Mackay!!!! You are going to be Elder Shelley in TWO DAYS!!!! And wow! California Oakland/San Fran Mission!!! I am so very happy for you and for your faith and patience and diligence. I can´t believe that you are already on your way. The Lord truly answers prayers. I can´t wait to hear all about it and how you are doing. I can´t wait to see what language you end up speaking, where you will serve, what the work is like, etc. I am so proud of you! Thank you for your amazing example. You are truly a disciple of Jesus Christ and I know that you are going to hit the ground running out there. Keep relying on the Lord. I know that you are going to be in the exact place that you should be at the exact time that you should be. There are people waiting for YOU right now. I love you man!!!
So I just received the best emails ever! My brother is heading back out on his mission, I got to see the BEST engagement pictures (Jenny, I am SO happy for you... you look fantastic, by the way! And so happy! Thank you for keeping me in the loop... it makes me feel like a part of things ;), and it sounds like everyone is just doing wonderfully. I can´t believe that my little man is all grown up and going to high school! So weird. I hope that things ended up how you wanted with band camp. I keep you in my prayers always. Know that I love you tons. You are going to do so well in high school. It is a whole new ball game, but so fun. Study lots and enjoy every moment. You are going to be great!
Well, we had a great week! Estefanía was BAPTIZED and Brenda was CONFIRMED. So great! We had quite the experience with Estefi´s baptism... she got all dress and was just so very embarrassed about the clothes that she wouldn´t leave the bathroom! We tried everything. We even offered waiting, but she was determined to be baptized, which was great. We offered having her in her own clothes and then changing right before, but no. We offered to put my big, long rain coat over it, but no... finally, she decided that it would be best to empty out the entire room, have the baptism with just her family watching, and then let everyone come back for the talks! haha. A little bit backwards, but it ended up working out in the end and was a beautiful baptism. All of the YW in the ward had stayed to support her, and they were really good sports about waiting in the chapel until Estefi had been baptized. haha. It all worked out! Sadly, no pictures. She was just too embarrassed. The Elders also had a baptism on Saturday and it was also quite the doosy... we have an Hermano who is in charge of filling the font when there are baptisms and he is really great about it. The Elders called him and he was even already in the church and so they worked it out so that he could fill it. Well... we had the entire baptismal service and then they opened the doors to the font as the little boy and Elder Carvajal entered from the back... and the font was EMPTY!!! oh no!! We, (the Hermanas) went looking for buckets and starting filling it up as the Elders started the water in the font... but the water comes out REALLY slow... you need a good 4 hours to fill it... So after 30 minutes we had water up to the little boy´s mid calf... and the water was FREEZING! Well... they tried to baptize him, but there just wasn´t quite enough water and his feet kept slipping out from under him and popping out of the water. The poor thing was trembling something terrible! After 3 tries, they ended up baptizing him face first! It was quite the sight, but he got all the way under. Sadly, because of the water he got sick and wasn´t able to go to church to be confirmed yesterday... next week. The poor thing! He was a good sport about it, and at least he was baptized. The Hermano had gotten busy with his things and forgot completely about the water. Oops.
Well..... Transfers happened!
Hermana Dunn left us! She is now in Almagro, which is right next door to Congreso! haha. We couldn´t believe it! We are back to an even number of Hermanas (one left and 2 came) so it looks like I will be staying in place for a little while. So I am finishing Hermana Montecino´s training by myself (the new training program is 12 weeks...). I will definitely miss Hermana Dunn! We had the last 4 months together and it´s really weird that she´s not here... I suppose that I will get used to it! Hermana Dunn did so much for me and taught me so much, and I will be forever grateful. She is an amazing missionary. I really do love her dearly and we will be the best of friends for the rest of forever! She got me through a lot and we went through a lot together. Love her tons!
I don´t know if Hermana Gonzalez reads the blog, but I just want to tell you how much I love and appreciate you even MORE now (don´t know if it´s possible...) through this training experience. Training is DIFFICULT! It means having someone question your every move, trying to teach by example while still learning yourself, helping make the difficult transition into mission life... and my "hija" even speaks SPANISH! haha. I can´t even imagine what it must have been having to deal with me. Know that I love you DEARLY! You changed my life and laid the foundation for my mission. Thank you.
We don´t really have any details about the Temple. What we do know is that we will be called and given the info at some point. haha. Basically, we will go one day and do an afternoon shift from 3 to 9, sleep at the MTC, and then do a morning shift the next day from 9 to 3 and then go home from there. It will mean missing 2 days in the area, but it will be so worth it. We know that we are going to see absolute MIRACLES for the rededication. We are getting really excited for all of the events. From what we understand, we will have a special conference of missionaries with President Eyring on the 8th and then be able to participate in the cultural event. Then the rededication will be on the 9th! What an amazing time to be in the mission! I love the Temple and I want to prepare the entire world to enter. The ward is really excited about all that is going on and so we know that we are going to work well with them to see the miracles.
I love you all so much! I love being a missionary. It is surely the most difficult thing that I have ever done, and with that, the most wonderful. President has received revelation that we should each be baptizing and confirming weekly. It is a lot, but I have no doubt that when the Lord calls, He qualifies, and when he commands, He prepares the way. There are so very many people prepared to receive us... we just have to FIND them! Please pray that we will be able to find the FAMILIES that are truly going to progress in the gospel. I know that they are waiting to be found.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have loved the change that I have seen in my Sacrament preparation and have truly felt more fully the power of the Atonement as I have prepared myself to partake. Each week, the Lord is inviting us to His house, to partake of His supper. Would we not prepare ourselves well for such an invitation? Would we not ponder and reflect? Pray and repent? Search our souls and seek forgiveness? Would we not wake early and prepare our minds and bodies? Would we not go through the day reverently? I am so grateful for the Sabbath day. There is a quote in Preach my Gospel about how when a nation dwindles in their Sabbath day observance, all aspects of their life suffers. That is also so true for individuals. I like to think of the Sabbath day as a gift. The Lord has given us one day to get away from the worries and things of the world. Let us use this sacred day in the way that The Lord intended. If He were in our home, what would we choose to be doing? I love the Sabbath. I know that as we change how we prepare for the Sacrament and truly make the ENTIRE day a holy experience, our lives will be transformed.
I love you all so much! I could only put a few pictures on because they loaded really slow... Sorry!
I love you all dearly! Thank you for your great faith and constant prayers.
Know that I love and pray for you!
PS- I am really trying to prepare myself well for the rededication of the Temple, and in so doing, I have decided that I don´t want to think about school quite yet. When it is over, I know that it will be time that I have to. For now, I think that I am going to wait. All of the classes that I need to take are fall classes, and it would be almost impossible to get an override to take the spring ones first since I wouldn´t have learned how to play the instruments in the fall that I will need for the classes! haha. Or, I might do the late start that is in March and get going on a Spanish minor... but for now, I don´t want to focus on it to much. My release date is January 21... so weird to think about! Just so you know, but don´t go reminding me about it ;) haha. LOVE YOU!!!
pictures: Brenda's baptism
Buenos Aires, Argentina temple
Sisters Dunn, Shelley, and Montecino at the Buenos Aires temple