This week was a great week of trying new things and experiencing new things and feeling new things, such as:
+ one of the less-active families that we found living in our area has a lot of fruit trees, which means that whenever we go to visit them they send us home with bunches of bananas or coconut jello (I'm pretty sure that is what they sent us home with the last time — still trying to figure that out). This week they introduced us to coconut juice, straight from their coconut tree. We got to watch the whole process, and even though Hna Huerta had to choke down their generous offering of pure coconut juice, it was totally worth it for the experience.
+ every Thursday we eat lunch with la Familia Espinosa — they are our favorites and so hilarious and have a son that should be a character in a novel. This time they fed us a shrimp soup, and so I now know how to eat a shrimp — shell and all.
+ this week we had our first Zone Conference, and our new Zone leader is literally the main character from Slumdog Millionaire (only a South American version of him), meaning that he is super great and perhaps the greatest thing that has happened to our Zone in a long time. Needless to say, we have good leaders.
+ we experienced our first real rainstorm in the Yucatan, and since our phones have limited capacities and can't tell us the weather forecast, we left all our windows open the whole day and returned to a (slightly) flooded house. It was made all the worse when after entering my room, I found not one but two scorpions living on our walls. It was horrible. After (maybe) screaming and running into the other room (and maybe slipping on our wet floors), we called our district leader (because all our leaders are super great) to find out how exactly we were supposed to exterminate them. He gave us two options: throwing either a shoe or basketball (his final advice: just like, don't let them touch you), but since we didn't have a basketball handy and lacked the courage to go with the shoe option, we decided to call one of the members. Needless to say, we now have two scorpions less in our house, and an acquired knowledge of how to kill them using only the wood end of a broom.
+ on Friday, Hno. Rene was baptized (!!). Even though his mom and brother couldn't be baptized the same day, everything was perfect and I have never been so happy to see one of God's children choose to follow Him so willingly and so wholly. He is perhaps the definition of a golden investigator. He already has a ten year plan which includes a mission and studying at BYU, he reads the Book of Mormon almost daily and shares everything that he learns every night with his family when they gather for family dinner, he has reactivated one of the less active young men in our ward (before his baptism), and he chose to be baptized on the day of his thirteenth birthday. He chose to be baptized on his birthday because he really believed that by his baptism, he would be born again. He really believed that this first and new covenant with God would allow him to begin again, to become a new person, to be spiritually born of God At times I am in awe with the goodness of the people here — with their willingness to change their lives so wholly and fully in order that God can enter they lives to stay. It reminds me of Alma 5:
"have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"
At times I wonder if missionary work is the work of awakening more than anything else — awakening people to the spirit and truth that is already in them, so that they can begin to have a desire, or this mighty change of heart, that can lead them back to their Father and allow them to become new creatures. I don't think it takes a baptism or a miracle or an answer to a prayer in order to be awakened unto God. Sometimes I think our greatest awakenings to our Eternal God are in the simple decisions we make to show God that we want to be near Him and we want to be bettered by Him and we want to be born of Him.
Wishing you a week of mighty changes in your hearts and awakenings unto God — I love you and am praying for you always!
con mucho amor,