Hey there!! :) This first part of the letter is from my compa :) Hermana McDonald!
Hombre o hombre! Direct translation... Man oh man!! (This is a game my compass and I play... direct translation of Spanish and English phrases... it's hilarious :) )
This week I have LOTS to be grateful for and also lots of stories to tell :) So do you all remember the papusa lady from El Salvador from the lavandaria that we met last week?? :) Well, we ended up going to her house the day of my birthday and she made us papusas!!! It was so delicious and she even taught us how so that one day I can make them when I come home and I am missing all of this delicious food :) Her husband ended up coming home and he is really into his church. We ended up having a lesson on the Book of Mormon and he wants us to come back and he said he wants to "teach us a few things". I'm not sure exactly what that means but I guess we will find out :) They're super nice and have no plans of joining the church but I think they want to learn more about ours which is totally okay with us :) I still can't believe she invited us over and cooked papusas though.... that was a straight miracle and a gift from God on my birthday :) Tuesday was really good. We went running and did I ever tell you all about the 2 dogs that were outside of our apts? Well, one of them followed us the ENTIRE way on our run. It was too funny :) At district meeting they made us cupcakes and brownies for our Birthdays and sang to us! It was so much fun and so nice of them :) Then when we got home the dogs were still outside... it had been like 5 days and the pound still hadn't come so we decided to take them ourselves. We wrapped them up in some pillow cases and held them in our laps and off to the pound we went. Hermana McDonald had named they Skunkers and Parana :) Hahah!! They were so stinkin' cute. Not in appearance but personality... ah well, it's what's on the inside that counts right? When we dropped them off I would be lying if I said I didn't cry. Can you believe that??? I know, me neither. I'm such a softy for animals. Still think I might be a vet one day but who really knows? Tuesday we also had another amazing thing happen! So we found this guy outside changing his wiper blades one day and we asked him if we could stop by another time. He said he was from Ecuador and had just barely moved here like a month or two before that. He said when he was young he went to our church and that lots of his family were members. We went by on Tuesday and had such a good lesson with him! We got to go back on Saturday again I believe and we had another amazing lesson. We taught him the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon. This time his two daughters and their cousin listened. We set a baptismal date with them for this Christmas :) How amazing would that be?? So will you pray for them? They are the Checker family :) The dad and one of the daughters ended up coming to church this last week. We are SO excited about them and really do have a good feeling. I feel like they're really special :) Like maybe they are some of the people I was sent here to find. We will see how it all turns out. Wednesday you all know was my 20th GOLDEN BIRTHDAY!!! Honestly... I don't think it could have been any better! It was one of the best birthdays I've ever had in my life!!! I got a lot of packages and letters from all my family and friends :) My companion is also the greatest in the whole world!!! So here was my day... funniest thing of my life :) We woke up and for exercise we decided to do something really fun and go to the park! We played on some super awesome swings. Then we went to McDonald's and got my favorite thing ever the Bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle. YUM! Then we came home and I opened all of my packages and letters :) I have to say... THANK YOU!!! GRACIAS, GRACIAS, MUSHISISISISMAS GRACIAS to anyone who sent anything!!!! :D I have never felt so loved in my life :D After that we went to the food bank and did service. I love working there! They have the best people :) When we got back from service we went and picked up Alma, one of our recent converts, and she took us out to eat at a Taqueria! Those are my favorite in the whole world. The funniest thing happened there.. so Alma and Hermana McDonald were singing Happy Birthday in Spanish and then these 3 hombres starting singing with them! I felt super loved. They told me feliz cumpleanos and I told them to tell my compa too because it was her birthday the next day! They responded with what time are we all coming to celebrate? In the Hispanic culture they look for any reason to celebrate anything :) So we were joking and we said you bring the cake and we'll meet you here at 12:00. They asked what kind of cake chocolate or tres leches? I was joking and said both! One