The heavens here continue to rain and rain and rain. It makes me happy when the skies are cloudy and when everything takes on a gray color with the hidden sun and dark sky. Because of the rainy season our home has become somewhat of a sanctuary to some new friends — the most recent being Gadianton, a black lizard the size of my finger that literally has no fear of humans and thinks he can study with us by our desks and scavenge whatever we don't eat (and yes, we named him Gadianton after the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon...and yes, maybe this means that I have too much time on the mission). We have grown accustomed to our new pet and were a little concerned when he didn't return one day and then I started to worry that I had accidentally killed him like I have done with all of the other lizards that had tried to created a house within our home, too. But then he came back the next day and we were secretly happy.
With the welcoming of a new pet, there weren't too many things this week that compared in excitement except for: being caught in a bus race and the ward primary talent show. The bus race happened twice, and both were a new experience for me. You would think after nine months here I would have known what a bus race even was, but Wednesday morning we got on the bus like we do every day, only this time the bus driver was ushering us in like our lives depended on it and then went racing to pick up the next group of people waiting. Apparently the bus drivers here always want to outrun the other so that they can get the most people on their bus (i.e. the most money). It was actually hilarious to be standing in a bus crowded with people who were struggling to stay standing as we raced through neighborhoods and cities in order to outrun another oncoming bus. Our bus driver ended up winning. Both times.
The stake primary talent show was also pretty spectacular — as in, no one usually comes to activities but this time the cultural hall was absolutely packed. My favorite acts included a glow in the dark robot dance and a finale solo to a Mexican country song (yes, the eight year old was dressed up as a cowboy and yes, it was a love ballad and I loved it). It was kind of like America's Got Talent. As we were sitting there with a few of our investigators, I started thinking about how much everyone just wants to be known — for their name, for their talents, for their works or for their brilliance. The other Sunday, the youngest son of the Familia Cano wrote ´´Jonathan estuvo aqui´´ on the abandoned white board, and I laughed because it is the same in every single country and every single city and every single classroom — people always write their names on things that will eventually not be there, but for some reason they want to leave behind a sign or a part of them that can be seen and remembered by at least a few passing people. It made me think about one of the most glorious truths of the Gospel: that we are known and loved and seen by those eternal eyes of our Eternal Father; that He knows us more for who we are than for what we have done and that He knows us more for what we have said in love and patience than for what others have seen us do. I think that Christ is the greatest example of being rather than doing, in the way that I don't think those people who had real faith followed Him because of his miracles but rather because of how he made them feel and the type of person he was. He knew the things that really matter and that are really measured — the things that may not count to others, but that God notices and measures and admires. How grateful I am to believe in a God that loves me most for who I am and what I am becoming more than what I have done or am doing.
Okay, sorry for the random order of this email and for thoughts that I hope have at least made some sense. I miss you dearly and love you even more!