What the heck are we doing in the Amazon jungle? 6 weeks to sexy program

I don’t understand. How did AesaLina break her arm? This is alarming. I would totally take her direction-impaired children with me all day to give them time. But tell her I love her and I’m sorry she broke her arm. Would it be weird if I asked how she’s broken it?

Also, Marissa wrote me about all her friends and life and family and I found this is made my emotional levels much more wildly uncontrollable. I literally think I’ll have a breakdown upon my return. I believe we should plan it all out, to make it the least traumatizing as possible. If you could somehow have copious amounts of ice-cream and Aubrey Hepburn movies ready for my return, that’d be fantastic.

This week there was surprise service found in the house of an investigator. We helped them dig out their dirt floor so they could take out a rotted wall. My companion, tall basket ball playing gringa that she is, ripped out a wooden support pull with one go, and below there was a deep dark cavern of ants.

Me: I think we just found a door to hell.

Crosby: They’re just ants.

Me: Do you think satan’s down there?

My theory was proven correct when a huge, freakishly colorful spider came springing out of said hole. We killed it with a pickaxe. It was all quite exciting, but we were horrifically sore all the next day.

Speaking of the next day, it rained—surprise! Like always—and I totally fell right on my bum. Both feet, full fall, dying on the ground, grit between my toes, mud-caked butt. And my dear companion was a fit of hysterical silent giggles in the wake of my great fall. I frowned and cried and laughed and got up and kept going down the hill.

You know, sometimes this mission thing is not anything like what I thought it would be. I didn’t really understand what it would be, and sometimes is still look around with my companion and we’re like, ‘What the heck are we doing in the amazon jungle? How’d we get here? How have we been here for so long?’ And we marvel.

Hna. Compton

p.s.

Crosby: if we stay together for another change we are totally doing a 6 weeks to sexy program!

Me: What? That sounds dangerous. Is this optional because–

Crosby¨: We will do it and we will die and it will be fantastic!

And thus begins the 6 week race to drop the 15 pounds I’d foolishly picked up along this whole crazy ride.

Sports people; Things are going splendidly

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Dear Mother,

I’m fairly certain that you all already know this, but let it be remembered that Keith is a wonderful, wonderful person. You guys are reading the book of Mormon in Spanish? We are so keeping that one up when I get home. He’s just such a good guy, you know? Like, he’s nesting for my return, painting my room and making sure everyone knows it’s mine, and knows strange things like the longest word in the dictionary. He’s nice. I like him. Thanks for getting married.

Apart from my general adoration of Keith, my life here is good. I have a wonderful companion. Her name is Hermana Crosby. You know those amazingly beautiful sports people that I wasn’t really sure existed in real life? That’s her. She’s awesome. I’d probably abhor her if I didn’t adore her so much. She names things in our area like, ‘The Poop Pond.’ And Life’s so much easier these days.

We’re working really hard in our area, and we had a few people attend church yesterday. We found a hilarious family the other week. It’s three generations. Mitza, the mom, her son, Juan, and her parents. She’s a bit older, and he’s 22, and they make us laugh soooo hard. The grandpa’s deaf, and always randomly starts shouting questions, and the grandma—súper catolica—starts praying or singing catholic songs in the middle of the lessons. But the Mitza grasps the idea of the restored priesthood and Juan’s never been baptized, and is really interested in the por qúe of the baptism.

Whhhaat? Jackie’s potty trained? I find that more astounding than the fact that him and Ben go to preschool at the same time. This is really quite mean of you all to be growing up without me. Ugh. Have I already mentioned that I’m quite impressed with The Richard and AesaLina duo?

Sinda says she’s sending me a care package—yay!—and I was thinking of sending something home. I have a few trinkets for the kids, and I’d love to ship some of it off for you guys. I think I’ll try to send it off next week. It’d probably get there for the tail-end of February. Side note: Cannot believe that January has already come and is heading out.

But everything’s going splendidly here. I’m praying that God doesn’t boot me out of Iquitos for my last change. I’ve been here my whole mission, and I’ve become quite attacked.(Kathleen here–I’m sure attacked should be attached. Freudian slip that seems appropriate so I won’t edit.) I refuse to believe that my mission president will send me to a new city with a new companion in a new area my last six weeks here in Perú. It would be cruel. And I would be sad. And probably trunky. Not recommendable.
But all goes well here. How goes the plans for traveling to Peru. Are you going to get your passports on time? Gas prices still low? What else has happened that I don’t know about. You know, sometimes I worry the zombie epidemic is totally going to start and I won’t hear a word.

