Quierido mi familia y amigos!!
I wish I had all the time in the world to write, but unfortunately I don’t. :( This week I have felt my testimony grow so much, through my language classes, Sunday meetings, devotionals, and learning how to improve on my own and with my companion. This last Sunday we watched ¨The Testaments¨ and every time I see it I feel the love of Jesus Christ so much. His Atonement is so tender to me and it gives me hope to repent with full purpose of heart, and to be made clean again. During Relief Society we sang primary songs and I kept thinking about how much I love and cherish them. Thank you Mom for instilling those songs in my heart, they are sung siempre (always). :)
I also have had two GREAT experiences with two of our investigators this week. Our first, Yared, with complete submission and love said that she would commit to baptism. Our lesson was brief, full of love, and so naturally the Spirit touched her heart. The other was with Julio Cesar, and we made the first lesson purely about getting to know him, making sure that he was comfortable, and briefly what our purpose as missionaries is. He too, was touched by the Spirit and enjoyed our visit with him. There have been several occasions preparing to teach investigators where I have felt overwhelmed of wanting to know what to say and do, with eloquence. I’m as new as you come to learning Spanish, but I have found that is doesn't matter.
The most prepared lessons we’ve had, have not gone as well as we would have hoped. When we have a brief outline, and just ask what they want to get out of the lesson, then everything falls into the perfect puzzle. Thank you Heavenly Father!!!! You bless me so much, es muy increible (it’s SO incredible)!! Those small moments have made the trying moments worth it. Something I learned from hearing Elder Perry in our devotional the other day was this: ¨Don’t ever leave without bearing a solemn witness of Jesus Christ.¨ I am here to bring my testimony, my experiences, and my life to others. I am here to teach and love people, not teach lessons. They are my focus and everything I do is centered around them. I think that’s what makes it easier being away from home...knowing that I have full purpose here, that I have family who loves me, and God in heaven who loves me endlessly. Every day I strive to find more joys among the sadness. I am not always on the same level with other missionaries my age, but God has given me patience, charity, and diligence to love them even when it is not easy.
Learning this language is not intimidating, rather, how much can I learn today, what can I practice more? What do I do from feeling inadequate? I've realized that everyone here is on a different level, we all have different talents. Something that comforts me about my troubles is this quote from Benjamin de Hoyos that I heard in our devotional yesterday: ¨Hard work, truly hard work is more important than intellect.¨ Wow! It’s absolutely true! All of my family and loved ones are examples to me of hard work. It doesn't matter how much talent we have, there is no use of it, if we do not use it. I know I have talents, but I can achieve more by simply making the best and Realistic goals for myself. During class this week we learned about stress management. I have found that there is a good stress that we have. This good stress pushes us to be better and to be more every day. I have been working on that every day--to feel a level of stress that is healthy, and will help me to progress in my physical, mental, and spiritual goals. . . I have found through my exercising and being mindful of what I eat and drink, has given me all the energy I need to move forward.
The other day I desperately wanted to take a nap since my head was pulsating, but then I thought, ¨No! You are just going to feel more sleepy, unaccomplished, and you will be even more exhausted when you get back to work.¨ So I didn't! I worked out really hard and did my best during gym time. The bad stress I was feeling earlier was relieved. No, not all of what I needed to do didn't leave me, but rather I was strengthened to complete the rest of the day’s goals. Exercise is so important! :) You never know what forty-five minutes can do! It’s the same principle I learned during another devotional I had this week with President Pratt. He explained, ¨God does not take our trial, burden, or circumstance away, rather he strengthens us.¨ I am always grateful that I receive strength from my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I am especially thankful for the Holy Ghost whispering to me to do better than I did the day before. I remember what Beau and Melanie tell me what they do, to just take one day at a time. And that’s exactly what I’m doing! I’m taking it piece by piece, and I don’t feel like there is too much to handle, I feel like it is just right. Heavenly Father knows our needs, and he blesses us immediately when we are righteous. He really does. Granted, there is a lot for me to memorize and do every hour of the day, but it is always rewarding. :) Thank you everyone for writing me so much! Your thoughts of comfort help me to ¨persevar hasta el fin¨(endure to the end). Jesucristo helps me to be tranquielo (calm) and believe in myself. I believe in all of you, and it is because of you and our Godhead that I can do this, that we can do anything. :D The Savior’s Atonement carries me heavenward and reminds me that I can do anything, because he did, for the world!
I wish all of you my love and happiness!!! Thanks for not giving up on me, ever, and for sending me your love. It is truly felt. :)
P.S. please send me pictures of ALL of you, I want to see your smiling faces!!!
Con todos mi amo, (with ALL my love)
Hermana Keri Chantel Stephenson :)
(my computer is acting weird, so sorry for the weird spelling and phrasing in the middle)
I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!!!! You are mi Fortaleza (me Strength)!!!!!!! I can’t wait for more letters!!! :D