I have developed the reputation here in the mission for being a "flecha". Those who served spanish missions, probably understand what I mean by "flecha". I am a flecha, or in English, I am an arrow...how is an arrow? Its sharp, its straight, it goes in one direction.....it means to be obedient, to enforce the rules as it is, and to sometimes, ocassionally, tell others that what should be done and what shouldn´t. I am not going to lie. I have changed a lot after these 18 months, and I am no longer afraid for standing up for what´s right....if I have to walk out of a movie theatre because its inappropriate, I´ll do it. If a person is mistaken, of course as a missionary, I´ll tell them otherwise, but with LOVE. I learned that.....I know at home I have been known as this type of person also, but I learned to do it better. Mom and dad always called me the police cop at home, but really this is different. I had definitely found the joy in being obedienct with exactness.....After being sister training leader, I developed this...I overcame the fear of correcting other missionaries....training them (better said). I was really scared at first because I didn´t want to offend or make them feel bad, but I learned to do it in a way that is loving and helpful. The Lord helped me with this...and because of that, I can see how I can improve and as well as those who I´m will to speak up to. An elder asked me this past week, "Hermana Santeco have you always been a flecha your whole mission?" I honestly didn´t know how to understand. But at the same time, as a human being I felt bad to here such a question....because sometimes when I speak up, I get teased for saying otherwise...as if I suck out the fun of things. But my perspective changed. I know that the Savior recognizes that I want to obedient and that this is HIS MISSION and it was and is never mine. Because of that, I can never say, "in my mission this...in my mission that." Its THE MISSION...the mission of the savior.
I was able to go to the temple this past saturday. (mother I bought you garments, you got lucky). It was my last session here in Bolivia. We did a session with our mission president and wife. It was a beautiful session. I sat in the celestial room remembering the first night I arrived in Cochabamba and went straight to do a session in the temple....and then there I was in the temple for the last time. I love the temple here. Its a special place. After the session, I had my final interview with president Hansen. Everyone says that its really trunky, because president asks us to bring documents of things....a list of things we learned in the mission, a list of things we seek in a future spouce, and our testimony. It was a beautiful interview. It was really heart touching for me because I could really feel content for what I did in the mission. I don´t regret anything.....he first asked me how I felt about the mission and he asked which companions I had, that had a huge influence on me. I reflected and just in tears, I could feel the spiritual growth I had throughout these 18 months....then we went over the documents. He explained to me how I should be looking for a husband (funny stuff, I will tell you bout that stuff when i get home), and he read my testimony. I love being a missionary...
Towards the end of the interview, he tells me, "Hermana Santeco, I am really happy with you. I am happy that you are a flecha. I can't think of a greater compliment than to be thought of as a flecha for one's entire mission." I teared up more because honestly I felt that no one here sometimes can see me for who I really am and what intentions I have to be better each day. Then he tells me, "You know what hermana santeco? You need not to worry for being one. I am a flecha too. Joseph Smith was a flecha. President Monson is a flecha. But most of all, Jesus Christ was a flecha and we are all supporting you....by your side." I could feel that God was content with me and with the desires of my heart. President Hansen told me that he knows that I won´t be one of those returned missionaries that go inactive. I told him, that I will sure stay active. How can I ever go inactive after all the things I learned here?
I can not believe that my time here is really running thin. I realize each day, that I love Bolivia...that it is really hard for me to say goodbye. I called one of my converts and met up with her a bit ago and I could feel how hard it was for her to realize that I´m leaving.....I ran into two members from my first ward yesterday who moved to my last area. The first thing they told me was, "hermana santeco! you are talking really well now!!!" Hahaha.....after so much time...i can finally speak...I can connect with the people here. Bolivia has taken captive over my heart...but mostly the Savior. After these 18 months I have really came to know my Savior and Redeemer more. I have seen the imperfections I have and seen how much I do need my Savior. I am nothing compared to Him, but with Him, each day I can become more like Him. I love being a missionary and I am sure going to miss being one, but I must keep moving on.
I know this is my last email in the mission field. But know that I love you all......It is really bittersweet for me to write this and ponder on the wonderful things that I have experienced here....I testify that our Lord lives and loves us. I know that we are in the true gospel. I know that we are His hands. He needs us more than ever to serve Him, whereever it shall be. At home, in the mission. Wherever. I love this gospel. I love the Savior and the example His has set for us. He has blessed my life tremendously for what He has done for us and what He continues to do for us.
I am a flecha and I love the way that I am. I have a reputation in the mission here as a flecha. An obedient one who enforces the rules that sometimes others think I cant have fun. I know that people look at me such a way, but i know that the Lord recognizes that I do it because i found happiness in being exactly obedient...and no one can tell me otherwise if i do something wrong...i love the savior enough to do it and continue to push myself to be more obedient each day. And that way....we do really become closer to our Savior and become more like Him...
I will see you in a week! I love you,
PS: If I gotten fat.....its because this past week and probably this week I am eating a lot because my pensionista loves me and wants me to enjoy the food while I am still out here.
PPS: I wont be able to receive more emails after this. Just wait til I get home.
PPPS: We went to incachaca today. It was a beautiful hike that reminded me of Hawaii.