Monday, July 11, 2011

July 4, 2011

well i am getting less and less excited about birthdays as the years go on... thats normal right?? i figure the next big mile stone is 30 and i dont even want to start to think about that.... so yay for 23!!! it was a nice birthday, they took good care of us here, had way too many treats and plenty of love so i was in good hands. here are some pics of my comp and with our treats and then the family i am with is Taina and Alejandro and their kids.... i am sure you remember me talking about them.
this week was really good, we found some amazing people to teach. i cant tell you how much i love it here in Melo, when i come back to visit this will definitely be my first stop, the people here are like family to me. the only thing is that i am so comfortable here, i know that i am going to change, well i think so anyway, we have our next changes in three weeks so i guess we will see.

we had sandra´s baptism this saturday and it was so good, she was SO happy and excited. she came with her grandaughter and her niece who have been coming to church with her. they are so cute, they are 4 and 7 and always sit in on our lessons with her. Sandra told us that every night before they go to bed they pray together, just the two little girls together, and that whenever Sandra reads the scriptures they are right there with her. they are so stinkin cute, they make me miss my littles. so there is a pic of sandra and them at her baptism. when Sandra was confirmed the next day at church she came back and sat by me and was ever so happy. she leaned over and anxiously told me that during her confirmation she just felt like she was receiving the biggest hug and that it was a feeling that just penetrated her whole being. it was a really special weekend for her, and for us too of course. she has shared some of the most amazing feelings with us this week in how the gospel has started to change her life, it made me really realize that it is through small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. she told us how before we started coming and teaching her the gospel that she was very self absorbed, and since she has started to try and put her life in line with God, she has become more selfless, and seeks to serve others. such a simple testimony but so great when you think about it in the long run.

we two amazing families this week that we have started to teach, one a family of nine and the other a family of four. i know i have said it a hundred times but there is something so special about teaching a family about the gospel and watching them change together, watching them start to love one another in a different way. we will see where everything goes. they are both super special, i wish i had more time to describe them but next week i will get to it with more details.

ahhhhhhhhh i am soooooo scatter brained today, there was lots of great things that happened this week that i cant even organize my sorry if this email isnt so exciting. i feel like there is something i needed to ask you..................... hmmmmmmmmmm okay cant remember. but i hope you know that i love you ever soooo much, and if you didnt..... I LOVE YOU!!!! HOper you are doing just great.... love you to the moon and back a million gazillion times!!!! ohhhhhhhh.... big thanks to lori for my package and shoes!!!! i was just about to start taping and cardboard reinforcing my old ones!!! haha great tricks i have learned from the elders. and happy birthday in a few days here lori---- love you and thank you so much!!!!! -your jess

oh and the last pic is with jonathan.... remember him......... he lived!!!! he just got let out of the hospital... he is a tropper. he will have a hole in his lung for the rest of his life from the tube but hey he is alive!!!! lesson learned kids.... dont do drugs!!!!

June 27, 2011

well i am fffffffffrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzziiiiiiiinnnnnggggggggggg................ need i say more. remember how i said last week that the winter was having a hard time coming. well it came this week over the course of two days and it is full forced now. wind, lots of clouds. but i am sooooooo happy to have such a great fam that sent me the box of warmness. i am in my ugg boots as we speak with my new gloves and turtleneck.... fashion is not a word in my vocabulary right now, but warm is so i am good there. really thank you ever so much!!! i am going to stay nice and warm this winter.... i hope!!!! then i will go right back into winter, but i do love winter there with the pretty snow.... and skiiing..... mmmmm. well yes mama thank you for the birthday wishes!!! i did get the nice present from santiago and his wife romina, we had the greatest visit, they are wonderful people and it makes me happy that i will still have contact with etel when i get back through them. etel is planning on probably going out to utah for christmas so i might get to see her then!!!! and cake this week..... do we have cake.... that will not be a problem.... i am going to need a gym pass stat after this week. we have plans for a possible 7 cakes.... so we will be well fed and loved, dont you worry. did i tell you my comp and i have the same birthday!!! so yes that will be nice, we can celebrate together. then on top of it a woman that we are teaching, her son has the same birthday so they invited us over too. lots and lots of cake. but yes mama i will be in need of your homemade german chocolate cake.

well we are doing really good. i am learning alot and am greatful for the opportunity i have to be with my companion. if i have learned one thing it is that you cant live with someone for a month and a half or three months and see them every waking moment without making them your friend, we are very different but we get along just great. we definitely choose our happiness, ¨come what may and love it¨ she is very shy but she will get there. when we go around contacting and talking to random people i have to shut myself up, i love talking to people, but i know i need to let her struggle a bit. if i save her everytime she will always depend on me.......... so i have to just let her do it. after we are done talking to people we chat about what she needs help with and i think that is really helping her. there really is no how or way to do it, its whatever comes to your heart, she just has a hard time listening to her heart and thinks that she does everything terribly, but it is impossible for it to be terrible when you speak from your heart.

