I hope that you all had a very American Thanksgiving! Congratulations on Whitney’s baptism too! Woo! Our Elders baptized yesterday too, so I just pretended for a second that I was there in Texas. 🙂 All Thanksgiving food we received was 100% gringo – what in the world! I mean, one woman gave us rice and another had rojo Nicaraguan cola, but otherwise it was all turkey and ‘taters. Someone even fed us brussel sprouts – yes! First time on the mission that I got to eat those bad boiz. A good time was had by all. We had one meal with our Elders and then a later meal with all eight of us (those serving in the Spanish and English ward here) and the next day we got leftovers! It was lovely. I even made corn pudding last P-day in honor of the holiday! To my surprise, however, when I pulled it out of the oven, Sister Monsuy said, “Oh, Sister! You made bumafon!” Turns out that it’s actually a native dish in Equatorial Guinea. What? Now it will forever be called bumafon in my heart – I hope that y’all ate some for Thanksgiving too! I’m learning a lot of cool things about Eq. Guinea. For example, they have a local dialect/language/tongue called Fang – Sis. Monsuy is teaching me: Muanbot awaun kuan [MWAN-bort ah-OO-wan gwan]! That’s something you say to someone who’s really vain and is always fixing their make-up and clothing. She taught me how to say ‘How are you?”, but I was doing the dishes when she taught me, so I can’t remember. Sorry ’bout it.
Anyway, Flagler is going well! We’re teaching Raul, a man Christy found on the pool deck of the Miltons (the ritziest joint in town – an “apartment complex” that’s basically it’s own tiny city). When we first met him, he told us that he’s Muslim, but we later learned that he is a Bible expert and believes Jesus is the Son of God and his Savior. So I’m not really sure what to call his religious-ness. Soon it’ll be Mormon – he’s really receptive and very sensitive to the Spirit already. We’re also teaching his friend, Joel, from the Dominican Republic! He’s super cool, but he’s having a ton of crazy problems right now, so he’s hard to see frequently. And he doesn’t speak much English, so we really should pass him to the Spanish ward missionaries, but we always teach them together so we probably won’t (don’t tell the Elders).
Christy is still crazy, surprise surprise. She was MIA for four days, and we were really worried that something bad happened to her. Usually we either see her or talk to her on the phone every day, so for her to completely drop off the map (as in her phone was dead and no one answered at her apartment) to not just us but her two friends also, was pretty spooky. Especially when Rene, a less active bud of hers, told us that she recently brought a homeless man to live in the electric room of her building and had been bringing him food there. I mean, it’s good to be charitable, but sometimes you have to help yourself first. And I guess he started to mess with their power whenever he was hungry. Spooky stuff. We still don’t know all of the details on him, but I’ll keep you posted. Turns out that Christy just went to West Palm Beach for the weekend and didn’t take her phone, but she sure caused us, Rene, George, and her mom an awful lot of worry!
While harvesting this week we found a cool lady named Elena, whom after the prayer told us she was 100% positive that God sent us and gave us really big hugs. Then she proceeded to tell us all about her life for the next thirty minutes right there on the sidewalk. She also told us that we were going to find marvelous husbands soon and that I would have two children (one boy and one girl) – apparently she could see their spirits standing next to me just waiting for me to get married! That was new. Yet after all of that she finished with, “Yes, I know that God sent you, but I’m not going to your church.” Okay, just tell God no like that.
This week in my personal study, I have learned how much of a boss Alma the Younger was. Holy Bible, Batman! He was so bold! After completely turning his life around, starting from vilest of sinner and ending up chief judge and prophet, he just preached like crazy! Correcting all of the Zarahemlites and throwing down on the Ammonihahites with Amulek! In Alma 4: 3-5, it states that the people he was teaching were awakened to a remembrance of their duty to God because of their afflictions- and then they killed it! They built up the church like wild and helped 3500 people get baptized, all because they heeded the prophetic call from God. It definitely gave me the reminder that we should be thankful for the trials and afflictions we have in our lives because they not only bring us closer to Him, but also allow us to learn, grow, and gain strength. Also, going on to Alma 4:15, 19, he relies totally on the Spirit because he knew it would not fail him and gives up his position as chief judge to go preach the gospel! He states that the only way he saw to help the wandering people was to bear down in pure testimony against them – definitely a strong witness of how powerful it is to share what you know to be true through the power of the Holy Ghost! And how effective! In Alma 5:14-19 he just throws down asking inspired question after inspired question. Have ye received His image in your countenance? Have you had a mighty change in heart? Do you look forward with an eye of faith? Can you look at God in the last day with clean hands and a pure heart, having his image engraven on your countenance? Super powerful missionary. It gives me hope that I will be able to continue increasing in strength while I am here.
A big shout out to Ella Stacey, Naomi Clutter, The Ownbys, and Sister Garrett for the wonderful mail! You people are wonderful and absolutely made my days! Also, I’m speaking in church on the 14th about service, so if any of you have any brilliant ideas, stories, or examples that you feel need to be heard by the Miamians, send them on over! Also, Sister Heacock, my last comp, baptized a guy last week with whom we had been working! So exciting!
Sister Monsuy quote of the week (that probably made me laugh much harder than you will):
Sis. Burdett: “Man, I miss the Elders. Maybe they don’t like us anymore.”
Sis. Monsuy: “It’s okay Sister. They just want to avoid temptation.”
I love you all! Remember that all of the things for which you were grateful last week came from Him. And that we really should continue being grateful every single day. After all, it’s a commandment – in all things give thanks. Also, especially give thanks that you don’t have to sleep in an electric room and depend on food from an Alcoholic Humanitarian Houdini.
This first lovely foto is me in the ceiling of our church building! We use our family history center to e-mail here, but the bishop never gave us keys, so we act like secret agents and open the door with a cord after removing the ceiling tile.
Also, this is Sis. Monsuy and I right before Thanksgiving. Not an awesome picture, pero mejor de nada!