I´m getting a little better with the language, but I definitely need to work a little harder. President Carter assigned us to switch off days with English and Spanish when we´re in the apartment and to only speak Spanish outside of the apartment. I need to dedicate myself to that a little bit more. I’m sure when I do, my progress will improve a lot. I´m a little more familiar with the area now, but it´s still pretty difficult. It´s a lot easier for me to learn to navigate an area when I drive. I pay a lot more attention. But we walk everywhere here and we talk as we walk, so sometimes I don´t really pay attention to where we are. I´m learning, though, and it´s one of my goals for this week to be able to navigate us to our appointments.
I don´t have too many goals for the year, mainly because I know when I set too many I don´t focus on any of them. It´s not too hard to separate my personal goals and the mission goals because the mission goals are just part of life. They´ve kind of become engrained in my mind. I have a goal to be more healthy this year. I want to take better advantage of the required exercise time every day and eat better. I have a goal to like tomatoes by the end of the year. Whenever we´re at a lunch appointment and eat something with tomatoes in it, I force myself to eat it. It´s not fun, but it´s getting easier.
It´s interesting to think that I´ll be on my mission for this entire year. All of my goals can be centered on becoming a better missionary and servant of the Lord. It´s pretty cool. I want to learn the language, of course, but I think my biggest goal is to learn how to love and serve people better. I want to learn how to listen and ask them questions. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me and be able to discern their needs from what they tell me. I want to be a better teacher and help those we teach feel like we´re really there for them, not just to do our job as missionaries and check them off the list. I want to forget myself and go to work. I fasted yesterday for the desire to do the Lord´s will cheerfully. I don´t want to go through my whole mission feeling like I did it just out of duty or obedience. I want to want what He wants for me.
I guess that´s a whole lot more than "not too many," but they really go back to the first and second great commandments. I want to develop charity. I want to be able to feel the pure love of Christ and help others feel it through me.
I never realized, until I came here, how much of a blessing it is to live in a place where the Church is so established. So often I think about how much easier it would be to serve in the United States. I would be able to express myself and teach more clearly. I could connect with people better. Things wouldn´t be so inconvenient. The Church would be more efficient. BUT, God didn´t call me to the United States. He called me to Argentina. They told us in the MTC that we weren´t called on a mission because of who we already were, but because of who we would become. I know I would be relying more on my own strength and wisdom than the Lord if I was in the United States. This is hard for a reason.
Hermana Reales taught me something in our companionship study the other day. She read from Doctrine and Covenants where it says we weren´t sent forth to learn, but to teach. I´m not here for what I can get out of it, or what I can do, or how I can grow. Those are all important and wonderful things about the mission, but that´s not why I¨m here. I´m here to teach God´s children the Doctrine of Christ and help them receive saving ordinances. I´m learning so much about what´s really important, and it´s not me. This work isn´t about me and it never really was. It´s God´s work and I am one of His tools to build His kingdom. There aren´t words to express this realization or the testimony I´m gaining from it. I wish I could describe it all, but I don´t think there would be enough time or enough words to do so.
God bless you all.