crisis: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
Chisme: gossip. No me vengas con chismes. [Do not give me gossip.] (Thanks, Spanish Dictionary)
This week has been amazing and much of that has been due to my companion. She's full of energy, funny, fun to be around, focused, obedient and trying and just... great. She's great. And I just feel SO so blessed. I approached this transfer apprehensively, knowing that wherever I went or if I stayed, someone would have the burden of "killing" me. There's nothing I can do about it really, but I just felt bad for the poor Hermana who would have to do it. (Princess Bride, "You seem a decent fellow; I hate to kill you." "You seem a decent fellow, I hate to die.") But Hermana Arauco said that she has always wanted to be my companion. She's talked with people who have worked with me, heard my mission reputation, hoped and prayed and well... here I am. I told her I was sorry it came with the price of "killing" me and she responded (and I quote) "Hermana Een has got to be the best missionary to kill. Man, give me ten Hermana Eens, I'll kill 'um all!"
All talk of homicide aside, it's been pretty great. Vic is beautiful. It's the perfect little city of cobblestone, tiny streets, greenery, fields, tower bells that ring in every hour, and everything that Spain is supposed to be. The Hermanas here have been working hard and had an unheard of number of baptisms last transfer, which is great! So we have a lot of recent converts.... and no investigators. Pero no me importa, [But I don’t care] we'll get this area growing again if it kills me (and it probably will. Ok, no more jokes). We've talked to a ton of Africans with the charming ice-breaker "Ecom di-me pa!" (I am very hungry,) have done some good service, and eaten a lot.
But, as you know, there is opposition in all things. For the first time, I've been exposed to the mission gossip. I didn't even know that it EXISTED and never had the opportunity to take part in it -not that I'd want to. I feel as if I've been shown the shadow of El Faro. My heart ached and I wanted to disbelieve it all, but the stories fit too well together as circumstances were explained and it grew on the hint of a doubt I might have had. I've been blissfully and naively ignorant of it all up until this point and as my eyes were opened my outlook became grim. I know that no missionary, leader, mission, or person is ever perfect, nor do we pretend to be. But I still had the hope that all of them were at least good or trying to be.
In my gospel study I continue seeing the oft repeated plea, "keep the commandments," and now I'm starting to notice the importance of staying faithful as well. Keeping the commandments requires constant, continuous effort. It requires dedication, integrity, and well... faith. Faith in the principles of the gospel and that the inconvenience and potential social awkwardness is NOTHING to be compared with the blessings that await. This life is a character test, and there are no cheats involved because you're only cheating yourself in the end.
It doesn't matter how many miles you traveled on the right path if in the end, you miss the mark.
Qué fuerte [How strong], Hermana Een!
Endure to the end.
Remember the saving strength of the valiant few, those 2,000 sons of Helaman.
Oh, prove faithful.
Dearest Children, God Is Near You
Dearest children, God is near you,
Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you,
If you strive to do what’s right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him.
Dearest children, holy angels
Watch your actions night and day,
And they keep a faithful record
Of the good and bad you say.
Cherish virtue! Cherish virtue!
God will bless the pure in heart.
Children, God delights to teach you
By his Holy Spirit’s voice.
Quickly heed its holy promptings.
Day by day you’ll then rejoice.
Oh, prove faithful, Oh, prove faithful
To your God and Zion’s cause.
Companionship fact: she has never been to a wedding and has only been
to one funeral.