Hna. Compton
I’m sure you’ve taken notice already,
but I don’t do my hair here.

Like, it’s combed daily.

But the friz here.
It kills hair.

There’s the Hermana Myth

that at a year mark there’s the health problems

mystery pains

hair loss

joint complications

things

I just have The Friz. . .

but I have noticed I lose a suspicious amount of hair these days

please buy wig preemptively

letter to Marissa; Change; no word for ache in Spanish

I sort of got out of hand writing a letter to marissa and now I don’t have much time, so I’m just forwarding it to you. She asked me about all the things that have changed about me. At first I started freaking out, but then I remembered all the things I like about myself here in Iquitos.

My dearest Marissa,

I’m glad to report that this week I’m feeling swimmingly stable. Emotionally, that is. I’ve had a change of companions. Her name is Hermana Crosby. She’s a basketball fan from Northern California. We’re about as opposite as we could get, but she’s wonderful. We worked so, so hard this week, and I really haven’t even had time to feel moody, broody, or any variations of the two. It’s going to be a marvelous six weeks by her side.

Funny, how things have changed.

Change. Let’s talk about change.

You’ve adjusted to changing—changing stresses me out more. So little stays the same, I cling to the little that doesn’t, and when it does, I hurt. I ache. There’s not a word for ache in Spanish.

But in ways that I’ve changed. . . I don’t know. I’m so far out of my natural habitat that I don’t know how much is me and how much is the foreign background playing on me. I know I can talk to people without being stressed or disinterested. I can be around people all day every day, and I don’t feel the need to go sleep in a closet for a day or two.

Spiritually I’ve grown in leaps in bounds. I understand the Atonement so much better. A deeper part of me values Him. I suppose I finally really figured out how to love Christ here in the mission. I sort of always knew he loved me, because that’s what I’ve always known. But now I love Him. And that’s made a world of a difference. I love the old apostles of Christ. They’re cool and super flawed and human and then they kind of knocked it off when Christ died and had to do all the big kid things and were super awesome and powerful and didn’t break under the weight of prosecution not even unto death. (Apostle Feelings coming in.)

This is actually sort of scary. I’ve been taken so far out of my culture and languages and commodities, twisted and molded in new ways that I don’t really know how to answer this question.

But! I think I could tell you the things that I still love. I still love adoring things, and being excited about things, and loving people. I’ve figured out how to love people, even people that I normally wouldn’t be able to stand. I’ve learned to love them despite that. I still like trying new foods and I’ve found a new love for chopping at things with a rusty machete. I love being in the stake center Sunday nights because it’s a beehive of bustling people completing callings, and it just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside of me seeing people working purely for their own will in the work of the Lord. I like making my bed and planning out my day and singing as loud as I can when I’m tucked away in my house. (I think I’m learning how to harmonize. It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time. When done, I feel like a Disney Princess.) I still like stories and ideas and I totally still mentally write about people I meet. I can walk around under the blazing sun for hours on end and I don’t freak out about the copious amounts of sweat that runs down my back. Sweat marks—ha!—hardly even faze me now. Oh! I’ve probably gotten a bit sassier. Any and all weight insecurity problems got flushed down the toilet like two months in when I got used to people referring to me as La Gordita. (Translation: The Fatty) I am The Fatty. It’s hilarious. I’m now less pessimistic. Everything goes bad, and I’m that super annoying person that I hated before whose like, ‘Don’t worry! Everything’s going to be okay! Because I’ll buy you chocolate!’ and then I would probably buy you chocolate. Also still make really corny jokes, and I haven’t gotten rid of the whole sarcasm bit of me either.

You know, there really are a lot of things that I like about me a lot more—still me, just a bit better. (Sister Cliché strikes again!) I just don’t want to lose that when I come home. That’s sort of why the whole Going Home Change thing is sort of freaking me out, but I’m prepping myself up so I don’t totally blow a fuse.

That was actually a bit longer and self-centered than I’d planned.

I’m sorry you got a B in your class. Save the k-drama for me, but only the really good stuff. Don’t want to wade through the low grade murk.

Hey, I like you

sort of a lot

p.s. use exclamation marks more than I used to, but never two at a time. Never.

!

