Dear Friends and Family,
This morning my personal study was interrupted by shrieks of terror emenating from the bathroom. While Hermana West was in the shower, a cockroach creeped onto her loufa and from her loufa onto her body. This is life here in Sarandí del Yí. I've killed about 8 spiders in as many days. Don't worry though-- I got the biggest one and put it in a jar so I can show you when I get home. I know you wanted to see it...
Better news: BAUTISMO!!! María Gopar was baptized and confirmed on Sunday, right after the church meetings ended. The reason I haven't talked about her before is because I barely knew her. She is the good friend (almost "adopted" daughter) of our mission leader's family. She had already been taught everything and then went on vacation for a week the day after I got here. I only got to meet her for one lesson and at her baptismal interview. Fortunately I'll be here to teach her all the retention lessons, so we'll be best friends in no time. She's 19 and amazing. I sang "I Stand All Amazed" at her baptismal service.
IT IS SO HOT. Fortunately we have a fan, and the sacrament meeting room has air conditioning. It's the first chapel I've seen outside Montevideo that has controled temperatures.
I'll tell you a little about the animals here. We have a cat. Kind of. It's against the rules to have pets, but this tiny kitten appeared in our back yard one day and I feel too bad to throw it out into the street. It's too young to have any chance at all of survival. So we let it be in the back yard for now while we try and find someone to take it in. In case you were wondering--. no one wants cats. :(
There are frogs here. I very rarely have seen live frogs here. In my first area they were everywhere, but they only came out at night and got run over by cars. In the morning they would be dead all over the road (I know, it's disgusting). But here they're everywhere. Small ones. Big ones. Ugly ones. They get in our house and hide under the microwave, under the suitcases, and in the space in the ceiling above my desk. Frogs everywhere.
There is an insect here called Chicharra that sings when it gets really hot-- which is all the time. I say that they sing, but that's just what people say they do. It's a high-pitched trilling noise that gets louder the hotter it gets. Some days it's deafening.
My watch broke, which has been a huge annoyance. Not only do I not know the time, but now have a brilliant white tanline on my wrist where my watch used to live. It has found a temporary home in my bag until I can figure out how to fix it.
Sorry this letter hasn't been very spiritual thus far. We continue to both see success and challenges in inviting people to come unto Christ. I have learned a lot about patience and mercy already from being in this area. I have been working on a talk called "12 Keys to Building Faith unto Power." Ít suggests working on one of the 12 keys every week during the mission. Since I only have about that much left I thought I should get to work on it. The first three are 1 - Stop complaining and murmuring. 2 - Commit to 100% obedience and 3 - Prayer, which are the three I've been working on the past three weeks. It's not easy. Faith is a spiritual gift, and as such can only be obtained by asking our Father in Heaven. Today I read, "I have yet to discover a scripture that suggests that the Lord will give us what we desire even if we do not ask for it." Did you know that the phrase "Ask, and ye shall receive" is state 233 times in the standard works? It must be important.
It was so good to see the family at Christmas. I hope you know how much I love you and pray for you.
Love you forever,