Bella in her Christmas dress from Grandma. She stripped off the headbow and shoes that go with the outfit. So for a couple weeks now I have be reflecting on the past year and our experience in our Spanish speaking branch and I wanted to write down some of my experiences. I initially though of making a good and bad list but none of the experiences so far can really be classified as bad. Instead I have decided to make a list of things that are "Different" from what would happen in a normal English speaking Utah ward, things that are "Hard" or that have been hard to deal with, and things that have been "Awesome".
- Going from no calling, to being the Primary Secretary, to being the Primary First Counselor, to being the Primary President, to being called as the Relief Society President all in the course of 9 months.
- Testimony meetings where 80 year old sisters bear testimony of the curative powers of onions and lemons, and the evils of modern medicine(okay this borders on Awesome).
- Most of the members are recent converts or first generation members of the church.
- Latins tend to be more focused on the supernatural, leading to many class discussions on dreams and visions that I generally have to redirect to more general gospel doctrines. So far I haven't had to correct any completely false doctrine, yet.
- Okay, so I'm only 28 years old with a small, very mobile daughter and I'm supposed to lead Relief Society?
- Being scolded on my parenting abilities by the older sisters. Heaven forbid they should see Bella outside without a hat, or that I should not carry a blanket with me everywhere to wrap my overtired and thrashing child in when she has missed another nap.
- The fact that both my husband and I have callings that require us to be at morning church meetings, and that of course means the little one comes too.
- "What is this Visiting Teaching of which ye speak?"
- The frustrating level of poverty and need in the branch. I did 6 food orders in the past 2 weeks and arranged sub for Santa for 12 of our families for Christmas.
- It is fantastic that my husband gets a chance to participate in leadership positions and to learn at the feet of some awesome Spanish speaking leaders.
- We are in a small branch where we can get to know the other members.
- Everyone LOVES Bella, she flirts with everyone during Sacrament, she crawls into all the leader's laps during presidency meeting, and people beg to hold her at activities.
- Lots of opportunity to serve and grow.
- Being told our first week in Sacrament that they "prayed us into the branch"
- Getting to work with a wonderful, gruff, hard nosed, teddy-bear inside Argentinian Branch President.
- And the most awesome: Sweet nursery leaders who are more than happy to take my wiggly 10 month old into nursery 8 months early. (I know you are all horribly jealous)