Basically, she's like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. Sister Almaraz is one of the sweetest, kindest, best missionaries I've ever met. She is from West Valley, UT but spent her first five years in Mexico and grew up in a Spanish-speaking home, so she talks just like me but then has perfect, beautiful Spanish. And it has been sooo good for me, because she really tries to speak Spanish with me as much as possible. I think my Spanish has really improved in just one short week, even the ward members noticed it on Sunday! So I feel very blessed about that. She is the tiniest little thing with a tiny little voice, so we make quite a pair with me and my big brave face and rambuncious ways. :) But then even though she's small and quiet, she has such a powerful way of teaching and is actually really bold. I'm learning so much from her!
And I'm also learning how much I do NOT know the area! Holy cow, when Sister Ruiz left on Tuesday morning, I was feeling all confident, thinking to myself, "I can do this. I know the Valley pretty well." Oh how wrong I was! Sister Almaraz drives because she is the senior companion, and I cannot count how many times I have gotten her lost this week. But thankfully she's an angel and never gets frustrated or annoyed with me. And then it's been extremely humbling to be the one "showing the area" as they call it. I am kind of responsible for all of the people we've been teaching and visiting and making sure that Sister Almaraz meets all the members. So basically planning sessions at night have been in my hands, and it is really really hard. I've never prayed so hard in my entire life! But it has really made me grow and be a real missionary which is exactly what I needed. So cool how Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need.
Anyways, best part of the week . . . . MANUEL'S BAPTISM!! It started out as kind of a disaster when I realized on Friday morning that we hadn't scheduled the font. So we tried all day to get ahold of the scheduler to find out that the font was already scheduled for all evening on Saturday. We had already announced it to the whole ward, and I didn't know what we were going to do! First thing I did was cry in the car. But thankfully, we have the coolest Ward Mission Leader ever, Bro. Lopez, who helped us figure it out, so we ended up moving the baptism to a stake center really far away from our branch, but Bro. Lopez was like, "It's okay, everyone will still come. I know they'll come." And he was right! The Spanish Branch is soooo loyal and after we spent a whole Friday evening calling everyone in the Branch, it all worked out and they packed the house on Saturday for Manuel's baptism! He was beaming from ear to ear, which is kind of unusual for Hispanic men who always try to act tough. :) But it was one of the happiest moments of my mission, I couldn't even contain the joy that bubbled up inside of me. He is the first investigator who I knew from day one, and watched progress and grow, and I'm so excited to keep in contact for him forever.
K gotta run, but I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and love, I pray for and think of you. :) I know that Jesus Christ lives and truly is the light of life that can brighten our lives if we just embrace His Gospel and follow Him!