Hola! Toda via es mi Espanol maso meno, pero toda via estoy tratando.
[Hi! My Spanish is still so-so, but I'm still trying.]
I gave a talk this last Sunday (in Spanish, of course). That was interesting. It was only 5 minutes, and I was speaking about how the Old Testament testifies of Christ. I found out afterwards that I kept pronouncing "bronce" (meaning bronze) totally wrong the whole time. Uh, oops? I was pronouncing it with a hard "C" apparently, which I didn't realize. Hehe, yep. That's my Spanish for you all! Don't ask why I kept talking about bronze in a talk about the Old Testament.
The brother in charge of leading the member participation in missionary work, Brother Clive, is fantastic. He served a mission in Argentina (sorry Mom, I forget where exactly), and his Spanish is sooooo good. He's just a great member, and super inspired. This last Saturday, he organized a ward party. It was basically just an excuse to eat food, and guess what he made (it was the center dish)? Choripan. Probably not many of you know what that is, but I will tell you right now: it is a totally fantastic Argentinian dish. It's basically an Argentine Chorizo sausage stuffed in a piece of bread with this delicious chile sauce. Man... oh, I wish I could have more of that stuff.
This last week was pretty normal, which means crazy. Yep. Crazy is the new normal here. This is not the easiest area in which to share the Gospel, by the way. Many, many people are very set in their ways. I think a lot of people have the misconception that missionaries go around trying to force people to join the church. That's just not true! I suppose I can't speak for all missionaries everywhere, but our purpose seems pretty clear to me. It's one of the greatest things we can do: choose for ourselves. All I can do as a missionary is offer service, share my beliefs, and invite others to find out for themselves if what I share is true or I'm just crazy. Okay, I'll admit, I'm sometimes a bit crazy, but I've also actually tried for myself the things I tell people I believe, and I've seen evidence of it. If I hadn't done so, I wouldn't be here sharing it right now.
It's interesting sometimes how hard it is for people to just read a tiny bit and "experiment on the words." It's exactly that: an experiment. So many don't want to give any other belief a chance. I can't convince anyone of what I share; that much has been made abundantly clear. However, sometimes, when Elder Wunderlich and I share some of the most precious truths, the spirit, like a feeling of incredible peace and quiet, rushes into the room. It's almost like electricity, but instead of electrocuting you, it brings a feeling of peace and joy unlike any other.
It happened this last week as we were teaching a family. Brother Clive was with us. The daughter in this family has been really great, and has been acting on all of our invitations to her. She's read in the Book of Mormon, wanting to know if it is true, and she's prayed about it. She's preparing for her quince [15th birthday debut], so she's pretty busy, but she still takes the time to experiment on our message. She's even told us that she's felt that same confirmation of the spirit as she prayed and read.
As we were teaching the story of the restoration of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ to her family, things were pretty rowdy. The baby was crying, one of the little boys was staging a fight between superman and robot action figures (I think Superman won), and people kept coming into the house. I knew that with such chaos, it would be hard to feel the spirit.
As I sat there watching all of this, I just looked around. I then bowed my head, and said a short prayer as my companion was speaking. I just prayed asking for the house to be blessed with peace as we taught. I looked up, but continued to pray in my heart. Seconds before I began one of the most precious and inspiring parts of the lesson, the account of Joseph Smith's vision of God and His Son, the house went suddenly quiet. The mom of the family took the crying baby outside, the final showdown followed, and the other brother fell fast asleep. It was almost all at once.
As I then began the account, the spirit rushed into the room like a giant wave knocking us all over. This was no normal feeling. I felt so much more love and peace. I could also see the other people in the family clearly felt it. When I asked them afterwards what they felt in their hearts, the father answered "tranquility." I looked over at Brother Clive, and his eyes were watering the whole time.
I don't have a ton of time, but I wanted to first say thanks a ton for the package! I love those suits. I've already worn the gray one ( ). Between the MTC and here, we've also got some pretty awesome Kinder egg toys. In the MTC we got a micro-squirtgun, but unfortunately it was in the egg of one of my MTC companions. We did get a launchable mini-racecar, a launchable top, a throwable thing, and a sweet plastic motorcycle that if you pushed it forward went really, really fast for a while. Unfortunately, I accidentally melted bits of the motorcycle by making it go so fast. The chocolate was also delicious, so thanks!
Finally, I want to share my testimony that I know the things I am sharing are true. I believe everyone has the right to worship how, where, or what they may. Even so, I have experimented for myself, and have seen too much evidence of these things to discount or deny. I love this work, and I love every one of you.
I forgot my camera in the car this week, but the pictures were not too new any way. I hope to give you a virtual tour of the apartment next week, though!
Love you all!