On Humility and Endurance, Among Other Things

Our District at the Provo Temple
My dear family,

Turns out the best way to progress in the Christlike quality of humility is by spending a full two weeks in the MTC. While these past seven days were filled with just as much joy and goodness as the last, they were also coupled alongside slight and fleeting moments of frustration, as well as awakenings to the fact that one cannot do this mission thing alone. Realizing this has given me greater insight on the following:

Humility and Endurance: I have learned to be prepared to be humbled every single day here. I think the only way one can survive and thrive as a missionary is by realizing that this work is not one's own, but rather God's. This realization came to me after a particularly hard lesson, because turns out it is actually a little difficult trying to teach someone in a different language that they are fluent in, but you are not. Hermana Wilson and I taught a progressing investigator named Raul (note: I only teach with Hermana Wilson, because Hermana Wells is in the intermediate Spanish class, and so we are only with her in-between and after classes). Raul is from Ecuador and shows no mercy in how fast he speaks. Literally I couldn't even see his mouth moving because he was talking so fast. After this particular lesson, my heart was feeling a little overwhelmed. It was then, however, that I realized that moments of humility can either diminish you or add to you, and that one has the choice. In these minutes in time, it can often be hard to make that choice to build on humility to become better even after your whole self seems to be slowly fading away. I think that choice goes right alongside our commitment to endure to the end. Our Branch President gives us topics to study each week, and this week it just happened to be on enduring to the end. As I was thinking about this principle, I came to realize that our greatest example of this type of endurance rests in the very life and purpose of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate exemplar of one who endured when it was hard, who loved when it wasn't easy, and who continues to endure so that we might live and grown and learn to endure as well. After realizing this, the small moments and feelings of failure don't seem so bad, because since Christ endured, we all can endure too.

Among other things: I realized this week that in my first email, I failed to mention my teachers — a travesty in and of itself because they are the greatest. Hermana Iroz has been our teacher from the beginning. She is the absolute cutest, and we have grown to love her even more with each passing day. Yesterday during our three hour night class, she let us have a small race outside and down our building's stairs. I'm sure anyone observing us would have thought we had not seen the light of day in months. She served her mission in Chile and as a result has a slightly slurred accent, which means I have started to slur any words containing an s. For example: super bueno is now said as shuper bueno. I'm hoping to kick that habit by the time I'm out of here. Our newest teacher, Hermano Bush, is my absolute favorite. He is the epitome of kindness and has the face and disposition of someone belonging to the best storybook. He served his mission in Peru, and just recently returned from his honeymoon in Mérida. We love love love him.

Our elders have come up with creative ways to fill the short and rare periods of downtime that we have here, one of my favorites being the creation of our life stories and futures after the mission. Apparently they have concocted stories for everyone in our District, each of which come together and connect at our 40 year mission reunion. They have also started the trend of shortening phrases in Spanish, which I appreciate based on the fact that I do that daily with English phrases (i.e. totes adorbs), and which my companions have started saying as well — I think I have been a bad influence on them in this respect. Our favorite shortened phrase: Mi tambien (me too) = mi tam. We're hoping other missionaries here will pick up on this trend, too. For some reason, everyone was also really excited to learn that my first name is Naomi. One elder was particularly excited upon learning this, and every day goes as far in saying that everything I wear and everything I eat and everything I say is "so Naomi." I would take this as a compliment, except he is also the one who views me as some flower-child due to my vegetarianism and smiling disposition. Este bien.

Since moving to Main Campus, we have been trying to stay positive and come up with some perks of being here that we didn't have at West Campus. We have come up with two so far: 1) the food here is in more abundant supply and variety, despite the fact that half our elders got food poisoning on Tuesday (moral of the story: don't ever eat the salmon soup). 2) Spanish doesn't seem too hard anymore after seeing other name tags of missionaries going to Russia and Cambodia and the like.

I hope you have each had a most lovely and eventful week! The colors and weather down here are beginning to show the face of Fall, which reminds me of you because Fall is my favorite and you are my favorite, too. I love love love you, and miss you quite a lot.

with great love and happiness,


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