It's actually quite odd to think that I've just started a year of my life that will be devoted to missionary work. Every single day of this year will be sent as a missionary. A little crazy to think about. A lot happens in a year, really. But I can only imagine the progress I will not only see in myself, but in the Lord's work as well. This'll be the most productive year of my life, quite easily. I'm excited to get out there and teach every day this year.
As for being able to teach, I can now teach almost all the topics in Spanish (some are a little rough..), I can have normal conversations in Spanish, I can lead lessons in Spanish, I can contact in Spanish, etc. I'm feeling so much better being able to teach and communicate. I still have a very long ways to go, but I'm picking it up and learning fast. And I'm really excited to be able to see that progress.
And the more I'm able to communicate, the easier it is for me to keep my chin up and work. I feel as long as I can teach, I'll be able to fulfill my purpose and be happy. Just as long as I'm out working and talking. But I've felt my love grow for these people so much. I can keep focused in my investigators because I really want to help them. I realize more and more how important it is that I keep them in my mind and work to help them come to Christ. It is, after all, the most important message they'll hear in their lives.
So a funny story, I felt quite sick around dinner time yesterday. I don't know what it was, but I really felt like throwing up. So my companion and I headed on over to our penchanista's house to eat dinner, though I wasn't planning on eating much. As we sat down at the table, our pench. lifted the lid to what she was cooking. It had a good ol' chicken in there, like usual, but I noticed something that made my stomach churn like no other. There was a chicken leg in there being fried with it. And the leg was still moving a little. I already felt sick, saw that, and imagined needing to eat that. I think that if she had handed me a plate with a fried chicken leg, I would have thrown up long before it touched my mouth. But thankfully, she was only cooking it for the dogs. But I was seriously afraid of eating something weird of that sort, especially when my stomach is already really iffy. But so far so good. Chicken legs are for the dogs. Phew...
Oh and a correction for a couple of the things I said on the phone. I said that rich people live in front of the beach. By rich, I mean they almost live a US level life style. Their houses are nearly as big as ours or as nice as ours, and only a few own cars. So they don't nearly have the money that we do, but I forget that I now use "rich" on a completely new level. So just a clarification.
Oh, and one more funny story. They eat a lot of rice here. A LOT of rice. It's pretty much in everything. Rice comes with chicken, tuna, potatoes, soup, everything. So I'm pretty much super tired of rice, right? And with that in mind, here goes the story: We were at the house of a member, having a nice family home evening with an investigator. We had a nice lesson on the scriptures and played some pretty ridiculous games that were quite fun. But at the end we get the treat, right? I was super excited to see what kind of sweets they eat in Peru, so they brought it out. They handed me a cup of what looked like oatmeal. I was informed that it was "Arroz con leche" (Rice with milk). It was basically oatmeal with rice. Even the sweets are made of rice. I just don't get it. What's so stinking great about rice?!
But seriously, the work has been going great. Elder Olivares and I got to listen to Rodrigo's mom tell all about the change she's seen in Rodrigo since his baptism. She says he's more responsible and caring for his family. He's stronger in his own descisions and smiles a lot more now. So it was wonderful to hear how the Gospel has helped him find happiness and change his life for the better. That was pretty rewarding to hear. It helped me realize just how important this message is for people, and just how happy of a message we share.
Happy New Year everyone!