First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER DEAREST!!!!!!! I will be celebrating on Saturday here in Boulder :)
We enjoyed the ward Halloween Party this week! It wasn't the best turn out.. but it was still fun! There were some great costumes! Nissa's Dia de los Muertos costume was awesome! It was SO cool!
It was a good week! We did our first exchanges of the transfer. We had to do 2 this week... Exchanges are exhausting! I already thought they were before I was an STL, but now it is worse! ha! They are just really emotionally draining. But they went well. The companionship we went on exchanges with is in a trio, so that is why we had to do 2 this week. For the first one I went to Louisville with one of the sisters. And then Sister Johnson came to Boulder with Ally and me and it was so much fun! That girl cracks me up!!
This week we also had a baby shower for one of the women in our Spanish group. She is awesome! Her son was 2 months premature and her husband just left her for an ex-girlfriend... Men I tell you!!! They make me mad sometimes! But the baby shower was awesome! It was a lot of fun! Nissa Hall put it all together and that girl goes all out!! We had fun games and a good time :)
We had some great lessons this week! We taught our investigators R. and J. They are a mother and son from el Salvador! J. is 21 and so cool! He loves Bob Marley and has dread locks and is legit. Neither of them speak any English. When we went over, R. seemed somewhat annoyed that we were there... her Novela was on and it was really intense! haha! But she let us share a quick message with her and then J. came out and joined us and we talked about the Book of Mormon and how it will bless their life. R was still kinda distant but then started to relax. It was kinda formal when we first got there, so we tried to relax the situation and crack jokes and make her more comfortable and by the end she was laughing, having a good time, committed to read the Book of Mormon and was really happy! J was super engaged in the lesson and had a good time too. It was just such a testimony to me that we teach PEOPLE not LESSONS. We have to teach in ways that engage those we are teaching. Help them want to learn more! Be real people! The atmosphere of the lesson changed drastically! We went over right before the Halloween party to see if they could come and they were so happy to see us, even though they couldn’t make it. I could tell it meant a lot that we still came over to invite them. I am really excited for our lesson with them this week! They are great! :)
We also had a great lesson with our recent convert, Radhika. She was baptized a month ago. She is from Nepal! She is so adorable! We reviewed the Plan of Salvation with her and she loved it! She didn't remember a whole of about it. We tried to explain it really well by using my puzzle I got in the CCM. The lesson went really well :)
We also taught the Plan of Salvation to M again. Thank goodness for that puzzle! The visual is just so nice and makes it much easier to understand, especially since it is a new concept for so many people. The lesson went really well!! M told us so much about herself. She has had the worst life! I seriously have never met anyone who has gone through as much as this woman and her son. I was crying as she was talking. I wont give you all the details, sufficeth to say it involved abuse, being cheated on, people stealing from her, financial woes, no car and walking until her feet are bloody and swollen. The stories just went on and on... I was crying. She lives in this ghetto trailer now with nothing but a kitchen table and a tv. I wish so badly I could buy her a couch at least! She sits on the old, dirty, ripped up linoleum or on a hard wooden chair to watch TV. But she and her son have the strongest faith I have ever seen anyone have! They are beautiful people! They know God loves them and that they are given these trials because God knows they can handle them and they will become stronger. How amazing that they can know this! Because, I have to admit, as M was talking, I myself was wondering why God would allow so many terrible things happen to 2 people who are trying to do good. I think it is normal to wonder why, but when we have an eternal perspective in our lives, and we truly understand our purpose and the divine nature of our Heavenly Father, then comes the understanding that we are given trials to make us better people, to make us into the people our Father in Heaven wants us to become. I am grateful for this knowledge! I am grateful for the wonderful examples that our investigators are to me! I am so grateful for the experiences I am having! I know I would not be learning these lessons if I wasn't out serving a mission. I already feel incredibly in debt for the things I have learned. I love being a missionary! I love the gospel. I know with every fiber of my being that the church is true! I feel honored to share my testimony with others, happy for the truths that we have and, grateful to wear Christ’s name every day and be His representative.
I love you all so much!!! Have a wonderful week :)
Con MUCHO amor,
Hna. Mangum Sr.