I don´t know how to write this email without confusing the crap out of everyone...so bear with me....
MARCIA is the mother of JOEL. She has been an investigator for almost 5 months. She has a baptism date for March 30. Her only problem has been quitting smoking. She went from smoking 25 to 1 cigarette. She has been smoking one cigarette for weeks now and finally, we had to call the Bishop to give her a blessing this week. He gave her the blessing on Thursday night and as of this morning, she has only smoked ONE cigarette. It was so cool to see the power of the priesthood work--it´s so hard for her and my heart hurts because I know how hard beating addictions can be. I love this lady more than anything. She is really putting her faith to the test because the day after she received her blessing, she found out her mom has cancer. Life is so hard sometimes, but that´s why the atonement is so amazing. I can tell she is really learning that concept and wants to have her own conversion. She is an amazing example. LOOOVE HER.
JOEL is 18 and was baptized in December. JOEL is the ex-boyfriend of VALERIA who is the 17-years-old, has the 2 year old and is currently pregnant - the one that I talked about in my last email. (By the way, we dropped her...no longer teaching that MTV 17 and pregnant girl). JOEL has two friends; NIVALDO (16) and RAMON (15). They are brothers. We started teaching them on Monday. Their parents didn't want us teaching them in their house so we've been teaching them in Joel's house while we teach Marcia. Combined Lessons. And THEY ROCK. Ramon isn't really as interested as Nivaldo, but he'll come around, I know it. Those brothers are really dear to me because they are my FIRST in everything on the mission so far. I taught their first lesson, they will be my first baptisms (if Marcia doesn´t hold strong with the smoking). I got to ask them both if they wanted to be baptized and they both said yes! I told Nivaldo after a lesson this week, ¨You´re going to be a missionary someday. I can see it.¨ He came to be the next day, excited as can be, and said, ¨Hermana Pendleton! I read the White Bible! I am going to serve a mission!¨ Hahaha. Bless his little heart.
This ward is absolutely amazing. I could serve my entire mission in this area and be 100% content. I love La Serena. We had a family home evening last night with Familia Paz for Nivaldo. We had Joel and another recent convert come and we watched The Joseph Smith movie. I was overwhelmed with the spirit. It made me miss Sunday nights at our home. Familia Paz´s oldest daughter was snuggling with her 12 year old brother and it made me miss CAM SO FREAKING MUCH! After the movie, we all bore our testimony on Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. Words can´t describe how I felt. You just need to know that I have one firm testimony that this church is true and I don´t think I could have gained this testimony if it weren´t for the mission.
We had Almuerzo with Familia Rodriguez this week. Hahahahaha. They are Kim and John to a T! When I asked them how they met, Hermano Rodriguez said, ¨She simply pissed me off to the point that I couldn´t live without her.¨ Loved that! He saw me wearing my Simon and Garfunkel t-shirt early that week when we were doing service so he had the album Bookends playing on the surround system when we arrived for lunch. Then he put on Best of Cat Stevens. He kept saying, ¨You don´t have any control of the music I play in my house and don´t act like you don´t want me to play it...So just sit back, eat food and enjoy....¨ And that is exactly what I did. He said he was going to go buy me a diet coke and be offended if I didn´t drink it, but I was good and talked him out of it.
The Spanish is definitely coming. I don´t know what happened but things just started to click this week. I can understand most of the lessons...it´s the talking part that is hard. I CAN´T ROLL MY STUPID TONGUE AND IT´S REALLY DUMB. Freak. I practice 24/7 and nothing. So, it sort of makes it hard for people to understand me. Sometimes I gurgle my uvula because I can´t roll my tongue. People just stare at me like I am trying to do some terrible Chewbacca impersonation. It´s always awkward. Keep praying for me that the language will come and the tongue will roll.
I could write forever about things going on here. But I remember reading all my friend´s emails and how boring they were because I didn´t know anyone they were talking about. So, I´ll just give you simple updates. Life is good. It really is. There are selfish times where I miss, what I call THE 4 F´s: Friends, Family, Food, Freedom. But I am learning things here that are good for me. I love the people here. I am really sick of getting close to people and then having to get ripped away every six weeks or so. I am super bummed about Hermana Garcia going home. She is such an amazing, gal. Man, I love her.
I love you all. Hope you had a beautiful week and things weren´t too crazy on the home front. Cam, I hope you won all your basketball games. Becca, your band of the week is Ben Kweller. Tay, you need to start preparing for your mission NOW. Jer, you need to freaking write me an email or something. I miss your letters.
Mom and Dad, thanks for your emails. I love you dearly.