WOWW was conference not the greatest!!! and best of all i got to watch all the general sessions IN ENGLISH. i wanted to cry just at the thought haha. i can understand in spanish, but still takes a lot of concentration on each individual word, and it is just easier to relax and feel the spirit in my own language when i can take in ideas all at once. it was just me and 3 north american elders in a little stuffy room, but i could feel the love and spirit of conference and it has reinforced my faith so much.
i cant believe during college i barely took advantage of conference. what an absolute loss on my part. i actually am so dumb! so sorry to people who knew that when i didnt. but to any of you who are hoping my realization of my inadequacies means im losing my feminism or race-awareness - sorry not sorry!! hahaha because i am still just as equality striving as ever, actually even more after watching talk after talk in conference about pure religion, pure discipleship, which means the pure love of christ - unconditional and equal love, respect, and awe for every human creature regardless of where they are from, what they have done, what they look like, gender, race, etc. i LOVE our prophet because he constantly teaches this doctrine, charity and nonjudgement.
some of my favorites were Holland, Bednar, and Christopherson. I love talks about the Atonement and how expansive it is. Every single injustice and abuse worldwide will be made right through this incomprehensible act of love, and He truly is the light of the world. like Holland said, the world is full of broken people, families, communities, and like Christopherson said the simple solution to these complex problems is the acceptance of absolute unchanging truth, and the willingness to keep our covenants through unbridled, consecrated LOVE of others.
Anyway, i realize that i always just right about abstract concepts or my testimony and maybe some of you would like to know what i actually do here day after day. so i will describe one typical day for you now, using my missionary agenda, el dia viernes 4 de abril:
I woke up at, knelt and prayed trying not to fall back asleep on my knees haha, and then did my stretches and futbol exercises haha. got ready and did my one hour personal study, lectura en el libro de mormon y un poco en el capitulo de predicad mi evangelio - como reconocer el espiritu. We then had companionship study for an hour and finished our lesson plans for the day, then two hours of weekly planning, which we do once a week every friday. After almuerzo, which was probably some type of soup with unidentifiable animal parts meat and then rice and more unidentifiable animal parts meat haha, we headed to visit a woman named rosemary
rosemary lives in a one room with her husband and three kids literally in like the pit of a gas station. when we are standing in her doorway, there is a semi truck about 5 feet away from our faces, lifted up on stands making it literally almost hang over her doorway. it is filthy, and i think her husband may be a drunk, but she comes out to greet us anyway, and to let us talk. she doesnt seem to have much hope in her eyes, but she listens and answers our questions about her relationship with god. the problem is she cant progress much with us because she is not married to her spouse, and he does not want to get married, and he does not want to join in our lessons. this is extremely typical.
later we visit with marleni, a 23 year old who lives in a barrio of our area that only has dirt and mud roads. she lives with her 3 other sisters alone. she accepts our message with interest, but because she is studying medicine and all her practices in the hospital are on sunday she refuses to join us at church.
Angela is an old lady we find in her home with one grandson, a little boy, who she tells us is her companion every day haha. like most of the old people we encounter, she allows us to talk, talks to us about her past and her kids, but when we try to extend invitations she explains that she is catholic through and through haha.
A 19 year old girl ward sends us a text that her inactive brother is in town and we should stop by to teach. her name is maribel, and her and her mama are two of the strongest members in our ward. however her papa and brothers are all inactive, and work in "el campo" each and every sunday. this is a huge problem we have with converting or activating men. many of them work out in the jungle and only see their wives and families at rare times throughout the week. however, we stop by and teach her 30 year old brother how to pray, because he has forgotten, and bear testimony that he can truly develop a relationship with God.
The most frustrating thing here that i have always taken for granted in the States, is that there is never silence. we struggle constantly to try to have the spirit in our lessons here, but there is constant noise every second of every day. we are teaching in tiny homes that are half inside and half outside, with the never ceasing sound of motorbikes zooming back in every part of this town, stray dogs constantly barking, and tons of babies crying because they are home all day with their moms only. it is so hard to foster an environment where we can have a tiny bit of peace, and tiny bit of quiet. i swear almost every time i try to bear testimony, a dog starts going crazy, a baby wont stop crying, the investigadors cell phone rings, or there are fifty motorbikes in a row. it is the worst feeling to know they are just not feeling the conviction that i feel, and they are so distracted by all the noise around us.
but i am going to keep trying hard. thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray specifically that we can find people who are prepared for this message.
love hermana bingham