Thank you for your kind, kind words today in your emails. I love and have loved reading them every week.
How are you all??? I know and can feel that you are all beyond estatic for our reunion. Me too! I am full of so many emotions. So many people have asked me, "How do you feel, Hermana Coon?" All I can say is that I feel so so so so so happy and so so so so grateful and so so so so humbled. The ward asked me to give my testimony in church on Sunday. As soon as I stood at that pulpit, I felt overwhelmed by the spirit and could feel those tears run down my cheek! I looked at all of these wonderful hermanos from Piriapolis and they were crying too! I have only been here in Piriapolis for such a short time, but I have grown to love these people as well.
As you all know, I had the great opportunity to go visit Progreso last Monday! It was so fun! I sent you a few pictures. Do you recognize those friendly faces?! haha. It was so rewarding. One of the many things that I have learned during my mission is that the will of the Lord is first. I was planning all of these months to go visit Melo, but it was the Lords will that I would visit Progreso. After that first hug from Monica and other converts, I knew that I was suppose to go there. It felt so good to see them again, especially the famous Monica, Carlos, y Angel. It brought back so many memories of being in their home as a new missionary. We also were able to visit Nestor, Gabriel and his family, and my Uruguaya mamá Nansy. There is so much more to tell, but I will tell you it all so soon! I was also able to call my favorite people from Melo! To hear their voices was the best. It felt like home. They are doing so well...all of them! We have plans to be in contact as soon as I get home. You get to meet a lot of them! How exciting is that.
Today will be a wonderful last day. We are preparing for a few baptisms! What a miracle!
I have so many thoughts and feelings, but for some reason, it is so hard for me to write them down. I love Uruguay with my whole heart. I didnt realize when I received my call of Feb 9, 2013 to the Uruguay, Montevideo Mission, that it would have such a impact on my life, that it would change my life. I had no clue on the experiences that I would have, or the wonderful people I would meet. This is my promised land and I know that I will always give thanks to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with a beautiful mission. I will praise his name forever and ever. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ.
Family, I love you very much. Hermana Harvey and I have agreed that we have both been blessed immensely with wonderful, supportive families who love us. I have felt your prayers everyday of my mission.
I know that this is the only true church upon the face of the earth. I know God Lives. I also know that Jesus Christ lives because I have felt His prescence in my life. I feel so happy to have a righteous family.
I am so happy!
Love you all and will see you in a few days! Cant wait to give you a big huge hug! As dad always says, stay strong and immovable!
Con mucho amor,
p.s. The adventures have continued this week in Uruguay as we have been without AGUA! The whole city of Piriapolis and Pan de Azucar have been without water! We had the biggest rainstorm of the season a few years ago and the big pump that holds all of the citys water BROKE! All of the thousands of people here, including us, were without water for 2 days! Never realized how much we depend on water! haha only in Uruguay. This is one of the reasons why I love this country! My heart will be here forever!
Monica, Carlos y Angel
My sweet Hermana Alba. Love this woman!
This is the last letter Brother Cox (Hermana Cox's dad) wrote Hermana Coon.
SPECIAL HAPPY/SAD EDITION!
Dear Hermana Coon,
Again, I hope you don't think this is some weird stranger writing you. This is however the last chance I have to write one of my favorite SUPER SISTERS in Uruguay.
There are many types of events and occurrences in our lives. Some are a trial of our faith (ask my wife) and others are tender mercies of the Lord that provide joy that earthly words can't even come close to describing. Your dedication and companionship to our daughter is a blessing grande and tender mercy. I want you to know that.
I thank you for your service, friendship, dedication, faith, kindness, nature and testimony. You are truly a blessing in Gabrielles life along with the lives of those in her family and, since I am her favorite, especially her dad. If words could come close to expressing the thanks I have in my heart for you, I'd jot them down. I am afraid that I can only come up with a giant THANK YOU, which is grossly insufficient.
I am sure that this week is and will be a whirlwind for you. You will be in my prayers as you make this transition into the next chapter of your life.
