1) Will you please take some pictures of you and your companion? We'd like to see what she looks like.
2) How did the wedding & baptisms go?
3) Did I tell you that Brytni B. was called to Nauvoo for her mission? She spoke today--her farewell--and enters the MTC on Wednesday.
4) Any last minute advise to give Cameron for his AP Calc test? It is the 5th of May.5) Do you need anything else for the spring.summer? Clothes wise, or anything else?
1. Yes. Lucky for you we already did that this weekend, so I'll attach them at the end of the email.
2. Splendidly! Man, this was probably the best weekend of my entire life....up to this point and probably forever. Why? Well...I'll explain at the end of the email. (:
3. I think you did tell me, but I'd forgotten, so that's cool! Grandma's letter this week said cousin Jeremiah got his call too, to the Philippines (?) I believe. That's so sweet! He's gonna make an awesome missionary. Same will Brytni.
4. Review, review, review. And practice, practice, practice. "The Holy Ghost can't bring to your remembrance something that you've never learned." I'm a believer that one reason I did so well on tests was because I did my part to learn and to study, and then kept up my habits of scripture study and prayer, and the Holy Ghost was able to "enlighten" my mind and help me remember what I had studied. No joke. It's a real thing.
5. Clothes, no. I've come to the conclusion that I have/had WAY too many articles of clothing. So I'll be sending a box home soon (hopefully) and I don't think I will ever need more while on my mission. Of course I like having more options (who doesn't) but they're not necessary and who wants to lug it all around the state of Illinois? Not me--with my luck/blessing, I'll probably get sent to Beloit next. (;
However, I do have a request of sorts for summer/my birthday: so Hna Hunsaker is from Orem, right, and therefore we have both frequented many of the same places (when I say many, I mean a few really). Anyway, the point is she has these super cute shoes that she says are the most comfortable ever, and I was thinking that might be good actually because the walking shoes I have from the Sister Missionary Mall aren't the best thing to walk around all day in (the black pair always makes me roll my ankle...) So I was wondering if you could look into a pair for me. She said she got them at a store in Provo called "Modern Shoe" (I feel like we may have gone there last summer, you and I, momma). I'll just take a picture of her shoes and send it because I won't do a fantastic job of describing them. [She told me the style is called "Cobb Hill", and the brand is "New Style"] I dunno what color options are gonna be available, but if they've got black, that would be my first choice.
That is my final answer.
Grandma asked about the apartment here, so I'll attach some pictures of it too. It's a pretty nice apartment actually. We even have a balcony. (: The building used to be a 70s motel I guess, so it doesn't feel so much like a stinky apartment.
For some reason,
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY BROTHER!! What the junk, you're 18 years old (in two days). Who said that was okay....? I wish I could sing to you through email because I learned the Mexican birthday song from my last companion. And I'm sure you would just LOVE it.... haha but hey. For reals. Happy birthday. Don't forget to open your gift from me. And if you really loved me, you'd write me an email about your day/week/life. You know, the usual thing siblings do for their sister on a mission.
Finalmente, before I talk about my week, I meant to say this last (?) week: Happy anniversary padres! Love you a million Swedish fish.
So. To explain why this weekend was the best of my entire mortal existence:
Friday we have the car. And usually it's a pretty jam packed day because it's a lot easier to get to different places. But this Friday wasn't so jam packed. It was kind of weird actually. Our planned member present lessons fell through (we've not been doing so well with member presents because we dropped basically all the people we could teach in the morning, which is when the majority of the members are available) so we were trying our best to have something and eventually it paid off: we met with one of our investigators, Luis, who has cancer. And he almost accepted a baptismal date. We think he's totally "golden" he just doesn't know it yet. So we had a fantastic lesson with him and with a member, Hermana Fabiola. And then we finally met with Juan and Jovita--we still had to teach a few principles before their baptism Sunday morning and it definitely wasn't going to happen on Saturday. And here's the catch: Juan talks a TON. And Hna Fabiola is quite the chatterbox too. And it was the last hour of the day so we had to be pretty concise about it. We couldn't start right away because we were taking care of some things for the wedding so they were in the middle of the conversation when we were ready to begin. And neither of us hermanas are good at interrupting politely. So we had to bide our time until the opportunity arose--and then we snatched it and got started. I must say, I'm pretty impressed with the ability I've gained to interrupt politely. Still not fantastic at it, but I've definitely improved.
Then Saturday was the wedding. Wow. Mexican weddings are something else.....I don't even have the words to describe it. It was also kind of terrible because they were playing American music with Spanish lyrics--so it was very easy to tell what song it was, which is awful as a missionary. Man. I don't want to repeat that experience on my mission. But, it was also really good because we met some new people and finally got to do service; oh and Juan and Jovita were legally and lawfully wedded! So they could now be baptized! Woo! haha it was really good though. Hno Torres was the only hermano dancing, and man was it entertaining. I love Hno Torres... We also helped serve the wedding cake--sometimes it's still weird to me that you actuallly cut the wedding cake because I feel like you only ever see them whole, and in one piece, with no one eating it....but yeah. So the wedding was really good. It didn't end until after our pumpkin time though so we couldn't help clean up....man our members here are SO good to us. I love them all.
