Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 24

Dear family!!!

Hey! Thanks a ton for your emails this week. They were on point and super helpful. I`m real grateful to have such a solid support system. 

This week was good. Really good. I feel a lot better in general. I feel like I`ve reached a higher ground (of life), and it`s great. Onto the deets:

Lessons from having a companion 24/7: Things continue to be really good with Hermana Pisco, and this week was probably the best of them all with her. We were friends before, obviously, but I feel like we have gotten even closer. It`s just good stuff. I`ve learned a ton about life/relationships by living/decision-making with someone 24/7 about lit-rally EVERYTHING we do, and mostly it`s just good stuff (well, the lessons are good. Sometimes the actual process is hard). I feel like in a partnership, both people have the power to make like at least 75% of the difference. I`m aware that the math doesn`t add up, but it`s the truth. And with Hermana Pisco, I`ve really grown to appreciate a lot of what her personalty has to offer. She`s just really NOT unstable, and I really appreciate that quality in people. Also, turns out I regret nothing about all the slang I`ve taught her, because it`s so dang funny when she uses it. This week she learned "you`re the real MVP" (and it what situations to use it), and it`s been golden.

Spanish: Well now that I`m in the first day of a new transfer, I can better reflect back on the progress of my Spanish the past six weeks. Let me tell you, it`s been a real miracle. The gift of tongues is the realest. At the start of the change I could kind of understand some stuff (maybe) and bear a basic testimony/pray. And now I can pretty much express myself fluidly. Woah. I started the change with my Spanish at like a 2.5/10 and now I`ve been told my district/comp that it`s at a 7. That`s a HECKA lot of progress in such a short amount of time, and I`m SO GRATEFUL! Oh gosh, and so relieved. I`m still far from feeling super confident/able to express all my feelings exactly how I want to, but really, it`s all just good stuff. I know my grammar is still incorrect a lot, but it`s chill for now. Stokkeeeeeeeeee. I seriously know only the power of God could have helped me improve so quickly #eternaltruths

The jovens and missions: So really cool story that`s been going down is with this joven named Carlos Aguero. He is 21 and all of his family are active members, but he hasn`t gone to church since he was baptized 8 years ago. He just was always working/never really had interest. So anyway, a few weeks ago, he had the feeling to start praying about whether or not he should consider serving a mission. Random, yeah? But anyway, he decided one day about three weeks ago that he was going to go to church that Sunday and potentially start his mission papers. And guess what, dawgs! The first time he`d been back to church in all that time was the week I gave a talk! And in my talk (about receiving spiritual revelation, if you remember) at the end I told all the youth in the ward that are at the age of serving a mission that they should really earnestly start to seek spiritual guidance on if (for YW) or how (for YM) they can start their papers. And I shared a little bit of my experience with deciding to come on a mission, and said for me, I had to ACT first. I had to fill out all my papers and estar dispuesto to go wherever the Lord would send me. And THEN (only after all of that) did I get my answer. And I said that I know the same thing will happen for them, and that the Lord always blesses us with answers after the trials of our faith. Anyway, sorry I`m not typing this very eloquently right now cause I`m in a hurry, BUT the point is that directly after Sacrament meeting that day Carlos talked to the bishop and officially decided to start his mission papers! Sicckkkkkk!! So we`ve been meeting with him to talk to him about the mission/the church, because he honestly hardly knows any of the doctrines. He practically knows less than even a recent convert, because he`s been inactive for pretty much his whole life. So we`ve been talking about the stuff he should do to prepare, Book of Mormon scriptures, etc. It`s been a great experience.

Change of heart: Turns out to have a change of heart, your original heart literally (figuratively) has to be broken first. I guess that was just a detail I never thought about much because I just assumed the process would be nothing but positive (because obviously the outcome of having a changed heart is positive). Well, I`ve been awakened to the brutal reality which is having to truly sacrifice your will, and it`s HARD. Gosh, it`s hard. I thought the hard thing was coming to Paraguay on my mission, learning Spanish, leaving my family, etc. And yes, all those things are very hard. But what`s really, REALLY hard is being made painfully aware of all your weaknesses and knowing the road you have to travel to overcome them. But I`ve come to a higher mental plain with all of these thoughts in the past few weeks, and I`m feeling pretty good about it all. Progress is always good, ya know? Anyway, I have a few more reflections on this, but it`s really well summarized in a quote by (I think) Neal A. Maxwell in his talk about patience. He says, "In life, even patiently stretching out sweetness is sometimes not enough; in certain situations, enjoyment must actually be deferred. A patient willingness to defer dividends is a hallmark of individual maturity... Further, the patient person can better understand how there are circumstances when, if our hearts are set too much upon the things of this world, they must be broken - but for our sakes, and not merely as a demonstration of divine power. But it takes real patience in such circumstances to wait for the later vindication of our trust in the Lord... Patience permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord when we are tossed about by suffering as if by surf. When the undertow grasps us, we will realize that even as we tumble we are somehow being carried forward; we are actually being helped even as we cry for help. One of the functions of the tribulations of the righteous is that "tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3). What a vital attribute is patience is if tribulation is worth enduring to bring about its development! Patience in turn brings about the needed experience, as noted in the stunning insight the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph Smith: "All these things shall give you experience, and shall be for thy good" (D y C 122:7)." Also, I don`t remember exactly what Mormon Message it`s in, but there is one with like a parable with a gardener (Jesus) who has to prune his bushes (us) so they`ll give forth fruit. And the last line of the video (which is the only part I remember vividly and that has come to my mind a million times in the past few weeks) is when he says, "Thank you dear gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down." And I really, really feel that way. I feel like I am being helped even as I cry for help. I am so grateful to have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to cut me down so I can grow. The mission really does work miracles.

Literal changes: Ok, so I also have to mention that cambios are tomorrow. Guys, I`m really worried imma get changed. I really don`t want to on account of we`re doing tons of stuff in the area right now, I`m having good times with Hermana Pisco, and also I don`t feel like the stress of having to adapt to a new area right now. I`ll be pretty sad if I get changes. Everyone in the district guessed that I won`t, but I kinda feel like I might. We`ll see. Maybe it`s just my fear of getting changed making me thing that I will. Dumb thing about changes though is that we find out tomorrow afternoon, and then we have to leave Wednesday morning hecka early if we actually do have them. And we`ve already planned for the week here/today I bought groceries for the week, meaning that if I get changes I for sure won`t have enough money for the month. I guess we`ll see, lolz #pray4Holly

Thanks again for all the support. I`m doing great and pray that everything will continue to go well at home. I can`t believe Baby Ray is graduating and I won`t be there. UGHHHHH. But the Lord blesses those who make sacrifices for Him, so I know it`ll be ok. Have a gr8 time and send me all the pictures <3

Much love,
Hermana Ross

Delicious brownie thing I made for said FHE activity. This picture doesn`t capture how good they were #wifeskillz #lyfeskillz

No, there`s no yellow dye in the water. It`s just Paraguayan tap water #cuidense

Us at an FHE thing we organized with a bunch of recent converts from the ward

Made my 5th agenda with my theme of the cambio: Change of Heart

Me with Joanna and Susanna. Presh. 

Me with a torrito <3 (fun fact is that right after this picture was taken it started to charge at me lololol). Also, fyi there are about a billion cows in my area. This is just one of my favorite ones that I pass every day. 

The field by our house with lots of cows

Me in said field w/ cows

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