I am sure that you have mixed emotions about leaving. I am sure there were times when you were first out that you dreamed of the day you could return home. Now that it is here, you want the hands of time to STOP!
Just so you know, all reports and data analyzed show that you are a GREAT missionary!
I imagine that your dad is going to try to be cool about you coming home, but I'm sure he feels like doing cartwheels. I know he is very proud of you.
I found that words can’t adequately describe how excited I was to see Gabrielle again. I also found that words can't describe the joy in having her home again.
You are indeed saying goodbye to a dear country, dear people and many dear friends. You need to realize that with modern technology you will be able to keep in touch with them and continue your relationships.
I hope you realize that you have many wonderful stories that many want to hear. Please be safe in your travels home and please don’t run down any escalators, or anytime during the process. You only come home once, unless you are a troubled Elder, and nobody wants any accidents.
I get a lump in my throat as I think about those in Uruguay that will miss their beloved Hermana Coon. It is awesome to be loved, cared about and needed. I hate to say it, but it sounds like your home. You mean the world to these people in Uruguay. They trust you. They have worked closely with you. They know your work ethic. They know of your love for them. They know your testimony is strong. They know that you know the truth. Some realize that without your sacrifice, they would not have the blessings of the Gospel in their lives right now. They will be forever grateful to you for your love, kindness, sacrifice and efforts.
You will be able to look back on your mission with only one regret - That your time in Uruguay has come to a conclusion and you have to leave a beloved Country, a beautiful language, wonderful foods, favorite people, familiar smells, beautiful Chapels, dogs with sharp teeth, talented dentists, cooperative Ward Mission leaders and familiar fun shops and stores.
I also hope that you realize that you have a ton of wonderful, priceless memories, friends and experiences that you can draw strength from for the rest of forever. No one can take what you have accomplished away from you. What you have done is eternal in nature. You can be very proud of all of your accomplishments. I know that your folks are proud of you.
You are a great missionary, companion, friend, confidant, etc....
Like most, I imagine that when you left, you were excited to leave and many were sad you were leaving. Now you are coming home and your family is excited beyond words that you are returning and you are sad to leave. It seems kind of weird that the roles are reversed.
You have realized the importance of doing your best and treating others as you would be treated. You have selflessly helped others and made the best of each and every situation.
I hope that you are pleased with your mission. From what I know, the Lord has to be pleased with your work in Uruguay.
As you look back, ask yourself if you think it was “by chance” that you were called to Uruguay? I honestly believe that all those that you have taught, all those that you have worked with and all of your companions are part of a huge plan. I believe more than I ever have that calls are inspired. I know that the countless people you have taught would believe the same. Thanks for being worthy of the call and the subsequent inspiration you have received as you carried out the Savior’s work in Uruguay.
As you “pass the baton” to the younger Hermanas in the mission, please know that the mission is in good hands. After all, you provided a good chunk of their training.
The work you have accomplished will be the ground work for many in the future to encounter, accept and embrace the gospel. I predict that your influence will have an effect on many generations to come. The Name “Hermana Coon” will be near and very dear to the hearts of many. They will revere you and your name will be of a sacred nature due to their eternal gratitude for making the sacrifice you’ve made that has enabled you to teach the Gospel to them. As your name is mentioned, tears will readily come to the eyes of people you have never met that are currently unborn sons or daughters to people you have taught the Gospel to. They too will be grateful for “Their Missionary”. You are and will be loved by many, many people for the rest of forever. I predict that even people who didn’t accept the Gospel that you offered them will reverence your name one day for being the one to provide the opportunity to learn the truth.
Thank you for sharing your mission with us through our beloved Gabrielle. Your Mom has shared a few e-mails with us too.
Your next round of adventure(s) is starting. You can use what you have learned about people, Spanish, the Gospel, the Savior, relationships, the scriptures, cooking, Soccer player biting tactics, housekeeping, letter and journal writing, cape and mask making, dog bites, dentistry and a few weekly challenges to assist you forever.
There are many that look forward to seeing you, none more than your wonderful parents.
