What happened? I thought I told Melissa when I left that she wasn’t allowed to grow anymore. She just went right ahead and did it, without even asking permission! Well it´s true, she does look a lot older, and the set of activities you described don´t quite fit the little sister that I once knew. It seems strange but sometimes I feel like time there is just paused and whenever I get back it will all resume but with a different me. Cue insert from my letter to president this week:
"My personal conversion has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it´s the spirit whispering to me, but it seems like that has been a focus of the last Mission Leaders´ meeting as well. I sometimes wonder what I am doing now to become better, more converted to the Lord. Sometimes I wonder if the way that I lead the missionaries in the zone, with Elder Oliva, is the way in which Christ would lead them. I´m forced to conclude that I fall short, and the things that I am working on developing are showing love for them immediately after correcting them. It´s hard to figure out the right balance, and I think that´s probably the central fight for any leader. When am I too friendly or too much of a leader?
Every week now I feel more and more the guidance to change some aspect of my character, and I know that it´s an effect of being a missionary and being open to receive the guidance of the spirit. I love the mission! I will never be able to fully express how I feel about this service."
This week we finished up the papers for two marriages in our area and one marriage in another ward, while at the same time finding out after traveling to three different city centers that a couple from one of our wards won’t be able to get married for another 3 to 6 months-ish. The thing is that the man´s birth certificate says "una niño" and not "un niño" and well, gender on a birth certificate in a country in which gay marriage is still illegal (hip hip hooray for that :)) is kind of a big deal. The paperwork to change it will take 3 to 6 months, unless the records missionary in the offices can sweet talk his way into moving it up the waiting list. They´re going today to try to fix it.
This week we have been in the preparation mode for ward conference. Ward conference here in Peru is a lot bigger than it was there. There are activities all week long with the whole ward leading up to the sacrament meeting on Sunday. Monday was family night in the individual families houses, Tuesday a family night put on by the missionaries, Wednesday a trip to the Lima Temple in the minibuses of a few members, Thursday a talent show, Friday a mistura, which is like a cook-off of typical foods from everyone´s regions, Saturday the ward all came to clean the chapel, and then Sunday there was the ward conference.
The area presidency announced a new focus on reading the Book of Mormon as individuals and families completing it by the end of the year, reading 15 minutes every day. The announcement came with a letter to every member, a chart to track your reading, and a set of 5 bookmarks to cut out and share with friends with a Book of Mormon quote by Marion G Romney on the back. This new focus will guide a lot of the member and missionary efforts during 2014 and we will be working to emphasize it to every member less active that we find or contact.
The other thing that was going on this week is that the four elders from our ward with two elders that already have their mission calls to Spain and to Argentina went up into the hill and we were asked to build a room onto a house for a family that is starting to investigate the church. Before you get thinking that it’s too big of a project for full time missionaries, you have to realize when we add a room onto a house it means digging 6 holes, putting down posts, nailing corrugated steel to the roof and putting up panels of press board on the sides. It’s a bigger project than I´ve been a part of before, but reminded me a lot of building the food storage shelves in the basement. The only difference is that we needed to use a pickax and spike to even out the ground and dig holes for the posts. We are going back to finish it this week and I will take a few pictures, the elder taking pictures had his card wiped by one of the computers in the internet cafe.
Picking at the rocks to put down the post, one of the stones came loose and flew up, hitting my glasses right in front of my eye. To be honest I am pretty lucky I was wearing glasses because anyone else would have had their eye damaged by the rock. My glasses are okay, there’s just a small chip in front of my left eye that I have to learn to ignore haha.
I´ll try to send a few photos later, this computer isn’t one that I trust too much to plug in my camera.
Happy birthday to Joe! and to Melissa! Every day I am reminded of what a spectacular family I have been blessed with and I wanted to thank you both for the support you give me. Keep making righteous decisions and you´ll always have sufficient for your needs! I love you both.
I love you all really. I hope that conference hasn´t faded from your minds yet and that you are on pins and needles waiting for your conference edition Ensigns!