|With Hermana Cabrera in Mercedes|
August 31, 2015
Okay so I vaguely remember in my mission blessing it said I would serve in places I´d be surprised at! I´m not going to lie, during my whole mission, I have never really felt too surprised about my areas--until now!
So I am serving in Mercedes now! Mercedes was my first zone in the mission. It´s a city about thirty minutes away from Fray Bentos! There´s an hermana here, Hermana Cabrera, and she started her mission here and has been in Mercedes for about eight months. She was with a corto plazo (AKA mini missionary) because her companion had to go home for a bit for an operation. I will be serving with sweet Hermana Cabrera during the rest of this change so I can get to know the area and so she can have a new experience in another area this upcoming change. So crazy!
So this week was one filled with lots of adventures! I left Artigas on Friday at about noon. And oh my goodness, my last little bit in Artigas with Hermana Salvatierra was so great. I am so grateful for ARTIGAS!!! We sure saw lots of miracles. I took a lot of time writing my "happy birthday Uruguay" list this past week, so I didn´t get to tell you all about Sunday, August 23! On Sunday, we had a stake conference in Artigas. And it was so incredible because there were some talks in Spanish, and some in Portuguese.
And, the conference was so exciting because Hermano Lulo (Jessica´s uncle) came to the conference! He loved the conference and it was so great because when we introduced him to Bishop Duarte, it turns out they had been friends for years and years (Hermano Lulo was a soccer coach and Bishop Duarte´s dad coached with Hermano Lulo or something like that). God´s work is so personal! It was so special teaching Hermano Lulo and Hermana Jessica this past week, and Hermano Lulo decided to get baptized September 19! And Hermana Jessica is going to pray about her baptism. I remember Linds often repeating the lyrics to "I Stand All Amazed" in her missionary emails. I often want to sing these lyrics out loud as well. Missionary work is so incredible and I stand all amazed God gave me the opportunity to get to know Hermano Lulo and Hermana Jessica. They told Hermana Salvatierra and me that this gospel gives them so much peace and that we started teaching them right when they had a lot of questions about God and religion in general! God takes good care of His children ALWAYS.
This past week was also super awesome because Hermana Salvatierra and I had the opportunity to invite lots of people to our MISSIONARY TEAM! We shared Alma 8 with the Berneda Family and Hermano Sanchez and it´s so incredible because when Alma started working with Amulek, the work in Ammonihah went so much better. It´s the same when the members are willing to help all the missionaries!!! The Berneda Family and Hermano Sanchez both accepted to be part of the team. I really miss the Berneda Family already, they were such a special family for me!
And let me be honest, all of the families and people in Artigas Barrio 6 are so special. I feel so grateful I had the opportunity to work in Artigas. What I absolutely loved about Artigas Barrio 6 is the LOVE everyone showed toward us as missionaries and toward their brothers and sisters in Uruguay. The members were so willing to accompany us to visit investigators and testify of God´s LOVE. They were so willing to cook delicious lunches for us and they always cooked with so much LOVE. They were so willing to visit or call a less-active member, and at times, even went out of their way to pick them up for church. What LOVE! I will never ever forget Artigas Barrio 6 and its LOVE.
So yeah, on Friday, I headed off to Mercedes and gave Hermana Salvatierra one last hug. She honestly changed my mission in so many ways and I am so grateful for her. What I love about Hermana Salvatierra is her work ethic...she works so so hard! I also admire how much she cares about every investigator or member in her area...she inspired me to study, pray, and LIVE for the people in our area. After hugging sweet Hermana Salvatierra, I hopped on the bus.
Man oh man I loved my bus ride! I traveled eight hours from Artigas to Montevideo, and then about four hours from Montevideo to Mercedes. During my first bus ride, I had the opportunity to talk to two incredible women, Carmen and Adelicia. Carmen´s son is a member (he got baptized when he was eleven and is now forty, more or less) and she lives pretty close to a chapel. The missionaries visited her many years ago, but she never received a Book of Mormon! I loved being able to read the Introduction of the Book of Mormon with her and give her a copy! She was so excited to learn more about God´s word.
Carmen then left and Adelicia came aboard. It turns out Adelicia´s son is listening to the missionaries in Montevideo! She didn´t have too much interest, but was so AWESOME! She was my tour guide. Every time we drove by a new city, she would tell me the city´s name and give me a short history. And she also let me know how far away we were from Montevideo. What a grand blessing were these two women!
And then, during my bus ride from Montevideo to Mercedes, I sat by Vicky, a twenty-five-year-old woman who is studying in Montevideo but is from Mercedes! She was so great as well. She had a lot of questions about what we do exactly as missionaries, and we just talked and talked! She was so fun and generous...she gave me her phone number and let me know if we ever need lunch or if we want a tour of Mercedes, we can call her up. I love love love the people in Uruguay!
Okay so Mercedes is great! During the first bit of my mission, we actually went to Mercedes a lot to practice for the charla fogonera, so it´s a little trip down memory lane. I recognize some of the members here and I can already tell they are so great. I love being in the chapel here and remembering that the last time I was in Mercedes, I was a little freaked out (horror stage still) and couldn´t really communicate with the people. Life is so funny!
And Hermana Cabrera is from Mexico, is super fun, and is a great teacher. I am happy!
Well fam, that´s it for now! I love you all so much, and have the best week ever!