So, when the tally is available in the hereafter, do you think that you took more steps on your right leg or your left leg while on your mission? How many miles do you think you have walked on your mission? How many times has your heart beat in Uruguay? How many words have you said while in Uruguay? How many people have you talked to in Uruguay? How many smiles have you been responsible for in Uruguay?
Are you ready for a last weekly challenge in Uruguay?
The Gospel teaches us to be charitable. Many scriptures speak of charity, what it means and how we must be filled with it in order to be called children of our Heavenly Father. Charity includes many wonderful attribute such as kindness, patience, long-suffering and generosity. We all know people that are extremely generous. They demonstrate their love to others through their generosity. Being generous is a wonderful trait that the world needs more of. This challenge will help you become more generous and bring many, many blessing into your life.
This weeks challenge is:
Be generous – Give away all of your companion’s stuff
There were many things that you shared in the letters that were forwarded to us. It quickly became apparent that there were things you didn’t share. This prompted a Top Ten list.
Top Ten Topics/Items Never Mentioned in Letters from Hermana Coon
10 High Bowling Scores
9 Uruguayan Rock Stars
8 Preferred tissue
7 Names of Uruguayan boyfriends or favorite Elders
6 Favorite Beatle (Living or Dead)
5 Weight (in Kg) of Companions
4 Sombrero comfort
3 Necessity of laxatives
2 Cape making secrets
1 Revenge tactics aimed at “the dog”
A missionary must be willing to sacrifice many things. The mission forces these sacrifices. Many missionaries have a hard time being away from home because they want to be “dialed-in” and part of what is going on back at home. Some feel they are missing out on too much and struggle. Others, like yourself put life aside and give it 150%. Yes, life goes on at home. Life, time and progress do not stop in the absence of anyone. As you return, there will be many things that have happened in your absence that you will become aware of. I hope that you don’t feel like your mission forced you to “miss out” in anyway but, as noted, life has gone on without you. There are many things that happened in your absence that you might want to know about. The following is a list of those events:
Top Ten Highlights You Missed Out On While On Your Mission
10 Miss Gilbert finals
9 NBC full featured documentary “When Suspenders Break”
8 Annual Flu Shots
7 Spoke maintenance on your Dad’s motorcycle
6 Armenian Yodeling tryouts
5 Back to the Future 14
4 The passing of and associated services for a gentleman in Alabama named Herb
3 Daily coed-induced eclipses on BYU campus
2 The latest State Fair attraction – Cream Corn Maze
1 4,762 trips to Wal-Mart
I know the time has flown by for you and you can’t believe the situation you are in and what you are faced with. You must realize that time is time. A year is 365 days long and a lot can happen during a mission. There are, however things that have happened during the mission that are indicators that you need a change………..
Top Ten Indicators it is Time to Return Home
10 The weirdo that “fell in love” after your first date is finally married
9 Your socks, shoes and feet have holes in them
8 The locals just named a park after you / You’re on the Presidential ballot
7 The last of the Jehovas Witnesses is taking the discussions
6 Your luggage exceeds the weight limit when packed only with journals you’ve kept
5 You have to tract at the airport luggage carousel to find new investigators
4 You got wind that the Mission President has drafted up adoption papers
3 Your first companion just had her 6th child
2 Greenies incessantly ask if you have served with any of the three Nephites
1 Country leaders have approached you to interpret for them
Here are a couple more:
You’ve helped the same convert move into a starter home and a retirement home
People comment on your alligator shoes and you are barefoot
The Spanish language you have learned in Uruguay will serve you well for the rest of your life. The hard work you put into learning and mastering it will pay off. Here is an applicable Top Ten list:
Top Ten Advantages of Knowing Spanish
10 Better bartering capability in Tijuana
9 No “surprises” from the dollar menu at Taco Bell
8 Ability to read either side of packaging
7 Nobody bothers you with Hitler trivia questions
6 You can act as a tour guide in all but 3 countries
5 Makes dancing the “Salsa” more understandable
4 You can help almost any landscaping manger instruct his crew
3 You know what Ricky Ricardo is really saying when upset with Lucy
2 Easier to stay up to date on the latest Bull Fight etiquette
1 Enables more intelligent decisions when buying Tequilla
Gabrielle has “adjusted” well. I am proud of her. I hope things go well for you. If not, I put together a little list of things that might provide just the right “assistance” in the adjustment. See what you think.
