WOW! What a week! We went to pick up our new companion on Tuesday and she is AMAZING!!! She is Hermana Montecinos, from CHILE!!! Oh man, does she remind me of Hermana Malhue! It makes me miss her... oh how i love her! Anyways, Hermana Montecinos is fantastic! She is 23, a convert of a year and a half, and just a ball of fire! I wish I had a picture to send, but I accidentally left my camera at home! Oops! She is really cute though! We have quite the set up in our tiny house... I am on a mattress on the floor to sleep AND study... with our two small desks, there is just not room for three... we tried! haha. But it´s no biggie. I am great with it! It is interesting having 9 pieces of luggage and stuff for 3 in a space for one or two, but we make do. We are VERY close! haha.
So like I said, we had an AMAZING week! We had 5 progressing investigators in church who will all be baptized the 21st or 28th. Two, Enrique and Marina, have everything all set to get married on the 20th and then baptized on the 21st! What a change we have seen in them! When we first started, Enrique wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. But, he started reading the Book of Mormon. He told us that he felt that God was talking to him through the pages and that he needed to listen! So powerful. They have a really cute family and they will be awesome in the church. Another, Lucía, is a 13 year old who moved in to live with Yeni and Milagros and Marina. She didn´t want anything to do with us either, but then she too read the Book of Mormon and felt the need to talk to us. After the first REAL lesson, she accepted a baptismal date! So great!
Javier´s ENTIRE family went to church on Sunday!!!!! It is the first time in 25 years that his dad has been back to church! And his Mom, Soledad, is finally progressing. She is reading and praying. She still has some doubts, mainly about being married, but she will come around. It was so amazing to see the entire family in Church yesterday.
Milagros and Marina both shared their testimonies in Church yesterday and it was really special! They are such cute girls who have really caught hold of the gospel. And, their less active families are now strong in the church because of the examples of these dear girls!
Another really special experience we had was on Thursday. I woke up with a Sister on my mind, Hermana Ojeda. I couldn´t get her off my mind all morning. I finally said something to my companions and we figured it out so that we could fit her in and still get to our appointments. We weren´t sure why, since she is a firm member and doesn´t really fall under any of the categories that the missionaries usually take care of, but it just felt right to all of us to go. Well, we got there around 5. When she looked out the window, she literally squealed for joy when she saw who was knocking. She quickly let us in and we began talking. She told us that she has been widowed for 8 years and that she really relied on the visits of her kids and visiting teachers. Well, her visiting teacher moved to another ward 2 months ago and her son who always visits stopped coming about 9 months ago, though she doesn´t know why. She was feeling really lonely. She decided to fast that day that the missionaries would visit her, but was nervous because the missionaries hadn´t been in her home for over 15 years. Tears came to my eyes as she told us that she had finished her fast recently and then we showed up! Wow. I was so grateful that we had listened to that prompting. It was tempting to shrug it off because it wouldn´t add to our numbers for "key indicators," but I have learned that it´s not about numbers. It is about being the hands of the Lord. It is about listening to the small promptings that come. It is about following. It is about lifting and blessing. It is about losing yourself. I felt so grateful knowing that we really can be the answers to the prayers of our Heavenly Father´s children. We just have to listen and do what He wants us to do!
Hermana Dunn´s birthday was on Wednesday and we had a good time! I used almost the last of the cocoa (thanks, Grandpa!!!) to make the recipe on the back for "Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake" and it was super delish! Loved it! She got a really fun package from her Grandma right in time and enjoyed opening it. I think she had a good birthday.
This one is for Kadon...
Yesterday, we ate COW TONGUE!!!!!! It wasn´t too bad, but I just couldn´t get it out of my head what we were eating! So gross! haha. But I got it down okay... I wish I had a picture! None of us had our cameras. Bummer! It was interesting...
Well, the work is really progressing! We are loving it and doing great things. Training is a responsibility but also a lot of fun and we are really enjoying it! I have seen a lot of growth in myself and in Hermana Dunn this week.
I love you all! Have great birthdays! Have a great vacation, and enjoy the reunion! Send everyone my love!
PS Thank you all for reading the Book of Mormon with me! I had an amazing experience finishing it this Saturday! As I knelt in prayer after finishing, I felt so strongly the love of our Heavenly Father. I felt an impression to just open the book. I opened to Alma 37 and my eye caught on to verses 6, 14, and 20:
"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass... and now remember, my (daughter), that God has entrusted you with these things, which are sacred... Therefore, I command you, my (daughter, Hermana Shelley), that ye be diligent in fulfilling all my words..."
It was seriously exactly what I needed! Tears came to my eyes as I felt Heavenly Father telling me that even though I am small and simple, I will be able to do great things in His strength as I am worthy of the sacred things that He has given me, keep the commandments, and DO all of the small and simple things that He asks of me. I know that I am nothing... but in the strength of the Lord, I can do hard things! I know that this will be a whirlwind last 6 months (yikes! Can´t believe how fast time is flying...) but I also know that no matter where the Lord calls me, or what He asks me to do, I will be able to respond to the call, "Here I am, send me!"
I love the Book of Mormon. I testify that it is true! If you don´t know that, read it and pray! The Lord will answer your prayers and tell you in your mind and in your heart that these things are true. I want to share this amazing book with the world! I am dedicating my life to the Lord. I know that I have been called of Him and that this mission is not the end, but only the beginning. I have changed so much in the mission and I see things so much more clearly now. I think that I really understand what I want for the first time in my life. I see myself how the Lord sees me. I am far from perfect, but I will put myself in His hands. I know that we can find all the answers that we need in the pages of the Book of Mormon. I love it and it has truly changed my life. Let it change yours!!!!
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful day!!!!!
Pictures: 1. Zarachos family
2 & 3. Chens family (he is the Bishop)
4. Ojeda family (they eat with them every other month)