Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Who Can Say If I´ve Been Changed For The Better, But Because I Knew [My District] I Have Been Changed For Good

Email from Tuesday, November 25, 2014, Mexico MTC

 Mi familia del ccm

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Not sure how I´m even sitting here writing this message to you all because it definitely feels like I was just here yesterday writing you last week´s adventures but here I am! TIME FLIES!

I got my flight itinerary today and I will be IN BOLIVIA in less than a week. Not gonna lie, that thought makes me feel like I wanna barf but I know it´ll all work out. Plus I get to stop in Panama on the way which is pretty dang cool according to me. 

This week was pretty incredible and involved quite a few"jen-ventures" aka things that would only happen to me including...
-sobbing during weekly planning when I realized this was the last week I would plan at the CCM
-cheering  up Hermana Cheadle with my Sound of Music impressions (yes, Steph, the skirt slip was utilized for effect)
-taking way too many selfies with the latinos before they left 
-making thanksgiving costumes for our thanksgiving celebration (pics to come)
-crying during every district meeting because I SERIOUSLY LOVE THESE PEOPLE SO MUCH
-spending an entire night stuck in a southern accent
-being the only one who spoke only spanish for a whole morning and NOT having to do push-ups
-planning an "hermanas only" road trip to Nauvoo for Hna Cheadle´s wedding 
-snort-laughing at Elder Christiansen in our practice lesson on la ley de castidad when he defined the law of chasity as no sexual relations AFTER marriage (#newlanguageprobs also not sure if I told you guys about when I told all the elders I was pregnant instead of embarrassed. Just so you know, embarrassed in Spanish is NOT a cognate...oops.)
-when Elders Nilsen and Winward killed roughly 50 mosquitos in our classroom the other night and they didn´t even kill all of them
-finding a giant half-dead cockroach in the room we have church in (picture to come)
-getting to write a story in Spanish about my district being animals on Noah´s ark and how Taylor Swift helped us build pillow rafts to get to the ark

Seriously, every day is filled with a million wonderful moments and I could spend hours going into detail but then I wouldn´t have any stories to tell when I get back and I know how much Mom is looking forward to hearing ALL OF MY STORIES ALL THE TIME! ;) 

As much as all the silly moments make the work enjoyable, the work itself is what is really amazing.
This week we had a lesson with our golden investigator, Juanis (spoiler alert, it´s our teacher posing as a real investigator she taught on her mission) and it was pretty much just us responding to some questions she had and then teaching her about fasting. It was a great lesson and everything seemed to flow really well but the coolest thing was that when our teacher gave us feedback on it, she said that it was one of the best lessons she´s ever experienced and totally different than any of our lessons before because we followed the spirit from the moment we sat down and throughout the whole lesson. It wasn´t until she said that that I realized she was right. It had all felt so natural and it was totally because we had studied and prepared but when we got there, we just let the spirit give us the words which is about 100 million times more effective than anything I could say on my own. 
During a video devo of Elder Holland, he talked about why we should be so grateful to be PMG missionaries and I´ve been thinking about it ever since. I AM SO BLESSED. I don´t have to memorize and stick to a strict uniform lesson for everyone, I get to know and love people and then study and pray for them and teach them the gospel in the exact way that they need it. I get to study each day to renew my own testimony and witness of these principles and then I get to help people find out for themselves. It´s such an incredible blessing. Heck yes, it is way more work than the old ways but it is more rewarding because it requires me to be more fully converted so that those I teach can be more converted. If you haven´t opened up a PMG book in a while, I invite you to do so and just read and realize how inspired that book is because I love it so much!

The CCM has been hard but I know for a fact that the hardest thing will be leaving. It will be much harder than leaving home, as harsh as that sounds, but it´s true. The thing about this place is that you get to know people backwards. I knew them on the inside first before I even could guess what their first name was.I saw them as Christ sees them before I could even tell you what color eyes they have. I knew them as representatives of my savior before I could guess what sort of activities they did in high school. I honestly still have no idea what they were like before they came here but I know them now and my heart is filled to the brim with love for them. 

I was looking down at my name tag the other day and the thought came to me that there are two names on there, mine and Jesus Christ´s. But it´s not really even my name. It doesn´t say Jennifer Ann Gauger, it simply says Hermana Gauger, which is really more of a representation of my family name than my own personal name. It just made me think about how much my family has done for me to get me to this point and how much time and effort was spent by them in teaching, loving, and supporting me. And even though I am a representative of Jesus Christ, I am also representing as the first sister missionary in the history of the Gauger family and I have to make that count every single day. I didn´t get here alone and I´m not alone in pleading to the Lord each night for my safety and abilities because I have my family asking each night for the same thing and so many other people who feel like family. This Thanksgiving, I´m grateful for each one of you.

I love you! ¡Feliz día de acción de graciás! Please go eat some turkey for me! I´ll be eating rice and beans. :)

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
 Hermana Rhees is legit obsessed with latinos and it´s pretty adorable. She loves them as much as I love Taylor Swift
 Beautiful artwork by Hna Rhees
Don´t worry, there´s definitely a Libro de Mormon between the elders and sisters

We put the fun in dysFUNctional family.

 #wrinklydressprobs solved by #sweetcompanionperks

Please note that we are wearing the EXACT SAME skirt, and they´re both a size medium but it looks completely different.

 Thanksgiving is a legit fiesta in 7B

 We were the indians because we´re the tannest ones

 photo not for the faint of heart

 Zone 7, pretty much Heaven

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