Never in my life have I worked so hard. Never.
Two weeks ago, all of the missionaries in our zone were called to give service at a multicultural event. At this event, people from ALL Hispanic countries came and displayed their culture for all to see. There was dancing......
Food (of course).....
Exhibits, vending, and music..and we were in the middle of it. It was like being in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala all at the same time. Needless to say; I was in heaven.
There is something so special about these people. I LOVE them. We were there to serve, but every once in a while they would allow us to take a break and participate in the activities. During one of our breaks, my companion and I went to watch some of the dancing. I just fell in love with it. I got chills as I watched each culture displayed in dance. At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that I am moving out of the country and never coming back! I love these people too much. I want to be with them forever! Sorry, Mom.
The next few days were accompanied by TONS of rain. One day was our walking day, the other days so much rain to even see while driving. Streets were flooded; cars were trapped; I gave my umbrella to the elders; shoes, hair, skirt, shirt, all soaked; but the work still went on.
Then came our temple trip. Waking up at 4 to get ready and pick up the other missionaries by 6, drive to Newark to catch the train...
And enjoying the hustle and bustle of the New York streets,
And then finally, inside the doors of the Manhattan New York temple...silence.
The Manhattan, New York Temple is the perfect illustration of 'living in the world but not of the world'. Outside the doors of the temple the streets of New York are as loud and boisterous as all of the movies depict, but once you walk inside the first set of doors, you have entered in 'holy ground'. The noise and stress of the outside world is gone.
There are no words for my experience inside the temple. No words. I walked away feeling the love of my Heavenly Father. It was an experience that I will not forget.
After our session was over, I went to fulfill another one of my dreams: eating "street meat". Literally one of the best hot dogs I have ever had!
And then....I had to try more. A Greecian sandwich....a Gyro!
Only in New York can you walk down the street and, within less than one block, find authentic food from 6 or 7 different countries. So good!
As if we weren't blessed enough, later on in the week we had all-mission-conference. We played games, performed skits, and were spiritually fed as we listed to the testimonies of President and Sister Jeppson. In two weeks they will be going home and we will receive a new mission president; President Taggart. Hearing the testimonies of these two wonderful people impacted all of us. They have touched each one of us personally and helped us become the missionaries that we want to be. It will be hard to let them go.
Here on the mission, things change more rapidly and forcefully than I thought. New mission president is coming, transfers, I'm out of training, our investigators are changing (some for the better and some not), and all of this makes the mission life very challenging, but one of the things that I am learning is that through the craziness of life, God will never change. He is our constant and we can depend on Him for all things.
Between all of our fun activities that we've had over the past 2 weeks, Hermana Weinstock and I have been working harder than ever. We have still been trying to teach as many lessons as a 'normal' week (one without traveling, conferences, trips, meetings, etc.), contact as many people, study harder for our investigators and put more of ourselves into our work...and I.am.exhausted. haha. I have a sticky note on my whiteboard in front of my desk that reads, "Did you work your hardest today?" It has been my motivation for this week. I have been able to come home every day and answer that question with a firm, YES. It feels good. Tired, but good. I wake up every day at 6:30 and don't even have the energy to get off my knees after I pray, but when I ask for the energy, it comes. Heavenly Father is helping me. I am seeing more miracles everyday. I love it.
There really is nothing better than being a missionary.
Sending my love,