Wow, I can't believe I forgot to flip out last time about being AN AUNT!! WOOO!!! Dani and Denny you've done well :) I literally printed out a photo of her and laminated it and carry it in my scripture case to show people. I make everyone look at the photo. Never in history was there a missionary more excited to be an aunt than I am! Can't wait to meet THE Gwenster it kind of sounds like gangster which fits perfectly with my next story.
This week we were walking by this stone wall on our way to our next appointment when this old lady comes out from behind the wall and starts cursing at us and calling us gangsters- I know I should have been more concerned at the things she was saying but I couldn't get over the fact that she called us gangsters.
Every time I show someone a photo of my family here in Ecuador the old women just comment on how good looking my dad is, one lady even made the comment that he looks like Tom Cruise.
This is the first time I am hearing about the terrorist attack, I am not joking you when I say I live under a rock. That is so sad but so cool how God takes something that seems awful and turns it into a tender mercy that creates another way to spread this wonderful Gospel.
This lady cut an orange in half the other day and rubbed on my forehead because I am breaking out.
Have you ever seen a chicken shut its eyes? It's so freaky. Chickens eyelids freak me out because they are so thin so it looks like they still have their eyes open.
We were asking for directions when I noticed the shirt of the lady we were asking it said "Smile God is judging you now." Umm A. that makes no sense B. that still makes no sense and C. don’t smile REPENT!
This week I learned a lot about Charity. There is this lady in our branch who has schizophrenia. My companion and I are always nice to her when we see her but other than that I have not had many conversations with her. Another missionary who served in this area a while ago gave us a photo to give to her. As I handed this lady the photo of her and these missionaries she jumped up and hugged me. She started to cry and just kept saying thank you over and over again. I was totally caught off guard! She continued to cry and so I just held her and this overwhelming feeling came over me. I felt the Saviors love for this woman. It reminded me of what we all want is to just be loved. Whether it's being accepted by our classmates, coworkers, receiving recognition at work, school, or even at home. We all at some degree or level just want to feel accepted to feel like we belong somewhere. I felt so much love for this woman. It was a moment where it hit me again why I came here.
Looking back at my life (a whole whopping 19 years...) I can think of a few distinct moments that have really impacted my life. My senior year of high school I went to a dance with a boy named Justin who has down syndrome. I will never forget looking around as everyone was dancing. I saw my friends in a circle near the front dancing. I saw groups of people huddled in the back, some sitting on chairs on their phones, people running in an out of the room until I turned to see my date dancing harder than I have ever seen anyway dance. He had the biggest smile on his face :) I remember seeing how happy he was. He was so happy that just looking at him made you happy no matter what mood you were in. I remember in that moment all my worries went away. Like in this moment I FINALLY got it! I was battling depression and illnesses but in this moment nothing mattered. IT WAS PURE JOY! Seeing the way Justin treated other people. There were no popular kids, no nerdy kids, no jocks, no drama kids they were all his friends. He treated everyone like his best friend like he had known them his whole life!
Sometimes I forget just how important people’s feelings are. People's FEELINGS are important!! The way we treat each other is really important. "We are products of lives who have touched ours." Charity = the pure love of Christ. I love being able to testify of my Savior Jesus Christ every single day. His love has the power to heal all wounds.
His grace is sufficient.
You are never alone.
Con amor, Hermana Israelsen