We went to the temple again this week and I had a fun intercambio with a crazy little new missionary from Ecuador, I loved it :)
Well, I received a packages the other day from the Bennion and Crisler families (I don't know if I told you already!) and also from Shauna Sperry! I have been trying my very best to wait to open them!!!!! We have a little foot-tall Charlie-Brown-esk Christmas tree and I have kept them close there, but just so you know, I got them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I It's wonderful to feel so much love and support while I am away from home for the holidays :)
A little overview of this week! I know that God truly takes some of the strangest situations and makes them just perfect for the people we are teaching. haha, this week, we had a lesson outside of a little art museum with Dominga (we love having lessons out of her house, because then she focuses less on the depression she has, and gets ready for the day. She is so much happier) when we got there, we found an old Spanish man sitting there talking to her. The old Spanish men sure love to just talk and talk and talk and talk. We did not get ONE WORD IN. Ha. it was quite amusing actually, as we tried to take everything he said about living through the war and how we sing like angels and tie that to a gospel topic. Sometimes lessons are just this way, but Hermana Aagard and Dominga and I just had the biggest fit of laughter I have had in a LONG time. (Mom, it reminds me of how hard we laugh together haha). But I think Dominga needed that. We felt like we reached a new level of friendship with her, and I truly believe laughter is the best medicine. I am so glad that not all lessons are that crazy to control.
Speaking of Dominga, we are planning on her getting baptized very soon! We were shooting for the 21st, but she wants to feel sure and completely ready. We have already seen so much progress spiritually. She is so much happier when she is busy, and she doesn't read very well, but whenever she feels tempted to pick up a cigarette (she has smoked for 40 years), she says she picks up the Book of Mormon and reads. What a powerful tool! She is already reading and understanding so much better. some lessons we just sit there and have her read the little pamphlets, checking for understanding after every sentence. She has such a desire to learn.
And Pablo, a man from Chile that we contacted on the street, is just thirsting for the gospel in his life. He has been searching religion for many years, baptized in the Catholic church, and has finally found what he feels to be the truth. This man is incredible, he is reading the Book of Mormon by looking up all the scriptures by topic in the guide to the Book of Mormon, and takes notes and writes answers in his pamphlets. He will also be baptized by the end of this transfer, depending on his work schedule :) He sure studies things out, but most importantly he says he FEELS in his heart that it is true. He also came to church this week (his second time) on 1 hour of sleep after a night shift and still came all cheery and full of good questions.
Also, Augustina!! Another lady from the Dominican Republic. We have taught her a few lessons and she has been to church twice now :) and she loves it. She is probably about 60 or 70 years old, and is a very "go with the flow" lady. She left us with a closing prayer the other day where she asked The Lord in her prayer to help her to know when she should be baptized because she knows she wants to be. And she told us an incredible story about her father that before he died she told her that she would listen to the Mormons. 40 years or so later, here we are, and she is feeling the truth of our message. Miracles happen!
As usual, P-days are crazy packed and stressful, so I do not have much time left, but I wanted to tell you one last experience. Like Wade said a while ago, Sundays are the most stressful days as a missionary, as we are stopping by to pick up investigators or calling people or waiting for them at the door or finding members for them to sit by...etc. Don´t get me wrong, I love Sundays, but they just take a toll on me!!!! I leave feeling very stressed out, but my favorite time to just sit and think is during the Sacrament. This sacrament was special. Last week, Mervin blessed the sacrament for the first time and this week he happened to be the one to pass the Bread and Water to us. Here I was, in my stressed out state like usual, and then Mervin comes by in his new white shirt and tie that the bishop gave him to pass us the sacrament. I just started crying, feeling incredibly blessed to witness this little miracle here. I thought of that first day we had a lesson on a bench with him, and met with him almost every day since, and how this man has not missed one Sunday since the day we invited him. He is incredible. After family members, he is the first man I would love to just give a big hug to after my mission! He is always serving and never thinks of himself. He was also called as Ward Mission Leader and goes out with the elders all the time, and we are sending the missionaries to his family in the Dominican Republic :) wowowowow.
Well, that is all for now!
Christ gave His life for you! What are you giving to CHRIST for Christmas?
Love, Hermana Mather 3 Nephi 5:13
p.s. Family, I miss singing with you so much! we have a missionary Christmas concert tonight in Madrid by the temple with 150 missionaries and a couple is directing for us who were in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 18 years, and I am suuuper excited, but it is not the same. I can't wait to sing around the piano again :)
p.p.s. "Perhaps it is true that we are weak, perhaps we are not wise or mighty. But when God works through us, no one and nothing can stand against us." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf