Magandang hapon po!
This week has been a great week. It's also been a hard week. But, sometimes the really hard weeks are the best weeks, because those are the weeks when I learn and grow the most. I didn't realize how hard training would be! The trainer has to lead everything - lessons, tracting, contacting, planning - and the trainee kind of just follows along like a puppy. In a usual companionship, the load of the work should be shared 50/50. But in training, the weight is mostly, if not all, on the trainer. 100 for me! That's a heavy load for me, but it is helping me grow and learn a lot. I am giving my best and showing my best example to my anak, even though it drains me. But that's how it should be: I should always be giving everything I have, every day. If I'm not doing that, I'm not working hard enough. I'm not doing my job if, at the end of the day, I'm not out of my mind tired. Training has really helped me grow in patience. I am praying every day for the strength and kindness to be able to serve well as a trainer, and for my anak to learn everything she needs to during this time as we are training together. Training is hard, but it's also so wonderful. I am excited to keep training and learning more and more from this calling.
We have had some major push backs in our work with Carmelita and Herminihildo. Nanay Carmelita and Tatay Herminihildo's baptismal date has been pushed back to the middle of June. Tatay Herminihildo hasn't been able to shake his addiction to cigarettes just yet - and living the Word of Wisdom is a requirement for baptism. Nanay Carmelita is so ready for baptism, but doesn't want to get baptized without Tatay. Also, she wasn't able to come to church because she was really sick. (She got an infection in her gums and her face swelled up all huge. Ah!) It seems like every time a baptism is close, or an investigator is making real progress, something comes up and disrupts their conversion process. I like to call these "push backs." They get sick. They move. They lose their job. They can't stop smoking. They go back to their old religion. Push backs have happened a lot to me on my mission. I feel like my investigators and I are tripping a foot before the finish line. We are so close to baptism, and then we trip. Push backs are extremely discouraging, but I've learned to handle it and to always keep an eternal perspective on the situation. I've also learned that everything happens for a reason. For every push back that I have seen, I have seen two pushes forward. The positive definitely weighs out the negative. We are still working with and praying for Carmelita and Herminihildo. I know that they will be baptized, and that it will be in the Lord's time, not ours. Push backs are an important part of life. They teach you how to stay positive and they teach you how to be strong. I am honestly grateful for all the push backs that I have seen in my life and in my mission, because they have helped me learn and grow so much.
It is now officially rainy season here in Burgos. It usually rains every evening and night, which I love! I sleep wonderfully because the temperature cools down quite a bit once the rain starts. The temperature during the day is still hot and humid of course. On Saturday afternoon, we were teaching one of our investigators and it started to pour rain....and I mean, POURING RAIN. I didn't know so much water could fall so fast! The streets instantly started to flood. It was hard to speak and hear because the rain was so loud on the metal roof. We finished the lesson, and decided to wait for the storm to calm down a little bit before going out. We sat outside on the porch, under the metal covering and watched the storm. The thunder and lightning were deafening and the rain was coming down hard. In my head I was thinking, "Oh no! How are we going to have lessons? How are we going to walk from house to house through the flood and the mud?" As I was thinking and worrying, a herd of little boys came running by. They stripped off their clothes, and ran out into the rain, screaming and laughing. They started swimming - literally swimming - in the streets and playing games in the water. They got buckets and showered themselves with the rain. It was so funny and so fun to watch. Their happiness was contagious! Even though there was a big storm, those little kids made the best out of a bad situation. After seeing them, happy and having fun despite the storm, it made me wonder, do I make the best of bad situations when they come? Do I remember to smile and laugh, even when life is stormy? I hope that we all do that. Remembering to make the best out of our situations - especially bad situations - will turn us into happy people. And if we are happy people, our lives will become happy lives. I will never forget those little boys, swimming and smiling in the storm. I hope I - and each of us - can be like them and always remember to be happy and joyful, despite the storms of life. After they got their clothes back on, I managed to get a picture of them playing in the flood. I couldn't get them to sit still long enough for a good picture, but the picture's still cute.
Something gross that happened: Something - most likely a mouse - died inside the ceiling vent/fan thing in our bathroom. It smells really really bad, and while I was happily taking a bucket shower one day, maggots started falling from the ceiling. I screamed and quickly grabbed my towel and ran out of the bathroom as fast as I could. It was so gross! It makes me want to barf every time I shower or use the toilet. We don't know what to do about it.
I love this work so much and I am so happy to be a missionary. This work is hard, but it's also the best thing that I have ever done. Thank you for always supporting me and lifting me up with your words and your prayers. I love you all so much and I am praying for you, always.
MAHAL KO KAYO!
xo Sister Allen
-The computer is being weird with the pictures and won't send them. Next week. sorry sorry sorry!