Yesterday we cleaned the home of a menos activo whose wife has breast cancer and has just begun chemo therapy. The house has been really neglected with all of this going on, and their children don't really have the ability to clean it as deeply as it desperately needed. They were probably the most needed service hours of the mission thus far.
The mission has opened my eyes to what poverty is. It's not just being in need physically, but it is often a state of being in need intellectualy. I don't think I'm making much sense, because my English vocabularly has shrunk. Many people have very closed minds here, with very low expectations for quality of life. And many could improve their quality of life with simple things like cleanliness in their homes, and dedicating more to studying and using the internet to enrich their lives. Some people have. I will never forget my first intercambio in Navarrete, and we went to a home with almost nothing. But this woman's kitchen was so clean and organized with the little she had--I was super impressed. Many people here with a lot more have homes full of trash. Not everyone but many, and you can see the relationship with poverty. The cool thing about the gospel is that it opens people's minds. The other day the district president's wife talked about how that happened with her. She said, 'I didn't know anything before I joined the church. The gospel opened my mind. I learned how to do new things, to create things with my hands.' She has these multi-media paitings she made in her home. She took one class at church, and starting creating all sorts of things. You can tell how most of the church members have greater thinking skills, more motivation to do things. It's really cool. The gospel blesses us in every way possible.
Best wishes everyone, be grateful for what you have and take care of it for goodness' sake! Use your resources, and search for the opportunities you need. We have SO much more in every way possible in the US, so use it to bless your life and those of others.
Pictures: Erin and her new companion Hermana Macias, Erin and a live star fish, Las Salinas where they pump seawater to extract salt, and Erin painting from the story above.