Monday, June 15, 2015

I changed it to meekness...

So, I don't know if you guys heard about my study of humility, but I changed it to meekness...I'm not meek and I think I'm the furthest thing from a child. I've been thinking about it a lot and I am so grateful to have 8 younger siblings. What a blessing!! As I read the words of the Savior, urging us to become as children, I found myself extremely thankful for the example of my younger siblings. How would I even know what it means to be like a child without you guys?!
Things the Savior wants from Hermana Aponte:
- Service that generates from pure love. Sam, thanks for giving Brother Simpson (our blind home teacher) a flashlight to help him see. You are an example of pure love. 
- A burning desire to learn and change to become like Him. Thank you Abe, for always asking why or how or what. Sometimes it's crazy, but thanks for always looking to learn from the people around you.
- Showing love freely. Jacqueline, I don't know anyone that gives out love the way you do. You are always handing out compliments and trying to lift those around you. You have taught me that love isn't something I say, it's something I do.
- Quick to seek help and strength from others. Ella, thank you for always letting your parents and siblings help you to learn and grow. It takes real humility to be able to do that.
- More focused on people than problems. Jaz, you've always done this. You see everyone as they are and who they have the potential to become. Thanks for seeing me that way.
- See the good things, even when it's hard. Rick, you have been an example of this for me many times in my life. Keep doing it. A lot of times, when I had a rough day, you've helped me to smile and not take myself so seriously.
- Trust in Him completely. Jake, I don't know how to explain this one. Remember that time you sat me down to share a spiritual experience you had at EFY? You trust the Lord and that conversation gave me the strength to trust Him enough to be here.
- Trust those who want to help me. Liv, you're a little angel. Thanks for always letting us help you learn and grow. Thanks for never questioning why we ask you to do things or not do things. Thanks for trusting in our love for you.

Thank you for being examples to me. These things help me to be better everyday here in the mission. I hope to be like you guys when I grow up.

Love,
Omi

Monday, June 1, 2015

"We're in Chile."

My dear Aponte's

First things first: 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELLA!!!!!!!! I can't believe I'm not there for your baptism, but it's OK! This is the most important choice you've made so far. I am so proud of you and I hope you all send me 100 pictures!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MAMA AND PAPA!!!!!! How has it already been 27 years? I feel like it was just yesterday...wait, I wasn't even there for all of it. I can't ever express how thankful I am for this day that you guys hade the choice to start our family. It's one of the greatest blessings of my whole life and I know you guys feel the same. I love you both so much more than I can say. PICTURES. 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, HEIDI AND JOHN!!!!!! Here's to the first year that you aren't watching all the children (I think). H, you did good. John, you did even better. I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that you are my favorite brother from another mother :) I love you guys!!!

Well, I hope with all that, that your week is nice and crazy. Here's the week of your dear ole' Hermana Aponte:

 
Carlos did not get baptized, but this Sunday is the day! He called us on Tuesday saying that jsut didn't feel ready, but that he wanted to do it the 7th of June, so here we go :) He's so good! He also started going to institute this week and he is loving that. In other news, the family is going through a really rough time, so many prayers for the Familia Espinoza-Pacheko, por favor. 

We found a new investigator, Ester. She was actually a reference of her husband (whom we met in the street). We had our first lesson with her this week and it was great. We talked a little about the Savior and His Atonement--how He can help us find peace. The Spirit was super strong and in the end, she said "I know that all the things you've said are true. I can feel it every time I look at you guys." After that, she accepted the invitation to be baptized and wer love her. 

Andrea (a less-active member we teach) went to church for the first time in 30 years this Sunday. That is a miracle if ever I've seen one! Berman (a Haitian guy we teach) also went, but his first statement after Sacrament Meeting was "There are no Haitians here." To which Hermana Jones responded: "We're in Chile." That cracked me up for some reason...also, her part of that conversation happened while Berman wasn't there. 

This week we had our last Zone Conference with President and Hermana Wright. What can I even say about that? Pa, if you could read everyone the part of my email to you about the humility thing (NOT FOR THE BLOG), por favor. I'm so insanely grateful for Presidente and Hermana Wright. It's one of the Lord's greatest tender mercies that I started my mission serving with them.

I remember my first interview with Presidente. He told me "Hermana Aponte, your reasons for serving are good, but you need to make your reason for serving your love for the Lord." I didn't even understand that at all in that moment. I understand it now and I am thankful.
This week, Hermana Wright talked about el dia de reposo...how do you say that in English?? Options in my head: Holy Day, the Sacrament Day, Day of Rest, the SABBATH DAY!!! It came to me. That was a serious struggle. 
 
Anyway, she talked about how there are many sacred things. There are sacred places, sacred moments, and sacred relationships. Like Captain Moroni, we do all we can to protect these sacred things. The Sabbath Day is a day sacred to the Lord. If He is our God, what do we do on that day to show Him that? This is a day that is sacred to Him and He asks us to keep it sacred, too. Not so much for Him, but for ourselves. We need that day set apart from the world. Read Elder Nelson's talk "The Sabbath is a Delight" and stop watching T.V. on Sunday's! Don't do it. 
 
As I learned all these things, I realized that my mission is sacred. This is a time that the Lord has given me, apart from the rest of my life. These are moments that I give to Him and in the end, the promise of keeping the Sabbath in D&C 59 (that we will be kept spotless from the world) is true for the mission, too. If I give Him this time and serve because of the love I have for Him, these days will serve me for the rest of my life.

My mission is something sacred for me. Santiago, Chile is a sacred place for me. It is where I have come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know more than anything that my Redeemer lives. I don't know that I really understood that before the mission. This is the place where I have come to know Christ as my Redeemer. It's where I have had to be humble and really rely on Him every single day. I am so imperfect, but He is my Redeemer.  I know that my Redeemer lives and this is the greatest message I could ever share with anyone.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! Sorry that this is so short!

MUCHOS BESOS AND 1000 hugs for Ella on her baptism/birth day, yeah?

Love,
Nomi