To not be too stressed with time limits, I`m just going to write one main email, since I can talk to everyone in a week anyway.
It sounds like everyone has been doing well, and having fun with the things they`re doing. It sounds like Dad`s working hard in his job as well, and that everyone is enjoying the cold weather ;) hahaha! I WILL BE!!!!! I realized that I hadn`t told you guys that several weeks ago President Ferreira assigned me to be a discrict leader for these last several weeks of my mission. He said that he wanted to try something new, to see if it would be effective, so both my companion and I are district leaders together, to have a stronger and more unified district. Anyway, I was running really short on time last week, so I couldn`t talk much. Valentina got baptized, but Jostyn and José still had not felt ready and so we`re working with them to help them get baptized. We are now working with a family from Bolivia: Modesto, Basilia, and their four kids: Juan Gabriel, Juan Daniel, Norma, and Anabel. We have to help Modesto learn to read, so we`re going to do it with the Book of Mormon!!! We also have to help him and Basilia get married, but Juan Gabriel and Juan Daniel, who are 9 and 8 years old are really excited to be able to get baptized as well, so we`re preparing them to get baptized this Sunday.... as well as an investigator named Juan José, who is the boyfriend of a less active member. He is very interested in knowing more about the church, and being able to recieve his own answer from God as to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
Anyway, Mom.... as for your questions! hahaha!
You asked first about my best memories from the mission. The best times in my mission have been those that have given me the opportunity to help people in ways that I never would be able to if I weren't a missionary....the opportunity to share the gospel with someone that had recently decided to get divorced and had pleaded to God for help to fix her relationship with her husband and with her Heavenly Father if it were possible, or the opportunity to help a person that wants to show God-like charity to others but finds it difficult to forgive certain close relatives. I find it impossible to put these experiences into words..... but there have been many moments in which I have felt very clearly that I was inadequate to help a certain person with their specific situation or doubt, and despite my weakness and inadequicy, my mind and heart have been filled with the impressions of what I should say or what I should do.... and I feel honored that despite all of my own mistakes, my Heavenly Father has used me anyway, as a choice intrument in his hands, because he knows how great my potential is to grow personally, as well as touch the hearts of others, and have my heart touched by them, their situations, and the spiritual strength they have to confront their problems. My testimony has been greatly strengthened because of the people that I have had the privelige to teach. As missionaries we are supposedly the teachers, but I have felt extremely taught by the amazing people I`ve met. As for the hardest moments and the moments that have helped me grow most: they have been generally the same. Moments when I`ve felt ready to break, whether it be stress with the doubts or lack of commitment of an investigator, or patience with my companion, or my own imperfections, I have learned a lot during these two years about the truth of the Book of Mormon, as it has filled my soul with light when I`ve felt my lowest, and has given me the needed power to specifically help any of God`s many diverse children. By way of these hard situations, I have also learned to greatly appriciate the Atonement, and though I`m not close to understanding its depth, I do understand that by way of the atonement, Christ gives us the opportunity to dust off our knees every time we fall, and just keep moving forward. As Elder Holland stated in April of 2016, God blesses those who know the importance of the commandments and try to keep them. But I`ve also been able to learn that he doesn`t just heal, he also helps us to grow by way of the Atonement. We can learn to love others much more and feel their worries and needs when we do what is necesarry to better know our Savior, and therefore, feeling more of the compassion for others that He has for us. My mission president`s wife also shared a beautiful story about the mistakes and fallbacks of one`s life. She explained that in Japan, when a plate or jar breaks, the people don`t throw it away. Instead, the seal the crack with gold, creating a beautiful pattern in the ceramic. They do this with the lesson that the broken plates are like our lives. We don`t have to throw it away, and our life doesn`t have to be ugly and broken after a trial, but rather, our difficulties help us to grow, and adversity makes our lives even more beautiful and rich in blessings, in the same way that the gold makes the broken plate prettier. As for my faviorite companion, I`m not sure about that one. I think that Elder Francis and Elder Jennings grew to be my best friends, but each one of my companions taught me something very important. Elder Urrutia helped me see the spiritual influence I could have on the investigators, Elder Orellana taught me charity by the way he treated all of the people we came in contact with, and Elder Pasigan has helped me to learn that I shouldn`t let problems get bigger than they need to be. I know I haven`t answered every single question, but I`ll finish with how I would describe my mission experince with one thing... I have realized over a lot of time that I have been taught on my mission how to be a more courageous and valiant person.... asking for help when I need it, speaking up when I need to do so, acting in the precise moment to help someone with something specific. My Heavenly Father has shown me that my potential is great if I reject fear and doubt, and follow with complete faith. And the fruits have been beautiful. I love you all, and I`ll see you soon. It looks like this is my last email, since I`ll be in the mission home next Monday, but I love you all, and I`ll see you really soon. I`ll attatch the picture of Valentina`s baptism below! Love you!