Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10, 2013 emails to dad and mom

Hi daddy!
How´s it going? Your Spanish is fantastic. :)

Chris Diep - how´s he doing? I hope he´s doing well.

Thank you for that. 10 and 11 [Preach My Gospel]- my purpose as a missionary and my success as a missionary, right? I have read that many times to learn how to trust the Lord more and that it´s not baptisms that counts. It´s how hard you work and how obedient you are. I´m doing both. President Brough said that I work hard and diligently, so I´m pretty sure I´m doing ok about that. It´s just sometimes, when you´re tired or really stressed, Satan sneaks in and starts to make you frustrated. The past week I´ve done a lot better. Every time a negative thought comes in my head, I smile and think of your comment about sharing the Gospel with the people here and how I smile while doing it. I have realized recently (again) that people do have their agency. And dragging them to the font isn´t giong to help them get a real conversion or attain salvation. It´s teaching them until they understand and loving them and helping them understand that baptism and other covenants are necessary. And I understand what happened with the Elders - we´re working on that, too. President Brough calls that the "sneak attack" method of baptismal challenges.
I firmly believe in missionary touches. One of the converts in our ward said that she had gone to church for 3 years before she got baptized (I don´t think it was continuous, but still). And how many missionaries is that? A lot. And she wasn´t baptized for a really long time. Or like Martha in our ward - she wasn´t baptized for 2 years and how many missionaries? It´s just frustrating sometimes when someone got an answer and they don´t realize it or accept it. But it´s all building up to the day when they accept the Gospel - whether it´s in this life or the next.
Oh - I´m being tansferred tomorrow. I don´t know where. We´re going to be at the transfer meeting tomorrow. Hermana Cruz and Hermana Weatherford are staying in Ribera del Rio. I´m almost done packing - I got most of it done yesterday and only have to pack the stuff that I use everyday. It´ll be good to have more experiences, meet more people, and have a new companion. It´ll be good. I´m excited to continue the work in other areas.

That´s awesome for mom´s birthday! [A trip to the San Francisco Symphony to hear Burt Bacharach] And I think she´ll like the toothbrush.  You know how much she likes to clean the grout between the tile all the time. :)   [family joke]

I´ll probably get the letters tomorrow. I´ve gotten some and mom´s birthday package, but I´ll probably get the rest tomorrow. We´ll see.

This week, we had a meeting with President Brough (about retention of the converts) and he shared a scripture - 2 Nephi 10:23-24. Basically, it says that happiness is a commandment. And I´m trying hard with that one. It´s easy most of the time, but around 8:30, after our appointments fall through and there aren´t a lot of people in the street, it´s difficult. But, like I told one of the sisters in our mission, when you don´t want to smile, that´s the time to smile. Being happy is so important with this message, because it is a message of happiness and people see that. They see our smiles - it´s one of the first impressions they get of us. I notice that when I smile while talking with people, they listen. They might not accept, but they listen.

Anyway, I love you, dad! Give mom a hug for her birthday from me!

Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover
Hi momma!
How are you? How´s your hip? How are you feeling? I hope you´re doing well. Oh - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! HERE¨S LOVE AND KISSES AND HUGS FROM GUATEMALA!!! I love you, momma!

I´m being transferred this week - when I know where, I´ll tell you. And I should be getting to email you this week about the Christmas call information. We´ll see how that goes.
It´s weird to think that it´s so cold at home - it´s 70 and humid here and doesn´t feel like December at all. And it´s weird to think that it´s snowing in Utah. We talked about it yesterday during our P-Day, and it was weird.

The work is moving forward in Ribera. No baptisms this transfer, but a lot in the upcoming weeks. It´s all good. We touched a lot of lives these past six weeks.
I´ve had a cold this past week, but it hasn´t been that bad. I´ve still been able to work, so that´s what matters.

Ah, crying. You don´t have private moments in the mission. If one companion is down, the companionship is down. But yes, the tears were mostly in the house and sometimes in the meetings we had with the new missionaries. But they were quiet tears, if that counts for anything. It´s a work in process. Sometimes, you just get frustrated that you aren´t as good as you want to be and then humility comes in and you realize that it´s in the Lord´s time, way, and with His love, as well. We´re all working really hard. Days feel like weeks and weeks like seconds. I don´t know how that works, but it does.

My patience has grown these past 3 months. I´m still working on patience with myself  (because you and I both know that I´ve always been hard on myself), but with other people it´s decent. I can control it with other people, which is good. I need to study about grace and faith more - I know that when we try our hardest, we´ve done all we can do. But in the mission, I´m not sure what my hardest is. I try hard and I push myself, but I don´t know what my hardest is. So I keep pushing forward and doing what I can and understanding as much as I can and listen all the time to the people and the Spirit. I love this work. This is definitely a refiners fire for all the people that take part of the full-time missionary service. The blessings will come. The people will be baptized. we may not see the blessings now, but it will be there. I know it will. Heavenly Father always answers our prayers and our needs when we express them.

This week, President Brough shared two scriptures - 2 Nephi 10:23-24. Basically, it says how being happy is a commandment and how we need to never be disanimanted about things. To never give up hope. To continually push forward in the steadfast faith in Christ. I know that as we choose to be happy (because it is a choice), we´ll feel better and have more hope and faith. And there´s a really good article in the Ensign - I think its September, called "the Healing balm of hope". It´s really good. I would recommend it.

The Spanish is coming along. Sometimes, it´s hard, but most of the time I can teach and understand most of what people say.

Thanks for sharing about the ward party and the Nutcracker. And thanks for saving me an ornament. And I should get your package tomorrow as well as the letters. you should be getting two envelopes in the next week or two. They have about 8 letters or so in them.

I love you, mom! Thank you for yours prayers. I´ll have more stories next week, promise!
Con MUCHO amor,

Hermana Pumpkin Conover

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