Okay, letter over. Also, really weird that Dad’s still having kids. This week at church I got there early to practice the piano, and the bishop was all excited because he got a letter from Utah. But he opened it and it was in English so we read it, and it turns out that that Jeffery Warren guy who’s the FLDS prophet sends monthly letters to all the capillas around the world with his ‘revealed’ scriptures. They were really weird. I read a bit. It wasn’t understandable. The words were sometimes jumbled up and it was just talking about war. That world is just so strange to me. . .

but in other news! New companion. I’d send photos, but my camera’s offically wigged out. Almost a year and a half, and I bought it for 70 dollars at wal-mart. Sort of understandable, I guess.

Love you all, Chao

ps tell joan wooley hi for me, and that I think about her every once and a while.

All is well here; scared to come home

My dearest Mother,

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Today there are changes (transfers). Another six weeks came and wandered off again. It’s been a surreal mess of weeks and days and hours. I don’t quite understand how so much has gone by or how so little remains. Three months is two days and a night out here in the mission. I’m actually scared. I don’t feel alright with the idea of coming home.

Just barely started your visas (passports)? Hope you`re gettin’ that one in time. But I suppose that sort of makes everything real. You guys are actually coming to Peru, to Iquitos, to my wards and these people that I love so much. That somehow makes the idea of going back to Utah not quite so painful.

This week was a strange week. An Elder broke some pretty serious laws and got sent home, and the mission sort of snapped. They did an almost-surprise search of all the houses of all the missionaries. In that, they did it, but the people talk fast and the rumors run faster, so it was hardly a surprise. My companion made an offhand joke about the laws of the Sadducees and Jews and I laughed. Past me would so not have understood that one.

I love being in the mission.

So much.

Oh, my. Do you guys remember the Blanca and the Cesar? They totally just showed up and ambushed me with gushy hugs. Oh, I love them. You’re so meeting them. They’re crazies.

But all is well here in the mission. I probably—hoping, praying, and crying— that they don’t boot them out.

Pues, nos vemos aproximo semana. Chao, Hna. Compon

Chocolate is always the solution

Mom,

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I cannot quite fathom how things are changing and morphing and not staying the same. I sort of feel like that world doesn’t belong to me anymore. Not Utah, not Hawaii, not the new houses and new places and missing people. That’s a little bit heartbreaking, to be honest. My heart hurts. I don’t like change. Can you all just stop. Stop changing. Only three months more, and then you can start changing again, okay? But just tell everyone to chill out for a bit.

It’s the rainy season right now. Lots of rain, lots of clouds. It’s actually quite nice. Little sun to burn away at skin and sanity. But also lots of mud, and that’s gross. I’m down to my last pair of shoes, and they’re mud caked right now. Hermana Hixson, a fantastic sister with whom I live, loaned me her shoes. I like them. Pues, I like her. She’s fantastic.

My companion and I had our first ‘spat’ today. It was sort of adorable, because she’s adorable and doesn’t really know how to spat. She sort of gets quiet and broody, and stopped talking to me, and I was like, ‘Oh, no. What did I do? I must make it better.’ And so I asked her about it, and she was like, ‘You didn’t share your chocolate with me.’ So I sat there for like five seconds trying to remember, and I recalled that Sister Hixson had shared dark chocolate from the states with me the day before. I got up and went to my room and took out the last pieces of chocolate that I was totally saving for her, but had forgotten to give her up to that point. I gave her the chocolate, apologized, and hugged her. Chocolate is always the solution, I promise.

Nothing else of fantastic importance has happened. We worked hard this week, nobody came to church. We’ve got a sort of flaky couple that comes to church sporadically. They had a date to get baptized this Saturday, but didn’t go to church yesterday. She’s super excited to get baptized, and the husband is super not excited to be baptized. Flaky. Sometimes he wants it, and sometimes he doesn’t. So we’re like, ‘Here’s the doctrine, remission of sins by faith, repentances, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, perseverar hasta al fin. You’ve got more than a year with the missionaries. This is really all up to you.’ But, oh, Hno. Roger es la muerta.

Did I already mention that I’m bummed that everyone’s changing? I’m just gonna’ mention that again.

I’m bummed that everyone’s changing.

Hna. Compton

I love my cousin Marissa; flooding, flu

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Cleaning up after rain caused flooding

Nathan is driving and another Christmas has somehow gone by and I think my eyesight’s gotten worse here. I can barely see the computer screen. . . hmmm.
But this week was super interesting.

Monday started out with really horrible rain, which was cool, because adventures and stuff. Hiking through water the smells bad is always fun, I promise.
And Tuesday. . . well, nothing of spectacular importance happened Tuesday, actually.

