This last week began with a hike to La Cruz last P-Day. On a towering hill in our area is a cross large enough to be visible from the city. We scrambled up a steep incline following more of a sheep's trail than an actual path. I'll include pictures.
This week we also had transfers, when each missionary has the possibility of leaving for another area. My companionship did not change, but my companion's now district leader! I continue my training period for 12 weeks, so he`s taking double duty as trainer and District Leader. What a stud! Also, Elder Desposorio, my good friend from the CCM, is now in my zone! I was so, so stoked when he came. He's an awesome guy.
On another note, I found enjoyment this week in finding words I liked in the dictionary and using them casually in conversation. "Wow, the lamps finally alumbra (illuminate) the streets." "Gee, anhelo (I crave) dinner right now." I`m still trying to use arbitrista, or "wild-eyed dreamer".
More entertainment came on Saturday, when a recent young convert had to dress up for a fiesta. His whole family, including his older cousins, gleefully helped make a convincing Elvis Presley outfit out of gunny sacks, bottle caps, plastic bags, bike chains, and shoe shine for side burns. 14-year-old Vladimir grumbled into the outfit and I helped him pronounce the name. With a styrofoam guitar, we completed his image. Later that day, I also found entertainment in one of the common street dances. The usual happy pipes whistling from a stereo were instead replaced with a horror requiem soundtrack. The choreographed zombie attack was more convincing in the dusty streets of a little town. That night I also taught the ward Capture the Flag, which ended up being a ton of fun in the cement soccer field near the church in the dark. I`d also like to give a spiritual thought for this week.
There are two words for "to know" in Spanish: "saber" and "conocer". The first means to know something factually, and the second is to have a personal understanding of something. For instance, we use conocer with places and people. I believe we come to know God in a saber way through the scriptures and a conocer way through prayer and revelation. Through this second method, I found another way to come to know God. I wanted very much to know more of the character of our Father, and in the following day after a heartfelt prayer, I was reading on the doctrine of him being our Creator. Upon realizing more fully that he formed our personalities, I realized that as we look for the good in other people, we see the resemblance of God in their strengths. So as we grow to love those around us, we find how strong, supportive, sincere, joyful, good humored, and patient God is. Inversely, the more we focus on the negative aspects of our friends and acquaintances, we are only becoming more familiar with the Devil`s characteristics and mannerisms, along with the natural man. I found a new appreciation for Victor Hugo`s words in Les Miserables, "To love another person is to see the face of God." Like the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, this principle has two sides. As we come to recognize our own strengths and abilities, we gain a new appreciation for our Father in Heaven. Let's strive, then, to focus on the good in people for our sakes as well as theirs. As we view people with optimism, we recognize the heaven that`s already on Earth. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.