(This is a transcription from a handwritten letter)
OK kids! Once again, I wanted to write out a letter. Mostly because a ton happened this week and I want to tell you about it. First, last Monday, we went to the beach! It was super fun. And is in our zone too! We just played on the beach and took pictures. We played capture the flag. So fun! I was running around and around so much, let me give you some advice– think about it really hard before you go running on the beach. I was sore until Friday! Legit! I had the hardest time walking around San Juan. But it was worth it on Monday.
On Wednesday, it was the birthday of Hermana Ramirez. So, because we have the same pensionista, Hermana Zambrano and I helped prepare a little surprise for her for lunch. We went and bought her a cake and decorated that the Tapin’s dining/living room all cutesy. And then Zambrano helped prepare a Colombian feast (they’re both from Columbia). There was so much food, and it was a ton of fun. Zambrano was freaking out the entire morning about it. That night we had a lesson with an investigator named _____ this is our second lesson with him. We were talking about baptism and challenged him to a baptismal date. He turned to us and said "Hermanas, I want to be baptized sooner." That was pretty neat! The Lord really is preparing people to except the gospel. After that, we had a lesson with ______ and ________. We talked about prophets and challenged them to listen to Pres. Monson in conference and promised them that they would find the answers when he spoke. We challenged them to be baptized (again). But, this time ________ said yes! And then we put a specific date. And he said yes! I might've tried to do a couple of cartwheels of joy in their living room. Seriously though! THEY ARE GONNA GET BAPTIZED!!! Easily the highlight of my week. They are gonna be an Eternal Family!
On Thursday, we had interviews with Presidente. It was awesome. We each had like 10 minutes with him and then the Assistants looked through our Area Books and agendas and Hermana McGinn (Mission President’s wife) talked with us about random stuff. It was good stuff! I love we we get to talk to them. As a rule in the mission, all the Latinos have to learn English. So, when we talked with Hermana McGinn, she gave us the homework to only talk English for one day (except for lessons) every other day. Aye-aye captain! Easily done on my part!
So Friday was my birthday. Yup I'm 20. Kind of cool, I guess. When I woke up, Zambrano had covered the wall in front of my bed with hearts and had a piece of cake there. It was sweet. Other than that, the only thing different about the day was lunch. The Hermanas slyly asked me what I usually had to eat on my birthday. I tried to describe Mama’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I couldn't do it that well because I don't know Spanish words when it comes to food. The only thing that are Hermana Stedtmiester (this is one of the gringas) knew to help me describe what was to say that it was like KFC. Lo and behold, what is sitting on the table when I walk in? KFC. Except they don't have mashed potatoes here, just french fries. It was so cute and so sweet! I almost started laughing. KFC was my Peruvian birthday meal. Other than lunch, it was just a normal Friday. Nothing too special. All of our appointments but two fell through. So we ended up just walking around all night. Yup.
But Saturday and Sunday! Wow!!! I love General Conference! I have had the desire to watch it for the past two months and then it happened! I feel like (for missionaries anyway) Conference is like Christmas morning for kids. Just treasures everywhere! I went in with three questions and came out with a billion and a half answers. I found there to be some general trends– being changed by the Lord, the Sabbath Day, the genuine importance of women, and church leadership. I thought that Sabbath Day observance was so interesting because that is something that I talk about on a daily basis with people. And then to hear the General Authorities reiterate the importance was neat. To watch Conference in English, we all crammed into the small Family History room to stream it from the Internet. On Sunday we got them to hook up a satellite feed on a TV in a bigger room. I loved when Sister Marriott (YW) spoke. She was the one with the Southern accent and started her talk by quoting an old Presbyterian hymn. It took me back home for minute. It was funny. As far as the favorite talk, I don't think I have one this time. They were all good!! Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, and Pres. Eyring stuck out to me. It was all good! I just came away from it all so filled spiritually and I just want to do it again! I want more!!! But That's okay. I can do it in 6 months…
Well that's all I've got for you this week. The only question I have is what scripture are we going to “ponderize” as a family this next week??? Just pick one and we can be studying the same verse in Peru, Georgia, Utah, and (eventually) California.
Love love love you all!!!
Hermana Elise Joyner