Segment No. 2 - So, as I said before, I am terribly sorry I have forgot to write these last couple months!! Things have been so crazy! From the beginning of the term till now things have just been super busy and I haven't even had time to read a book for fun (that is what kills me most ;))! So, homework has been plentiful and hours of sleep have been not so plentiful but that's okay! A few weeks ago we had a basketball tournament at our school for five american schools (including ours) in Ecuador! It was super fun!! Our team came out of it in second place and I came out of it without a voice hahaha it was very extreme but really fun! Next, a while ago my parents and I went to Puerto Lopez, a favorite getaway spot of ours on the coast, for a few days. As I was getting ready to go to sleep the first night in the loft area where the second bed was in our hotel room, I saw some strange looking twig things.. very large, mind you.. and 8.. sticking out from one of the boards in the ceiling and when I looked closer and shined some light on it.. it was a ginormous spider! Delightful, right? Yeah.. I thought so.. NOT. So my dad started spraying it with hairspray.. because.. we had nothing else and it moved a bit but not much. Then he got some herbal, homemade spray we had bought at the supermarket and sprayed it and it started running. So, we got off the loft and threw a shoe up at it and it fell and ew it was gross. But then he grabbed my shoe (without asking me of course) and smashed it. It's like 4 or 5 weeks later and my shoe has still not been cleaned off. I refuse to touch it. The next day I was about to take a shower and I see 4 more funny and very large stick like things sticking out of a board by the shower.. and sure enough.. another.. very large spider was there, probably just waiting for me to get close so it could POUNCE. Probably not. Anyways.. long story short, my dad sprayed it, it ran, he got a shoe and it died. Thank-heavens for dad's.. but still not very glad it was MY shoe. Still a little bitter about that.. I'll get over it... someday.. ;) We actually had a really fun time minus the spiders and I had a lot of fun playing with the five big dogs that the owners own that just lounge around the dining area:) I'll put pictures! Next, last week we had a couple sister missionaries staying at our house for about a week because one had been sick for months and had to go home to get checked but she had to be in air conditioning or she felt worse and fainted so that's why they were staying in our house and so we could take care of her but OH MY GOODNESS I LOVE OUR SISTER MISSIONARIES SO MUCH!!! I had so much fun and those sisters and I became best friends really fast. It's amazing how even though I don't have really any close friends here, I have the missionaries and I see them every so often and it's enough to keep me going:) I love it! I'm definitely going to miss them soooo much!! It's been like having a ton of brothers and sisters... I can't even explain it.. I just love being around them they have the spirit and this energy that is just incredible! I love it!
That is the next thing I want to talk about.. I AM GOING TO MISS ECUADOR SOOOOOOOOOO MUUUUUCH I can't even fully express with words how much.. I think I might actually cry when it's time to come home which is actually kind of strange considering how hard it has been at times. But man, let me tell you... I have learned so much... so much from what I have done and what I haven't. For example, I have learned all this time I have been here about trusting in Heavenlt Father, but not until a few months ago have I been able to start getting the hang of it a bit more and start getting better at it. I have seen that growth on a mission or in anything really, is a process and takes time, there are steps and challenges and all of us handle things differently but the important thing is that we come out of it changed and improved. Heavenly Father doesn't care so much how we change or when we improve so long as we do, so long as we chose to learn from our mistakes, keep moving forward and apply what we've learned. I have learned that we can believe a principle of the gospel whole halfheartedly, but unless we live it and experiment with it and apply it in our lives, our testimony of it is only going to be temporary and is going to be weak. I know because for a while I was reading the scriptures and keeping a scripture journal and all that good stuff and I was like, yeah! This is true! This is amazing! But I wasn't applying all the new things I was living in my life so the dedication and motivation I had, to actually keep learning about the principles themselves, started to go down. But now I understand. Now I am understanding that we can't receive something amazing while only paying half price. I was so afraid to be myself all of my time here, I was so afraid people weren't going to like me and I wasn't sure I wanted people to know me and I was just scared. Finally like a month ago I was like, I'm going home.. I should just try to be myself these last few months and see what happens haha and so I have and people really like me! I haven't had any negative responses yet! If I had just trusted heavenly father in the first place and just went out on a limb I may have had an even more amazing experience than I've had! But it's okay, I don't regret it... I don't think I have any regrets.. because any mistake I have made.. I am learning from it and it's going to help me and teach me to be a better person and I am so happy for that.
If there are any mission president's kids out there reading this, I want you to know IT IS OKAY TO TRUST HEAVENLY FATHER, IT IS OKAY TO BE SCARED! THAT IS NORMAL! And what have you got to lose? You're in a new place and the worst that could happen is that people don't like you which really is not that bad! Because regardless of whether people like you or not, regardless of whether you have friends or whether or not you still talk to the friends you have back home, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE AND LEARN THINGS YOU WILL USE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!! Growing up, I always wanted to go on a mission, when I was little I was so excited that one day I was going to be a missionary. When I saw my brother getting ready for his mission, my mom said that I said, "Ooooh missionary! I be missionary too!" So all my life that has just been the plan, even when I was depressed and didn't really have a testimony of the church I still wanted to come. But you know what? If it wasn't for coming here, I don't think I would have been able to handle it, I think I might have come home. I don't know if I would have been strong enough to stay in college, because I hadn't learned how to persevere and endure to the end with my goals. All of my talents were just partly developed because I never wanted to take the time to turn them into something beautiful. But now, I have more motivation and faith and I am closer to heavenly father and I can testify that he will help us with anything we are having trouble with and in good times and in bad. I testify that from hard things come lessons and come growth. You have no idea, how good you have it until you have to leave it all behind, you have no idea how much you can grow until the strength you have is put to the test and you go through adversity you didn't know you could go through. This is the mission, and it has changed my life and it can change yours.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! I HOPE YOU HAVE AN AMAZING WEEK!!!! YOU ARE ONLY AS HAPPY OR STRONG AS YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE!!! SO BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!! YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!!! IF I CAN DO IT, YOU DEFINITELY CAN!!!! BE STRONG AND LIVE LONG AND PROSPER :D