Supposing that you are all relaxing on the beach in Coronado and visiting Burger Lounge and Yogurt Escape with great frequency, here are my highs and lows of the week that you can read when you are all gathered together for dinner and Olivia begins the family tradition:
+ Hno Cham — so we can't really remember his first name (we think it is Samuel. Or Marcio. Or something like that). He is one of our investigators that we have been teaching for a few weeks now, and one that was progressing really well despite the fact that we had to explain everything really simply and slowly. He is so kind and humble, always giving us fresh orange juice or mangos from his tree (don't worry, I found out that I am not deathly allergic like the rest of you, and that it is actually my new favorite fruit). We have our lessons outside of his house around a marble table he made himself. Sometimes whenever we ask him to commit to pray about a certain priniciple in order to know that it is true, he starts praying in the middle of the lesson. As in we asked him to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and he just started praying right in the middle of the lesson, asking God to give him an answer and a testimony of everything we had been teaching him. It is my favorite thing. Because he prayed and because he is humble and pure of heart, he received answers to his prayers and was beginning to gain a testimony. We were super excited until we received a text from him telling us that we can't keep teaching him because his wife doesn't approve. At first we didn't understand the text because he wrote it in English (which was slightly hilarious because it didn't make any sense and also because we didn't know he kind of speaks English). It was really sad and now we will never be able to go back to his house with the golden lettering on his handmade pillars and handmade table.
+ Hno Nicolas — another one of our investigators that we have been teaching foreeeever and who was super great because he had taken the discussions when he was 14, so he remembered everything and was excited to be baptized. However, we haven't been able to teach him for weeks now because he is never in his house, and because we think he left to serve a mission ... for the Catholic church. No joke. When we found this out, we felt the same feelings we had when we opened our front door to find a parade for the Catholic church marching down our street, with one of our less actives walking and singing along. I'm not sure if people really understand what it means to be members of a church here.
+ we think that one of the less actives we have been visiting for a while now is involved with the black market. For reals. We arrived at her house to find a new car, new furniture and a new TV about the size of her wall. None of these things were there before. And her husband is in prison for some unknown reason.
+ Hna Blanca: a woman that I contacted on the bus weeks and weeks ago who we just started teaching and has a slightly eccentric husband that sometimes talks about her as if she is not in the room listening to him (they are great and I love them). She doesn't belong to any religious sect, and in our first lesson with her she started crying because no one had taught her how to pray, and it was the only thing that she had ever wanted to do. So we taught her how to pray and now she knows how to talk to God.
+ Hno Rene: received the priesthood and passed the sacrament this Sunday with a new white shirt and tie. We think he understands the sacredness of the sacrament and what it really represents more than a lot of the others who have been members their whole lives. He is incredible and we love him so much.
+ Womens General Conference: we watched it in Spanish at the Stake Center and I was able to understand about 93% of it. They talked a lot about the family, which made me think of you and how happy I will be when we are reunited once more — the thought made my heart sing just a little louder and grow a little fuller. Sometimes I wonder if that is how God feels when He thinks of us returning to His home.
Wishing you a most lovely vacation in our most favorite place! Love you and miss you always.