Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 8: Nem Pensa!

May 5, 2014 

Hello all! 
This is actually a public phone!

I wasn’t the one that was sick this week. In fact, I am doing a lot better today. Wednesday and Friday were a little bit harder for my stomach but that is a story for later. Also, my companion caught the common cold or something because she hasn’t been feeling too well. I've been drugging her up with my supply of DayQuil and NyQuil and she is already doing a lot better! And today marks the day of a new transfer and Dourados is safe because Pence and I are still here!  

This last week was a little harder on us because we had about 4 sick days clocked in and about three or less days of legit labor. I took Wednesday evening off due to stomach pains and Friday as well. Pence had Saturday night and Sunday night off. We did get some work done, but not a lot like we wanted to... but the good news is that Sister Reber told me that we have a new mission doctor and he isn’t putting me on some fiber-only diet and he is even telling me to NOT eat anything with high fibers (including raw salads... WOOOOO). So I am liberated from that awful diet the last doc gave me. The "cookies integral" were NASTY! Sister Pence and I called them "dirt cookies" because they literally taste like dirt. Fortunately, we got peanut butter from one of the members, so Sister Pence just dipped the dirt in peanut butter and made everything better. Me, I dipped them in strawberry soy yogurt (not bad but the aftertaste is very questionable). 

Enough of health and diet, this is a family email/newsletter from Dourados. Let’s get to the good stuff. So we have a baptism THIS SATURDAY!!! Lara is her name and she is SOOOO awesome! I hope this baptism goes through because yesterday she said "I’m gonna talk more about my baptism date next time..." which left us a LITTLE bit worried but I kid you not, she is SO elect. She reads like EVERYTHING we assign her, she keeps her commitments, she is super punctual and most of all she is willing to follow the commandments, including giving up her coffee, which is like a SUPER miracle! We get along great because we both love reading and learning. She loves learning about other religions too, kinda like me and Brady. I hope she isn’t gonna get baptized and fall away, but I doubt it. She has such great faith and I told her to start the Book of Mormon from the beginning so we will see how it all goes tomorrow :) 

Also, we have our struggling investigators. They might not be progressing investigators either, so we may need to drop a few. The first set is Francelo, Rosangela, and Erica. It’s always awkward teaching them because Erica usually rants about how the other two need to get off drugs and badmouths them the entire time and doesn’t let us talk, and if she does it's usually so she can prove her point. So this Thursday we visited them and Rosangela was wanting to know how to get baptized and wanting to learn more when Erica cuts in with her usual rant. Very boring, the same deal, awkward, and of course it drives the spirit out of our lessons. I was already sick of it so I "went to the bathroom" to devise a plan while my poor companion took the verbal abuse. She didn’t know what to do and once I was done with my "business" (i.e., praying, coming up with a plan to get OUT), I walked back outside and I didn’t take a seat, just to assert SOME sort of authority. I pulled out the scriptures and made sure everyone was seated and listening because I had a message. Whenever Erica interrupted, I kept saying "May I finish my message first??" then she would apologize and let me continue. I shared the scripture in 3 Nephi about the spirit of contention being of the devil and I told them that whenever they argue, we only have the spirit of contention in the room. I began telling them that we are here to bring the presence of the Holy Ghost and not the spirit of contention. It was quiet, and once I finished my message with a testimony, we left as quickly as we could.  

Also, Sister Pence and I made a commitment for this transfer that we will continue to speak up and be bold. We are both chill and nice and it’s not a good combination. Though I will admit, I am the more direct out of the two of us. But we need to work together to be more bold so we don’t have to have long long lessons with dysfunctional families. Another great part about my week was actually yesterday, when we went to visit a recent convert who decided she didn’t want to go to church anymore. It was weird because she was super strong, reading the Book of Mormon, etc. but she stopped going and her neighbor (also a member) told us that she is changing religions. We thought he was kidding because it sounded farfetched. But he wasn’t so we went to her rescue. We still don’t know why she doesn’t want to go to church, her excuses were "I don’t feel comfortable, etc." so I told her about MY experience about being uncomfortable in church too. I told her how I never had friends and how it was always hard for me to go, but my testimony kept me going and now the blessings are worth it. I also told her that Jesus knows her feelings and to study Joseph Smith History since he too was persecuted for seeing God. She still said "I dunno if I am going to church this Sunday" but we are going back again this week. I spoke with conviction and the Spirit was present, but I have a feeling that her mom doesn’t want her to go to our church. Someone told her something that is preventing her from going and we are gonna find out WHAT. Also, she comes from a super poor family and her mom thinks that our church is for "chique people" (chic people), which is totally wrong. We will see what happens from there... 

"Don't even think about it"

"Please don't eat fried foods"
Also, since Sister Pence and I have been stuck in the house for a while, we decided to make up cool plans so that we aren’t utterly hopeless. We called contacts we made during our transfer that we never got back to, and also we listened to conference through my speakers. We downloaded them a few weeks back so we finished Saturday afternoon and listened in on the Priesthood session and tackled part of the Sunday morning session. EXCELLENT! I LOVED priesthood session a LOT, especially the first talk and Uchtdorf's. Well, all of the talks were very inspiring even if I am not a priesthood holder. It is very applicable to all who listen in. I especially loved the part when our prophet told Uchtdorf "Don’t even think about it" kkkkkkkkk! I made another healthy poster inspired by that. Also, during Sunday Morning, I loved this talk by I don't-remember-who, but it inspired me to tell you guys to read Chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel.  

I love you all so very much! I also have a very strong testimony regarding my time here. I have my challenges, sure, but I know I am very happy here. The members are such a great example to me, along with my investigators (the ones who aren’t on drugs ;) ) and I am always learning and growing by the minute. I know that I am opening up a WHOLE lot more and mom, I am using my "mouth filter" properly because I say what is on my mind without offending people.
"Look! A bird!"
I am safe and sound and SUPER HAPPY not only because I don’t have to do the world’s dumbest diet, but that I know what I need to do to be healthy. I need to have more faith in Christ that I can be healed through him as well. I've seen some great miracles here and I will work hard to do MY best to bring others unto Christ. Love you all very much! Have a great week and PS: I am CRAVING a good burger so eat one for me please? Also a donut or ten ;) 

-Sister Mariana Espiritu

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