Cool building. I like it because of the orange! :D
This was such a good week!! And I am so blessed! God is so good!
Ok, correction to last week's letter. There are gas stations here, just none in my area. I saw one today because we're allowed to go out of our area to get better internet. So yes, they do have gas stations here jaja.
I have become known as Hermana Barbie to three little girls in the ward here because of my blonde hair. They are so cute and sweet. Man, I love all the kids here. :) It is SO HARD not being allowed to hold kids!
I have been so blessed to gain such a love for the people here. I love being able to feel a portion of what God feels for them. I know I'm supposed to be here in Mexico, and especially in the San Marcos 1st Ward at this time. I know the people I've met here are people I was supposed to meet and help. I feel like I knew many (if not all) of them in the pre-mortal life. I really do. I haven't even been here for a full month yet and I know I'll be in this area for at least three months. I can't imagine how difficult it will be to be transferred from this area, if I already have so much love for them.
This week I've definitely seen how serving a mission will help me so much when I'm married. This is the best preparation I could get! I thought it would be harder for me to get along with a companion and be with them 24/7 and everything, especially with the language barrier, but it has been so good! When you communicate, show love, are humble, and have Jesus Christ as the center of your relationship, it will succeed. I know this because I've been able to love my companion and work hard with her even when we're very different. Married life is going to be a piece of cake after this. ;) Jajajaja.
I thought a lot about how you never know the impact, whether good or bad, that you might have on someone. It's SO important to always be a good example, especially as a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. Kids and youth look up to adults, and especially missionaries. I know because I always looked up to missionaries growing up and wanted to be like them.
Music is so powerful!! I have discovered a love and talent for harmonizing hymns and I feel of their great power. I love hymns because they "can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace."
I can be very hard on myself because I'm a perfectionist. I think that reason that we are hard on ourselves, however, comes down to the fact that we know ourselves better than we know others. We know our weaknesses, our sins, our shortcomings. But as long as we are doing our best, we can rest assured know that if Christ were with us, He would thanks us for what we're doing, not criticise us for what we're lacking. I have to keep this in mind constantly. Christ is so loving and He is so grateful for the good things we do and knows that we won't be perfect.
Sorry, I feel like I just threw a lot of random thoughts out there....
Now I wish to talk about something near and dear to me, a particular trial in my life. I wish I could adequately express my feelings from this week on this subject, but I will try. I am not an elequent writer, and it doesn't help that I have both Spanish and English words now floating through my mind. But I feel the strong impression to write about my depression. I only hope that I can help at least one person who reads this.
As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland put it this last general conference, "There should be no more shame in acknowleding [depression] than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."
He goes on to say that major depressive disorder is "an affliction so severe that is significantly restricts a person's ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively."
I have depression and I've had it my entire life. Sadly, I have spent a lot of time being ashamed of it. But I am here to testify that we are each given our own personal trials for a reason. I know this. And I know that our Heavenly Father knows what we need to learn on this earth, and He knows what trials will help us learn those things. As President Thomas S. Monson said, (also this last general conference) "Our Heavenly Father knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survivie the trials through which we must pass."
In that talk, he tells the story of a man who at 105 year old was confined to a small room without sight or hearing. Despite his trials, this man was always so grateful for what he had. "Never did he dwell on what he was lacking; rather he was always deeply grateful for his many blessings." Even after all he had been through this man said "My Heavenly Fathre has been so good to me."
President Monson goes on to say "Such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were--better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies that we had before."
I testify of these things. I know that we are strengthened through our trials. I have learned a lot from my depression in the past few years, and I know I still have a lot to learn from it. This mission is a neccessity for me because it's the only way I can learn certain things about dealing with my depression.
One of the things I have learned is that I want to help others who have depression. I feel like this is one of the reasons I was sent to the earth. To prove that you can serve a mission, you can be happy, you can have a fulfilling life even when such a trial as this faces you. I'm going to figure out a way to help get rid of the negative connotation associated with depression and those who have it. I don't know how exactly to do this, but I'll figure it out. :)
Another thing I realized this week, is that I cannot have depression without first having pride. Pride is one of those things that just creeps into our lives and if we aren't careful, we can end up where we don't want to be. Pride truly is the universal sin. The Book of Mormon is all about pride. Any problems people had stemmed from pride. Pride blinds us and prevents us from progressing. This week I learned that life is SO MUCH BETTER when we are humble. We are able to progress and learn.
If it weren't for the strength I get from this gospel, my Savior and my Heavenly Father, I would already be home. Missionary life is hard and depression doesn't make it any easier. I know that it's possible for me to be a good and successful missionary, though, because ALL things are possible though Jesus Christ.
Whatever our trials, life is in no way easy. Life can be very hard at times. Sometimes it feels impossible. But with Christ, I testify, succeeding in life IS possible and not only that but it can be fulfilling and wonderful.
I know that "broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed." And what a glorious moment it will be in the next life when we are finally "free at last"of these lifelong challenges.
I know with all my hear that our Heavenly Father loves us dearly and He wants us to return to live with Him again someday. I testify that we have to enter into the gate and follow the path that leads to eternal life, which is this gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this!
Pretty sunset in Montecillo!!
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." (3 Nephi)
Hermana Sara Slaughter
A lady in the ward here gave us a bunch of handknit scarves. This is me wearing all the ones I got. Jajaja!