But Wednesday. . .I talked to my mother. Or was that Thursday? But Thursday I called my mother, and there was much joy and confusion to be had. I don’t actually like speaking English anymore. But yeah, best 6 minutes of the day.

Then Friday was spent in the mission offices for a Christmas meeting. We ate cookies, played a game. It was pretty cool.

And yesterday, Sunday, we went to go sing in the Plaza de Armas. We sang half the himn book, lost my voice, and took lots of photos. Then we all had to go hunker down in the stake center for a while.

An excerpt from my letter to Marissa:

‘ …yesterday there were the football riots where reckless, hormonal men, young and old, went around trying to tip over buses and stuff because their soccer team won. I was so frustrated. They herded all the members and missionaries into the stake center—there are fences around the churches here, which that alone says something. I went about grumbling about how, ‘This would never happen in Utah.’ And low emotional development because they throw rocks and burn things where they’re happy. I’d not like to see them when they’re upset.’

The whole lock down in the stake center, I feel, was a bit over exaggerated, but we skipped off to our house about an hour later, and all was calm again.

But, hey, merry Christmas everyone. I’ll see you all Thursday.
So I’m a total laze and I’m only sending you what I basically wrote The Marissa. . . perdona me.

This week has been a bit horrible. Well, correction, this weekend has been horrible. It was great to talk to all you guys. (Except for Alden and Sinda. Are they still alive? They’re literally the only ones I’ve not seen in over a year.) So Jueves was chill, but Friday and Saturday and Sunday have been probably the worst few days I’ve had in a long, long time in the mission. Friday I started vomiting and didn’t really stop for a while, so they booted me into a little Adventists of the 7th day Clinic and then I was all better after two hours. (I believe I feel about hospitals how atheists feel about religion. Like, there, but my parents always taught me that hospitals could likely be avoided, because the people on the inside are probably trying to sell you something that you don’t actually need. But this is apart, and I’m still trying to figure the analogy out.) So, then I was better and stuff, but the next day my companion also started vomiting, but didn’t have the intense stomach pains that I had, so they didn’t—and still haven’t—shipped her off to the clinic. So all Saturday and Sunday she’s been throwing up, and somewhere between the vomit Saturday we lost our cell phone in the streets and other things and a family decided to not get baptized and now I sort of just want to sit down. And not. Do. Anything. Ever. Again. Like, as a missionary, I feel like a big bag of useless, moldy potatoes. I am a big bag of useless, moldy potatoes. And it’s great. (That was sarcasm. It’s not great. It’s bad.) And then I called my district leader and was like, ‘So, this is what’s going on here.’ And you can bet that he did not help in the remotest of ways.

And I sort of want everyone who’s ever been on a mission to tell me everything’s going to be okay and that I’m a big kid and that I’m going to figure it out. Or at least to send me a letter. Or a chocolate. Or. . . I don’t know. A telepathic hug.

But apart from all this tragic, vomitus state we’ve been in, I guess this week wasn’t so bad. . .

Nope. It was bad.

Marissa Letter
Contect: She heard that the ten tribes are being kept in a huge, warm cave up north. And then I giggled.

Oh, my goodness. You’ve already made this horrid weekend not nearly so horrid. We’re so not phoenixes, but that sounds so cool. It says that when people die during the millenni—you know what, quoting Gospel Principals right now. Love you so much.

‘During the Millennium, there will be no death as we know it. When people have lived to an old age, they will not die and be buried. Instead, they will be changed from their mortal condition to an immortal condition in “the twinkling of an eye.” (See D&C 63:51; 101:29–31.)’

‘Come and see Grandpa Fred’s Transfiguration this Saturday at 5-ish.’ Could totally be a thing, che.

Secondly, I’m almost certain that there aren’t ten tribes just chilling out in a cave somewhere—because what?—because it says that the ten tribes were literally enslaved and scattered by oppression. So the twelve tribes come from Jose and his brothers, and they all go to live in Egypt, and then become the Israelites and then they were oppressed and taken into slavery little by little and they were literally scattered. I’m almost certain. I don’t think God just stuck ‘em under the north pole for thousands of years and was like, ‘You can come out of your room when I tell you you can come out!’ “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (Deuteronomy 28:64). I’m literally laughing right now. What flipping cave have we discovered? I want to know your grandpa. This could be so much fun.

