I am using my last 3% of iPad battery to write this last SOS–we’re out of food and almost out of water. We’ve been using toilet tank water for the past 24 hours. No electricity. Snowed in double overhead with barely enough heat to stay alive. The rescue teams haven’t found us yet. Send help, Juno has us out for the count.
Juno was a big fail. I was so stoked for it–for the snow and blizzard and emergency precautions and it was just a big letdown for which I am grateful and I know Heavenly Father is protecting us and blessing us, but I will admit I was disappointed. Phewy. We ended up with a foot or so of snow (I don’t know, maybe it was more). We all were sent to the grocery store on Monday to stock up because we were expecting to be snowed in all week or something. Hermana Molina and I walk in and, of course, all the premade cakes are gone. Not a single one! Pastries, donuts, muffins–forget about it. As well as the meat. The water gallons and canned food sections looked almost untouched, though. I’m glad these people know how to stock up for a storm. I was so stoked and in emergency mode–I was born and raised in hopes (well, not really hopes) and expectations of an emergency like this. Finally all my food storage know-how and emergency preparation activities at girls camp would come in handy!
All I can say is whoever is in this apartment when Juno II strikes will be well prepared.
With that, we were in on Monday and Tuesday. We woke up on Tuesday to just a bit of snow, and President Morgan declared it a service day. So Hermana Molina and I went out and bought shovels and brooms to shovel snow and dust snow off cars. It was actually super fun–minus my atrocious and destroyed boots (stoked for the postponed mail to come hopefully Thursday, Mom) that left my toes exposed and wet and frozen.
“Today you are to serve the general public”
Today is clear and bright, though still cold. I’m stoked to be able to go out tonight and actually do something. #cabinfever.
We had our Sisters Conference on Friday and it was awesome! It was so much fun–the speakers, the time, the themes, and being able to see everyone was just the best. Hermana Molina is the bomb, but seriously hates large groups of shrilly, annoying missionaries. So we steered clear of the giant chatty crowd for most of it–slightly to my disappointment–but for the good of the overall sanity of the day.
They talked about Ruth a lot during the conference–she’s the bomb. Some thoughts about it: Ruth got married and (I’m sure) expected to have a wonderful and glamorous life. Things changed and “real life” happened. She was left to make a new plan. She was left in less than glamorous circumstances and a less than comfortable (emotionally or physically) situation. New plan: glean. Go in the fields and take what was left over–aka making the best with what she had. She chose to look to God and trust in Him and WORK HARD. And look at the woman she was! The woman she became. That daily choice of trusting in God and working hard led to her great future, through which the Savior was born.
The moral of this story, to me, is that those daily decisions count. Those daily decisions to trust the Lord and work hard. It takes commitment and courage, and work and humility, and then come the promised blessings of faith. I am reminded of an apostle’s words (sorry I forgot who exactly–I think Elder Holland?) that said something like: “promised blessings may not always come in this life; but to those that are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, they come.” Commitment to our faith is crucial. Elder Holland said, “The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue–it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know” (“Lord, I Believe”, April 2013–one of my all time favorites).
Then we need courage to step forward and act on that faith. Again, Elder Holland said, “Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them” (The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship).
I love that–“defend them.” I sometimes think that if I am too bold with my declaration of truth, I am not being Christlike. Again and again I am reminded, however, that this is absolutely false! Faith is always associated with confidence. And the Lord said we only need a mustard seed of it–of this sure confidence in Him–to be able to move mountains! Take courage and be loyal to that mustard seed. Oftentimes, at least with me, I find that it truly is all I have to hold onto. But through “sick and sin” that mustard seed has gotten me through.
Work. Just work. See your goal and then get there. This, I have found, often takes some degree of creativity and a whole lot of patience–with your circumstances and with yourself. That one is so tough for me–the patience with self thing. Yup. It’s a work in progress. I think that is where humility plays in, too–the humility we all need to accept that sometimes our best simply isn’t enough and the overarching, all-encompassing human need for a Savior. For grace. For enabling power to come over us and lift us up and support us in our efforts and trials, and to help us reach UP to be what the Lord wants, even commands, us to be–perfect (Matthew 5:48, Moroni 7:48).
Well, just some thoughts. Take ’em or leave ’em.
We visited a woman this week named Marilyn–She is a “no beat around the bush, I’ll tell you just how I feel about it” type of woman (like many people here, but she seems to have an extra dash of sass). It’s a little intimidating. She works at Liberty Tax all day and so we visit and teach her at her job. We went over and no one was there except her and her coworker, and Hermana Molina and I were both fumbling for something to share with her. Our lesson was obviously not meeting her needs and doubts and we were scrambling to figure out just what in the heck we should do to leave her (at least) not with a bad taste in her mouth (our goal to leave her spiritually edified seemed way too far out of the picture at that point). They were ordering Chinese food and the music was blaring and the phone kept ringing, and I was feeling a little frazzled. Then, Hermana Molina felt prompted to go through the baptismal interview questions with her. Marilyn is a recent convert and as we went through the questions, there were several things that came up regarding Joseph Smith and the restoration in particular that she did not even pretend to believe in.
Now, you must know: An impulse and an atrocious imperfection (whichever you’d like to call it) that I have is to immediately want to shut down or discredit whatever issue anyone has with doctrine. I want to not only bear testimony, but also prove that it is right using the scriptures and everything. (Talk about not being effective with my missionary efforts…)
Anyway, as we went through, I felt the impression again and again to not say anything at all. I couldn’t understand why, especially because I felt so confident in the scriptures ability to explain these concerns. But it remained and I followed. I just sat and listened. And then I began to nod and look at her deeply and really try to understand her point of view with her doubt about these things I hold so sacred to my heart. That listening gradually turned into great compassion and then overwhelming love.
That was a transforming experience, on so many levels. My not speaking up and ruining everything led to us having the opportunity to, not lay down the law and doctrine with the scriptures, but to share personal experiences with these same doubts and problems. And then to bear humble and simple and true testimony of it. And as I watched Marilyn, her countenance physically changed and she went from looking hard and skeptical and mean, to open and soft. I can’t describe it. It was incredible. Not only did I see the power of the Spirit soften her heart, but I also saw the way I, myself, changed as I listened to her. I was filled with empathy and love for her. I wanted to understand the root of every doubt, the story behind every question, and as I listened more and more, I was filled with love for her. My desires to answer her questions and help her regain a strong testimony seemed to almost engulf me.
Though we didn’t answer all her questions or fix the problem or address the issue right then and there, I felt an overwhelming assurance that everything would be alright. And I know it will.
That is one of my very favorite things about the gospel, and about sharing the gospel as a full-time missionary–sharing that assurance that I feel that everything will be ok. There is so much hope infused in the message of the restoration. So much hope given to us as we realize that God really is our LOVING Heavenly Father, and that He has more than anything we have ever hoped waiting for us if we just obey. If we just come unto Christ. I love Him so much. And we are stoked to go see Marilyn again.
One more thing: I love what Miriam said this week (she is a less active slowly coming back to church, yay!). We visited her and I brought up how we loved seeing her at church with her half wet dress in the freezing rain. We told her how she walked all over Satan with that. To that she jumped up and walked over to the window and said, “Yeah! Take that Satan! You make me fall down, I’ll just get up again and hit you! I go, I go to church!”
Oh. I love her. How awesome it would be if we could all just adopt that motto for life: “¡me voy, me voy, diablo!”
I love you! Forever.