Monday, February 24, 2014

Week Deicisiete

What A Great Week!

El Sol

Time is flying by! It seems like every other day I`m writing my weekly epistle. I`m so used to mission life now (almost four whole months!) that I can`t remember what my life was like before. This was the first week that I actually didn`t miss home, and was thinking about how hard it's gonna be to go home because of how much I love being a missionary.

Ok, yes I do miss home, but it`s different. It`s like I know that everything`s gonna be fine and I`ve come more to terms with being away for a long period of time. This week I realized how much I miss sewing. It seemed like every day in at least one family`s home there was a sewing machine and that made me miss it. I also miss dancing, not that I`m a good dancer, but it`s fun. And of course when you can`t do something, that just makes you want to do it even more! ;)

I had a dream this week about high school marching band. I miss being in the Timber Creek Regiment!! I can`t believe it`s been over three years since that time of my life.

So this week when I used my lint roller, was the first time my companion saw one. She was like  "Is this something new?!¨ Jajajaja. Something kind of interesting too is that people here don`t use their ovens, only the stove. The oven is used as storage, like another cabinet. :)

I`m not sure if I hear Spanish and translate it into English in my head or if I`ve gotten to the point where I understand Spanish and don`t have to translate it anymore. I can`t figure out what my brain is doing!!

Good news! People are finally staring to learn my name! Before this week only Liah and Jared (the little ones of a less-active) and Hermano Marco would call me by my name. Now more members are actually attempting to pronounce it.

Living with someone (especially another girl) 24/7 is hard but I am learning so much that I know I need before marriage. It`s SO IMPORTANT to SHOW your love and not just assume that your companion (or friend or spouse) knows that you love and care about them. You have to say it often, do service and find other ways to show it. EVERY DAY!!

Speaking of love, I have been so blessed to feel such a love for the people here. I`m grateful that I can find ways to express that love, especially when I`m limited with what I can say in Spanish. In my setting apart I was blessed that I would have such a great love for the people and that I`d be able to show it. I`m so grateful to see that coming true. :)

My companion this week said: ¨You know, you really do look like Barbie.¨ I pretended to be an actual Barbie doll for the little girls (Rebeca, Ruth and Ari) that call me Barbie. They positioned my arms and legs according to their liking and played with my hair. I`m their ¨Barbie en realidad.¨ Jajaja :)

One of the little girls, Rebeca, was having a hard day because he mom can be kind of harsh sometimes. I went over and gave her a hug and then my companion came over and said ¨Barbie doesn`t cry...¨ (although that`s far from the truth, I`ve had more than my share of cries on the mission) and told her that she shouldn`t cry because I don`t. It was so cute.

I´m learning to be more interested in others. Usually I wait for people to show interest in me, but I`m trying to overcome this shyness!! I`m doing my best to give kids attention now, just asking them questions or complimenting them on something I like. One little girl, Andrea (pronounced the way my mom hates her name to
be pronounced ;). ) has something wrong with her top lip and it affects the way she talks. I found out that she`s really self-conscious about it and so she doesn`t like to talk to people because of it. But she always talks to me a bunch now that I`ve been showing interest and love for her. It makes me so happy to know that she isn`t afraid to talk to me and that she knows I won`t judge her. I just love all the kids! I can`t wait to have kids of my own!!

All the kids here know more Spanish than me, which is kind of depressing if you think about it, but they`re also the best to help because they don`t judge and just want to help you with the words you don`t know.

Guess what?!? I had my first baptism!! Belen Valencia was baptized on Saturday! She`s the mom of Ari, who calls me Barbie. Belen was supposed to be baptized my first week in the field but we kept having to postpone the baptism for different reasons. It was nice to finally see her get baptized and feel that joy for her! Baptisms are so different, or I guess you just get a new perspective on it, when you`re the missionary. It was cool because she wore and undershirt of mine and one of my companion`s blouses for the baptism, because she didn`t have anything white and the jumper was way too huge on her. It was incredible the amount of joy I felt for her.

