First, just a note on the weather. People keep commenting on how cold we must be down here because all the pictures show us all bundled up. Many of those pictures are in front of a very big glacier, and a chunk of ice that big does tend to make things cold, even during the summer. It is winter here, and it is cold, but we find it interesting that it is not that cold. All the locals keep telling us how unusually cold it is this winter. The humidity is high, and when the wind blows it feels cold, but it gets colder in Utah. Montana winters were way colder than it gets here. The average daytime temperature is above freezing and today it was over 40 with blue skies and no wind. Gorgeous! The locals are telling us that the worst of winter is over already.
If any of you look at our experiences (and us being all bundled up), and wonder if you should serve a mission, especially as member and leader support, there are some great unanticipated benefits.
We are walking a lot more since it helps us be visible in the area, and we bought yoga mats and try to exercise for 30 minutes most mornings. There is time built into the schedule for exercise and we can take the time we want or need. We actually eat together all the time and we are good about reminding each other that we probably don't really need seconds. As a result, each of us has lost about 2 inches around the waist. My doctor will be very pleased if I can keep up or improve those results until I get home!
We don't have to keep the same schedule as the younger missionaries. Our schedule can still be rigorous, but it is also more flexible. I have really enjoyed taking an afternoon siesta when I need it! I'm going to really miss that when I get home.
The opportunity to spend all our time ministering and not have to worry about administering is incredibly unique. We visit people in all circumstances and have the opportunity to testify of the power of the gospel. Multiple times in a day we have the Spirit testify to us and them of the existence of God and of the Divinity of His Son. The Holy Ghost has a special calling to witness of God the Father and His Son and every time we bear that witness the Spirit comes with incredible strength. That is a blessing that is indescribable.
I really don't know what we will be doing when we get back home but this experience certainly doesn't feel like a sacrifice right now.