Happy 2010! I can´t believe it. We started the year off with a BAPTISM! Ernesto´s baptism almost didn´t happen yesterday, but a couple of miracles happened and he was baptized! This has been the most dramatic conversion of my mission. I asked Ernesto more about his schizophrenia last week and he said it's actually something a little bit different, but I didn´t understand what the name of it was. Basically his life was like John Nash´s life in “A Beautiful Mind.” He thought people were following him, he saw pieces of paper in the street and thought somebody had left it there for him; he even wrote all over the wall like in the movie. Pretty crazy.
He hasn´t smoked for almost a week and it is a big accomplishment because all of the people he lives with smoke and are always offering him cigarettes. He has been so happy this last week, he hasn´t had any of those bad feelings he had before. It has been a grand testimony to me of the power in living the commandments and confiding in Heavenly Father by asking for help in prayer. We seriously have prayed so much and fasted two times to give him the strength to fight for change in his life. The church is going to be so good for him. It will give him more things to do and surround him with good friends who will support him.
Last week he read 1 Nephi 9, when Nephi is talking about the two sets of plates. I asked him what he learned from it and he said that he didn´t really understand it. I also wondered about this chapter a couple of months ago, wondering why Nephi wrote it. It is good information to know, but I was looking for something to apply to my life. I came to the conclusion that there are two types of books in the world. Those written by God and those written by man. Nephi said that the whole history of his people was important and that is why he recorded it, but that this history (The Book of Mormon) are the words that God wanted to be recorded. I took from this that it is most important to read the scriptures, but it is also really important to read other books. Learn about what interests us. I explained all of this to Ernesto and committed him to invest more time in reading and studying books. He wants to study this year and this is a great way to prepare him for it. He starting studying chemistry books this week.
On New Year´s I woke up sick. I was sick all weekend and still don´t feel great. It is pretty hard to get permission to rest in our mission, so I worked until I physically wasn´t able to. I slept for a lot of the day Saturday and bought antibiotics, which helped me to get through yesterday. I was pretty amazed by how many hours straight I was able to sleep, I think it is built up tiredness from being in the mission for nine months. I was the worst during church yesterday and Ernesto´s baptism gave my spirit the strength to work yesterday.
2010, what will it bring? I have set my goals and now that I know how to accomplish goals I am pretty excited to see my personal progress this year. So much is going to happen this year! Matthew graduates. Jonathan turns 16. Dad is going to travel the world. And Mom is going to get her two precious kids back.
So my best friend is getting married this week....no biggie right? I don´t know how I feel about it, Dre. This morning I woke up and thought, “Holy cow this is the week! What am I going to do with my best friend married?” Andrea I love you so much. I am so happy that you found the man that makes all those heartbreaks worth it. I am so grateful you were able to live with my family for the past year. You´ve been a great support for my family while I´ve been gone and I hope they have done the same for you. Enjoy everything this week. Every minute. I cried when I found out you were engaged and now I am fighting the tears in the internet cafe in the country where you were born. The tears won. It was hard to leave all my shoes, but I think missing my besto froo´s wedding is a bigger sacrifice. You are starting out on your mission. The best advice I can give you is to make Heavenly Father an equal partner in your marriage. That is the most important thing I have learned from my companionships. Love you!
Love, Hermana Arnold
P.S. I am running out of time really quickly, but I got my presents and absolutely loved them all. The backpack is perfect and it was pretty ironic because someone tried to rob me on the metro last Monday and I got the backpack Tuesday. Now I can go around town without fear. Thanks!!!!!