for each of us. Then we headed out and we went to go knock a street that we have been wanting to knock for a while. We met some people that I know we were supposed to meet and said they had been going through a really tough time. It was then time to head to Delmi's (the lady with the papusas) I already described it there but it was delicious! Then we had a lesson with a man named Antonio and he works for Coca cola. So he gave Hermana McDonald and I antique cokes for our birthdays :) We are still trying to get him to come to church! President and Sister Durrant called us while we were there to wish us happy birthdays :) After we headed to a lesson with the Martinez family. The husband has been a member for a really long time but the wife isn't. Missionaries have been visiting them for years so we are still trying to work with them. He is really starting to change and wants to come back to church! The wife still doesn't really want to but we'll see what we can do :) Anyways... when we got there they said they had a surprise for us and they pulled out a big cake and sang for us!! :D It was so good :) Then we had a lesson on eternal families and the temples. Hopefully they'll keep progressing! All in all it was the greatest birthday ever and it's never felt so good to be 20 :D Ha! I'll remember my birthday forever and I wouldn't have rather spent in any where else but on a mission. It's amazing the love you feel for the people you serve. The next day was another blast!! It was another day of birthday for my companion and working hard :) I decorated our kitchen for her and it looked so fun! We made her breakfast with eggs, bacon, chocolate chip pancakes, and chocolate milk. ALL gluten, sugar, and lactose free. Ask how we did it... Honestly, I have no idea :) It was amazing! She has allergies to all those things but it was still delicious. Then we went to lunch with Alma again and we decided to stop and see if the 3 hombres were there from the taqueria. They were there and they had tres leches! We couldn't believe it and we were dying laughing. The best part about it was they said... "Instead of one chocolate and one tres leches we just bought tres leches with café!" I didn't know if he meant chocolate or coffee but I smelled it and it smelled like coffee so we couldn't even eat it... funniest things of my life! We ended up serving it up for all the people in the taqueria :) We wrote down their info and missionaries will be stopping by their house. Funniest thing ever :) I hope them and their families all get baptized!! That night was sad because we had exchanges. Hermana Ostler came here and I went to her area with Hermana Malekamu. It was a fun exchange! Hermana Malekamu only has 2 weeks left before she goes home. But.. I was FREEZING!! I hadn't brought stuff to stay warm because when I left it was fine. We got there and it was raining/ snowing and I was in flats and basically just a light cardigan so I went to Target right then with her and bought tights!! She let me use her coat and I survived! :) It has been freezing here in Texas since Friday! I have been bundled up in coats and tights and boots! It's a whole different kind of cold here... it cuts you to the bone because it's a wet cold. Any how, we'll get more blessings right? :) We have been sick for the last 3 days but we are both starting to feel a little better :) Friday night was really good and we got to teach Hermana Sanchez. She came to church this last Sunday and honestly she is one of the most humble people I know! I love her so much :) We were excited because we had 4 people at church on Sunday! Also... Sunday was the best day of my mission!!!! I'll explain. So we were waiting outside when we got a phone call that said they had changed the time of the baptism from 6:00 to 1:00. Are you ready for this... it was the BAPTISM of Lili y David!!! We were so afraid we wouldn't make it in time but they had changed it because of the storm warnings. Nevertheless, WE MADE IT!!! I think I almost broke Lili I gave her a hug so big when I walked in and there they were standing in white!!! I honestly can't begin to express the joy I felt. They are so special and honestly so incredible :) If they are the only 2 I were ever to find on my mission it would be worth it a million times over. They were so excited and their faces when they came out of the water was filled with joy :) It was the best day of my life!!! I love them :) So grateful I'm a missionary. I love and thank you all for everything! P.s. I challenge every one of you to take the challenge from conference and invite 1 person to church between now and Christmas!! This is the work of salvation and it's the work of every single one of us :) "The only way to win is to lose-LOSE YOURSELF." Lose yourself in the work of the Lord! What better gift could you give? Love you :)