So. Hilarious. Was also realing Gospel Principals. . . I like that book by the way. It’s like the gospel dumbed down. Could literally be this suspicious Seminary Doctrine? Sorry. But I was reading it and it says there that God was literally a man before, and he did the same thing that Jesus did once, and then I was like. . . ‘Whaaaat?’ So, could it be that to become a God semejante a Dios, all would have to go through the same thing as Christ? But that’s really high up there on the doctrine. Stuff that hurts my head. Stuff I only talk about really late at night.

Joseph Smith taught: “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God. … He was once a man like us; … God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 345–46).

I actually have to go now, but I’m so excited to talk to you when I get home. I really, truly am.

If it was a college class, I SO would have dropped it by now

Dear Mom,
xmasmelody
The other day I too dreamed I was home. Well, I was actually in grandpa’s house with you and Marissa. We ate a three course meal of potatoes. It was lovely.
I’ve been actually thinking about Spencer and Aurora a ton lately—in that I miss them, and I’m mourning that I’ve lost all that time to squish The Aurora with all my love. And upon my return, she’ll not be found living in Utah, much less in our house. She’s so loved. . .

We’re teaching a family that sometimes bicker, but are a good little family that are going to be baptized the 27th of December. He’s petty when he’s hungry, and she’s snappy when the house is dirty. They go to church every Sunday, and the ward loves them. Rosario y Roger.

Speaking of the ward, my piano playing shenanigans continue. Such humiliation. I picked a hymn to sing yesterday that the ward didn’t know and they literally had to be like, ‘hey, can we not sing this?’ in the middle of the song. If this was a college class, I so would have dropped it by now. I literally have no time to practice. It’s disastrous, and I know you’re just so happy, Mother.

By the way, you so don’t have to send me copious amounts of hot chocolate. It’s alright. I’m feeling a bit more rational now. Better to save that money and I buy you all trinkets. Much better, I believe. If you don’t send me anything, this is alright. I think last year you send me copious amounts of peanut butter and salt, and people still call me Lot’s Wife for that one. . .

My companion, Hermana Aliaga, is wonderful. Trunky, but wonderful. The winter weather here is rain in the manana, tarde, y noche every other day. Just a lot of drizzly rain and spouts of blazing, all-consuming sun. Doesn’t even faze me anymore. Unless I wear long sleeves. Totally wore long sleeves yesterday. That was such a questionable decision.

I continue with my Peruvian Mom, who you will SO meet when you guys come down. Her name is Frida and her husband is Ricardo. They’re our light and life down here in the jungle. I had a fever for two days last week and she fluttered and fussed over me, making me tea and tucking me into blankets and giving me food and making me laugh. She’s. . . well, she’s a blessing, simply put. Frida Melendez. She loves me more than any other person in this country does. She has a three year old boy who is so smitten with me. When I was lying on their couch, sweating demasiado, he’d run over and touch my forhead and go running to his mother, quite terribly concerned, ‘Mama, Hermana Coton esta enferma! Tiene Fievre!’ He’s quite diligent in his duties as my suitor. His name is Ephraim.

I’m sorry your new work is stressful and new, but I believe that you can do it, 100 %.

Well, I love you all so much. And I miss you all so much. And I hope all goes well with life over there in Utah.

Hna. Compton

The Gift; April Fool’s Day

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san juan
Dearest Mother,

This week, Monday through Thursday, it rained quite furiously. Then Friday to current moment, the sun has being burrrrning us. There’s a typical pattern of Iquitos in that it’s super hot in the morning and afternoon and a bit later it rains. There’s totally a scientific rationalization for this, but as I’ve totally forgotten all scientific vocabulary. . . therefore I don’t know what it’s called. (Sometimes I get crippling College Homesick. This is characterized by intense desires to have homework and deadlines and long hallways and marveling at new things. Like science.)

Last week there were cambios, but my companion and I are staying here in San Juan, Colinas. I’m quite alright with this. We live close to the airport now, so we they called us all day Monday to go pick up sister that were in the middle of their changings—hopping from one city to another. Honestly, I’ve spent my entire mission thus far here in the same city, and I sort of forgot that there are other places until a sister came with cameras to show me. And I was like, ‘What? I don’t understand.’ There are areas with Pizza Huts and Subways and where it’s not a smothering inferno. Where it’s actually a bit chilly. Or so they say. And I felt a twinkling flicker of sadness, because I’ve not left the limits of Iquitos in almost 14 months. I know missionaries that have arrived to Iquitos, left Iquitos to another part, and then returned to Iquitos. And they get back to still find me here and I’m just like, “Hey. ‘Sup?“ Superficial me wants to get to know another part. Sentimental me would be horribly traumatized to leave.

