Time here is so weird. The days go by so slow and yet looking back the week is already gone and it is time to go to church again! I am surprised that it is already August. This week, we had been looking forward to fasting all week, but I somehow forgot about testimony meeting. In the meeting, I decided I wasn´t going to bear my testimony but that I would next month once my Spanish was better. Then throughout the meeting all three of the other missionaries shared their testimonies and I didn´t want to be the odd one out, so I got up there and bore a simple testimony that wasn´t planned. I felt the Spirit very strong as I did and I loved seeing my companion´s face as I was up there. Her expression was cheering me on and encouraging me and I felt so much love for her. A few people said they could understand me and I was just glad that I did it.
My companion is seriously great and I feel grateful to be with her. She is very loving and helpful and I feel good that I can understand most of the things she says now without a dictionary. My ability to understand more is definitely improving, but to me it seems like my speaking is coming slower. My district leader is Elder Perkins is from Arizona and has been in the field 7 months. He can speak really well. He said I just need to study hard, forget English and my old life, learn to love Spanish and then open my mouth and talk a lot for practice. I do study when I can (my language study was taken three times this week because we had other activities or meetings we had to go to :( )But right now I don´t really understand how to forget English. I am not yet to the point of loving Spanish and I pray often that I may learn to love it more and want to learn it more because I was called to preach the gospel in the Spanish language!
This week we didn´t have very much success. 6 lessons fell through so we only taught 3! And none of our less active members or investigators came to church. One cool thing for me was yesterday when we visited a less active who was sick. She wanted a priesthood blessing of health so we called over the Elders who are also in our area. Elder Perkins and Elder Torres came, whose ages are 19 and 18. Elder Torres is from Chile and entered the field the same day as me and knows English really well. I knew him from the MTC. I loved seeing them give her a blessing with power and with the Spirit. It strengthened my testimony of the priesthood and was cool for me. They are so young and yet they have dedicated their lives to the Lord and can bless many lives.
One tender mercy was that this week I had exchanges with the Sister Training leaders so for a day and night I went to Adrogue by bus and train and was companions with Hna. Czappa who has been out over a year and is from Wisconsin. I had exchanges with her my first week in the field too but I just didn´t have time to write about it. It is always helpful because she can answer my questions about the language in English. She also just has a lot of good tips and has already served in my area of San Vicente. She said I have improved a lot from the first week. That was comforting because sometimes I wonder if I'm actually learning. I've attached a photo with Hermana Czappa. I adore her! y mi compi! (and my companion!)
Mom, I liked what you said about growing pains. It reminds me about the talk from President Holland ( also a video on YouTube) called "Missionary work and the Atonement." He said more or less that things in life that are worthwhile are never easy, but that it is necessary for us to go through hard times to more fully understand the pain that Christ went through. This life can´t be all good and easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.
Responding to your question about dogs: No, I haven´t been attacked by any dogs, but one dog bit a hole in my companion´s skirt!
I want to see pictures of the kitchen! Wow that seems really fast for the kitchen to be done already. I feel bad as I eat in little concrete homes with aluminum roofs with no paint on the walls or decorations. Carpet isn´t a thing here. Our old kitchen would be heaven to them and yet we remodeled it because it was too small! We are just so blessed.