Before the mission I hardly ever ate meat and if it was still on the bone I wouldn’t even touch it. Now I am like if there isn't meat it isn`t food.
Mom thank you for the musical instruments you sent me. I am not sure what to do with the 4 mini flutes, the harmonica, and the recorder but I am sure having fun playing a song to my comp before we go to sleep every night even if she doesn't like it.
The other day we were walking to our next cita when these two old ladies greeted us as if we were long lost friends and one of them grabs my arm and says "Que quapa!" Then she starts to pinch my arm. I am like "what the?" But the harder I laughed the harder she laughed and pinched my arm. No joke I had a bruise on my arm from where she pinched me. My comp said to me in English while still smiling “who are they?" and I just go "I have no idea?" Turns out they just wanted us to buy their bread and pinch my arm fat.
We were using this pulley system to lift buckets of dirt on to the top of a roof and the family we were helping thought it was hilarious that my face was turning red from lifting the buckets. After about an hour I turned to casually sniff my armpit and someone saw me and started laughing and saying “Hermana Israelsen needs to bathe!" Ok you lift buckets for an hour and not sweat! Then I tripped and almost fell off the roof. Earlier that day I ran into the bus door as they were closing and stood up after our morning prayer only to ram myself into a table. My comp started calling me "Butch" because there is an elder (Elder Butch) in our mission who has terrible luck. He got bit by a pig, stabbed in the eye with a broom, and accidently drank bleach.
During my prayer the other day with a part member family their 2 year old daughter came over and slapped me in the face just as I was about to bless their family. I tried so hard to keep my composure but I was so shocked that I started laughing and after about 5 minutes I was able to restart the prayer.
My comp will whisper something to me in English about what we should do when something goes wrong in a lesson. I always whisper back in Spanish and she goes "You just said that in Spanish..." Yet other times when I should be speaking Spanish I speak in English. I am like Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss who do the exact opposite of what they are told to do.
This week I felt like I got a better work out from how much I laughed than from my "morning sit ups." The mission has taught me how to love the little things of each day. I used to think being depressed, sad, and negative meant that I was being real and deep. Like optimistic people didn't know heart break. Like happiness was an illusion and I was the only one who could see that and "my calluses grew tired from exposure," only Tara Johnson will get that last one. But I tried so hard to prove all happy people were fake but I WAS SO WRONG!!! "Wickedness never was happiness."
I'm not saying it's all just rainbows and butterflies and I just want everyone to be happy! ("She doesn't even go here!") In other words, we have to pass through sorrow in order to appreciate joy. Our life is a series of moments. Some that pass by without a second thought and others that stay with us just a while longer. Some change us maybe even define who we are. Times of fear and sorrow followed by moments of joy and wow it’s good to be alive. But all of these moments put together create our stories. I am learning it isn't our age that brings maturity it's experiences. For example, a 54 year old has probably had a lot more experiences than a 13 year old. So no matter how long this moment right now might feel remember that "this too shall pass." I have had a lot of good and bad times to know that the good times will always come and the bad times will always pass and if we choose to let them they can define us and help us learn. "You either win or you lose." The only way you lose is to stay on the ground and believe in that voice that says you failed. "You only fail if you don't get up."
“It will all work out, it will all be okay.” Sometimes before I go to bed at night I repeat these words over and over again because it brings me peace of mind. It might not all work out or be okay right now but it WILL. So in the meantime take time to laugh at the little things in each day and CHILL OUT if you need to.
You are never alone.
Con amor, Hermana Israelsen
PS. Haha I really do love the mission it’s full of so many surprises some wonderful and some not so wonderful... but hey “it will all work out, it will all be okay!”