First of all, I was waiting all week to see pictures of the Hawaii adventure! It looks like you guys had an absolute blast! Happy, Healthy, relaxed, and TAN!!! I love you all and I´m so glad you enjoyed yourselves.. I don´t know of anyone who could have deserved it more than you did!
This week I´ve just kind of continued on in my thinking and reflecting about the word ¨change¨. Like I said, I´ve come to love that word, and all that it entails. It´s such an important part of why we´re here... it´s the purpose of our existence... So I´ve been focusing on embracing and making the most of every change that comes..and this week, well, there were a lot of them!
We got to Tupongato on Wednesday night. and can i just say, I was instantly IN LOVE with this place. It´s got that totally small town in the mountains feel... like an Argentine version of Park City almost... kind of... But we´re surrounded by mountains, there´s endless viñas and campo... there´s horses, cows, chickens... AND you can see the STARS!! ha, okay so yes, I am in HEAVEN.
As always, because we´re washing the area... there are always the first week glitches and adventures. They don´t have real addresses or street orders here... so sometimes it´s literally impossible to try and find people... or find them again. But we´re going day by day... blazing the trail and creating the map as we go.
We´re sharing a ward... i mean branch with the Zone Leaders. So that´s super fun. The branch is really small, and it´s not even included in a stake... we´re in an independent district. Huge change from Dorrego. We are the Relief Society Presidents, I already gave a talk yesterday, we switch off teaching Gospel Principles, and we´re in charge of visiting teaching coordinating!
Honestly... we talked on the colectivo here, and just said... we have no idea what to expect... what to do... or what awaits us.. but the area is gorgeous, the people need the gospel, and President and the Lord trust us to be able to work the area... So here we go.
Our first day in the area it SNOWED. and not just a little, ALL DAY. wet, freezing snow. it was a fun day of ¨getting to know the area¨... and within an hour, our only map was a giant smudge of blended colors... ha day 1. But hey, mom, I finally got to use my snow boots! I didn´t bring them in vain!
¨It is nearly a certainty that some of your expectations will not be met today... choose JOY anyway.¨- Jonathon Lockwood Huie.
I´ve thought so much about that this week... how honestly the way we choose to view the situation, and make the most of it, come what may, impacts the results and the memories we make.
Dad once sent me a quote that I often think back on...
¨I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess the tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized.¨ -Johann Wolfgang Goethe
There is so much on the mission... okay honestly in LIFE... that is beyond or out of our control. But it is our attitude, our daily decisions of how we will cope, that make all the difference.
Yesterday we had our leadership meeting in Tunuyán. It was so crazy to go back to my very first area after 9 months. It was pretty much the same, but I saw it through completely different eyes. Hermano Molto, an Hermano from the branch there was waiting outside the church, I went up to shake his hand, and within 10 seconds he said to me ¨Hermana Cox, There is something very different about you....physically not necessarily... Your spirit, your maturity from the mission, YOU are glowing, and you seem so much happier.¨ I told him that through everything I´ve learned on the mission, I have changed so much since he last saw me.
I am NOT the same person I was back when this whole thing started.
I thought immediately of my favorite Gandhi quote ¨Be the change that you wish to see in the world.¨ Looking at things through that perspective has changed my mission experience, and ultimately, my life.
True change is a decision... it is a conscious effort. It doesn´t come from passiveness, from ¨taking what life hands you¨ and ¨letting¨life make of it what it will.
Elder M. Russell Ballard once said ¨Be a creator of circumstances, not a creature of circumstances.¨
Agency is a beautiful, powerful thing. The ¨way¨has been provided for us. As well as all of the tools and truths to help us along. But with that... and sometimes the trickiest of all... comes with the decision. our decision, as to how, and to what extent we will accept, apply, and incorporate them into our very selves. Yesterday in my talk, i talked about change, repentance, and the atonement. I used the story of ¨You are Special¨and the Wemmicks again, but this time in the way of allowing ¨The Maker¨to remove those ¨dots and stars¨the imperfections, sins, and the marks of the world. To come unto Him and to allow Him to work with us in the way that only He knows how.
¨You may permit the Lord to change your nature if you give yourself to Him... He cannot work on what He does not have, and He cannot have you unless you give yourself to Him.¨ (The Fourth Missionary) .
In the end, our agency is the only thing we have left to ¨give¨to the Lord. He has given us everything. and so nothing we give to Him is really ours anyway.. But our choice, our will, our selves... He won´t ever forcefully take from us. Because He knows how absolutely essential it is that we are the ones to offer that sacrifice. So that the change is more real, more sincere, and more lasting.
Well, this is full of quotes... because I love them, and those people put it better than I ever could.
This time is about change....this LIFE is about change. Whether we choose to accept it or not, it comes. So why not embrace it?
The Lord loves each of us SO much. Much more than we can even imagine. Even with all of our faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings. But He loves us too much to leave us that way.
Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer. He gave His life so that we could have the hope of a brighter future. The opportunity to repent, to grow, to change. That´s what this is all about. To change to become better, stronger, happier, more pure. More LIKE HIM.
There is nothing better than helping someone to understand the Love of their Heavenly Father. and helping them see that through the Atonement of Christ there is hope, there is a way. We don´t have to stay how or where we are right now.
¨BE the change that you wish to see....¨
I love you all so much!
xoxox Your Hermana C
ps....no one´s sure if we can get pictures to load from here.. .which is a shame, because they´re amazing.. .but I´ll try to figure that out. love you all!!!