Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cumpleaños cumpliendo

Cumplir: to complete or carry out. Cumpleaños literally means "finish year" and we call it a birthday. It was Hermana Gutoff's birthday. Cuplir also means to finish. I had the opportunity to be with Hermana McWhorter- an Hermana I stayed with in my first night in the mission and who took me out contacting my first morning in the mission- who went to her last Concilio and will be going home this Tuesday. Cumplir can also mean to keep (guardar is the better word) as in "keep the commandments."

Cumpleaños. We started out the week with my companion's 20th birthday.  A birthday in the mission is usually a once-in-a-lifetime thing (unless you're an Élder or... special) so there's a little bit of pressure to make it something AMAZING (I guess...). And thanks to some 'piso find decorations,' a breakfast, a mission coordination meeting turned party, and some over-the-top contributions from the Elders, it really REALLY was. Basically, I'm STILL pulling confetti out of my bag, books, and agenda. Photos to follow, if I remember to include them.

Star Wars came out, and is still a really big deal

I did an intercambio [exchange] with Hermana Stapley! She was trained by Hermana Fenn (from my group and basically one of my favorite people in the world). Her hair is white blonde and I'm 90% sure that it's because of the sunshine in her soul. She's incredibly upbeat, loves Harry Potter, and could quote "Meet the Robinsons" along with me like a pro. Our intercambio started out a bit rough- I only caught the train by a hope and a prayer with two minutes 'til departure and the recent convert we were working with was stopped by (tip for the future, always carry your bus card) and then RAN FROM the police. Intercambios, always an adventure. But everything ended well, and then back to our areas and our companions, both a bit better off from the exchange.

We had a great lesson with an African man who sounds like Mufasa (the temptation to record him reading James 1:5 was GREAT) and rediscovered the missionary magic of brownies. (Member gives reference. The girl is "busy." We say "we're making brownies at Saundra's house." She says "que guay!" and comes.) I have a renewed testimony that God really does help us achieve our righteous desires when we go the extra mile and do OUR part.

Concilio was great as always. I felt like almost everything addressed (Christlike listening, district/companionship unity) was meant to help me, my companionship, and our area. I'm excited to teach and apply it.  I don't know what it is, some sort of magic of the mission home, but for the whole time I'm there, I feel such a profound love for EVERYONE there. It's incredible.  Another bonus is that many of these Hermanas are coming from areas where I've served and have incredible, heartwarming things to tell me:  Manuela gave her first talk in sacrament meeting and went to the ward temple trip. She's giving out references like candy and her family is finally opening up. Carol (someone I taught in my first area) is still obsessed with me and sent me Honduran scripture cases!

Our last concilio together
Our first concilio together, 
Elders Kimball,Day, Hermanas O'Neill and Fenn,
All from the same MTC group. All leaders. 
Hermanas pic!
With Hermana Wiseman, they served together in Barcelona
On my 16th month mark I completed a mission goal: I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish. It quickly turned into another goal: to read it all again before I end.

It's going to be a little bit harder (to finish in 2 months what it took 16 to complete) and require focus and sacrifice but I'm energized to do it. And I noticed something as the train rides gave me ample time to read: the phrase "keep the commandments" appears on almost every page, sometimes multiple times.  Its been cropping up everywhere in my gospel studies and I'm starting to realize again just how important it is. Many times we think of "commandments" and immediately our minds go to "the 10." I haven't murdered and I'm not a liar, so I'm good, right? Not quite. God continues to speak to us, and he usually "speaks by way of commandment." God gives us commandments because he loves us and is a fair bit smarter than we are, so he gives us things to make our lives easier and better. The word of wisdom. Law of Chastity, etc. We keep the commandments because we love him. And then we are doubly blessed by it. How cool is that? And now, out mission rules are given us not to restrict our freedom or frustrate us, but to bless us and help us live the higher law. It isn't always easy, but it is always, ALWAYS worth it.  Mosiah 2:41. Actually all of that chapter. Read it, it's a good one.

Mosiah 2:41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Next week is transfers. Mixed feelings. Not at all sure what to expect or feel, but on we go.

Keep the commandments. Have a great week.
Love you all!
Hermana Alayna Een

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