With Belen before her baptism. The necklace I`m wearing is from Belen. you like put your arms through it, it`s pretty cool!

I sang for everyone after she got baptized. People here go crazy over my voice. My companion begged me to sing for the baptism so I sang ¨I Know that my Redeemer Lives.¨ I switched between English and Spanish and it was cool. That song has become one of my favorite hymns! Afterwards everyone commented on it and one person in particular said that I have a gift. I know that this is one of the reasons I`m on a mission, to learn not to be ashamed of my voice and use it to bless other peoples´ lives. It`s like the parable of the talents. I`m the one that buried  my talents, but I`ve learned not to do that and when you use them, they get better and you get more.

In this month`s Ensign magazine, I love the article ¨Temple Blessings¨ by Elder Robert D. Hales. The whole of it is great, but I especially love the ending:

¨The sealing room itself represents our mortal probation here on earth. The lesson to be learned from this temple experience is that we have made the right choices to come to earth and experience mortality and that HOW WE LIVE OUR LIFE IN THE BRIEF PERIOD WILL DETERMINE HOW WE WILL LIVE IN ALL THE ETERNITIES TO COME.

¨You are preparing to meet the tests of mortal life. We voluntarily came from the presence of God the Father to this mortal probation with agency, knowing we would have ¨opposition in all things.¨ Our objective is to take upon us the whole armor of God and withstand ¨the fiery darts of the adversary¨ with our sword of the spirit and shield of faith, to endure to the end, and to be worthy to stand and live in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, for all eternity--to achieve what is called eternal life.¨

Mmm I just love that. It reminds me of what is most important in this life.
With my companion and a recent covert, Marina. We always visit her in her bakery. I love her so much!
With Marina and the twins Rebeca and Ruth and their mom, in the bakery. :)

Also some cool stuff that the Mission President`s wife emailed to us about Mexico. This is stuff was said by Elder Oaks last week at the Mission President Seminar they attended. To quote Hermana Call:

¨One thing that was very interesting to me, and everyone here in Mexico really, is that Mexico has more temples per member than any other country in the world. He said he wondered why Mexico had been so greatly blessed and was given to know that the Lord had a great mission for this nation. He said that he did not know fully what that mission was, but he did know that our missionaries, YOU, would see the fulfillment of it during your lifetime. He did say that one of the great things about Mexico is that it is where a large number of the posterity of Lehi live and are to receive those blessings promised to them in the Book of Mormon.

¨He mentioned that he did not expect to see the Church continue to announce large numbers of new temples in the future since currently 90% of church members are within a few hundred miles of a temple.

¨He also told us that there are currently 83,000 missionaries serving in the field. They expect that number to reach around 90,000 by the end of the summer and to settle back down to around 80,000.¨

Wow, mind blown. Especially the part about seeing the fulfillment of these prophecies in my lifetime! I feel so blessed to be in Mexico!

Another thing Hermana Call said about what Elder Oaks said, I really like: ¨In regards to missionary work, the church feels very strongly about missionaries working together with members to find new people to teach. However, one thing they have learned is that when the emphasis was put of working with members to find, the missionaries stopped ¨rowing¨ and waited for the members to push their boat to shore. He said the work with members was improving and will continue to improve and should ALWAYS be out first priority, but that missionaries also need to use their own efforts to find. Then he quoted his missionary grandson who said, ¨the members are praying for the missionaries to find people to teach and the missionaries are praying for the members to find people to teach.¨ He finished by commenting that we both needed to do more than just pray for each other! I can definitely relate to both aspects of this, I think it`s something worth considering if you fall under this category or not. :)

Mucho amor,
Hermana Sara Slaughter
 Bonding with Ari, the daughter of Belen who was just baptized.
 With play-money. :D

 Hair braiding train... :)
 Lupita, Getsemani and Bella Ramirez... I french braided all their hair. They all have super thick hair and I`m so jealous!!!

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