we met this really amazing man that has been a member of the church for quite some time but has not gone to church, we met him one day and made an appointment to go back so that we could take our friend elisa with us ( he is a single man so we cant go alone, obviously) when we went back he was very timid, i could tell he was going through a hard time. we found out he was just divorced and barely gets to see his kids. we talked to him about the healing that we can receive through Christ and the great sacrifice he made for us so that we can be healed and comforted in times like he is going through. we talked about the scriptures and how they truly have the power to heal us, so we invited him to pray and read that night and made a return appointment, he wanted us to come back and teach his 10 year old daughter as well. when we went back, he truly had new life to him. he had read. he had prayed. and had felt a bit of that healing power take place in his life and desired for the people he loved to feel of that same love of God he had experienced. that lesson his daughter was actually not able to be there, but he invited the girlfriend that he is now living with to come and listen and we watched a short video and they both had tears in their eyes by the end. it was a really great experience and i hope that we can continue to help him to return.

sandra is doing wonderful, she is funny as ever, man i just love that woman. yesterday she was freaking out trying to get to church. her son just moved back in with sandra and they live there with their daughter and his wife. he can see how happy sandra is and so he has offered to take her to church on sundays. the moto wouldnt start yesterday but he borrowed the moto of someone else and they made it just a little late. her baptism is this saturday and she was just telling everyone how excited she is.

funny story to wrap it up. we were out knocking doors and i saw a mandarine tree and decided it wouldnt hurt to take one, they were falling off there were so many. so i took one and peeled it, it peeled a bit funny but i didnt think much of it, right after leaving the next door i put one in my mouth and turned straight around and spit it out and was gagging it was so bad. there were two little, well like 10 year old boys across the street laughing and one said... senora, did you like your mandarine.... and me gagging said, there is something seriously wrong with that manderine, it is bitter and sick!!! he replied, well that would be because it is a lime. yes, great blonde moment. but it was orange!!!! for some reason some of the limes are orange and look exactly like mandarines. i guess thats what i get for breaking a commandment.... thou shalt not steal.... hahaha.

June 13, 2011

okay well i will let you know a little about my week, but first well we have changes tomorrow and i am sad but i guess it was expected, Hermana Judd will be leaving and I will be staying here and getting a new companion named Hermana Parker, i dont really know her, she is a very quite girl but I am sure it will be just fine. the great news is that hermana Judd is going to my oro area where i started the mission in Maldonado, i was extatic when i found out. i have probably been driving her crazy telling her all about all the people there that i grew to love so much and showing her tons of pictures. I am so so so so excited for her, i look back with nothing but the greatest memories and feelings of that area. i am sending her with a load of letters and pictures to give to people. oh and i have 13 months on the mission today!!! can you believe it!!!
well this week was especially amazing. saturday we had the baptisms of Jesus and Juan Carlos and i truly think that was the most beautiful experience i have had yet on my mission, i know i end up saying that each change but seriously, it was a little piece of heaven. Jesus´ brother who served a mission in California and then came home and stopped going to church completely was there. he was welcomed with huge open arms. when the bishop saw him he practically took him out giving him a hug. the service was super great. my comp and i sang a duet of All Creatures of Our God and King and our district leader Elder Jarvis did a really amazing arrangement of the song after he accompanied us. After they were baptized they were given the chance to share their testimonies. Jesus of course was the first to get up with tears in his eyes and expressed great gratitude to God for the gospel that he has in his life and the chance that he will have to have his family forever. Juan Carlos followed and also gave an amazing testimony. After the bishop asked Jesus´ brother to come up and share his testimony and he actually did, it was amazing. He talked about his mission and some of the amazing experiences he had and at the end said that he hopes to come back. No one really knows what happened but I think his brother taking this step is going to change an entire family line, it was a super strong spiritual experience for everyone there and one of the greatest moments of my mission... and once again with feellings that i cant quite describe with typing, maybe better with words when i can actually tell you.
this week we also had amazing lessons with Sandra and Oscar who are coming also super wonderfully. We taught Sandra the ten commandments and she is hillerious. i dont know if i ever told you what happened to her but years ago she had a near death experience with a stroke that she had from bad habits, through that she had a total turn around and knows that she was saved to death for a reason, so for that she is super receptive. Anyway from her stoke she cannot move her left arm and gimps around with her left leg straight. We taught her about not stealing and she came back with ¨what do you think i am going to do with one arm??? i cant rob anyone!! and even if i did how would i run away!!! i can barely walk!!!¨ we were all laughing super hard, she is hysterical. she has a great attitude about her challenges.

oscar is amazing, he suprised us by having read 10 chapters or over 100 pages of the gospel pricipals book we had given him, and while we were having our lesson, as usual he was finishing our sentences, he is super amazing. then at the end he told us that when he prays, he is starting to feel something different, something deeper. God is working with his desire to have more faith, that is for sure.
well i hope that you are all doing amazing, i am a bit worried but i will try and qudarme tranquila until i know for sure what is going on. I love you to a million pieces, to the moon and back a million times. Think about and pray for you always. LOVE-jess
ps pics of the baptism, jesus to my left, juan to my comps right. and us and oscar........

