So 2011 drew to an end the heat started up again!! We spent the weekend comfortably in 80 degrees. IN DECEMBER. Oh how I love sonora :)
Well this year has really been something that I could not have expected. The mission is NEVER what you think it is going to be. And, while there are many things I wish I could change about how the mission is, (the missionaries, specifically,) there are so many blessings that I have seen. Other than picking up a strange accent and saying "carls jr" pretty funny, the mission has made me completely different.
We closed the year 2011 with a baptism and confirmation! Guadalupe´s sister, Selene was baptized and confirmed this past week. That was really something special to see after the trials and family pressure she faced to be able to enter the waters of baptism. But it really is a miracle when you can see that converts start to understand things by themselves. When they really do put their faith in God and take a blind step to see all the blessings and happiness that are waiting.
As for me, I am learning how important it is to do things the Lords way. He knows how to protect us and to keep us from causing harm. It can be a struggle sometimes, but being focused on serving the Lord with ALL you heart, might, mind, and strength means just that. I know that if a missionary is distracted, he cant work with the spirit. But I have also learned that when you complete with the Lord and do what is right, then the blessings always come. I know that the commandments keep us safe. Big ones, small ones, and even the ones that only apply for 2 years.
Something cool that I have seen in the mission is the importance of being grateful. Guadalupe asked me how someone can be happy all the time (because I always tell everyone to be happy and grateful with what God gives us) and the way that I have found to work is just giving thanks where thanks are due. God does SO much for us and when we start to look for his hands in our lives, we can really see that he is there. We feel less alone. We feel uplifted. We are simply filled with happiness, because that is a fruit of the spirit. Another thing is not getting down on yourself when you slip up. Everyone does. Even I do. Before the mission. On the mission. But when we start to get feel bad and we get stuck in that mode of thinking, we stop trusting in God. We forget that the Atonement covers all. I love the principle of repentance and how we show that we are changed because when we trust in God and fix our mistakes, he helps us out! He doesnt condemn us or make us suffer. So being grateful and trusting in God even when we fall are 2 ways to be more happy with our lives and to have the spirit closer :)
The holidays have passed. The people have stopped drinking. The left over menudo is almost gone, and we can finally get back to work. Then mission ROCKS. I love it :) But this end will come to and end soon as well. Before that happens, I need to keep serving the Lord so that I can be what he needs when I get home. I love you all so much. It made me so happy to talk to all of you on Christmas. I hope 2012 is even better than 2011 for the Marsh family and for everyone I love back at home :)