Well, to answer all your questions about the hurricane.... it was extremely disappointing. It was supposed to come on Tuesday, but it didn't. Then it was supposed to come on Thursday, but it didn't. Then it was supposed to come on Friday, but it ended up being a little tiny tropical storm instead. I was so excited to experience my first hurricane, but oh well. We still did get a lot of needed water though, thank goodness. (some areas have to go 4 days without any water because of the draught and all the rationing! Crazy!). It made missionary work a little difficult though because no one wanted to meet with us because they were frantically preparing for the "hurricane" (it was as if everyone was preparing for the end of the world!), and we couldn't go contacting because no one was outside in the streets, and if by chance we did find someone to talk to, they were too busy telling us about the storm and to go home and get out of the streets instead of the gospel so it was kind of a struggle this week. But it also opened some doors for other things, which was awesome!
Because we haven't had anyone really to teach, we've been focusing a lot on the members and less actives and I can see a huge difference in our branch as we've served them and helped strengthen them. It's incredible! And we had three less actives come to church! It was so exciting! Friday afternoon, we got permission to leave the house in service clothes rather than skirts to go contacting and find people to serve who were affected by the storm. People were so much more interested in talking to us and giving us references because they saw that we weren't there just to preach and convert but also to serve and help them. We gained the confidence and trust of so many people and I think that will help so much when we try to find them again and teach them. It was a really cool experience!
Also, I gave my first real talk in Spanish! (the ones in the CCM don't count.... :)). It was cool because the 4 missionaries here in this branch all spoke and without coordinating with each other, we all spoke on topics that worked really well together. Heavenly Father definitely knew what He was doing and what the branch needed! I spoke on what it really means to be a Latter-Day Saint based on the talk by Elder Renlund from the last general conference. I encourage you guys to read it when you get a chance, because I absolutely love it!
We had so many cool teaching experiences this week too! There is one with a lady named M. We contacted her in her car two weeks ago, but she had said that she was going to the DR on vacation and asked us to come by when she get back. So we've just been waiting. But then one day we walked across the street to a members house to check on something with her and she had company over that was talking with her and one of them was Millie's husband! We got to know him a bit and he asked us to come over to their house later that day, so later we dropped by and they have so much potential! Their daughter and her family about to move in with them and then her sister is going in for brain cancer and they just need all the support they can get right now. We are going to go back and help them paint their house and clean and such and I can't wait to officially teach them, because they are just the nicest people ever!
We've also been working with this man named J. who has a really bad drinking problem. When I first got here, he had just completed a month of no drinking and he was so happy and so spiritual, but somehow he slipped back into his addiction and we hadn't seen him for a month. Then we finally saw him again this week and he came up to us pleading for help to help him stop drinking. We asked him to say a prayer with us, and when he did, it was the most sincere and heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. He repeated over and over again "Perdoname, perdoname" (Forgive me, forgive me). He begged God for forgiveness and for strength to leave these things behind. It was such a spiritual experience and we were all crying by the end of his prayer. We had plans to go somewhere else, but we both felt that we just needed to stay and listen so we sat and talked to him and listened for about an hour and a half. The spirit was so strong and I know it was working in him the whole time we were with him. It was such a spiritual and powerful experience and we are praying so hard for him. I know through Christ He can change and I can't wait to see the Atonement work in his life.
The family of 5 is doing great too! We haven't been able to have too much contact with them from the storm, but they are still going strong! And we found a family of 7! It was one of the "storm" days and we didn't have anything to do so we prayed to ask where we should go and a certain person came into my mind and a certain area came into Hermana Steven's mind and they were both in the same direction so we headed that way and that's where we found the family, basically just waiting outside for us. :) It was so cool! We haven't actually taught them an official lesson yet, but we can tell that they have so much potential and I'm so excited to teach them!
Being a missionary is literally the best thing ever! I just can't get over how rich this experience is! I'm loving it so very much!
Mom- I haven'y gotten the camera cord yet, but I hope it works! Thanks for sending it! Also, I was thinking about you this week and found this scripture in Mosiah 27:14. I know you were troubled because of the actions of others and I love this scripture because the Lord helped Alma the younger because of the faithful prayers of his father. I love that the Lord will help others because of the prayers of the righteous. if we are living worthy of the Spirit and have the faith, and plead for others in our prayers, God will hear our cries and will help those who we love and care about. Love you so much! Good luck with your new job and with school!
Dad- Thank you so much for your answer about Alma! That helps me a lot! Muchismas Gracias! And the exercise disc is called "You on a Diet" I think.... Also, thanks for that thought about missionary work. Everyone here says yes to commitments but never keeps them, so that's a great idea! Thanks!
Nathan- Thanks for finally telling me about Michelle! :) I hope everything goes well between you two! And good luck with school!
Chris- Good luck in school as well! Don't mess around too much! :) And when can you turn your mission papers in?
Heidi- I'm glad school is getting better for you! I know you can do it! And good luck with gymnastics as competition season comes up!
Amelia- I love you so much!!!!! You are just the cutest! Have so much fun at school!
I love you all so so very much! Be strong and keep pushing on in the strength of the Lord! Love ya!