Monday, April 14, 2014

The Stars are Prettier in Corire

Its true, when you're walking through the valley at night, and its dark, and you're still a mile away from your room and you have to walk because there are no buses at that hour, all you can do is look up at the sky and say ".... the stars are prettier in Corire." Because they really are. Its so gorgeous here, and love it more and more every day. I'm starting to doubt if Adam really went to Adam-ondi-aman after leaving the garden of Eden... I think he actually came to Valle Majes, and planted a few mangoes here.

Things here in Rama Aplao have been going.... somewhere. Haha, this area is such a patience builder! We just have to work with the leaders so much.... but we can only teach so little at a time, or it goes over their heads. So we are having to learn to work at there pace and not at ours. And sometime their pace is s-l-o-w as slow can be. But that's all part of the ball game here. We have really been trying to rescue as many people as we can... but are starting to see that all efforts are just kind of .... stunted by the lack of Melchizedek priesthood holders in positions of leadership. But we are looking for the chosen men, to lead the church, and I know that they are out there. They just.... haven't made it out to church in awhile. But we can do it! I know we can. After 2 months here, I can already see a difference. There is still a few football fields left to go, but that will come.

I have restarted the Book of Mormon, again, and I just cannot express enough how true that book is. It is so true! Everything about it. I am so grateful to have been introduced to this book at such a young age, and to grow with the knowledge that it exists.

We had to chance to visit with this less active lady named Elizabeth, and she is just awesome! She has such a strong testimony, she just got shaken by something that happened with their adoptive son that suddenly made her question everything, but she knows that all these things will be for her eternal benefit, and that it really is time to come back. She cried and cried with us, about so many things that really would be hard for anyone to bear, but then she just transformed, and knew that our visit to her was her Heavenly Father saying "Hija, es hora para regresar a mi redil." And it was so special to sing her favorite hymn with her "Ill go where you want me to go" and it was amazing to see the Atonement applied and received right before our very eyes. She was filled with such anger and bitterness and sadness when we got there, but when we left.... you saw her eyes filled with an undeniable, indescribable hope. Hope that she really could change. Hope that it wasn't too late. Hope that she will receive blessings when she keeps her covenants. And that's really what we preach- hope to everyone.

Ive gotta jet, but I hope you know how much I love you all! I am so lucky to have such a great family. :)


Hermana Leavitt

Note: I asked Melissa about reading about some sisters serving in Chivay now. (If you remember that is where she wanted to serve sometime) and I asked her also about being a sister trainer. Per Melissa's request I tracked down Hna B's mom and with her permission I share Melissa's experience with her daughter. Missions are hard, especially in a foreign country. If the missionaries can get over that 3 month hump (after leaving the comforts of the MTC) - things get a little easier day by day. This is her response:

"Yep- sister Stone and sister Weller got put into Chivay, and they are both AWESOME! Seriously, phenomenal sisters, and I am so psyched for them. This past week they had an attendance of 6 people..... so they have got a lot of work to do! And I still might end up going there after serving here.... I just need to prove to president that Hermana Leavitt can build Branches, no sweat. Sister training is actually awesome! We get to go on divisions, and get to know the girls and see how they work, and we end up loving them even more every time we go, and then we put goals on things that we can all do better. We had a sweet division with one of our companionship in C.  I went (by myself...... one of the challenges of being 2 hours away.... one of us from each area leaves at the same time so we don't waste the whole day traveling) and was with Hna T, who is the biggest sweetheart ever, and we just got a brand new gringa in the other companionship there, her name is Hermana B, from UT. I had talked to her the night before (her 2nd night in the field) and she told me that her mosquito bites were huge, so I brought some hydrcortizone cream with me, and when I saw her at the bus terminal, it was like looking back in time, 6 months ago. Shes got glasses just like mine, huge bug bites, knows absolutely NO Spanish, and has a Latina trainer that just barely finished her training a week ago. She is me, mom! So when I saw her, I imminently told the girls that we were all going to meet together at the church the next day at 12, and it turned out to be completely inspired. All 4 of us were in a room, just making small talk, and then I had had Hna T prepare a simple training to give to Hna A (Hna B's trainer) and get some feedback from her, so they went in another room, and I got to talk to Hna B alone. Shoot- that first three months really IS hard! Dang, she just got really emotional and started talking and talking about everything from the food to the communication, and everything she said rang true. It is so hard to be in those shoes. But it was awesome- I got to share with her all the wisdom and tips that I could possibly think of, and I think it helped her. I had written her a letter the night before, calling her "the unsinkable sister B!" and also gave her that "Missionary Commission" card that you sent me with the Bruce R. McConkie quote on the back, just trying to let her know that she really CAN do this. And I know she can. Plus, I am going to be there for her! And that's something I most definitely didn't have during my training. We have things schedules out, from Special P-days to service activities, so that we will be able to see her at least once a week this change. Really, the solution, as hard as it is to hear, is time. It's realizing that this will all come together on the Lords time, not on ours. But she is going to do great, I know it! If you happen to know her mom on your FB group, let her know that we are going to take care of her as much as we can! 

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