Yesterday started off grand. After personal study, we left to pick up an investigator, a single mom named Mikey, and her two kids. We had met her earlier this week while contacting. We offered to help her sweep, which she said no to, but pretty soon we started chatting and, upon finding out the last name of Hermana Frias, she got super excited and said that was her last name as well. We talked about that and then invited her to church, which she got super excited about. She turned to her kids and said; "Hear that? We´re going to church this Sunday!" And so, when Sunday morning arrived, they did just that. We went to their house and picked them up and they went to all three hours. We haven´t even taught them a lesson yet! I thought that was pretty cool. We´ll see what happens with them this week :)
Two other investigators of ours showed up as well. Hermano Apolinar and Hermano Anthony. They are both so great. Hermano Apolinar is this wise, older man, who knows more about the gospel than the average member I´m pretty sure. He has a great desire to be baptized, but won´t do it unless his wife does as well, who says she feels like she´s lacking something and hasn´t quite gotten her answer. Hermano Anthony is a bright kid who loves our church a bunch. The only problem is that we need to get his parents in on our lessons, which is difficult because his mom and dad are always working.
Well, as I said, yesterday started off grand. Church was great and we had some good food at a member´s house then had some good appointments. After the sun went down however, it got really cloud and the sky was ugly with lightning. It wasn´t raining yet and the electricity was still working (meaning the streets were still lighted), so we decided to go to an appointment we had with a recent convert. I had a bit of an uneasy feeling, but I brushed it aside, since the last few nights we had to go home because of the storm, everything cleared up really fast and it felt like time wasted. Well, we went to the apointment and towards the end of the lesson, the rain really started pounding. Like hard. And then, just as we were closing up, all the lights went out. I pulled out my little keychain light, Hermana Frias and I looked at each other like oh no what have we done, and we closed the lesson. As we looked outside, I asked if I could borrow an umbrella since we only had one. They gave me one and I opened it, stepping outside into the dark street. I looked up and saw the mad amount of lightning (seriously the lightning here is like ntohing I´ve seen before) and thought... Oh gosh, I am holding a metal stick into the air during a lightning storm, practically asking for an opportunity to preach in the Spirit World. I ducked back in the house and explained this to my companion. Our area is far from where we live, so we couldn´t really go out without umbrellas to try and find a taxi since the taxis probably weren´t even out in this weather. And we couldn´t go home with the umbrellas either. (mind you, even with the umbrella I get pretty wet, and I was only standing outside for 10 seconds or so) So we decided it would be best to call the President of our branch to pick us up. He said he could but that he couldn´t drive through the street we´re on since there was too much water, so he set up a meeting spot. By the light of my keychain flashlight, with no umbrellas, and lightning flashing madly above us, Hermana Frias and I dashed through the street. We stomped through puddles with rain falling down on us, and, eventually, got to a huge puddle so deep it was nearly up to our knees. We slushed through and at one point, there was a dip in the road, unaware to us due to the darkness and the murky water. We both nearly fell completely into the puddle. The bottom of both of our skirts were definitely wet at this point. We emerged from the puddle and continued to run to the meeting spot, trying to dodge puddles yet sometimes being forced to go through them because there was no way around. We found our way to the meeting spot and tried our best to hide under an alcove, which didn´t do much. Eventually President came and took us home. And we lived happily ever after ;)
No but seriously. I think we learned a few things from that experience. First off, we both agreed that listening to the Spirit is so important. When you get a prompting, show you are listening by acting on it. We also agreed that including the Lord in our decisions is essential. When we saw the lightning, we probably should have prayed to know whether to continue to the appointment or go home, rather than use our own judgment. No one was hurt and everything worked out to be somewhat of a great adventure, but nonetheless, all of it could have been avoided. I am so grateful for Hermana Frias. We were wet and tired and nearly falling into puddles and yet we couldn´t help ourselves from laughing as we ran down the street. I kind of wish there was a video of us. It would be pretty great to watch.
OKAY I LOVE YOU ALL. I am having an awesome time here, preaching the gospel. I know it is true. I wouldn´t be here if I didn´t know that.
So I realized that last week I didn´t even mention the name of my area! Well, it´s Nuevo Amanecer, which means New Sunrise in Spanish. And really, the sunrises and sunsets here are divine. They are like nothing I´ve seen before. I¨ve yet to be able to take a picture that does it justice. We are very close to the ocean and our area is considered to still be in Santo Domingo, yet it is much more like a suburb than a city.
We have an investigator, a mother of a recent convert, who we are teaching, but says she can´t go to church because she has to cook on Sundays. We tried to suggest cooking on Saturday, yet she insisted she must cook on Sundaymornings. This got me thinking... What kind of excuses do we make in our lives to not do something the Lord commands? Or... what good things do we do instead of doing something better? Yes, cooking for your family is good. It´s service, and, well, it´s food, so what could go wrong there, right? Yet, I´m pretty sure the Lord would rather see us going to church. There is a time and season for everything.
Today for Preparation Day we went and ate lunch and got some frozen yogurt. So good. I love Dominican food. It is so great.
