Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Week of January 19 2014: Mushroom

Hi guys!

As of this last Saturday, I officially have four months in the mission. It seems simultaneously like a lot and like very, very little. But I think that's generally the way time is on a mission--it feels like it's going super fast and SO SLOW at the same time. But such is the nature of life, I guess. 

Our main focus of this week was a family that the elders who were in the other part of our area before us found, the Perez-Gomez family. They're super special and we almost had to arrange an emergency wedding for them, because they want to get baptized, but they aren't married, and the dad, Candido, really doesn't want to get married (this is a trend for the men here. I cannot tell you why). BUT he had a kind of amazing change of heart this week and they told us that they wanted to get married this Saturday before their kids go back to school (here they start school in January, have a short vacation in June, and finish in October--it's kind of the opposite of the American school system). So we were calling all the LDS lawyers we know to see if they could help us, and if they could do it for free, and trying to get together clothes and flowers and food for this wedding, but then it turned out that they didn't have the documents they needed to get married, so they aren't going to get married until June when their kids come home. It was kind of a disappointment, but it was amazing just to see the changes that they've made in their lives and attitudes. I think that's one of the biggest privileges of missionary work--getting to see people change. It might not always been that they're going to get baptized, but even small changes mean they're coming closer to Christ.

Remember: Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold say unto you, that bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his greaand eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord dotconfound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37:6-7). 
As for other news this week, we got new beds because apparently ours were super old. As they were taking apart my bed, the guy doing it goes "hay un hongo!!!" which means "there's a mushroom!!!!!" That's right, there was a BIG FAT MUSHROOM growing under my bed. There's always been a weird, mildewy smell in our apartment and I was always searching for the source, and I finally found it. So while you're sleeping in your beds tonight, be grateful that your lives are free of bed mushrooms (if anyone wants to use that as a band name, feel free). 
Tomorrow we have cambios, so my trainer will be leaving and I'll be getting a new compa! I'm a little terrified to be in charge of our area and all of our investigators, and I can't imagine my life without my companion (three months together is a LONG time), but whatever happens, it's revelation, so I can't really complain. 
I hope everyone has a good week, and that your bedrooms are free of fungi. 
Hermana Campbell

Sunday, January 4, 2015

December Letters: 12/22 and 12/29 (Mom was out of town w/o a computer!)

Hi guys, 

Merry almost Christmas! It doesn't super feel like Christmas still, but I did get two Christmas packages this week at our zone conference, and I'm waiting to open them until the 25th. I also have a MoTab Christmas CD, and we have  a tiny tree in our house, so maybe I'll open my packages with the music and the tree and feel a little bit of Christmas (or maybe I'll just cry a lot, which I've also been doing lately). 

We had our Christmas zone conference this week, in which we watched 'The Work and The Glory' and everyone went crazy because there's DRAMA and KISSING and HANDSOME MEN. We also had a turkey dinner for lunch, so that got us into the Christmas spirit a little more. My zone also sang 'Cantan Santos Angeles' (Angels We Have Heard on High), and they made me sing a solo, which was terrifying, but overall it went well. It then took us four hours to get home, because the traffic is INSANE right now because everyone is going out to buy Christmas presents and stuff, so the buses were jam-packed and we had to keep letting them pass because we physically couldn't have fit inside. 

We got back so late that we couldn't do anything, so on Thursday, we had zero lessons, contacts, new investigators, everything. On Friday, we got all psyched up to work really hard and find a ton of people and make up for the day we lost on Thursday. But by 6 o'clock, we hadn't had a single lesson or found a single new investigator. We had walked pretty much through our entire area, and visited all of our investigators and all of the members, but no one was home. We were so sad and discouraged, so I said 'Maybe we should pray?' kind of jokingly. But we found a little clearing of land (where there were a bunch of chickens, how spiritual) and said a prayer, and about five minutes later, we walked by a family decorating their house. We asked if we could leave one of the 'He is the Gift' cards with them, and then I decided to ask if we could watch the video with them, and THEY INVITED US INSIDE! This is super rare for our area, so we were incredibly excited. We went in, sang a Christmas hymn, and said a prayer, then watched the video with them (I don't know if all of you know about this thing, but hopefully you have heard of/seen it). After, we ended up teaching an entire lesson, and by the end, the mom was crying and she wanted to say the closing prayer. As we were leaving, with an appointment to come back the following week, she told us that we had contacted her almost a month ago, but she didn't want to listen to us, and she was really glad that we had found her again. 

I know this sounds like a story from the New Era or something, but I promise you it really happened. It was a super special and rare experience, and I'm just super grateful to be here and be serving a mission in this time of the year. It is hard, and sometimes I do just start crying because I think about everyone having Christmas together without me, but it's a privilege to be here and to learn a little bit more about the love God has for his children. 
One last thing about this week is that we found a TINY puppy walking next door to our house, and took pictures with it. That was another little miracle that occurred this week, but it's a miracle of the SQUEE type and less of the SPIRITUAL type. 

I hope everyone has a good week and the MERRIEST of Christmases. Please watch the Colbert Christmas Special in my honor, because that is probably the thing I miss the most about this Christmas season. 

Sister Campbell

Hi friends and fam, 

This is my last email of 2014! Is it just me, or did this year feel like about five seconds? Is that something an old lady would say? Am I wearing a skirt that probably used to belong to an old lady that I bought in a paca? WHO CAN SAY. 

This week was a lot of fun and a lot of food. On the 24th, which is when everyone celebrates Christmas here, we went around visiting a lot of members and investigators. We got to help make tamales with one of our investigator families, and I got to hold a baby (which is technically against the mission rules, but what can you do when someone hands you a cute, chubby baby??). FYI, tamales are THE thing here for Christmas and New Years, and I ate probably eight of them in the course of two days. Also, everyone makes something called 'ponche,' which is a liquid cooked with fruit, except it's DRIED fruit, that they put in liquid, so it's like re-hydrated fruit? It's kind of horrible, but hey, whatever! Culture! 

The good news is that I officially only have one Christmas left in my mission! The bad news is that I was so sad on Christmas that I ate an entire bag of barbeque-flavored Tortrix (which is a brand of chip similar to Fritos that they only sell here). But more good news, we have great members in our ward and really nice investigators who invited us over for dinners and stuff, and that was really nice. 

It's been hard to find people to teach this week, because everyone is either sleeping or traveling. But one cool thing that happened is that we went to visit this family we contacted a while ago, who were never home when we came by to visit, but this time they were home and let us in and we taught them a whole lesson and they were super receptive and loving and it was just cool to see that even though some people aren't prepared right when you meet them, with time, they can change and be ready. Everything is the Lord's time, you know? 

This email is a little funky, I'm sorry. My zone is yelling at me to get off the computer so we can go to Taco Bell. BUT I hope that everyone has a happy new year and that you're enjoying cold weather for me (because I am sunburned and sweaty). 

Love you!
Hermana Campbell