Top Ten Ideas to Help Return Missionaries Adjust
10 Season Tickets to the Roller Derby
9 Autographed photos of Church Leaders
8 Incessant Lessons/Discussions regarding what happened to Korihor
7 CD of Mormon Tabernacle Choir tribute to Led Zeppelin
6 Diet that slowly weans them from Ramen, Mac & Cheese, cookies and soda
5 Back to the Future marathon
4 Job driving a diaper service truck in Phoenix
3 Ensuring nutritional efforts result in weekly diarrhea for first two months
2 Calling as Scoutmaster/Nursery Leader
1 A brand new Corvette
As you wind things down, know that you are in all our prayers.
Thanks for being great.
Travel safe and give your folks a big hug for me.
This note kind of got carried away. I apologize. I just want you to know that I think the WORLD of Hermana Coon.
THE HERMANA ANDERSEN!!! Everyone loves them so much! I am so thankful to have them here with me. It is such a blessing!
All of the hermanas that are leaving!
Our mission mom, Hermana Cook!
Hola mi Querida Familia!
You will never believe where I am right now!!!? Right this very moment, I am in Progreso, my very first area! I feel like I am in a dream being here again. I keep having so many memories come back to me as I walk these streets. Hna Harvey said that she is enjoying hearing all of my stories of when I had her time in the mission. I was praying and praying so hard that I would be able to visit my "Promised Land" (MELO), but it is so far away and the mission has a new rule where we cant go visit our old areas far away. I have been so devastated every since I found out that I wont be able to see my people of Melo one last time, knowing that they were throwing a goodbye party for me. So second best, Progreso! haha. It will be a fun day today to see everyone here in Progreso! This is the place where all of the adventures began! I honestly cannot believe how fast time has flown. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was walking these streets!
I am so excited to talk with you all on Christmas! We are planning to skype at 6 Uruguayo time.
A few random things....The Christmas season has been super fun here in Piripolis. In the ward, I was in charge of directing the choir. We performed a few hymns yesterday at church. I am going to miss those un tuned pianos and tone deafed voices! haha. Someone told me earlier that I am not leaving Uruguay without finding a husband! haha. It was so funny! I am running out of time to find me a Uruguayo husband!
It has been a beautiful week. Wednesday was our Christmas Conference as a mission! It was so amazing. Each zone performed a musical number, we had messages prepared by Pres and Hermana Cook, the choir sang, and all of the "valientes" were asked to share their testimonies in front of the whole mission. haha that meant me and many others. It was such a neat experience and the spirit was definitely present. It is always so fun to see Viki and Steve too! oops Hermana y Elder Andersen! :) We so enjoying telling everyone that we are related!
I cant even express it enough, but we are witnessing more miracles here in Piriapolis! Since Hna Chavez left, we have been in a trio with Hna Hernandez from Honduras! We have been managing both areas that are so big. Because Hna Chavez was sick, they hadnt been able to work in their area so much and have not baptized this month. We set out searching for someone prepared to be baptized in the other area. We left with so much faith that there was at least one person and the Lord would guide us to them. We prayed that people would recognize us as representatives of Christ. We approached one home and it was a man that we had contacted before named Luis. Luis wasnt home, but his neighbors were! We clapped our hands (because we dont knock on doors and there are no doorbells haha) and out came the mom. She immediately invited us in. We found out that she was MARRIED (wow never happens), has 10 children, and that she had listened to the missionaries before! Immediately her children began to gather around us and told us how much they love Jesus. It seemed as though they were soaking up our presence. We knew that this was a big miracle sent from Heavenly Father. A family of 10! It was such an incredible experience. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted! It was amazing how the Lord had guided us and how he had heard and answered our prayer, and how they had recognized us as servants of the Lord.
