wow! how wonderful was this week!!! first things first...EDUARDO GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!! it was so amazing!!!!! he was so happy!!!!! i seriously love this family. and i know hermana gunderson will take care of everyone in the area, so im not worried at all! :D also on wednesday i was able to go to the temple!!! YES..THE TEMPLE!!!!! whoooooo!! it was so wonderful. it had been a long time since i´d done a session. and we got to do it with presidente and hermana ruiz. all of those who are leaving went, it was a bittersweet moment because we were very excited but you could also feel the emotions that we were all having. but how grateful i am for the temple and the PEACE that one feels inside. (we will definitely have to go soon after i get home.) also this week was la semana santa in guatemala and everyone was gone or doing catholic things...its kinda cool to see actually but it did make the work a little harder. also the people were a little wilder this week so we had a very strict schedule, but all in all we were able to work with out problems and how grateful i am for that. also yesterday in church we 4 missionaries (we share a ward with the zone leaders) recited "The Living Christ" and you could see the spirit that was in the room. being able to speak those words and feel the spirit testify of every one of them was seriously the best. good week all in all!
well that was a little about the week...and now a little about the mission. i cant believe this is my last email as a full-time missionary. i feel like i just got here and that i still have a lot of time, but sadly that is not true. these past 18 months have been the best, hardest, saddest, happiest of my life. this week on friday morning we were not able to work until 3 pm due to some semana santa things and so we had a zone meeting and watched some of the missionary broadcast again. and there was a phrase that stuck out to me, it was elder W. Christopher Waddell and he said, "CONVERSION IS A MIRACLE" I have been talking a lot about the miracles that hermana gunderson and i have seen in this change and really how wonderful is god. and MANY times in my personal study this week i have read about miracles, but when i heard that phrase it hit me. i got to thinking about my mission and the miracles i have seen through it and then then about the people i have met here and how they have been converted. and it hit me...that the biggest miracle i have seen on my mission is MY conversion. i have always known the church is true, but for many years i was living on a borrowed testimony. but now i can testify to ALL that i KNOW WITH OUT A DOUBT that this is true. i have converted myself to christ and the mission has helped me do it. i KNOW that jesus christ lives. he is literally the son of god and he suffered and died for all so that, if we chose to follow him, we can be forgiven and changed. i KNOW that jospeh smith is a prophet and that he was the instrument that god used to restore his church. he was a young boy who trusted in god and recieved his answer because he prayed sincerly. i know that god hears and answers prayers. HE IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. the book of mormon is true. it is the keystone of our religion and all things stand and fall with it. if we have doubts, READ IT. the atonement of jesus christ is real. HE KNOWS US. we must come to know him.
as i look back at the last 18 months of my life i have been changed, not only by christ, but by the people with whom i have had the pleasure and privelege to live with. when i recieved my call i tried to imagine the guatemalans. but i couldnt and now i look back with tears in my eyes as i remember and cherish them. i can picture them with there dirt floors and 8 children with dirty faces and hands. most of them with out teeth and yet they smile. they are all worn by the hard work that living in this country requires and many are searching for something they dont know. many look at me like im crazy, a tall white girl in the middle of guatemala who can speak spanish, but what they dont know is eventhough they are poor in worldly things, this gospel can make them RICH in spiritual things. i have never been so humbled as i have been here in the mission but its amazing to see these people as god sees them, Future GODS!!!! i will forever have guatemala in my heart. i know there are MANY things i could have done better, but i also know that i have helped in the lives of many people. if i have learned anything else on hte mission...its love. PURE love because we are all children of god.
like the nashville tribute band songs says im "in a million ways completely torn apart, as a land so far away still owns my heart" guatemala will forever be my home, these people will always be my family, and the lessons i have learned will forever be my testimony. i know that god loves these people because if someone so imperfect as me can love them so much it hurts, i can only imagine how much he loves them. the mission is the greatest thing i have done so far and i know it is preparing me for the other missions he has planned. i love you all very much and look forward to seeing you on thursday. :)
con mucho amor,