!  The familia Ysique Garcia all passed their interviews and are getting baptized on Saturday!!
     We got home late (9:30pm) and found a contact named Carlota pounding on our door.  She was bringing us homemade cake from her son, Jesus' birthday!  So we ate cake...:)

Miercoles, 6 Mayo 2015
     We did intercambios today.  I stayed in our area in Pomalca with Hna Mejia.  She is a cool girl. She is super funny...always making jokes and making others laugh.
     We ended up going to San Antonio to visit some people, but no one was home...but as we were walking down the road, we decided to contact a woman in her house.  She ended up being very interested and begged us to come back another day.  We made a cita to see her again on Friday. :)
Her name is Isabel.  I have a really good feeling about her.
     Our last cita was with the familia Ysique Garcia.  We read 1 Nephi 8, which is about the Tree of Life.  They really loved it.

Jueves, 7 Mayo 2015
     We ended intercambios at the zone meeting this morning.  Our zone leaders are so awesome.  I always learn so much from them.  I am so grateful we share an area with them.  We also taught at the meeting, because we are sister leaders.  I felt like it went well.
     After the meeting, we went home and rested because my comp didn't feel good. :(
     Later in the night, we went to the church for a women's activity and to practice singing our Mother's Day songs to the ladies.  As we waited for the activity to start, I played with Pedro and Maladiegue.  We laughed so much and we were making everyone else giggle that was around us.
     Right before the activity started, Elena showed up and she looked sad.  We took her to the side of the church building and talked with her.  She needed some love, so we gave her hugs and kind words, and she felt better. :)
     The activity started and we sang, "Mother, I Love You" and some other mom song.  It went okay I guess....everyone seemed to enjoy it....haha  Then we went home.

Viernes, 8 Mayo 2015     FELIZ 13 MESES!
     Today we visited in San Antonio.  We visited a couple named Raul and Darleen.  They are an awesome couple.  They are great member missionaries.
     We visited Isabel and she was waiting for us, and let us right in.  We talked about the church and she was really soaking it all in.
     After teaching her, we taught a few more investigators and all the lessons went well.  Our last visit in San Antonio was with the familia Ysique Garcia.  We focused on baptism.  They were nervous but excited for tomorrow.
     Our last cita of the night was with Judith, her mom Blanca and her dad Lorenzo.  We ended up reading the Book of Mormon with them.  We read Ether 12.  Lorenzo, who had never had visits from the missionaries, was really loving it.  We gave him a Book of Mormon before we left.  I love the power of the scriptures!
     Tomorrow is going to be a stressful day...wish me luck.....

Sabado, 9 Mayo 2015
     To start the day, the power went out.  My heart stopped, because we were supposed to be Skyping with our families later that afternoon.  A good minute later, and after praying our little hearts out, the power came back on! :)
     Once that small little trial of faith happened, we thought we were good for the rest of the day.....NOT.
     At 10 am, we stopped by the Bishop's house to get the keys to the church, so we could clean and fill the font.....well, when we got there, some people from the other ward were already cleaning. They light heartedly said, "There is no water.  You don't have a baptism today, do you?"  We answered, "Yes, we do have a baptism."  Panic appeared on their faces, and all the cell phones started making calls.  Our first solution was to call a water guy to come by and see if he could get the water working, but we weren't sure what time he would be able to come, so we decided that we better just get to work on our own.  We grabbed some buckets and started walking to find water.  We found a car wash place that had water!  The elders showed up with buckets, so we filled our buckets and walked back to the church.  When we tried to go inside, the church was locked....and our keys were in our bags which were inside the church.....
     Thankfully the elders had their cell phone, so they started calling for help.  There we were, four missionaries, 3 buckets of water, and stranded outside a locked church....15 minutes before we were supposed to Skype with our families.  About 3 minutes to noon, the stake president showed up on his bike, smiling at us. He let us in the church and we hurried and dumped our buckets of water, and it filled the font about 1/2 inch!  We started giggling and I shared a quote, "When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer."  I told them that I learned this from my mom.  My mom always just jumps right into the problem and starts working and every time, a miracle happens and everything works out.  So after giving this pep talk, the elders told us that they would continue to work while we go and Skype with our families.  We grabbed our stuff and ran to internet.
     It was a hectic morning, but it was fun to talk to my family!
     After Sykping, the elders called us and told us the water guy had showed up to fix the water, so they were eating lunch.  We decided to eat lunch, too.  After we all finished eating, we went back to the church to fill the font.  When we turned on the water, it only worked for a few seconds and then stopped again.  So we grabbed our buckets and were on our way to the car wash, when the water guy asked us where we were going.  When we told him the water wasn't working, he went back inside and wiggled a couple pipes and the water began to pour into the font!  What a miracle!!  We were able to then relax a little and get the font filled quickly.  Everything was prepared for the baptism!
     At 3:30pm, the familia Ysique Garcia showed up and we got them dressed in their white clothes. It was the most special witness to see the three of them dressed in white, walking hand in hand into the church building.  My heart was filled with so much love.
     The baptism didn't start until 4:30pm...this DRIVES ME CRAZY!  Anyhow, me and Hna McGinnis sang, I am a Child of God, and then it was time for the baptism.  When all three of them left the font, they were all glowing and said that they felt something special while they were in the water. :)
     After they all got changed, we went back into the church and they bore their testimonies.  When Maria got up, she began to cry and said, "I am so grateful to be part of this church." It was so powerful...we could feel her thankfulness.
     After testimonies, I got up and lead the last song, and as I was leading, I saw Pedro staring at me. When we finished singing, Pedro spoke really loudly to his dad, "I've decided that Hna Dodson is going to lead the music at my baptism, too!"  haha  When I went down and sat with him, he laid his head on my shoulder and told me that he loved me.  I love Pedro.
     After the baptism, my comp wasn't feeling good, so we headed home and rested.  We talked, planned and got ready for bed.

Domingo, 10 Mayo 2015      FELIZ DIA DE LA MADRE
     At church, Maria came up to me after she was confirmed and hugged me and said, "I am finally a real member!  Thank you so much!"  I love them so much!
     At 1:30pm, we ate lunch with them.  We ate arroz a la cubana! (my favorite!)  We all laughed and smiled as we ate our lunch around a little table.  It was so special.  They are going to be awesome members of the church.
     After doing some visits around town, we went to a meeting at the church.  The zone leaders were standing there with packages from home for me.  One was from my parents (Thanks for the puzzle!) one was from Lucile (Thanks for the hot chocolate!) and one was from the Young Women in my home ward! (Thanks for all the cards and candy!  I love it!)  The elders saw that one was full of candy, so they begged me for some candy.  I let elder Brunis try some candy for the first time.  My favorite was to watch him struggle as he tried eating a pixy stick!  haha
     After the meeting, we had ward council.  We were talking with some return missionaries and they taught us a new word: Latingo (Latino + Gringo)  haha  It's my new favorite word!
     Ward Council got heated, so that was fun....:p
     Then we went to dinner, went home, planned, reported our numbers and got ready for bed.
P.S. There were a lot of drunks around today, so we had to be super careful.  I can't imagine what Father's Day is going to be like, if it's like this on Mother's Day.

Trujillo, Peru temple
It is opening soon!

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