I know I always talk about our dear Enrique now, but he is absolutely AMAZING! He told us something so powerful that I want to share with you. Earlier this week he told us that before he was baptized, we promised him many blessings as he follows Christ, blessings for his family and for his work, but most importantly, blessings that he would be HAPPY. That he would feel a happiness that he has never felt before. He told us that before, he didnt believe us. He thought that they were just nice words that we were promising him. But now, he told us that we were right and that all of those blessings that we have promised him and are promising him are coming true. He told us that he has never felt Joy and Happiness like how he feels now! Missionary work is so rewarding! I was thinking the other day, what is my joy? In the scriptures, it talks about the great missionaries of the Book of Mormon and how being an instrument in the hands of the Lord is their GOZO, their joy! I know that that is my joy. I so enjoy seeing the change in peoples lives that only comes through the Atonement of Jesucristo. It is remarkable. For Christmas, I sent out all the ties and journals to our Priesthood men and families in Melo! Thank you so much for sending me those great packages! We also gave Enrique a tie for Christmas and he wore it yesterday to church. How fun is that?
I love you my dear family! I am so excited to talk to you and in a few days actually SEE YOU in PERSON! I love my mission so much! and I love my family so much! The church is true and it brings us so much happiness!
setting up the christmas tree with the duera family!
You can see the ocean in the back! How beautiful!what a sunset!
My sweet Hermana Chavez! Oh, how I love her!
Hola mi querida familia!
I sure do enjoy writing each other every week. It is a fun way to communicate, right? But do you realize that Christmas is next week and we will get to talk for skype again! How fun will that be! I will be so happy to see you all, but I will be so anxious and excited to see you all in person just a week after that! WOW! Mom, I love that you said that you are getting the piano tuned! All I want to do is just sit at the piano and play for hours and hours and hours with a beautiful, in tune piano. I cant wait to hear the girls play the piano!
It has been a whirlwind of a week for Hna Harvey and I. I am just trying to soak up every single bit of the mission that I possibly can. We started our week out with a fun noche de hogar with the familia Duera! We helped set up their little Christmas tree with them. Hermana harvey was laughing so hard at how they were decorating it. It was more like just throwing a whole bunch of tissel and string onto the tree. It was so full with "stuff" that we couldnt even see the tree! haha It was so fun. We drank hot milk and ate the famous "tarta de fiambre." Then we shared a message about Christ. It was so wonderful and there was a nice Christmas spirit. By the way, have you seen the 30 second video, "Él es la Dádiva?" (I dont know the name in english, but it is excellent!!)
This week is our missions Christmas Conference! Hermana Harvey and I have been asked to participate in the choir. Oh my heavens, how I have enjoyed being in the choir. Once a week, we have been traveling to Montevideo to practice and the music is breath taking. It has helped us more to feel in the Christmas spirit. I love singing...I think my love for it has grown in the mission.Wednesday is the conference, and we will perform all of the songs that we have been practicing. They are beautiful.
Like I said before, I feel such a mix of emotions. My body has never felt such a crazy mix before! haha. My dear Hermana Chavez (you all remember my dear Hermana Chavez), left the mission yesterday because she has injured her knee and cant walk anymore. President sent her home and few weeks early. This week has been the party week! We have thrown goodbye parties for her! We had one with the ward and then yesterday, the other hermanas came to Piriapolis and we had a surprise party for her. I cannot even express my love for this girl! We have had some crazy experiences together. Saying goodbye to her was so hard. I dont know the next time I will see her in person. Peru and Arizona are pretty far away from each other. I cant even imagine what it will be like saying goodbye to this country and the people here in just a few weeks.
