This was a great letter to Mackay. What a blessing to have a sister give such great advice. We are so proud of both of them, they both will be great missionaries!!
Did life stop for a minute yesterday?????????????' Haha. Actually, I figured that with getting mackay ready to go that you didn´t even notice that I didn´t write. What happened is that President Gulbrandsen came for interviews and we ended up switching Pday to today. Hope that I didn´t make anyone worry.
Well, I figure that since this is my last chance to email Mackay before he becomes Elder Shelley (WOOT), you all and the blog world wouldn´t mind if I made this one to Mackay, and the rest of you are invited to read along, of course. Kind of like those conference talks where the speaker says something like "I am going to talk to the primary children... the rest of you are invited to listen of course, but this one is directed to them..." Does that make any sense??? Here it goes!
Wow!!! You are going to be a missionary... the thing that you have waited for for your entire life. The thing that seemed so far away, but now that it is this week, it seems like there was no time at all. Let me tell you, it is all that you have hoped it would be and even more. Some things that I think you might like to read as your prepare to enter this wonderful adventure:
The Elders are AMAZING. I just can´t believe that they are 19 and 20 year old boys. Really... you are MEN and you work as the ARMY OF HELAMAN. You have been taught in your youth and you are NOW the Lord´s missionaries. You HAVE the truth and the wonderful people of the Philippines need what you have. I appreciate the Elders so much... they are always serving us and watching out for our investigators...and am so grateful that they have responded to the call to serve. You are going to be amazing.
You have no idea how much you will come to love people. You create instant eternal bonds with your companions. Hermana Malhue and I have a very special connection... I don´t know how to describe it, but this little girl from Arizona has an eternal friend in my Chilenan companion, despite culture or language differences. I still write to each of my companions and we find great joy in all that we shared in the MTC or in Congreso and look forward to an eternal friendship. I love hearing of their success and sharing the news ofUshuaia. The ward or branch becomes your second family and you truly do come to love them dearly as you eat in their houses, and serve together. The investigators take a piece of your heart. Everything you do is for THEM. It is the best chance you will ever have to serve others and you will LOVE it! Your prayers, your morning studies, your thoughts, the teachings, your conversations, literally EVERYTHING is about how you can help THEM! When someone chooses to not except, the pain is hard and REAL. When one grows and progress, the joy is indescribable. They will forever be a part of you. You will love the country. Find joy in the culture and embrace the new things that you will experience. I loveArgentina and the people and everything... maybe I love the food a bit TOO much! haha.
The gift of tongues is real, but you will have to work harder than any time in your whole life. After almost 5 months in the mission (wow... really, 5?????) I still don´t understand a lot, but I always understand ideas and when we are in lessons, I can understand almost perfectly and speak and express myself without problem. There is always more to learn, more to improve, etc. Don´t get discouraged. You will see miracles. I remember one experience in my first week when I really had no clue what was going on, but felt impressed to share Helaman 5 and the dear Sister needed exactly that. This is the Lord´s work and He will never leave you alone.
You are going to grow and change so much and you will love it. I love that the Lord mold us into the person that HE needs us to be.
This is truly the Lord´s work, and you HAVE to rely on the Spirit. Our investigator, Griselda, had been reading the Book of Mormon every day, praying, and has 3 attendances to church, but would not accept a baptismal date. We felt strongly that we needed to teach lesson 2, the plan of salvation, and so we moved forward with that. After the lesson, she accepted a baptismal date for this weekend and said "I know that this is true and I want to arrive in the Celestial Kingdom!!!" Then, two days later, she gave permission for her daughter, Fabiola to be baptized with her!!! We will have a double baptism this Sunday!!! Always, it is the Lord doing the work. The best feeling in the world is to feel the Spirit working within you and knowing that the words and scriptures that you use are not your own.
The mission is FUN!!! Lots of super funny things are going to happen and you will laugh so hard you cry. Have FUN! Yes, be 100% focused in the work... but the gospel is FUN! We have the truth and we need to proclaim it with a smile.
You will have the most wonderful and the most difficult times of your life in the mission. Embrace it!
Oh Mackaysatan get you down. It´s not worth it to waste one second. I am praying for you and I love you tons! I am SO SO SO excited to share this mission experience with you. I know that you are going to help me tons with your testimony and I can´t wait to read all about your adventures. See you in 24!!!!!!!!!!
Mail came this week and I got some birthday cards. Shout out thank yous to Jenny (LOVED the top 10... have an odd craving for Starburst now... too bad that they don´t exist in the end of the world! haha), Jessica T ( LOVE the picture. Thank you SO much! So good to see everyone and............... I love reading your Spanish! Now that I actually know Spanish mas o menos, I will be writing in Spanish) and Gandma Shelley! THank you for the cards! Fun that my Bday lasted a month!
Have a very happy Thanksgiving. We don´t celebrate it here, but I am eternally grateful for my wonderful family and all the support that you all give me. I am so grateful to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and for my Father in Heaven. I am eternally grateful for this chance to be a missionary.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
All my love,