Monday, July 21, 2014

July 14, 2014

Hello everyone,
We had one of the most productive, successful weeks of my mission so far :) The work in our area is just exploding and we are so busy every single minute of every single day! It's so great!

We wake up every day at 6:15, pray, jog to the gymnasium to exercise, come home, shower, eat breakfast, and start studying at 8:00am. We study until 11:00, make lunch and then leave our apartment at 12:30 and go out and teach 8-9 lessons, contact 2-3 referrals, do some small acts of service, talk to people, buy hot bread for a snack for dinner, and make it home in time for 9:00 daily planning, area book updating, calling sisters, journal writing and off to bed at 10:30. It's a whirlwind and I couldn't be more happy :)

My family asked about our apartment haha... let's just say it's the closest thing I've lived in so far to "luxury camping" as my always optimistic Brazilian sister, Hannon, calls it :) we have concrete floors and our bathroom is outside, which means it has a nice, healthy, thriving population of mosquitoes living in it. I like to see how many I can kill by snatching them out of the air while I'm showering haha. It's just sister Flores and I, which I really like, but we will be having sisters sleeping over during exchanges about twice a week.

This week we have three exchanges planned. On Tuesday, we'll be going to Urdaneta to work with the two sets of Urdaneta sisters in their areas. And then on Wednesday and Friday we'll have the other Villasis Sisters (Sister Brown, my MTC companion! :)) and a companionship from Rosles Zone come to work in our area. I'm excited to be able to go on so many exchanges this transfer because I always learn so much from other missionaries during them. As a new Stl and a relatively new missionary, I feel that I have a lot more to learn from than to give these sisters, but HEavenly Father is strengthening me and Sister Flores is amazing about teaching me how to be a good friend and example to all the Sisters in Urdaneta and Rosales zones. I'm excited to work with and get to know each one of them better this transfer :)

I forgot to mention last week, but we actually have a baptism coming up this Saturday, Sister Corazon. She is the sweetest little lady and I love her so much! She is in her 50s and we truly feel that she was prepared to accept the Gospel long before she met the missionaries. She came to church the first time she was invited, gave up coffee and tea as soon as she learned the Word of Wisdom, reads the Book of Mormon every single day and is generally a golden investigator! Sister Corazon was first taught on May 30 and will be baptized on July 19. Sister Flores and I were commenting and wondering why Sister Corazon has had such a smooth conversion and no real trials or problems.... UNTIL.... Saturday, when she was supposed to be interviewed for her baptism. We walked with her to the church where her interview was supposed to be and it was LOCKED. We started calling everyone we could think of with a key and it turns out that they were all in Urdaneta for a stake training meeting. Great. Then, we started calling all the members we could think of to see if we could hold the interview at their houses. We finally got ahold of Sister Camille who said we could come over. So all 6 of us (us, Sis Corazon, our district leader and his companion, and a member who was going to work with us) got into trykes and made it to Sister Camille's. She led us to the only vacant and quiet area she could find- an empty church next door. Yes, sister Corazon was interviewed for her baptism in The Church of Christ. BUT, at least she passed and she will be baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday and we couldn't be more excited for her! She is a living testimony that the elect and prepared are out there. :)

Something that I've learned from Sister Flores this transfer is the power of exact obedience. Even the simplest things like going to sleep at exactly 10:30 and making sure to exercise everyday make a difference in bringing the Spirit into the work. President Monahan always says, "If you want to have 100% of the Spirit, be 100% obedient". It's so true! We can't expect 100% of the Spirit if we are only obedient 90% of the time. I know that exact obedience brings miracles. We see them every day :)

Mahal ko kayo! Ngiti :)
Sister Gustafson

Here is a lovely picture of me with a ginormous mango that a member gave us! masarap!! :)

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