Monday, February 14, 2011

Well, you´ve come to the right place! or Chamaca vs. Chamarra

Hola Familia!

I have some awesome news!  About two weeks ago, we baptized a 14 year old girl that changed so much as she prepared for her baptism.  She left behind alcohol and partying (something quite normal here) to do what she knew was right; even when it took a lot of effort and time to get permission from her mom.  Well, her mom and brother were baptized this last Sunday!  It was such a neat experience because her mom, Maria Teresa, is so converted.  She has even decided to leave her job and find another so that she can attend church each week.  Finding work right now in Mexico City is not an easy task but she told us that she will trust in the Lord.  She has already got a job that is lining up and we are praying that it all works out!  Alan is the brother who just turned 8 on Saturday and cried when Maria Teresa said that they were going to wait until this coming Sunday for the baptism.  She changed her mind and decided to do it this last week because of how bad Alan wanted to do it.  It has been such a joy teaching them and especially seeing how much peace they found in the Gospel.  I will miss stopping by to teach them but look forward to finding another family that I can help have the same experience!  We are going to talk to Maria Teresa more about how she can prepare for the temple and eventually do the work for her husband who passed away.  I hope to be here when she goes through the temple and gets sealed to her husband.

Elder Figueroa and I were out contacting in the street when we felt the need to stop by a less active member that we have been trying to get a lesson with for weeks.  We decided that this would be the last time we would stop by seeing as we have already tried a couple times.  We knocked on the door and her daughter answered the door to tell us that her mom wasn´t home.  Before we left, the daughter told us that one of her neighbors wanted to talk to us.  The neighbor invited us in and introduced herself as Lourdes.  She is a mother of a two year old and is hiding from her husband while they work out a divorce.  She told us that she really needs peace in her life and a friend told her that she could find that peace in our Church.  When we heard this we basically said, "well, you´ve come to the right place!"  She is on date for this coming Sunday to be baptized.  This experience has helped me grasp at the fact that we are guided by the Spirit even when we don´t really know it.

I had another rather embarrassing Spanish mistake that I thought you might enjoy!  I was holding Alan´s jacket when he told us that it was really cold outside.  Trying to remember the word for jacket, I told Alan to put on his "chamaca" thinking it meant jacket.  The response I got from him, his family, and my companion was tons of laughter.  Then, figuring it was the word I used for jacket, I asked Elder Figueroa what the word I said meant and what word I should have used.  He then told me that "chamaca" is slang for a girl and that the real word is "chamarra".  So basically, I told an 8 year old to put on his girl...I won´t be making that same mistake twice!

This last week I studied a talk in the last General Conference by Elder Scott about the importance of faith and character.  I absolutely loved reading this talk and many things started to click for me.  One thing in particular that I think about at least once a day is how far I have progressed and how far I want to have progressed by the end of my mission.  Elder Scott helped me realize that one of the most advantageous fruits of my mission would be a fortified character.  He talked about how character is built through faith, obedience, and diligent application of the things I am learning.  That is what a mission is all about: bringing souls unto God through faith, obedience, and diligent application.  It then dawned on me that a solid, fortified character built on these principles would serve and support me until the day I stand in front of God to be judged.  Elder Scott stated that our character will be a good measure of how well we used our opportunity of earthly probation.  I have taken to focus on these three building blocks of character this past week.  What an opportunity I have to serve the Lord and get a huge boost in gaining and maintaining the character that will carry me for the rest of my life!

Elder Figueroa and I had an amazing week and have all the plans for yet another.  I plan to focus on my faith, obedience, and diligent application as it will bring me results that I need and God has planned for me.  I hope all of you had a great Valentine´s day!  I love all of you!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Janis

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