Oh my goodness gracious! Yes, I am in the mission field. Is the timing here crazy or what? I am not sure what to think! Sometimes I just have bad days and life drags on, but then I think … wait! I have been here for two months? Really?
Overall, those first few weeks have been the hardest adjustment, I think because of culture shock, not knowing this language well … on and on and on. But the most stressful things is that I cannot tell you everything. So, I am going to try in the time I have for this letter. I will answer the questions you asked, that seems the easiest!
- My trainer: Hermana Tabares Insuasti. Ha. It was funny to meet her. I said, “do you speak English?” and she didn't understand. Ha. That was my answer. She is very independent and quite opposite from me in some ways. She loves how clean I am and the apartment clean but everywhere she goes it is like a bomb went off! Ha. And she doesn't like to run or anything. This is very hard for me. It is hard for me to know if I am being exactly obedient because we can’t always communicate well. I am trying though. Be grateful you have someone to run with while you can.
- I am in Madrid – Barrio Uno (Madrid 1st Ward). We have six missionaries in our ward! Myself and my companion and two sets of Elders. Wow. There are so many people packing into this city. There are also people that live in pueblos (like a place called Majadonda) and I have just fallen in love . We visit quite a few less active members there or find old investigators to meet up with from our area book. I am probably going to die of secondhand smoke here though. Ha. Everyone smokes in the city! Yuck.
- Everyone lives in apartments here, very small; and most very humble. Everyone has little clotheslines out their windows and hands their clothes out to dry, I will have to send pictures.
- I love the ward here! It has been hard to feel included or to show them that I really want to work because there really is so much to say that I can’t say, and I actually have felt the least comfortable with the Bishop, because I do not understand him especially, and I felt like he was always laughing at me, so that was hard.
- I didn't have to wake up too early to leave the MTC and we had a nice lunch at the mission home; burritos, just like mom makes ;^). I LOVE the Jacksons. They are so down to earth and have truly sacrificed so much to be here. Actually, today I tried to call the mission office and accidentally called President Jackson. He said, “Wait! While I have you on the phone, I wanted to tell you that I have been getting your weekly letters to me and I am so aware of you. I am praying for you. I think of you as my daughter, who leaves for the Mexico MTC in one week! How kind!” They truly are wonderful. He told me everything will get better.
- Yes, the Madrid MTC was amazing! I am glad that you saw my pictures. I hope to send more next week. This week sure was a disaster; I didn't even get an email sent, really.
- The mission field most definitely is not easy. Yes, it is comforting that you have felt the same. Thinking of you gives me strength. Thanks for the scripture you sent: Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-7; that was helpful and come right when I needed it. Seriously. I read this after a long day. It was one of the nights that I knelt down to say my prayers and the chair where my arms were folded was soaking wet with my tears by the end. I have had a few of those days. But I turn to the Lord and there is always a new day. The Lord is my best friend. He has been my support through all (2 Nephi 4:20-21).
- Ha the accent, yes it is funny when the people that don’t hardly have any teeth speak it. HA! But it truly is beautiful when some other people speak it. I spoke with the “theta” or “ceta” in the MTC, but got out of the habit because my companion is Colombian and doesn't have the accent.
- I loved what you said about obedience … JUST DO IT! I agree. There are so many things that I do not understand but I do it anyway. This actually REALLY stressed me out at first … I want to understand better so that I can be obedient! It’s comforting that you are still getting it down.
- Yes! Writing in our journals every night is SO important! And yes, I never really feel rested when I wake up in the morning. You feel this way too? And I agree, memorizing names and getting to know ward members is SO important. This has been a struggle because I have 1000000000 Spanish words floating in my head and I feel like their names go in one ear and out the other. But, I have started to write them down because I know this is important. Oh most of them are from Ecuador and Peru … yummy food.
I will just end with a few experiences/stories of people we taught.
- The Bocanegra familia – so special. I cried my first night there. We all were singing hymns off key, but the Spirit was there. They will be baptized this coming month. It is my favorite thing to picture them kneeling around the alter in the temple, sealed as a family for time and all eternity. I have started trying to picture ALL of our investigators like this and it has helps so much. I feel such a love for them.
- Thank you for the “sanctification fast” idea. How great! I started a little while ago and it is on my mind all the time. I am trying so hard to eliminate negative thoughts and fears. I have faith that the Lord will see my efforts and help me.
- I love the scripture Mosiah 3:19 about putting off the natural man. I feel like the Lord wants me to learn this. This is so applicable to missionary work as we constantly strive to “become a saint” and turn outwards rather than think of ourselves. We hardly have time to think, overwhelmed by all of the topics we can by studying, putting off personal matters, because THIS IS WHAT THE SAVIOR WOULD DO. That is what the gospel is all about! I am trying more to turn OUTWARDS rather than thinking of my struggles. It really makes a difference. EVERY lesson we teach reminds me why I am here.
- I truly do love my companion. We have our difficulties, but she is incredible to watch teach, because she has a genuine love for the people, and love for this gospel. I cannot wait until I can speak this language! I want so badly to teach and I feel so held back. But I have a different role right now. I have faith that the Lord has more in store for me and learning will come line upon line. Do you feel this way sometimes? I try not to compare myself to others who can preach in English because I wish I could say what I have to say, but I heard a quote: “ We are called to preach in the language we can testify the strongest.”
You have angels round about you (D&C 84:88).
Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather
Sealed with kisses!!! Besos y Abrazos de Espana!