I´ll talk about my companion and everything in a minute, but first I want to share two experiences I had this week:
Having a Latin companion is really hard sometimes because you have to concentrate twenty-four-seven on what everyone around you is saying and you feel stupid every second. It can be very discouraging at times. My first real day with my companion, I was super discouraged. We taught a lesson and I had no idea what was going on and all I could do was bear my testimony and every time my companion turned to me I would just be like ¨Yo se que las palabras de mi companera es verdad...¨ I felt so frustruated. After lunch, I went on my bed and cried for a few minutes because I didn’t understand how I could fulfill my purpose as a missionary if I couldn’t speak the language and understand what was going on. But I pulled it together, said a prayer, and went on with my day. That night, we were sitting in class talking about how to study and the teacher was talking about how it’s all the Latino's job to help us learn Spanish. Then she said something I know was an answer to my prayers: It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words or your pronunciation is terrible because the spirit is the universal language of the gospel. If you teach by the spirit, the people will be taught in the correct way and it won’t matter how bad your Spanish is. Then, she kept teaching the lesson, but I sat in the back and cried because it was exactly what I needed to hear.
I had a similar experience yesterday. I had been getting super frustrated because I felt like everyone was progressing faster than me and I didn’t feel like I had improved at all. My teacher walked into the class and asked us ¨Today, do you want to hear the words of God to you?¨ He then told us to get on our knees, pray, and then open our Book of Mormon and read. After I prayed, I read Alma 37:6, which says by small and simple things shall great things be brought to pass. Then, my teacher shared an experience of how he was trying to learn English and it was so hard for him, but he knew that he could do it and it would bless the lives of his family. Right after that, he called on me to share my scripture. I was crying so hard I could barely talk and all I could manage to say was that with the Lord´s help, poco a poco, I could learn Spanish. Everyone else shared their scriptures and the spirit was so strong, none of us wanted to leave when class was done. I know that both those experiences were Heavenly Father reminding me that this is His work and He always finds a way to accomplish His work. I’m so grateful for the Lord and His tender mercies.
My companion is Hermana Chupuimia and she´s from La Paz, Bolivia! I’ve loved having a Bolivian! I ask her like five billion questions a day about what to expect. She´s a convert of four years and was the only member in her family until her mom got baptized last year. She’s a sweetheart and I love her so much! I’ll send pictures next week. We were first to email this week and so we didn’t have time to take pics.
I’ve learned so much from the CCM and the Latins. If you want to see real faith, come to South America. Most of the missionaries are converts, often of only a few years. And, usually, the only member in their family. They love the gospel with their whole hearts and when they teach, they teach with power. The teachers are incredible because not only do they teach us, they become our friends. I’m going to miss them so much. I’m so grateful to serve down here!
I’ve been proposed to twice in this past week, so I guess if you want to get married go on a mission? This one missionary was like (in broken English, which made it funnier) Hermana Wllles, after your mission you will marry me. I was like ok, but you have to move the U.S. And he was like ok I move to the U.S. you marry me? I was dying!
I’ll fly out on Monday night. Rumor is we might stay in the Lima MTC for a night! Next time you hear from me will be in Bolivia! Love you all so much! Hurrah for Israel!
Group #3 that Hermana Willes has been a part of at the CCM.
Her companion, Sister Chupuimia, is on her right (in the brown sweater).