Our week ended with a beautiful Sunday! Enrique received the priesthood! It was another one of those never forgetting experiences. Hermana Harvey and I had the great opportunity to be in the room when he was ordained. It brought back so many experiences of when Hna Cox and I witnessed all of our "Priesthood Men" in Melo receive the Melquisedec Priesthood. Mom, dad, James, Annie, Hannah, Grandma, Grandpa, and whoever else reads my letters...the priesthood is amazing! The gospel changes lives! I can imagine in the future that my joy will be my own family, but right now, my joy is sharing the gospel and seeing people CHANGE! Enrique is a changed man! He is not the same man that he was when we first met him. His blessing that the bishop gave him was so beautiful. He is flying high. He was like Zeezrom, Enrique didn't even believe in God before, but now he believes with all of his heart. (Alma 15) Needless to say, I left church yesterday feeling completely grateful and overwhelmed at the many blessings that I have been able to witness and be apart of. It is so fun for me to reflect upon my mission and to think of all of the many miracles that i have been able to witness.
I am still praying hard that President will let me travel the 6 hours to visit Melo before I leave. I cant leave this country without visiting my sacred land. Please pray hard! My oor Hermana Harvey....she knows absolutely everything about Melo and the people there that I love so much! haha. I wonder how many times I mention the word "Melo" everyday. I don't know, but A LOT!
I have some fun plans up my sleeve to do with you all when I get home...I am thinking of a URUGUAY PARTY! everything Uruguay! ;) You will all LOVE it!
I really love you all so much! What a special experience it will be to pray together as a family and to read the scriptures together as a family. Those moments are so special to me know because now I know how important they really are. The church is true, Christ lives. I know that with all of my heart.
How beautiful were your emails to me. I so enjoy skimming through them and then printing them out so I can "study" them at home. I have a HUGE binder FULL of letters and emails from my whole mission from my dearests. It is such a fun treasure to have. WOW JAMES! Holy cow man you are super buff! Like SUPER BUFF! I honestly cant believe that this is my little brother! Not only are you buff, but so good looking! I love looking at those gorgeous winter formal pictures. What a good lookin group of youth! I love seeing pictures of my family. Annie and Hannah are growing up so fast as well. I hardly even recognize them! What a beautiful family we have been blessed with.
I think one thing that will be hard for me to adjust to at home is...
1.) Everyone will have beautiful, white teeth. and
2.) Dogs will be well tamed and have collars. haha.
Thank you thank you thank you for all of your prayers in behalf of Enrique! He was baptized on Saturday!!! Every baptism that we have here in Piriapolis is seriously the biggest miracle because we are starting to get a ton of tourists because of summertime. I want to tell you all of the details of Enriques baptism. He was so excited and so ready. It has been the neatest thing to watch his conversion. Even President Cook was able to meet him on Friday. He told Pres Cook all about how the missionaries came into his life right when he was searching for "something more." He asked Hermana Harvey and I to speak in his baptism. I spoke on baptism and Hna Harvey spoke on the Holy Ghost. Her parents would be proud of her! She did so well. We prayed so hard all week that Enrique would have a spiritual experience in his baptism...and wow it was amazing. So many of his member friends came to support him. He shared his testimony and it was so powerful. These are just moments that one can never forget. Enrique was so excited for his baptism, he even cook 3 pizzas to bring and share with the members who came to support him. It was the cutest thing.
Fast sunday yesterday was just as special because he was given the gift of the holy ghost. He told us, with tears in his eyes, that he felt like he was flying. A ton of the members shared their testimonies in the meeting of how happy they were that Enrique has chosen to be baptized. Enrique shared his testimony again. It was amazing. I think this baptism has really opened the members eyes that they NEED to share the gospel with everyone! They all said that they have known Enrique for years, but they all felt bad because they had never shared the gospel with him. Hna Harvey and I feel so grateful for the bouteous blessings that Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us and our dear friend Enrique. He is a miracle in this town!
