I´m back in La Romana. And it is HOT. Wow. I never knew I could sweat so much. The hills don´t help either. Looks like Villa Verde is going to whip me into shape if it doesn´t kill me first ;) At least the river here is beautiful and in that part there´s a lot of vegetation.
This first week in Villa Verde went really well. There is so much to do here. The work is progressing and a lot of people to teach. The Area Book was kind of a mess... turns out my companion was the only one filling it out for the last three weeks, so it´s missing a lot of information. There was a teenager that got baptized the week before I got here and she doesn´t have a teaching record. She also hasn´t been confirmed yet and her mom told us this week that she didn´t get baptized with her permission. We had a really interesting lesson where I apologized and asked for forgiveness for something I wasn´t there for. She forgived us and asked for forgiveness as well.
My new companion, Hermana Quezada, is awesome. We are laughing all the time together. She was in my group from the MTC so we´ve got the same time in the field.
A lot of our investigators here are Haitian and don´t speak much Spanish, if any. Hermana Quezada have picked up a bit of Creole by talking with the Haitian members. And by a bit, I really mean very very very little. ;)
Wednesday was my first working day in Villa Verde. We went to visit a girl named Nathali. She´s 17 years old and speaks no Spanish. That night we invited her to baptism and she accepted. That Saturday she got baptized. She was so cute. We can´t really communicate without a translator, but she gives the warmest hugs. She was so happy. We were too ¨:) She´s a cutie.
I love you all. I know the church is true. I know that the Lord hopes that we are exactly obedient and that we give all of ourselves to Him. We can not pick and choose the commandments we wish to live. Neither can we pick and choose how obedient we want to be to them. Rather, it is expected of us to be exactly obedient to each and every commandment that he gives us. When we are exactly obedient, that´s when the miracles begin to come.
On Wednesday we were at the Arache Family's house when the other sisters called and told us we were invited to go have dinner with President Corbitt. We were just explaining to the Arache Family that transfers were coming up and it was possible we might leave. The lesson was emotional and ended in Pamela getting up and running to her room because she was crying so much when she said the prayer. After the lesson we met up with President Corbitt, Hermana Silva, and Hermana Antonio, and headed over to his house. We laughed way too much and ate some dang good food. He then told us about transfers. Hermana Delcompare and I are both leaving Gazcue. I'm going to be in Villa Verde (La Romana again!) with Hermana Quezada, a Dominican from my group. I don't know if knowing so soon was good or bad... it definitely brought a lot of mixed feelings. I guess I anticipated leaving Gazcue, I've got 6 months here... but I'm really going to miss this place. I love it here and all the new friends I've made. I'm excited to go make more in Villa Verde.
We saw Pamela again this week and when we told her the news, she couldn't stop crying. We're going to miss her. She told us she'd invite us to her baptism and she talked about how she's going to serve a mission someday but that she'll never get close to anyone because the changes hurt too much. She's so sweet. I love her.
Well friends. I know the church is true. I know that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. He is wonderful. The mission has been such a beautiful refining fire and I hope I allow it to change me still. The Lord's hand is in this work.
I love you all! Keep shining!
Yesterday was Hermana Delcompare's birthday. We celebrated with brownies and ice cream and homemade empanadas and balloons and by losing the phone. Yup. We were in a guagua (70's car type thing filled with people they use as public transport here) and it fell out of Hna. Delcompare's pocket. Oops. Well luckily someone found it and the missionaries in her area are going to go look for it.
Today for P-Day we saw El Faro de Colon, which is a lighthouse/museum thing. It was cool. We met up with some other missionaries as well. Party party.
Consejo de Lideres was steller. We had an amazing discussion about the sheer power of imagination. If you look for the word "imagination" or "image" in the scriptures, there is so much to learn about the subject. We are asked in Alma 5 if we have received his image in our countenance. We are commanded to not worship graven images. What we choose to imagine affects us. And the images we see and choose to consume have great impact. We go so far as to pay another to take control of our imagination for an hour or two when we go to the theatres. Do we realize how valuable our imagination is and how much we must protect it? It is a very part of how we exercise faith in Jesus Christ. As we imagine good and imagine the approval of our Father in Heaven, we exercise faith in Him (Alma 5:17).
Luis' kidney stones aren't bugging him as much. He's still got them but they're supposed to pass soon. Bethania is so happy and is constantly rejoicing that the gospel came to her life. We're still working with the Arache Family and trying to help them overcome the fear of their grandma, who is against the church. I never thought I'd run into that here in the DR, but Carolina told us she doesn't even want to mention baptism in our church to her mom because she has heart problems and thinks it'll scare her too much.We're praying so much for them.
