So this past week was "Semana Santa." In the DR this means a few traditions: Kiddy pools in the street, beans with sugar (habichuelas con dulce), and it also means that nearly everyone is gone on vacation to the beach or the river. It was amazingly quiet this week and that meant a lot of walking for us because almost nobody was home. Despite it all we got to visit quite a few members and get to know them better and we still managed to find a few new people that seem really awesome.
This week was also a week of food-related miracles. So last week I checked my mission credit card and it turns out I was given 1/3 of the normal amount... This meant that we had to be really wise with how we spent our money and it meant that food was going to be tricky. However, that Sunday the bishop had us over for lunch (we normally don't eat with members too often) AND, without knowing the situation we were in, his wife gave us a bag of plantains, eggs, avocado, and juice. It was honestly an answer to prayer and gave us another day where we didn't have to worry. The next day as Hermana Perez and I were leaving the house, we saw Hermana Schmidt and her family driving up... and guess what they delivered?? A bunch of gluten free mixes for us! That ended up saving us another day because we were able to make pancakes since we already had eggs and oil. Ah. Thank you Schmidt family! THEN another food miracle happened: The Faulkners invited us over to eat on Sunday and, as I said, we hardly eat with members here. I'm pretty sure the Lord takes care of us missionaries.
Diego is preparing to get baptized in April. Go Diego go! Sabrina is still working on getting married. It is so hard to find her because of her job but she still has so much excitement for her baptism. Nayua finally showed up to church which made us SO happy! She's the cutest 13 year old ever. She understands so well all the lessons and participates in Young Women's as if she was born in the church. I love her.
Hermana Schmidt passed by on Thursday to say goodbye.
GF treats from the Schmidt Family!
Me and my new companion, Hermana Perez
I love you guys. Look for the miracles in your lives. They happen every day.
The saddest thing ever happened yesterday. Hermana Schmidt abandoned me to go be with her family. Oh man. One day I will forgive her for leaving me. This last transfer with her has been a dream. It's just been way too good. I kept telling her that she's way too easy to live with. She's just the greatest. Well yup. So yesterday Hermana Schmidt left and we picked up my new companion, Hermana Perez. She's from Mexico and I can already tell she's great. She was in my Zone already and just changed areas to be with me. It's going to be a good transfer.
This week we had Consejo de Lideres so we traveled to the capital super early in the morning on Wednesday. It was so great and totally worth it. We had an awesome conversation about our identity as children of God. It's interesting because Satan will tell us that our weaknesses are what define us. However, our identity is greater than any weakness. Really, we are children of God with the potential to become like Him. Any weakness we have can be overcome by the Atonement, yet our identity as children of God can never be overcome by anything. Our identity will always exist.
On Tuesday there was a bunch of rain and we called our dear friend, who's a member, Manila, to pick us up. Thankfully she rescued us since we were basically trapped under a gas station with rivers of water on all sides. It was just in time for lunch so we took advantage of the situation and ate Chinese with her :)
Saturday I spent the day in San Pedro since Hermana Schmidt had to go to the temple with all the other missionaries that are leaving this transfer. Oh man. I'm already missing that girl.
Anyway. I don't have a way to put my camera in this time so there's no photos. Sorry.
But I love you guys. Keep being great. And never forget your divine identity as sons and daughters of God. That means that one day you will be like Him. It means you are of great worth. It means that your weaknesses are not you. Rather, they are opportunities to grow and become closer to Christ and to get to know the Atonement more fully.
I love you all!
This week consisted of two capital trips, an intercambio, and teaching Rodgrigo all the lessons in one week.
On Tuesday we got to go to the temple and it was so wonderful. I really love that place. We are blessed as a mission because we have the privilege of being able to go 4 times a year to that holy place. On Saturday we had another trip to the capital where we attended a conference about the history of the church where Richard Turley, a church historian, spoke. It was fascinating to learn more about the church's background and it was such a testimony builder. The authority and power of God is so evident in how the Book of Mormon was translated by a young man with hardly any education.
Throughout this week we visited Rodrigo nearly every night so that we could get him completely ready for his baptism before he moved to the Santo Domingo West Mission on Saturday. Wow. The Spirit was so strong each time we visited him. He was so immensely prepared to accept the gospel. He glowed at each truth we taught and is reading his Book of Mormon every day. Upon hearing that he could do the temple work for his mom and his other ancestors, he just lit up and got so excited. The last night we got to see him he said, "I will never forget the missionaries that taught me everything in a week." It's amazing how some people just come so prepared to accept the gospel. We won't get to witness his baptism in Santo Domingo or really watch his progression after this, but it was an honor to be a part of it. He left with a firm testimony of the gospel and this church, and an excitement to get baptized in his new home. And all this developed in less than two weeks of knowing him. You really never know who has been prepared until you open your mouth and share with them.
I love you all. The church is true.
This week Hermana Schmidt and I did something crazy. On Wednesday we started an intercambio (companion exchange) then on Thursday after we ended that one, we started another. So Hermana Rosario spent the day with me in our area on Wednesday, then I spent Thursday in Hato Mayor with Hermana Alonzo. Basically two whole days without my dear Hermana Schmidt! Oh. Life can be hard sometimes. But it was necessary. And the intercambios were good :)
Sabrina is actively reading her Book of Mormon and her daughter Camila as well! I love those two girls. They are amazing. Yet we have had almost 0 contact with Sabrina because she is never home. Ever! We have passed countless times and either just her kids are there alone or there is no one. But we are praying her job calms down soon so our lessons can be more regular.
Oh story time... Once we passed by to visit Sabrina and this man opens the door. We begin talking and notice a little puppy walking behind him. Hermana Schmidt always has to take pictures with cute things, so we ask if we can. He gives it to her and as we take some pictures, the man starts acting stranger and stranger. We give the puppy back to him and he half throws/half slides the puppy away and inside the house. At this point we feel like there is something definitely different about him and we begin to ask him about Sabrina and when she'll be home. At this point he starts getting kind of threatening and begins saying things like, "Why do you want to know?!" or "She won't be home for a whole week!!!" or "You think your friends with her, don't you??!!!" At this point we just told him to have a good day and left. But yeah. That was kind of concerning. Luckily when we went back the other day he was gone and her husband explained that it was a family member who is a little off.
Wow. We met the coolest guy this week! Salt Lake City called us a week ago and gave us the number and direction of a man named Rodrigo Rubio. We got a hold of him and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday. And WOW. He has so much interest in the gospel and is so prepared. When Hermana Schmidt and I returned on Saturday he had read and completely understood the whole Restoration pamphlet and had even started reading the Book of Mormon on the app in his phone! He is such a cool guy with an honest desire to learn. We invited him to be baptized in a couple of weeks and he accepted to prepare for that day. He was honestly concerned and curious about the requirements for baptism and he has a sincere and willing heart. Sounds like sunshine and daisies right? Just one thing... he's moving to Santo Domingo this Saturday! It's kind of sad because that means we won't be able to witness his baptism but before we even suggested it, he asked us to send his information to the missionaries there. But wow people like him just strengthen my testimony that there are people out there that the Lord has prepared.
Today our P-day ends early because tomorrow we're going to the temple! I can't wait! I love that place. It's amazing how much perspective we gain from going there.
I love you all! The church is true and the book is blue.
Keep being awesome,
Write me! I would love to hear from you! :)
Santo Domingo East MIssion
SDQ 4102, 2250 NW 114th Ave.
Miami, FL 33172-3652
8540 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33195 - 2698
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission