You're awesome. Don't forget it.
Oizumi is still unbelievably good to me. I still haven't woken up from this dream. Still being fed a lot. Still at 61 kilos. Miracle. People remembered my birthday. Miracle. Alongside all the loads of emails I received from dear friends and neighbors, a recent convert threw me a surprise party. There were balloons and everything. She bought me a cake! Yes for a solid day there were TWO chocolate cakes in the fridge of the apartment of the Oizumi Sisters. I say a solid day because I quickly solved that problem. Do you see how it is such a miracle that I am still at 61 kilograms?
There's been a lot of happiness, but there's been a lot of sadness. The number one difference from the Japanese friends I've had and the Peruvian, Bolivian, Paraguayan, and Brazilian friends I have now is that the latter group, once they trust you, will open the door and let you into their home no matter what. Their husband could be wasted in a corner with their children running around naked groceries molding on the table dishes piled so high they might very well topple over and their girlfriends crying over a breakup and they will happily let you into the madhouse. Whereas my Japanese friends were not the same. They had to clear their entire day of any obligations in order to meet with us. If they had dishes in the sink, they would reschedule. HEAVEN FORBID your investigator or key member gets pregnant because you'll never see her again. She won't come out for nothing. Whereas now, we have a Peruvian investigator who is seven months pregnant and still working. It's so different.
As I've walked into the hot messes that I have, I've really seen into people's lives. Even before, I'be made friends that I never would have otherwise because we live such different lifestyles. Some friends of mine truly truly struggle.
I wrote a friend once that if someone counted all the raindrops that would soak into my coat and skin (and trust me, this week there were tons) or the bugs that would fly into my ear, nose, and mouth and all that, it wouldn't have changed my desire to serve. I knew it would be hard, but even if someone told me just how hard it would be (which is much much harder than expected) I would have gone anyway. I wanted to go that badly. But this week I considered the thought: What if I knew just how hard my friend's lives would be? What if a profile of every person I would meet was laid out in front of me, all there secrets, all their problems, and all their weaknesses? Would I still want to go and intrude into their already messed up lives?
I would. Because if right now I laid out the profile of little twelve-year-old Sister Goldsberry, you wouldn't believe it was the same person. The transition from twelve to fourteen was the most dramatic of my life, although I keep right on changing every day. I went from a shy, downhearted, pitiful soul to a loud, definitely overly confident, trumpet of a teenage girl. I went from the having no friends to being the president of my class. I went from thinking that God hated me to wanting to serve Him. This was all brought to pass by the Atonement of His Son.
Repentance isn't just for sinners. It's for everyone. God brought it to pass for people like me, who didn't want to be stuck in the same rut of life. Christ went down deeper than any of us could ever dig and dug us out of our rut. When your pride says: Give up. This is just who you are. Christ says: Try again.
And so despite seeing some terrible awful things happen in the lives of my friends this week, I know that through the power of the Atonement everything can be made right. Heck, if it changed me, it can change anybody.
Sorry this email is short but I gotta get to responding to birthday emails! I love you! Get out of your ruts! Christ already died and resurrected, there's already a way out. See you soon,
Guatemala, Japan and USA flag on the birthday poster