One cool thing about the DR is that they have delivery for literally EVERYTHING. If you want something as simple as a small bag of cinammon, all you've got to do is call up the nearest colmado (little stores that are on every corner). Well when we lost the phone we couldn't do that and we wanted juice SO BAD. Walking just across the street never felt so far in my life. I've gotten way too used to this delivery thing.
Well. I know the church is true. God loves us. He's our Father. This is His work. It's not ours. I am humbled and grateful for the time I've been given to serve and for the miracles that happen daily.
I love you all! Keep shining,
Faro de Colon or Columbus Lighthouse
Homemade Venezuelan empanadas
At the end of weeks like this I often wonder how in the world I'm going to get everything down in one email. But here I go.
I'll start with the best thing of all: Bethania got baptized on Saturday! Her son, Luis, baptized her, which was so sweet to see. She completely dropped cigarettes, an addiction she's had since she was 12. We went to the temple before her baptism and had a lesson outside. She bore her testimony in front of several other investigators and missionaries. It was awesome :)
On Tuesday night, President Corbitt drove us home from a meeting we had with him, the Assitants, the Zone Leaders, and the Stake President. We began talking and like the second father he is to all of us, we began joking around.. I asked him, "So, President, when are we going to visit your house?" We went from joking to insisting a little more and he ended up calling Hermana Corbitt to set up lunch with them the next day. Well on Wednesday we went to their house and ate lunch! Awesome. President Corbitt is kind of the best.
A lot of people have been asking about the hurricane... We are all good. There really is nothing to worry about over here. Monday and Tuesday were really rainy and windy, but we stayed inside mostly. There were some downed trees and an electric post we saw, but other than that, all good.
We haven't had water for 3 days but it's got nothing to do with the hurricane thankfully. We discovered a faucet outside where we could fill buckets of water up. I have never been so happy to take a bucket shower in my life. We were so dang happy to see the water coming out of that faucet.
Today we had a Zone Activity where we made a taco bar. Mmm. Before eating we also set up a table outside with candy and pamphlets to share the gospel with all of Gazcue! Woohoo!
One thing President Corbitt has been talking to us lately is the power of our imagination. What we allow ourselves to imagine and ponder can be realized in real life. Part of our faith in Christ involves imagining His promised blessings as present blessings. What we think about affects what we do, and as we choose to think of exceptional faith in Christ, we begin to develop it more and more.
I love you all. I know the church is true. I know that this is the work of the Lord.
Last night we got a call from the Zone Leaders to inform us that we were all to stay inside because of the hurricane. We woke up to nothing, not even a drop of rain. We studied like normal then got a text saying that it was all good and we could leave. It started to rain after we left but that´s pretty normal for the DR. Looks like the hurricane isn´t going to reach Santo Domingo. :) We are happy and safe.
General Conference was awesome! I got to see the two Saturday sessions in English (perks of serving in Gazcue, where the office is, and of having a bilingual companion) and the two Sunday ones in Spanish. Those two days were basically spent looking for everyone that'd said they'd come to conference and inviting and encouraging people to come. Almost everyone told us they weren't going last minute, but luckily Bethania and all her kids were able to go, and Pamela as well. They loved it. I loved the urge for us to really incorporate the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. To really live it.
Luis, our recent convert (the oldest of the Familia Urraca), has kidney stones. He hasn't been able to go to church for a couple of weeks and is in quite a bit of pain, but he's taking medication and hopefully they'll pass soon. The rest of his family is going strong and Bethania is progressing so much with dropping cigarettes.She's down to just one a day! Yesterday we had a Family Home Evening with them. Bethania's testimony just grows and grows. She fell in love with Conference and frequently bears her testimony that she knows the church is true. I love that family to pieces.
I know that this is the work of the Lord. If we let Him, He can change us. I've seen it in others' lives and in my own. We are malleable beings and it is beautiful.
I love you all. Keep shining.
Shout out to Hermana Taylor, one of my very best friends. She's going home tomorrow and I just can't believe it. We never even were companions but it's as if we were. She's the bomb. I'm going to miss her.
English General Conference. Living by the Mission Office perks! And having a bilingual companion too! Woo!
From another P-day. We went to the salon. Everyone here gets their hair done every week so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. They put my hair up in rollers and then stuck me in one of those blower things that makes you look like an alien. It hurt. I'm not sure if it was worth it, but my hair was incredibly soft afterwards.
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