|waiting by the sea shore|
This week was filled with the best and perhaps most happiest seven days of my entire mission (or entire life), because I went to Campeche. And I SAW THE OCEAN. We are still talking about it. Like, we can't get over it. It was a dream, the very best kind of dream. The assistants called us Monday to ask us to teach our Zone about purity the following morning in our mini Zone Conference (they called us at 8 pm, which meant we were up for half the night preparing for it. i.e. our goal of being exactly obedient this week totally did not happen). They talked about faith in the Conference, and we followed up with repentance — it went really well and we felt really grateful that the Spirit was there. They called us that same night asking if we could do it again with all the missionaries in Merida. We said yes, despite my fear of speaking in front of large crowds of people in a foreign language (just picture Shelby-me trying to do this, and you will understand). We fasted and prayed and went on Thursday to teach what we taught with our Zone, and it went really, really well. We did an activity with our missionary badges and by the end, everyone was sharing what they had learned and felt — it is definitely much better to teach and listen with the Spirit. If I have learned anything within this past transfer, it is that we cannot do anything without the Spirit. He teaches and lifts and enters the hearts that we cannot reach. We got a call that same night asking if we could cancel our appointments for Friday, because we were going to Campeche to do the same thing. I felt like we were on tour it was so hilarious: Zona Merida, Merida, Campeche. I secretly loved it. We woke up at three in the morning the next day to catch our bus to the promised land (it is true, everyone wants to go to Campeche, even the natvies have license plates with, "Campeche, quiero estar alli!"). The four of us took a two hour bus ride through a jungle of trees. I tried reading and sleeping but to no avail, I was so excited. It was like Christmas. We arrived at eight in the morning and I fell in love at first sight — hills and houses on hills, cathedrals, buses with black tickets instead of orange, ocean air. It is perfect (note: google it) We had the conference for three hours and then got to go on splits with the sisters there for two hours before eating lunch at a restaurant right on the ocean. Seeing the ocean felt like home; the blue and half-day light reminded me of what my parents had given me since childhood with T streets and tamales and coconut ice cream. I think I was always made for Mexico. I ordered pasta (I know, mistake) and my comp ordered breaded shrimp with coconut, which I ended up eating because it was SO GOOD. We are all going there because dad would love it.
Then we had to take the bus back to Merida and I was sad. It was literally the best day of my life. It made me realize so many of the things that have changed within me -- not just the fact that I now like ham sandwiches and papaya liquados — but the things that God has allowed me to become through doing hard things and foreign things. I remembered what Elder Bednar told us when he was here: we cannot remain the same and please God. While sitting on the bus back home, I read in 2 Nefi 9, and learned how it talks about how we will be the same people in heaven that we became here on earth — that our happiness will become an eternal one, or that our sadness will become an infinite one. I am grateful for this principle of the Gospel, that God allows us to become what we want to be with Him. I hope that I am changing.
There are so many more things that I could write, like the time we filled up a baptismal font with buckets for two hours because there was no water in the ward, or how we carried two dressers through a crowded city and empty bus. These experiences are changing me and giving me a greater happiness that I did not know before. So, thank you for letting me serve a mission, even though it has perhaps been long and distant. I miss you and love you always.
*only HIllary Duff can full express how I feel
|fiesta in celebration of hermana cockerham's birthday|
|hermana spencer modeling our rain coats|
|our church building — we have sacrament on the second floor|
|splits with sisters in Campeche|
|ocean for the first time in one year and one month = happiness|
|they made us take this picture after lunch (feat. Elder Calmes y Elder Ferriera)|