July 2, 2013
Missionary Work Has Seasons. . .
And this week was Fall. [I half laughed, half cried when Hermana Larsen came up with that one. Story of my life out here.]
This week feels like a dream. So much happened, so much changed, and transfer calls are Saturday. Where did this 6 weeks go?!
We said goodbye to Noe Monday night. It was so hard to see him go but I know he will be strong in North Carolina, and I know that he will be in my life forever. Noe is really special and I feel blessed to be one of the missionaries that had the opportunity to teach him.
Tuesday we had a mini mission with one of my favorite future missionaries in the world, Stephanie. We picked her up at 6 am and she spent the entire day with us: studies, teaching, meals…all of it. She is hilarious. Somehow, she managed to take 3 full-on naps before noon and a mini snooze during the first vision in one of our lessons. Don’t worry, we have pictures of them all. But, it just reminded me of how much I struggled with the missionary schedule for the first little bit of my mission and how far I’ve come!
In District Meeting on Wednesday, we played “I love you because…” and yes, Mamma, it’s the same thing we do on everyone’s birthday. Someone sits in the hot seat and everyone goes around telling that person one thing they love about them and why. Pure butterflies about how fun that was.
Well. on the way back we had a bit of an adventure. It was raining on and off all day but was letting up on the way home from the meeting so we decided to stop and fill up on gas. Well, as soon as Hermana Larsen got out of the car…BOOM. Downpouring of rain. If that wasn’t enough, the gas handle wouldn’t click into place. So she was more or less taking a shower while filling up the car. I sat in the safety of the car laughing so hard because what else was there to do?? I paid for her diet coke though so it’s fine. But here’s a picture of how hard it was raining. In the 3 seconds it took for us to get from the car to the inside of the gas station, WE WERE SOAKED. Head to toe. The things we do for diet coke. It was worth it.
We set a date this week with Nancy! Her family is so golden, we just need to help them get to church! She is so ready to be baptized and wants this so much for her family. YES! A FAMILY! WE’RE FINALLY FINDING FAMILIES! Not only that, but her husband Abel, who has been Atheist and completely unsupportive of Nancy, agreed to come to church with her and help her as she is preparing for her baptism! It’s such a miracle because that’s the exact thing we’ve been praying for this week: that Abel would have the desire to go to church. Specific prayers said in faith are truly answered.
Saturday was perhaps one of the most awkward, most stark realizations that “Oh my goodness… I’m a missionary.” We contacted Noe’s aunt and uncle Santos and Ilodia earlier this week. They accepted a Libro de Mormon and said they want to read more and find out if it’s true. It was such an amazing spiritual lesson! They were talking about a birthday party for their daughter and invited us to come. Now, normally we don’t like to go crash family parties, but we love meeting new people. So we asked what time and if we should bring anything. They told us “Just come!” So we stopped by Saturday night. Nobody answered when we knocked so we left a little treat for their daughter and went on with our work. We stopped by again later because we saw some of the kids playing outside. We played with them for a few minutes when Ilodia came to the door and saw us. “Pasen, Pasen!” she yelled out as she beckoned us to come inside. So we follow her in to the back room and see…everybody. Maria’s family, Rosie’s family, other aunts and uncles that we haven’t met yet…all looking at us like we’re aliens. Or, like we’re 2 white church girls at a full on Mexican family party. Maria starts laughing hysterically as she asks, “Are you two following me?!” Clearly, they all didn’t know we were invited to this little shindig.
Well, we were feeling incredibly out of place and tried to leave but before we could, Ilodia comes back with two plates of tamales. Well of course we had to eat because Mexican culture says so. So with our tummies already full of McDonalds chicken nuggets and fries [because we hadn’t gone food shopping in a month] we ate and laughed as hard as we could to keep from crying. We tried our best to not stick out like the white girl missionaries we were and meet as much of the family as we could in our broken Spanish…..but….we were white girl missionaries crashing a Mexican family party. We could not have gotten out of there soon enough. We went home and laughed til we cried about what just happened
So, for Hermana Larsen’s birthday we took our P Day to play a little. And by play, we mean getting talked into a manicure AND a pedicure by an extremely good Asian saleslady, running around the mall like kids in a candyshop, going out with the zone to Olive Garden, and eating cake at the church….and pushing Hermana Larsen’s face into the cake Mexican-style. It was so good to get away from the stresses we face each day. I am so grateful for Hermana Larsen and how we are able to be each other’s “rock” during the turbulent times in our mission. I learn so much from her every single day, and she truly is one of the biggest blessings I’ve received on the mission.
The last few days of this week really hit us hard as a companionship. We’ve been feeling like we’re just really alone in all of our work. And obviously Heavenly Father has been helping us, but it’s like we’re alone on this island in the middle of an ocean during a hurricane. After Noe left we were just thinking, “OK what’s next??” And with half the members gone to work for summer it’s like we’re starting completely from square one. I know there is more work here because there are still so many people we haven’t met! But, we’ve just been feeling disappointment after disappointment lately and it’s hard to stay positive amid all that.
Sometimes as a missionary you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. In these times I am so grateful for prayer. I know my Heavenly Father hears me when I come to Him. He is so willing to perform the miracles needed for those who do His work. And, we do see those miracles all the time. Whether it’s changing someone’s heart, guiding us to the right places at the right times, or just comforting us when we feel like we can’t do any more. The Lord is there. He listens and he cares.
I am so grateful to have been raised in a home where prayer and scripture study, going to church, service, obedience, etc, were always a priority. You always led by examples and I couldn’t have asked for better. Thank you for teaching me that the little things matter.
I love something that President Summerhays would always say, “Go with the PROS: Pray, Read, Obey, and Serve, and then Tee it up in the Temple at least once a month.” It’s the perfect quote coming from a golf pro! I’m sure going to miss that man.
I love you all so much!!