So! New area!! New companion!! New everything!!!
The Gila Valley feels like an entirely different mission. Hermana Munk and I are the only spanish missionaries in the whole valley............. Yup. And our area is the whole valley...... Our area overlaps with about 16 english missionaries so geographically it is HUGE. We drive a lot :) Meaning, I drive a lot :) Which I absolutely love! We have a big old white truck too for all the dirt roads. Man. It's so crazy and green here! with fields and crops and farm animals... Holy cow! I have never seen so many horses in my life. We also get to drive by the temple a few times every day which gives me the chills every time :) It really is so beautiful here. WAY different than Tucson which isn't really a bad thing or a good thing.
Also, the spanish is really limited. We had maybe 1 or 2 lessons this week that were entirely in spanish and then maybe 15 that were completely in english. It kind of breaks my heart not being able to use spanish as much as before. Oh, and also... I have no idea how to talk to people in english! Yeesh... Turns out I'm an awkward missionary... Dang it. In spanish I can be all charming and such but english... forget about it :P
Our branch is made up of maybe 3 or 4 people that only speak spanish and then a ton of white people :) Oh, and everyone here is a member... But we get treated like royalty!! DISCOUNTS GALORE!!! We went out to dinner once: paid for. Went out to lunch: paid for. Did service at the food bank: free groceries. It's ridiculous!! Don't get me wrong.. It's great! It's just different than all the crazy homeless people in Tucson.
We've seen a lot of miracles this week though. It was really easy to go knocking in Tucson cuz there were apartment complexes and pretty mexican areas. Here, it's alllllllllllllll white. And our area's HUGE (like we can drive up to 2300 miles a month, huge). And the houses are all pretty spread out with dirt roads farms in between. So. Knockin here is a challenge. But we did a lof of "eh, let's try that random farm over there!" and they just happened to speak spanish :) One house we knocked on happened to have a spanish husband, and a less-active wife that hasn't been visited by missionaries in 7 years. Oh and she just *happens* to be having a major surgery in the next few weeks... Hmmm. coincidence? I think not :) They're really funny and kind and they invited us back to play with their horses and goats and donkeys and cows and dogs and chickens! We snagged a couple pictures with their cute lil baby goats :)
I've been studying in Mosiah a lot, reading the stories of all the great missionaries/leaders/pure legends like King Benjamin and Abinadi. And I kept seeing these little passages that just bugged me. After King Benjamin gives all of his words of wisdom to his people from the tower and turns over everything to his son, it says in Mosiah 6:5 "And King Benjamin lived for 3 years and he died." And then it moves on. THREE YEARS??? One of the wisest men in the world was about to die... Don't tell me he just sat around for 3 years doing nothing, saying nothing! And then I hit the story of Abinadi. After he confronts evil King Noah and lays everything on the table it says he was in prison for 3 days and then the story moves on. He essentially condemns himself to death by standing up for what he believes in, and there is nothing about the 3 days that follow?
I strongly believe that those 3 years and those 3 days must have been one of the most sacred periods of time those two great men ever experienced. Whenever we make the conscious decision to follow God and to act in faith we are IMMEDIATELY blessed with an outpouring of the spirit. I have felt that time and time again as a missionary. I can only imagine that sweet spirit those men must have felt before they died. They probably experienced trials, doubts, depression, anxiety in those time frames as well. But I have no doubt that the Lord blessed them for completing the work he had set out for them to do.
Leaving Sonora on such a high note with a baptism I feel like this past week has been like my 3 years or 3 days. Difficult, challenging, but so full of the spirit confirming that my work there is done and I have done what the Lord wanted me to do there :) I'm excited to see what happens as my story moves on here in the Gila Valley :)
Thank you for all our love and prayers!! Y'all are great :) And the church is true!