It is so weird to think that it is so cold at home. We are dying of heat here! Our sombreros are our best friends! haha. You dont even want to see the tan line on my feet from my shoes. It is so funny! Thank you for waiting for me to celebrate Christmas...that means SO much to me. I appreciate that kind act of service so much. That will be such a happy day to be all together reunited again. I have never felt such a mix of emotions in all of my life. I told Hna Harvey that she is my therapist. haha Sometimes we will be working and all the sudden, I will start to tear up with the thought of leaving this sacred land. Then I feel so excited to see my family and so anxious to know what will happen in the future. There are some nights when I cant even sleep at night, my mind just thinks and thinks. (I get that from you, dad! ;) I just want to know that I have done everything that the Lord has sent me here to do. I want to leave Uruguay with no regrets, knowing that I have done my best!
I am excited to read your letters this week when I get back to our little home. I love you. Like dad says, "stay strong and immovable!"
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Happy Birthday James!!! 18! and Happy First Day of December!!! I cannot believe that James is turning 18 years old! I hope that you have an awesome birthday brother! I loved seeing all of the pictures that you sent me this week. Everyone is growing up so big! I probably wont be able to recognize you all! Thank you thank you thank you for giving me updates on your trip to Utah! I have been dying all week to hear how it went with Hermana COX (gabrielle haha) and with Hna Harveys family!
Hermana Harvey and I have been witnesses of so many tender mercies this week. You are right dad, the Uruguayos dont celebrate Thanksgiving...but, a few days ago as we were working, a man pulled up in his truck and started yelling "Sisters! Sisters!" to Hermana Harvey and I. We didnt hear him or understand him until he said..."Hermanas!" His name is Roger Williams from Texas, USA! He is a member of the church and is here in Piriapolis for vacation. He invited us to eat Thanksgiving with his family! It was the nicest most tender blessing that the Lord could have given us. Turkey doesnt really exist here, so we just at chicken and went around the table saying the things that we are thankful for. It was so nice. I was especially thankful that Hna Harvey was able to have this sweet blessing as it is her first holiday away from her family. There are so many blessings that we have been blessed with...and infinite amount of them!
I feel so touched that you are praying and have fasted for me and for my arrival. I honestly can feel all of those prayers. Thankyou! I can feel that Heavenly Father is preparing me to come home little by little. I have received quite the personal inspiration for my life after the mission this past week, even with want I want to do with my schooling. As I kneel at night and really ask Heavenly Father what I should do, if what I have been thinking and feeling is right, I have received such a warmth in my chest. It has been so neat to be apart of. We love to visit with Hna Rosalia and last night I was asking her some advice for future life. She is so knowledgeable and I love to hear her thoughts and advice. She has become a great friend. There really are some great members here in Piriapolis, well in Uruguay in general! One of my great Uruguaya role models here is Hermana Delgado. She is remarkable. I will take a picture with her and send it to you next week. She feeds us lunch every Tuesday and Thursday. It is the best food I have ever tasted here in Uruguay, probably because it is all fresh! haha. I love to sit and talk to her. She is a convert and is moms age. She has 6 children and it is such an active family in the gospel. She has so many qualities that I hope to possess. She just serves all the day long! I will always be thankful to Heavenly Father for putting these people into my life! I like to call them my "Heaven Friends!" :)
I sent you a picture of us with Julia (an inactive member) and a cake! It was her birthday this week and we were able to celebrate it with her. We hope she felt special because not even any of her children recongized that it was her birthday. Church yesterday was wonderful! Enrique is getting baptized next Saturday and he is SO excited and SO ready! He loves the Book of Mormon and has completely changed 180 degrees. We walked with him yesterday to church in the pouring rain. But he didnt mind it...we arrived to church completely soaked. He still had a smile on his face so happy to be in the Lords house. Hermana Harvey and I taught young womens. It was a quick act on the spot lesson because their leader was there to teach. Wow was it such a powerful lesson. Hna Harvey is improving so much each day in her spanish. I am so proud of her! Then I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting. It was a pleasure for me because this will probably be the last time that I will speak in sacrament in spanish and in south america. I spoke on the Book of Mormon and the role that it plays in our conversion. 1 Nephi 8. I love the Book of Mormon with my whole heart...it has become my best friend! haha. I LOVE that everyday we get the great oppurtunity to dig into our scriptures and really study them. The scriptures are our iron rod.