June 6, 2011

well my comp and i have had a busy morning already of hospital visits. Marisol is still in the hospital recouperating but i cannot tell you how wonderful she looks, she has a whole new glow to her. we sat and chatted with her this morning and she was just glowing, tellling us that God has truly saved her from this trial that she has passed through. she has read the scriptures (thanks to her mom bringing hers to the hospital while she has stayed with her) the entire time she has been there and told us that she just cant put them down, they have brought so much strength and hope to her life. now is a time when i wish i could express with words the experience we had with her this morning, but there really isnt anything to express it. the love that marisol has is completely without explanation, and the faith she has is incredible. the pic attached is of us this morning. i cant express how much i love her, i didnt ever think that life would take me to the other side of the world to find people that would change my life forever, i am eternally greatful to know marisol. she hopefully will be leaving the hospital today.

we also visited jonathan while we were there, remember the kid that we were helping to stop smoking.... ya bad news. last week his lungs became ¨pegada¨ which would mean they were stuck together but i am pretty sure that is not what they were trying to tell us, its a bit confusing figuring out medical terms in spanish sometimes. anyway, he now has a tube coming out of his lung that is draining pus that has built up. they will be shipping him off to montevideo soon for surgery. this is supposably long term effects from all the drug use that he has done, sadly enough they are hoping that he lives through it all, it is such a testimony to me of keeping our bodies free of things like that. he is so young and has so much life to live, but i know if God calls him home then that is His will.

well lets see i have so much to tell you about this week but i really wanted to tell you a little more about jesus, the man we are teaching that is going to be baptized this next weekend. i have never met someone with so much faith. i especially have never met a man like him, his family is his world and he wants nothing more than to be with them for eternity, he has completely handed his life over to God. being in a room with this man when he prays is so powerful, he literally talks to God, you can just feel it. like always, there is only so much i can express, i just wish i could teleport you here to experience it with me. Jesus had his baptismal interview yesterday and the elder that interviewed him came out and was just amazed by him ( as we are every time we meet with him) he is truly an extraordinary person with such a pure heart.

i dont know if i have said anything about another man named Oscar that we are teaching.... funny enough all the men we are teaching right now are about dad´s age.... usually a year or two younger..... haha.... but its kind of a homey feeling. anyway, oscar is such a great man, he is super smart and everytime we teach him he basically completes our sentences. his biggest desire right now is to increase his faith and to know the truth. he is progressing amazingly. he is already such a great person, but it is a testimony to me that the gospel helps to strenghten those who are already strong, and to give them a peace that the world most definitely cannot bring.

well anyway.... my companion and i were getting ready this morning and she yelled into me and just said that she was tearing up, i asked her why, and she said she just imagined me seeing you at the airport for the first time after a year and a half.... now thats a trunkie thought haha. but it was cute. i am pretty sure i will more than just tear up a little when i see you, i think i will rate it the best day of my life thus far, i just love you so much. while i was getting ready this morning i had a movie line come to my head.... no worries, an innocent movie, Hook. the line was ¨and you know what my happy thought was maggie?... It was you.¨ and i just thought about how that line applies so perfectly for me. Do you know what my happy thought is??? well if you cant guess, it is you. any time i get sad or disappointed, or when i have a day that is hard, i just think of you, i think my family being together forever, that is my happy thought. i think of how greatful i am to know this gospel so that we will have that chance, and how i get to share that happiness with other people, and the fact that they can have their happy thought too, of a family that can be together forever. speaking of that there is a book i just read that i would love for the three of you to read if you get a chance.... or just do it, it is only like 150 pages or less. it is called ¨Our Seach for Happiness.¨ and it is by M. Russell Ballard. I love that book and i think it explains really clearly what i feel and believe, so maybe you could get a little glimpse.

I got the boxes!!!! thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooo much so many much needed things. thank you all!!! and grandpa and aunt nancy as well!!!! everything is being put to good use already... cadbury eggs... already in the stomach!!!! ahhhhhh the smell of machine washed and dried clothes..... i cant tell you how good that smells, havent smelled that in a while!!!!

random line before i go.... i ate armadillo.... i was really good actually.... i will send pics sometime.

i love you so so so so so so so so so much!!!!! to the moon and back!!!!