Before I answer questions and get to talking a bit about the week, one question. I keep hearing TONS of rumors about the state of affairs in the Middle East and USA. Is it true that missiles (non-nuclear) have been fired and that war has been declared between some countries? I can´t tell from the rumors if they are threats or facts, but I'm hearing enough about it that I am intrigued. I know I'm not supposed to know too much about that kind of stuff, but, my curiosity is KILLING ME, especially since people are now coming up to me either congratulating me for choosing such a good president or ranting at me for choosing a racist madman (even though I know next to nothing about our present president and I didn't even vote in elections).
Emma (she is currently learning about authentic German food in her German class and asked about his favorite Spanish dish)--I know next to nothing of Spanish dishes; the only one I really recognize is Paella, a shellfish rice with veggies. You have to specify the country, because every single Spanish-speaking country has its own buffet of flavors and dishes. As far as Dominican dishes go, i can tell you hands-down that my favorite is Habichuelas con Dulce (sweet bean soup). It sounds super gross, but is probably one of the best things I've ever eaten. I will make it for you when I get home, because it is actually not that hard to make.
Jessica--Easter was rough on us here. They celebrate Holy Week, which should mean lots of remembering the last week of the Savior's life. However, here it means parties and inflatable pools and alcohol in the street for a week, and it was really hard to find people at home. Well, that's a lie--we just didn't want to get so close to the parties full of angry men on drugs and drunken, scantily-clad women. It wasn´t all bad--we found a really cool less-active girl who is the adopted daughter of our branch president who is showing great progress. She lives in La Romana, but is here visiting because college got out for a time and because she was in a bad ninja-bike wreck. She has really been able to feel that the Lord is calling her back to the fold, and we are SUPER excited to see her progress towards activity again, since she hasn't been to church since the day she moved out of her parents' house on a rebellious streak around age 16 (she is about 23). As far as my celebration of Easter, it was primordially reading scriptures, but honestly, I feel like I didn't even celebrate it. It was weird. Sacrament meeting was normal--no one even mentioned Easter--and it was a normal day of proselyting. I feel kind of bad, like I should have done more. It's just that on a normal proselyting day there is no time to do anything. I was up until 11 pm anyway doing a zone leader report for the assistants.
Mom & Dad--(I shared highlights with him from our Sacrament Mtg. This is what I shared with him... Sis M spoke about the Atonement. She referenced the talk from Brad Wilcox about Grace. I was struck again by his idea that when someone is learning to play piano we don't expect that they play a song perfect the first time. The options are not play at Carnegie Hall or quit. So why do we think we have to be without error in this thing called life? We need to learn from the times that we make mistakes. The hardest part is making changes. It is often fairly easy to recognize that we are doing something wrong but changing the tendencies that are so ingrained can sometimes be overwhelming. It is a life long battle to change our "natural man" tendencies to become more Christlike.) I agree with the point of change. This week I have been able to recognize so much stuff that I'm doing wrong. I let so many people pass by without sharing the gospel with them, and I let so many things get into my head that I lose focus. The changing the behaviors has been the hardest part for sure. I still haven't made all those changes like I've wanted to. I can't tell if it's pride or fear or shame or whatever, but I can tell that my opposition to change is definitely not faith. I commented to President Corbitt in my letter last week that I have been justifying a lack of faith on my part as "realism" (accepting that things will go wrong and thus not getting too attached to anything). Any counsel on that one? How can I overcome my supposed "realism" and pass to faith. I am seeing opposition on a daily basis as a Zone Leader because I see most of what goes on in the zone. I see it in my area, and I have seen it all mission long getting stronger and stronger. I know that I can't stop the opposition from growing, so how can I grow to withstand it? How can I desire that more?
I love you all so much. I hope you have a great week, and don't forget to study and pray. Don't ever forget, PLEASE. I know that God loves each and every one of us, and is merciful in our weaknesses and failures. He only wants to see us grow, but He can only help us do so if WE TOO want to grow. Así que, don't get comfy with where you are. I think that has been one of my biggest errors as a missionary at this late phase in my mission. I have stopped seeking to make changes for one reason or another. Take Care!