Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Temblor and the Zoo!

26 August 2014

We opened our scriptures to Mosiah 27 to read about Alma the younger and his conversion story with some less active members of the Cortez family. Then the room went silent. Everyone glanced around as the floor and walls shook and the windows began to rattle. God provided us a 6.2 object lesson. When the earthquake stopped, we read in the scriptures together, "For with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth, and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder." 
When I was little I always wanted to experience an earthquake. This was my second here. Chileans have two words for earthquakes. "Temblor" for little ones and "terremoto" for earthquakes larger than 7.0, I believe. This one was still just a temblor, but I have a feeling I'm going to see a terremoto before I come home. I think they're kind of cool.
After we read Mosiah 27 we talked about Alma 5:45-47. Even though Alma saw an angel and felt the ground shake, his conversion came from the Holy Ghost after fasting and prayer.
A dream was fulfilled today in a very literal sense. The zoo is always closed on Monday, our P-day, but I heard about the zoo here before my mission and wanted to go. Hermana Dodds has been wishing her whole mission. A few weeks ago I had a dream that Hermana Dodds and I were on a bus to the zoo in Santiago and she was so excited to see the lemurs. I told her about my dream and told her that somehow, we would get to the zoo. She didn't believe me. Then last week, the new mission president changed the rules and part of the changes is that we are allowed to change a P-day to visit the zoo. It was very random and very specific. They didn't talk about changing it for other reasons, just for the zoo. Today my dream came true in every sense. We bought tickets for the bus last night and when we got on this morning I realized that even our assigned seats were the same. We sat in the front row on the left just as we had in my dream.
We walked up the hill and before we even got to the zoo entrance, the first thing we saw was a giant sign with lemurs on it. My new favorite animal is a lemur, for Ian's information. I am attaching pictures of me with the lemur signs and the actual lemurs. Hermana Dodds is a good photographer and caught one jumping in the air behind me.
Another fun coincidence is that Hermana Dodds has been searching for a four leaf clover since before I got here and this week she found a five leaf clover. She said, "I think this is God's way of telling me that I'm His favorite spirit child." We've had many fun moments like this. We are God's children. I don't doubt that he likes to send us fun surprises just like earthly parents do. Although it sounds silly and these aren't things we've prayed for, Heavenly Father does grant many desires. Earthquakes. Five leaf clovers. Lemurs.
More than those fun coincidences, I see divine help every day. I worried a lot before my mission. I thought I would be homesick. In the interview with the stake president I just cried and cried. As soon as I was set apart all of my worries went away. I really did feel instantly different. Mom sent me notes everyone took after I was set apart and I am seeing every blessing I was promised fulfilled already. I haven't been depressed or homesick. The first day in the MTC was hard because I couldn't sleep on the plane all night, but the next day I was fine and I haven't cried or even felt homesick since. Of course I miss everyone. I just want you to know that I am so happy and I am surprised by how easy these first three months have been for me.
The language has also come easier than I ever imagined. My grammar isn't perfect and I know I have a lot to learn but I don't feel lost. I expected it to be harder and I know the only reason it isn't is because I have been blessed with help. I remember how hard it was to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish even in the few days before my mission. I understood so little then but it seems to come quickly and easily now.
It doesn't mean life is perfect. It isn't. It doesn't mean I haven't taken a cold shower here. I have. It doesn't mean all of our investigators come to church. No one showed up this week. It doesn't mean the Holy Ghost directs every action. I still have to work hard to recognize promptings and follow them. It doesn't mean I'm always Christlike. We're all working on that.
I'm just happy. And I want you to know that.

Hermana Eva VanCott

Hermana Dodds HATES birds. She refused to go in but walked alongside the bird exhibit outside.


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