Wow, what a week! Jumping right in:
On Monday night at 10:00 PM, our zone leader called us to say that we all had interviews with President Russell in the morning. Surprise! We sprung into action, because interviews mean that we also get a cleaning check on our apartment by Hermana Russell. In the next couple hours, we swept, mopped, scrubbed, disconnected the refrigerator to begin defrosting, organized, etc. to prepare for the morning. Exhausted, we collapsed into bed.
The alarm went off at 6:30 and guess what? There was no power. Or water. In all of Granada. Being the oh-so-prepared missionaries that we are, my companion and I had a grand total of two water bottles stored up for emergencies. Therefore, I proceeded to bathe myself with a single water bottle and some baby wipes by the light of the rising sun. And we arrived for our interviews on time, though not quite as fresh as we might have liked. Oh, the moments that missions are made of!
In my interview, President told me that we need to be a lot more bold when extending commitments. We can`t be nice when they don`t keep those commitments, because we understand the eternal consequences. We`re working on being more bold, powerful, and loving.
On Thursday, we had a conference with both missions in Nicaragua. Everyone was crazy excited, with rumors flying about dividing missions and so forth. Anyway, we woke up at 3:45 in the morning to get ready and be in Managua by 6:30 AM. It`s the first time in my mission that the entire mission has been together! I got to see my ``mom``, Hermana Aquian, as well as all my former companions and other hermanas that I love. Hermana Gomez came with an envelope full of notes from some of my favorite people in Loma Linda. Oh my, Geovanny and Erwin each wrote some of the best letters I have ever received in my whole life! And I`ve received a lot of amazing letters, mostly while I`ve in the mission from all of you. But seriously, those notes lifted me up and made my whole mission worth it! Other sad news is that some of my favorite people in Loma Linda and Monte Fresco are passing through some major trials. I think of that talk about the blesssings and burden of discipleship... by Elder Holland, I think.
Anyway, returning to the whole point of the conference... We heard from Bishop Dean M. Davies and Elder Adrian Ochoa, as well as the testimonies of both mission presidents. We got to greet each general authority individually, all 400 or so of us missionaries. They shared the importance of finding answers in the scriptures and maintaining an eternal perspective. We were all a little... surprised at the whole conference. No major announcements, no points of training, no ``machetes`` as we call those calls to repentance. But it was testimony-building, so that was good!
Anyway, life is good and life is hard. Sometimes you`re trying your best and your investigators still aren`t choosing to progress. You need to learn to rely completely on the Savior to continue becoming better yourself and to be an instrument in His hands. I`ve noticed that the most successful and happy missionaries (and PEOPLE, for that matter) just love everybody. They love them enough to tell it to them straight and call them to repentance, and they respond because they know it`s motivated by love. I`m striving to develop greater love!
I love all of you! Thank you to each of you who has written me inspiring, uplifting, love-filled messages. I will do my best to respond!
-Hermana Ali Hansen
photos: Happy birthday, Hermana Reyes!