Then Sunday, we had to be at the church at 8 (the elders filled up the font for us, otherwise we would've had to be there at 7:15 or so...) in order to make sure everything was ready and good to go. Juan and Jovita got there around 8 too which was great (it was when we had told them to come) but there was one hitch: there wasn't any white ropa. ....uh oh. The only jumpsuits we had were for ninos, so that wasn't going to fly. So we basically had to wait for 45 minutes for the ropa to get there--it had been taken home to be washed we finally figured out. Oh man. Kind of nerve wracking. But hey, it was all good in the end. The ordinance was performed--my very first one!--and the service was great. Then in sacrament meeting, they were confirmed! WOO! haha maybe it's a little prideful of me, but: MY VERY FIRST CONVERTS!! Wow. Such a good day. I admit, I was pretty wiped out from the weekend in general and was almost falling asleep in the classes, but it worked out okay. (Someday brought donuts--I'm not going to ask who broke the Sabbath day...--and offered us donuts. Made my day...)
We had an appointment at 3:30 with a member and his soon-to-be-wife investigator, as well as the member's sister, who is the branch president's wife. (I think that is actually easier to explain in Spanish, for once...) And it was good except we were there for two hours. Which, wouldn't be a huge deal except for the fact that my converts in Peoria were getting baptized at 6:30 and we were going to Skype at 5:45. So yeah. I was kinda freaking out a bit on the inside. But we finally got out and were only about 5 minutes from our apartment and the Martinez' were at home so we called and asked to use their WiFi. The Elderes ended up not skype calling until almost 6:00 so everything worked out. And I got to see Angelina and Maria again!! Man. For real, best weekend of my entire life. Oh, and the Albrechtsen family and the Silva family too. Man I love Bloomington-Normal. I mean, I love Bloomingdale too (those names are still confusing for me) but I love the two places for different reasons. And I'll always love both places. (:
[Oh, and today I got an email from my trainer saying that she got a call from Hna Albrechtsen family, plus some pictures, so Hna Israelsen sent them to me. I'll attach one of those too and you (and I) can pretend that I'm in the picture too.]
So basically, this weekend will forever be etched in my memory for so many reasons that I can't even explain. But to sum it up, only a scripture will suffice, which I happened to read yesterday after all of this had happened: Alma 26:1, 3, 5
1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Utah that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
At the moment, the "number of [my] sheaves" is four. And while it's not the thousands upon thousands of sheaves that Ammon and his brethren had, it's enough to make me tear up, at least a little bit. To think that I have been made an instrument in the hands of God, that I have helped bring these my three sisters and one brother (literal descendants of the Lamanites) to the light of the Gospel, well, it leads me to another scripture: D&C 18:15-16
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
My joy truly is great. And I now have an even stronger testimony of these scriptures, and many others like unto them. La obra misional is the single greatest thing I could be doing, and it brings the most exquisite of joy to the laborers. I am so grateful to be a missionary and have the opportunity to serve these my brothers and sisters in a way that no other church or religion can, for I know this to be true:
"We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this” (“The Purpose of Missionary Work,” missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1995).
Only we, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the authority to bring souls unto Christ, to help God's children receive exaltation in the life to come. And we, as members of Christ's church, have the responsibility to share what we have so abundantly been given. When we were baptized, we covenanted--we made a promise with God the Almighty--to stand as a witness at all times, in all things, and in all places. But He does not leave us alone in that work. If we will but open our mouths, He has promised on more than one occasion, that "they will be filled". I know that promise is sure, because I have seen it fulfilled in my life. I, Jill Perri DeBuck, do not alone have the capacity to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ with the voice of a trump (see Alma 26:12 and D&C 24:12) but I have been called by a living prophet of God and set apart by the restored priesthood power of God on the earth today. And with that calling, I truly can do all things (Phillipians 4:13).
I know this is the only true and living Church of God on the earth today, and that it was restored by Joseph Smith, a man called of God to head this last dispensation. I know that the Book of Mormon is the instrument of God to gather scattered Israel, and that it is the one thing that brings us close enough to Christ in order to inherit eternal life. Only through the Book of Mormon do we know the truths necessary for salvation. And it is never possible to have read it enough. "Every day, every day, every day" is the only way. I love this Book with all my heart. I love the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I am truly and eternally indebted to him, and to my Lord and Savior, my Redeemer and my Friend, Jesus Christ. He has prepared the way for us, and now it is our turn to accept it or reject it. And at the judgment day, all men shall know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph is a prophet, and that Jesus is the Christ.
Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
P.S. Yes, we purposely matched with the colors they'd picked for their wedding. (:
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