This week was pretty crazy. I'm not sure if there was any events that necessarily made it any crazier than usual, but it definitely was just the strangest feeling week of my mission.
Well, I guess most of the week was spent prepping for the baptism we had on Saturday. Everything went well, and Cinthia and Jose were both baptized Saturday evening. As per usual, one thing went wrong, but this one was definitely not too bad. We weren't able to be the ones to fill the font, because we had an appointment right around the time it needed to be filled, so an hermano from the branch did it for us, resulting in a freezing cold baptism for poor Cinthia and Jose. It was a really great evening though, and it was so awesome to see these two, who we just met a little over a month ago, make one of the most important decisions of their lives. They really have been so amazing through this whole process, and I feel so blessed to have met them. They have not missed one week of church since we met them, and have so much faith and desire to learn and follow Christ. They are going to be awesome examples to their families. And at the rate Jose is reading he's probably finished the Book of Mormon by now. :)
We got a couple of referrals from the hermanas in Arlington Heights, and they seem like some really legit people. We stopped by and met one, Antonio, briefly and invited him to church and he came. And then we just were able to call the other referral, Liliana, and invite her to church and she came and brought her husband. This may seem like not that big of a deal to you, but getting people to church is seriously one of the hardest parts of missionary work. I'm excited for them, and am sure that this branch is going to see so many miracles.
The rest of the week was spent with our regular appointments and saying goodbye. Because . . I don't know if you realize this, but. . . I'm coming home really soon. Which is the most bizarre feeling ever. I've held up pretty good until yesterday at church. I really very rarely cry. But for some reason I just couldn't control myself yesterday. It probably didn't help that it was fast and testimony meeting, and as I heard people's testimonies all I could think about was how it was my last Sunday as a missionary, my last Sunday in a Spanish branch, my last Sunday seeing people that I taught get confirmed members of the church of Jesus Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. And it was my last Sunday to bear my testimony as a missionary. My last Sunday to listen to off key singing in Spanish. After Sacrament Meeting was over I was talking to Antonio (referral that came to church) and was explaining what would happen next when I saw in the back of the room Hermana Arreguin from Westchester. Oh my goodness, if I hadn't been teary before, I definitely was then. She's my mission mom. And she came to say goodbye, and I just hugged her and bawled in front of the whole fetchin branch. But it was so good to see her.
Today Moffat and I are headed to Portillo's for lunch, for my last Chicago hot dog, and then Elder Unick and I are having a joint funeral. I'm pretty stoked. And then more goodbyes planned in for the evening. And then a night full of packing. Tuesday night I doubt I'll get any sleep either, so sorry if I'm the grumpiest person ever on Wednesday.
Well. I guess this is the last email I'll be sending as a missionary. . .
So. Yeah. I don't know. Its really weird. I might be the weirdest person ever when I get home. I hope you can forgive me.
I never thought I would go on a mission. And then I did. And while I was there I never thought the day would come that I would go home. And now its almost here. I can't even express how grateful I am for the last 18 months. I have had so much fun, but I have also learned so much. I have seen so many miracles, and I have no idea where I would be if I hadn't done this. Maybe the biggest miracle I have seen is how this mission has changed me. I didn't want to be changed at the beginning. I thought being changed would mean I'd come back with a different personality, as some weirdo return sister missionary. And maybe that has happened, I guess you guys will have to be the judges of that. But more than anything I have changed in my priorities. What is important to me now, was not really that important before. Or at least I didn't realize how much more important it could be. Jesus Christ really should be the center of our lives. And when we are living the way He wants us to live, no matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, he won't leave you. and ultimately, he will make you stronger. I never really understood the gospel. I never really understood why this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was all that different from other churches. I never really understood the importance of a prophet, and I especially didn't understand the importance of Joseph Smith. I mean, I knew all the answers. But I just didn't get it. And I'm sure I still don't, but I definitely get it a lot more than I did before. I have no idea who reads these emails that are put on the blog, but if anyone that does read them is wondering if they should go on a mission, I say DEFINITELY. And if anyone is reading this that doesn't know much about what I've been teaching for the last year and half, member of the church or not, find out. If what I've been teaching is true, (which it is), its way too important to not truly give it a try. Its too important to not read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. And if its not true. Well, then I guess at least you'll know its not. But I guess in my last email home as a missionary, I want to promise anyone reading this, that the Book of Mormon is true. That it really is scripture. And that by reading it and praying about it you can know that this church is the SAME church Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth. That it is the ONLY church with the authority of God to perform sacred, saving ordinances. and that it is IMPERATIVE that you know these things for yourself.
So do it. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray about it. What can you lose? Especially not in comparison to that which you can gain.
Estoy muy muy agradecida por todo que he aprendido durante los ultimos 18 meses. Y estoy muy agradecida por todas las personas que he conocido y que han bendecido a mi vida. Les amo mucho, y les voy a extranar mas que pueden saber. Han sido mi familia aqui, y siempre van a estar en mi corazon.
I'll be seeing you soon. 11 am on Sunday- I'll be speaking. Hope to see you there.
christmas lights in the city
la familia Motta
el bautismo de Cinthia y Jose Martinez
Mommy V, or Hermana Arreguin
My girlssss, Nathaly y Cinthia
Hermana Boratto y Mia
Hermano y Hermana Flores
Nathaly y Alejandra
La Familia Ramirez
1020- La Familia Cortez