dearest family of mine,
There are so many things that I wish could be explained through mere words, but that can really only be appreciated and understood through experience. But here is an attempt to bulletpoint a few of the things that happened this week:
+ everyone started painting their houses this week, and we were beginning to believe we had missed a general announcement or decree. Turns out in the Yucatan, every family paints their home a different color with the start of a new year (I dont know why their new year is now beginning in February...). It was slightly lovely, seeing every man and his family outside of their homes, painting and re-painting. It also made it a little difficult to find the home of all our investigadores, because a lot of our memory and knowledge of where they live is based off the color of their homes. We ended up passing by Hno Juan's house three times without even realizing it, because it now gleams a bright green instead of the old orange. It was hilarious, but also kind of frustrating.
+ Hno Alfonso and three of his children came to church with us this Sunday. It was really a miracle, and something that we had been praying for for a really, really long time. They are a little shy and he works a lot of Sundays, but we tested our faith and their faith and passed by their house on Sunday morning to find them ready to leave with us (Hno Alfonso sporting a finely pressed white button-up). I dont think I have ever been happier in my life than I was on that bus ride to church. It was a happiness that floats and edifies and illuminates the sun so that it shines a little brighter.
+ Sunday we had lunch at a non-member's home with all the missionaries in the ward. There are six of us in total (four sisters and two elders), and it was quite the best. The people here really, really love their food (especially meat) and so we ate and ate and ate.
These are just a couple glimpses of life here in this other country. At times something will stir within me a rememberance of the life that I lived before this one, and at times I wish that I could combine this world in the Yucatan with the other one in Salt Lake. This thought passed within me yesterday while walking through the crowded streets of Centro. We had to go to Star Medica in the morning, due to a bout of food poisoning that I experienced this week (note: it was a miracle that we made it to the hospital, given that it takes one hour and two bus rides, and given the fact that I am still directionally challenged. Oh, how God helps us with our smallest and grandest weaknesses, even when we do not acknowledge or feel His hand). While walking (slash running) down these streets of pavement lined with a landscape of color, I was overwhelmed with how much I love everything here: the way man designed and constructed each building, and the way he then chose to color them; the way there are always carts full of candy or dried fruit on every corner (and the way I want to buy everything they have); the way there are always buses and people waiting for buses; the way people here create their own worlds. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, how our Father in Heaven is one of Creation, and how He has given us this same power — the power to create. I love seeing and experiencing everything that one person has imagined and then made a reality. The embroidered shirts with flowers that are perhaps the most beautiful things I have ever coveted; the handmade blankets with depictions of animals that I know mom would absolutely adore; the carving of architecture that is so unique and perfect to this city and this people; the way that everyone here has created their own lives, their own families, their own planets.I like to think that if God has the abilities to imagine and organize His own planet for us, that we as HIs children have this same power to create our worlds in the way we make our own paths of life and units of family. It is beautiful, in a way, that although we each have our own type of world, these worlds can combine and collide and become a little greater with each person we know. My world has now expanded and been enriched by these people and their own worlds, people like Hna Jessica, a member who reminds me of Claire Robinson with the same quality of goodness and intelligence; or Hno Alfonso and his children, who are light and love and happiness; or Hna Huerta and her abilities to think and plan and make a place a little more like a home;or Hna Ellgen, who can always give the type of laughter that lightens loads and fills the heart.
I know that God has given each of us a life beautifully designed to enjoy and live and create — a life to live now and remember for those eternities after, and that if our world is not quite what we want it to be, He has given us the power to change it and build another through the grace and mercy of His Son (Mosiah 27:25-26). How grateful I am for a God of creation and love, and for a Savior who speaks of new beginnings and happier endings, who gives each of us the chance to become better through the process of change. It really is a privilege, having Christ's name next to the one of my family, testifying that there is a God, and that He hath created all things.
I love you, dear family,and am sending all that love and light your way.