Things are really changing, and I've not even been here that long. Wednesday we added another district in our zone, and then the day after we found out that next Wednesday we are getting another THREE districts. Total districts = 6; total missionaries in zone = 54. It's making having a zone devotional every night a bit of a trick...
My spanish has also been seeing a lot of change. My language comprehension has grown vastly, with my speaking ability trailing a bit behind. The Gift of Tongues is real. We've had three more lessons with that" investigator" I mentioned in my first email since then, and I've been able to talk for about half of each lesson in Spanish. It was halting, broken, and sometimes inconfident, but it was Spanish all the same! I have resisted the temptation to just speak in French because I'm not here for that language. :)
Others are having an interesting time trying to recall all the Spanish that they learned in High School. My companion is brilliant; he speaks more Spanish than the rest of the district combined, and he took four years of it in High School. We came to the second lesson with our "investigator" and we needed to talk about the Atonement, which was going to make use of a lot of vocabulary that I didn't know yet, so I was leaning pretty heavily on Elder Lofgreen to hit the homerun for the lesson. And he did great. The Spirit was there, the "investigator" was interested in the lesson, and then it came time for him to bear his testimony. Looking her straight in the eye, dead serious, he told her:
"And I know that the Atonement is real, and through it's power you can be cleansed of all your fish."
Noooo Elder Lofgreen... Not pescada (fish).... Pecada (sin).... :) The gaff didn't completely throw the lesson, but it took a little while to calm our investigator down... Haha.
I keep putting the word investigator in " " because we had another interesting revelation Friday. We have known from the first lesson that she wasn't a real investigator, and that she was in the employ of the MTC, but what we didn't know was that after a week we were going to have two teachers, and that she'd be one of them! We walked into the classroom that morning, saw Dani wearing a nametag that said "Hermana Savage," and she politely asked us to sit down so we could begin the lesson. Honestly, it's a brilliant move. Have the students interact with a teacher without them knowing it's a teacher so they are themselves, and they display exactly where they're at in their progression, and then having the teacher actually teach. The program here is truly inspired.
I've learned so much in the past week and a half. When the Spirit is the one who is teaching you everything, and almost every single person around you is dedicated to maintaining that Spirit and applying it's lessons, the amount of growth that occurs is incredible. I can't believe it. Sometimes, when the Spirit is strongest, I feel like my soul is too big for my body. Like I'm just about to explode, with the strength and joy that I feel. It's no wonder that all of the scripture prophets are capable of such miracles. I can only imagine how powerful they are, when I feel like this. It's this kind of strength that makes an 18 year-old young man feel like it's possible for him to learn a brand new language, travel to a brand new place, and then share something brand new with brand new people; that it's not only possible, but the exactly the thing to do. The Spirit changes lives. It has changed mine many many times, and each time I am continually awed by its power.
I know that missionaries are here for a reason. If the church wasn't true, then its missionaries would have killed it ages ago. :) After all, most missionaries are 18-21 years old, and just out of high school or a year of college. Just a few months ago I had to ask to use the restroom. Now I'm completely responsible for my schedule, study, learning, and life. The church is true!! And because of Christ's Gospel and Atonement, children trying on the shoes of adults can become emissaries of the Lord, and angels doing his work. There is a plan, designed by God Himself. Of that I am absolutely convinced. That plan is known as the Plan of Happiness, and it has that name for a reason. It is the only thing that can bring true and everlasting happiness, and the only way that joy can be preserved. And sharing that plan with all who are willing to receive it is what it means to be a member of this Church.
I'm so grateful for the chance that I have to serve a mission. Already. I look forward to every next day. Thank you all for your love and support, prayers and letters. I've felt every one of them, and they mean the world to me. Thank you. Please keep sending them this way. I love you all so very much.
Some pictures he included today. He said his companion isn't in any of them because Elder Lofgreen is taking the photos. I need to get a little multi-card slot reader thing to him to make uploading photos easier.