Hello Family and Friends,
I'm really excited to write all of you this week. A lot has happened and to say the least, I'll be tons happier to begin working again as soon as possible. My new companion is from Honduras and is waiting for his Visa to go to Mexico (not the same mission as Kyle, unluckily) and his name is Elder Castro. He's my second missionary that I'm training but it looks like the training will be cut short because of a few problems. He'll be going home because of some mental issues with anxiety and nervousness and he's had some other problems. FOR ALL FUTURE MISSIONARIES THAT READ THIS: LEAVE EVERYTHING AT HOME (AND FORGET ABOUT THE GIRLFRIEND... PLEASE!) [Girlfriends are the worst UNTIL you get back home. I say that because all of Elder Castro's problems began because he started thinking about the girl back home and the "promises" they made each other. Don't think you are exempt. Just forget her. Thank you.]
Now with such an introduction to my letter, I must say how much I love the mission. It is so great! After the rough first few months learning a new language, the mission is sooo awesome. Every night I write in my journal about how awesome the mission is. Sounds like a lot of my friends will be leaving again soon and yet others are coming back home. One thing that I've learned and still have to learn is following the Spirit and relying more on the Lord for guidance as to where to go. If we listen, he will guide us.
In regards with Elder Castro, I love that man soo much. I have sometimes sat in my desk while he lays in his bed and I have wondered, "why?" But I have felt the love and mercy and grace that God has given and gives to Elder Castro and I love him too. He will return to be a missionary again. He had his interview with President today (we went to Teguc and back in one day and that's why I'm writing late) and he talked to his bishop and his mom and will be going home (Wednesday, I think). I don't know anything else about what will happen but President just told me to keep working hard - that's easy enough. I do not judge Elder Castro for what he has done or for his decisions but I am happy to know that he's on the right track to become who God wants him to be. I'll be in contact with him still to try and help him. He's put a lot of trust in me and we've become great friends in 5 days but I know that he'll be better off to go home and then come back as a PREPARED missionary. That preparation is very essential. No one can just "show up" to the mission and expect to be the best missionary that they can be. The Lord expects more from his missionaries.
As far as my health. I asked for a blessing last week when all the Dengue and Chikungunya was starting and I've had probably the quickest recovery that the mission has seen. I don't hurt anymore in my joints and I walk just normally now. Everything finished in about 5 days and by the 7th day I was back to normal platelet levels and healthy again. Thank you for all your prayers in my behalf and for all that you guys do. God has blessed me more than you can know and so I thank you because of your sincere prayers and fasts in my behalf. Thank you.
I'll let you know how everything else goes this week. I won't be working hardly at all in my area for one more week because of this little bump in the road but I'm still SUPER excited to be doing everything I can to serve in every moment. Kyle told me something that he learned from his mission, that sometimes the most important conversion is your companion's conversion. Not only is that true but also our personal conversion is very important.
Something special I've learned this week: service doesn't just happen on the dirty streets helping a lady with her heavy bags or when we clean out a neighbors house. Those are very critical things but have we thought about our words, our feelings, our thoughts and our actions? We do a more personal service when we become a servant and not just a person who goes through the motions of service. We cannot comprehend the service we do to the whole world when we make good choices. We can serve one another with our words and kind thoughts and smiles. These little services are results from becoming servants and not just doing the motions of service. When we are better prepared, we can serve (and learn to serve) with even more of our heart, might, mind, and strength.
I send my love to all and especially my family. I got the package! Best B-day ever! I forgot about everything not being wrapped so I had a mini b-day the other day. I love the Yoga. In my mind, I have to imagine the relaxing voice, "Touch your foot to the top of your head. Then throw your other foot over your shoulder like a scarf, and relaaaaaax...." (Kyle, that was the Brian Reagan quote for you!) But seriously, I like relaxing and exercising by Yoga in the morning. It wakes me up really well and then I can take a Freezing, cold shower to wake me up the rest of the way. What a way to start the day FRESH! :D
All my love,
¡Hurrah por Israel!
PS Mom, I'm pretty sure I had both Dengue and Chikungunya because of the joint pains. Dengue only has body and muscle pains but I had joint pains especially in my knees and ankles. That pain is very typical in Chikungunya. But I'm all healed now. Please forget about it now and don't worry. I talked to Rigby and I'll be fine for the rest of my mission. I'll let you know about the application of the oils later. I don't know right now nor do I have time today to write more. Love You! Glad you had fun on Choir Tour! And Brittany cut her hair and dyed it! I was shocked but it's great! :D Say hello to Ava for me! She looks soo adorable! And that little Audrey has the cheesiest smile! Hahahaha :D Talk to you on Mothers day (when is that?)