Dear family and friends,
I would like to inform you that the mission is THE best and this week was AWESOME. Hermana Molina and I are working hard and are seeing tons of progress here in Olmstead. We have tons of less-active work and many of these followers are coming back to church, and bringing their nonmember family and friends. Even though on Sunday it was raining like crazy and it froze (yes, freezing rain is THE worst), tons of people came! Less actives and investigators. It was a miracle. It about broke my heart and made me shout for joy all at the same time to see many of our older single women–many with pretty bad health problems–come in a little late, with half of their dress sopping wet because they fell on the ice. They are absolutely incredible. The Lord is so good.
Hermana Molina and I teach the CTR 3-7 year-olds and it is a blast. We have four little kids and they are darling. We taught them about Moses and the Ten Commandments this week–which was a great success all due to our fun finger game and song about the commandments and our reenactment of Moses going up the mountain and talking to the Lord and Christ’s finger writing the Ten Commandments and coming back down the mountain. You definitely have to make things fun and entertaining for these little ones. Hopefully I’ll get better at singing and dancing before I have my own 3-7 year-olds one day. Yikes!
We were so blessed with the amount of people we could see this week–we ended up having 33 lessons last week (trumping my record of 27 from my previous cycles). To me, it is the hand of the Lord. It is Him only that is moving this work forward and I am so stoked that I can work with Him in His vineyard. I think these blessings are blinding me to so many of the sometimes discouraging remarks of others about missionary work in the Bronx–“everyone is so mean there,” “it’s so dangerous,” “President doesn’t keep anyone there too long because the work is so hard and missionaries break down,” etc. it’s not that I don’t respect their opinion, it’s just that I don’t share it. At all. The Bronx is popping! And I am so grateful to be over here working and to be having the opportunity to see it all happen. It’s wonderful.
This week we met a less active named Lissett. She is bomb. She has such a strong testimony. Why in the world is she not coming to church?!?! We asked her that, and she responded, “I was five years as the RS president, and 5 years as the YW president. I thought I deserved a break.” Hmmm. Well, that surprised us. We had a wonderful lesson with her and her niece (now investigating and came to church on Sunday). Lissett’s experience and her response to us really bonked me on the head. I sat there wondering how in the world she could let go of coming to church–let go of the sacrament–because she wanted a break? Look at her testimony and the way she knows and loves her scriptures! I couldn’t wrap my head around it. And then the bonk on the head came–how often do I do the same thing? How often do I say “I read my scriptures yesterday,” or “I don’t need to go to the temple because I went last month,” or “I just finished doing the dishes, there’s no way I’m going to help him with his homework,” or whatever. How often do I rationalize myself into thinking I deserve a “break,” as Lissett called it.
It was so humbling to realize that and to hear the warning, I think from the Spirit, that I can never be comfortable. I can never settle. I can never take a rest and give up on the goals I have or the things I must do. Don’t get me wrong–the Lord commands us: DO NOT RUN FASTER THAN YOU ARE ABLE! But also remember, the Lord doesn’t eliminate entirely, or at all, our necessity to “run.” And He definitely never exhorts or commands or even hints at us stopping and–heaven forbid–turning around and losing some of the ground we’ve already worked to pass.
Just food for thought, I guess.
Hmm, other news: it has been pretty nice weather recently (except today is really cold). But no snow for quite a while and not even too much rain (except Sunday–ah!). I am so thankful for that. It’s kind of funny, though–sometimes (especially at night) my face gets so cold (especially my chin) that I can barely move my mouth and form my words properly. Poor Hermana Molina as well as our investigators need to exercise patience with me as my face regains its circulation and I can move it around to talk! It’s hilarious.
Furthermore, I am really grateful for our elders. There are a bunch of single women in our ward, and we’ve worked it out with the elders so that we visit the women that they can’t (elders can’t teach single women). Many of these women, however, live in places where we, sisters, are not allowed to go unless we are escorted by elders. I am so grateful for them and their willingness to accompany us even though they are taking time out of their day to do so. It shows me that they really care that these investigators and less active member keep progressing. I am reminded of the talk we heard in General Conference from our Chinese (I think) General Authority. About how the missionary and the bishop and home teacher and RS president all worked together to get the man with palsy to Christ. Sometimes it takes more than one companionship of missionaries to get the job done. I am stoked that we are all dedicated to moving it all forward.
Funny story: on Sunday night we were walking down the street in the rain, arms linked for fear that we would fall, and saying “hi” to people (we always say “hi” because….a lot of people just need a “hi,” I guess). We said “hi” to this lady taking out her trash and she said “hi” back, then stopped and stared at us as we walked by. Then she yelled, “What are you doing out here in the rain, all bubbly!?” We stopped and walked over to her and told her why we were so happy. We ended up finding out that she used to attend church with her “client” (whoever that was, I don’t know) in Harlem. She loved church and told us all about how she missed it. She had no idea that there was a church here. She was stoked! She said that she knew she needed to come back and get baptized and that she had said a prayer that morning seeking direction and help. She looked at us and yelled “You are that answer to prayer! God is talking to me!” We assured her that He was and did our best to tell her how much He loves her and how important she is to him. She had tears in her eyes and hugged us both–a big giant bear hug–and said thank you about 18 times. Toward the 15th, 16th, and 17th times she was singing it. It was just an awesome experience. She was English, so we passed her off to the English missionaries, but we are so grateful that we could be that answer to her prayer that she so desperately wanted. The Lord is so good.
My heart is full and this work is the best. I come home exhausted and I wake up feeling the same way, but it is the best. I feel so full. I love my companion and these people and I feel eternally blessed that I can serve with them.
Have a great week! Wish me luck at the sisters conference we have on Friday, I’m stoked!
P.S. We STINK at taking pictures. So…sorry. I know they are the best part. We’ll improve this week.