Please pray for our dear Enrique this week! We know that he is one of the stalwart and great ones. Satan is always working so hard the week of the baptisms. We know that Enrique will come out strong!
I love you family! Just a few more weeks until I get to see you! Can you believe it?!?! How fast has the time flown! But I dont want to count the days...I am making the days count. You are all the best...the noble and great ones!
HOW EXCITING!!!! I AM SO HAPPY THAT YOU MET HERMANA COX, my soul sister! I love her so much. I know it was a treat for you to meet her...she is kind of like a celebrity for our family, huh? I am happy that her family is with her now, but honestly, I feel like a part of my heart is missing. Uruguay just is not the same without the presence of Hermana Cox. I cant wait to be reunited with her again! I want to know more about the weekend! Write me with all of the details!
And how fun that you met Hermana Harvey's family! Thank you so much for making such great memories and connecting with their families. I feel so blessed to have such remarkable parents. I am getting so anxious and excited to see you and to give you a big hug. What a marvelous day that will be. I love you both with my whole heart.
It is so interesting the feelings that one receives when you are ending your mission. Also, it is super fun training a new missionary and really seeing how much a missionary progresses in the time of their missions. The theme this week for Hermana Harvey and I has been, "We sacrifice a little bit, but the Lord blesses even more." We have seen that come to pass this week as we had a BAPTISM! Finally! This area hasn't had a baptism since June! I also think that quote applies to me staying here for Christmas and New Years. I barely miss the holidays at home with my family and there are a many missionaries going home to celebrate Christmas with their families. Heavenly Father wants me to stay here. I would love to be home with my family for Christmas, but I know that Heavenly Father will bless my family 1,000,000 times more for serving him. And how many times in life can you say that you celebrated Christmas in Uruguay? Not very many!
Speaking of Christmas, today, Hermana Harvey and I went to Devoto, the supermercado, and we walked in and heard Christmas music playing! We saw the Christmas decorations and right next to the decorations, we saw.......SWIM TOWELS and sunblock! It was so funny.
Do you want to know a fun fact about Piriapolis? Bueno, house numbers DO NOT exist. Addresses do not exist! You are probably wondering why in the world are there no addresses. I am wondering the same thing. Instead of numbers, they have NAMES! The houses have names! It is quite funny.
The baptism that we had was a HUGE tender mercy from the Lord. The mother is a less active member and the missionaries have been trying to baptize her 11 year old daughter, Yazmin, for years! She never wanted to and would not. A few weeks ago, Yazmins grandpa passed away suddenly from cancer. The Lord guided us to their house that night, and Yazmin told us she wanted to be baptized so she could see her grandpa again. Talk about blessing in disguise. The baptism was beautiful. I cant wait for Hannah to get baptized in a few short weeks!
Enrique is doing so awesome! He is flying high with so much faith! His story of finding the missionaries is so amazing. It amazes me every time! Ever since the beginning of my mission, I have recorded my converts testimonies of how they met the missionaries and their conversion. I think it will be such a treat to watch when I get home. I will probably cry my eyes out as I translate to you all what they are saying. It is so fun because Enrique is an author and is writing a book about religions. He was stuck at this point in his book and he didn't know where to go, until he met "his angels." (thats what he calls us.) He was sharing his testimony with us during one of our lessons this week, and he began to cry. I have never seen a man cry with such sincerity of heart as Enrique did. Thanks to the day we found him, he received guidance for his life. This is just another testimony to me how the gospel changes lives. And we are even in his book! His book will be published by the end of the year. I definitely want to read it!
Sometimes I get home after a long days work and I cant feel my legs. After walking and walking and walking some more everyday, I feel like I am just about to collapse from exhaustion. But it all makes it worth it to meet people like Enrique and to receive inspiring letters from my converts. They love the gospel and that is what is most rewarding. I will walk a million more miles to find even more people prepared for the gospel. The time is ticking so fast.
I love you my dear family. Again, I am so happy that you got to spend time with my dear Hermana Cox. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for blessing me with bounteous blessings like my family and my mission.