One reason why I have been called to serve in the Dominican Repblic=
ºThey eat beans and rice nearly every day
We got to go to a baptismal service on Saturday and it was so beautiful. One of our investigators showed up which made us so happy. Hermana Carpio, Hermana Hansen (one of our sister training leaders), and I did a musical number. Later, before we sang the final hymn, rain started pouring hard and all the lights went out. Many people turned on little lights from their phones and, together, there was enough light to read the hymn. As we sang, I thought of how each light, although small at first, contributed so much to the whole. We were all able to see and sing, and the lights came back on at the third verse.
I love you all! I love this work. Let your light shine. The world could always use a little more light.
HOLA! I have officially arrived in the Dominican Republic. There is so little time and so much to write and my mind is spinning with a mix of Spanish and English, so hopefully this comes out comprehensible.
It has been so great being here. I absolutely love my mission President, President Corbitt. He is sharp, witty, kind, wise, and so personable. My trainer, Hermana Frias, is wonderful and I love her with all of my heart. She is a native Dominican, but she also knows a lot of English so not only do I get to hear native Dominican (which, by the way, is very different from the Spanish I used to know), but I can also ask for clarification in English. This alone is so wonderful. I am in an apartment with my trainer and two other Hermanas from Honduras, whom I love as well, Hermanas Carpio and Alonzo.
Being here has been an adventure. It is not uncommon to see dogs, chickens, or goats in the streets. We live in an area that I would best describe as some kind of suburb. It isn´t city, but definitely not the country either.
This week we were having companionship study, and we came across a scripture that said hope, faith, charity, and love qualify us for the work. That hit me so hard. It is those four things that qualify us, not our intelligence, our charisma, or anything else. These are the most important things, and, really, they help to increase our other talents and abilities as well. If we have faith in the Savior to help us and we have the hope that we will be able to become better than we are, then we will. As we exercise charity and love, our inner selves will grow and increase, and blessings, talents, and abilities will follow. The Lord knows.
A lot of things about being a missionary are a bit uncomfortable. Almost the whole mission exists outside of a regular comfort zone. Yet, it is only outside of our comfort zones that we are able to grow. Growth does not exist in comfort zones. God sent us here for that precise reason. Our comfort zone of the Pre Earth Life was not sufficient for our growth, and so, God sent us to this Earth, where we would experience difficulties. Things that make us uncomfortable. Things that help us grow. I thank God for every uncomfortable, difficult moment. It is through these that I have found growth.
I love you all. I appreciate your letters and apologize that I often am not able to respond. I do appreciate them and I read them, yet often our time is so limited. I love you all.
I know that God lives. I know that this is the true gospel.
Wow this is my last P-day in the Dominican Republic CCM (MTC) and that is crazy for me to comprehend. We leave on Tuesday for the great unknown aka THE FIELD. I am so excited to get out there and learn and work and grow.
Last Friday we got the opportunity to go out in the field. We drove a few minutes away from the CCM to a church building, where me met some missionaries so we could all pair off and head out. One of the girls asked, "Okay, who knows the most Spanish?" All the girls pointed at me, and so, I got put with a Native Dominican Hermana who knew almost no English. Mom, I thought you'd be pretty proud of me in that moment. Being out with her was awesome because it forced me to use my Spanish and really try. We had two appointments and contacted for the rest of the time. We were in deep Santo Domingo city, close to some busy roads, an Ikea (when I saw the Ikea I kind of freaked out because I was so surprised), Forever 21, and McDonald's. We got to ride the metro to get there, which I think might have been cleaner, and definitely not as stinky, as the Paris metro. Being out in the field was awesome. It was such a great reminder of my purpose at the CCM - to prepare for the field.
Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I've been so good and you'd be so proud of me. I wake up on time every day (and cheerfully, too), go running almost every day during gym, bought a bag for the field (picture attached), have been memorizing Spanish hymns, and I even sang in church last Sunday!
There are two things you must know for the following story:
1. Hermana Juchau absolutely loves naps with her whole heart
2. Here in the CCM, we have learned how to bear testimony in Spanish, and often people's testimonies are as simple as: "Yo sé que (I know that) - fill in the blank - es verdadero (is true)."
Often while Hermana Juchau naps, Hermana Jenson and I will be writing in our journals or doing something else low-key. Hermana Juchau never understands why we don't sleep as well, and one day she was expressing this to our teacher, Hermano Medina. Hermano Medina sympathized with her and said she needs to teach us about the importance of naps. Without further hesitation, Hermana Juchau, with all the conviction and sincerity she can muster, said, "Yo sé que siestas son verdaderas." (Translation: "I know that naps are true") This sent Hermana Jenson and I into fits. We laughed so hard. I love this companionship.
More than my knowledge and appreciation for naps, I have a knowledge and great appreciation for this gospel and for my Savior. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He has provided a way for us to live with God again. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Comforter. He has saved me, He has redeemed me, and He has comforted me. There are no words sufficient to express how grateful I am for Him. I love this gospel. I love God.
I love you all,
Hermana Stoker and Juchau are going to the East with me. Juchau is my brown haired companion and Stoker is the pale brown haired girl with medium length hair.. I sent a picture of just us in the Cafeteria and we're kind of almost falling over.
I love all these girls. Even the new one that just showed up (Hermana Taylor - she's the one with me in the cafeteria with our eyebrows raised)
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