In other news, I cut boards and hammered things this week. It was cool. Got a blister. Made a staircase. Woo. I was think the other day, ‘Why aren’t there nice things here?’ and then I got a handsaw and I realized, ‘Oh, yeah. This is hard. That’s why there aren’t nice things here.’ There’s just not time to have nice things here. Nor the proper arm strength.

So have you guys seen He Is The Gift this week? It’s a short video of the Church about Christmas. I loooovvvve it! A billion times I’ve seen it, and a billion times again I’d watch it. It makes my heart hurt and all my Christ love that I have bubble up and over. But in Spanish it’s called El es La Dadiva. Dadiva and regalo are two different words. Un regalo is like, ‘Cool. A gift. I like that.’ But a dadiva is a great or sacred something that is gifted to another. It’s like the word gift, but deeper. So cool. Love languages. Have I told you all that I now aspire to be an ESL professor? That’s something I’m planning on.
Also, happy birthday to Richard. In Peru, 8 of December is the April Fools Day. It’s to remember all the children that died when King Herid sent for all the babes with 2 years or less to die in attempt to kill the Christ child. So now this day is the Peruvian April Fools. It’s called Dia de Los Innocents. So. . . happy birthday, Richard?

I hope you all love being together for Christmas, because it’s sort of terrible to not be. In case you didn’t know that already. . .

Hna. Compton

Received Package; the whole public humiliation thing :-)

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Dear Mother
I did play the piano this week. Luckily I’m well learned in the whole public humiliation thing what with learning Spanish on the go, so the familiar burn of shame didn’t shake me up too bad. I play horribly. The people here sing the songs different than at home becauee they’re learning the hymns second hand. So basically it’s a really long process of humiliation and guess work with literally no time to practice. It’s lovely, mother.

My keyboard has gone awol so for recompence, I give you photos. Lot’s and lots of photos.
P.S. Received package of Sharon! The goodies were shared once again in ward council meeting. It was fun.

missionleader fam

Faith; less-terrible than last time; Peruvian mothers adopted me

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the emotional support of rice and four mothers is great when one hasn’t seen their actual mother for over a year.

peruvian mothersmudno se que

My dearest Mother,

I hear rumors of you guys coming to pick me up. This would be fantastic. I could introduce you to my five or six Peruvian Moms that have adopted me. The great thing is that I haven’t actually gone outside of Iquitos in my entire mission, so we don’t have to hop to either Trapoto or Pucallpa to show you all the people I love. But we’ll see. I know how these out of country plans go. Remember the would-be France trip? So close, yet so far.

Also, this Saturday my bishop called to confirm that I would still be playing piano in sacrament—I swear I’ve got heart palpitations thanks to Sunday meetings now—and that I’d also be giving a talk in Sacrament. Oh, how the nerves and nausea set in. I don’t like talking in Church in English. Worse todovia in Castillano. I swear I was going to pee my pants on the way to church so very, very nervous. But then there was a moment, between my house and the church, when I was praying profusely, and God was like, ‘Where is your faith?’ And I had my testimony builder moment where I remember that fear is the absence of faith, and I felt it. I love feeling things. I felt my faith move in and scatter all the panic and nerves until there was only a light calmness.

So I got to church and I played the piano and it was much less-terrible than last time, and I gave my talk and I only stumbled on one or two words and it didn’t even matter. There was still that peace and I just felt happy. Like denial, but better.

You’d think with more than a year in the mission, I would’ve figured that one out a lot sooner.

So I went home that Sunday still rolling around this new, shiny part of my testimony, observing it and all the things that it now means. Fear is the absence of faith, and it’s when we stop believing that God is at our side to help us. I thought about all my Going Home Fears that I have and how I so worry about who I’ll be when I get back, and I plugged in my new Faith vs. Fear theory, and I now feel a lot better about all said preocupaciones.

I now believe all light bulb moments are actually the Spirit gently hitting us over the head. So wonderful.

Apart from that, we continue working in my area. This exchange is already more than half-way up. The weeks go by so quickly, and I’m losing track of my days. My spelling is getting worse, my Spanish better. I ate a Juane—things wrapped in tree leaves and boiled—de fish eggs the other day. I’m horrified to report that it tasted delicious, but was bad for my conscience.

My companion remains adorable. She completed a year this week. We ate way too much cake.

Which reminds me. Also on a failing diet. Oops.

Until next week,

Hna. Compton