Well, it’s been a snowy week–a lot more than the original Juno! But with a new pair of boots, I am ready to face it all.
How is everyone?! I realize I ask that question about every week and I never really hear back. So…I do hope all is well (ha).
This week was just excellent. And I think I’ll share some gross and uncomfortable times we’ve had (those are always the best) to kick off this email.
We started our week by visiting one of our members who is slowly but surely (optimistically speaking) coming back to church–Miriam! And her psychotic dog, Nathan. Our lessons with her are always entertaining because her crazy dog is spazzing out the whole time. During the middle of the lesson, Hermana Molina (who HATES animals) scrunched up her nose and sniffed really loud. She cut off Miriam and said, “Ummm. It kind of smells like Nathan…” To which Miriam said, “Oh no, he is just under the couch playing.” A few minutes later we looked over and there was poop EVERYWHERE as Nathan really did “…” . Ew. I was trying to choke back my thunderous laugh as Hermana Molina choked back her gags and held her head in sheer terror. To make it even more difficult, Oscar–Miriam’s boyfriend–came over and picked it up with his hands and then just sat back down with us. Hermana Molina barely survived that without losing her lunch and I barely survived that without wetting my pants. Oh dear.
There was a sweet old woman on the bus with her baby-aged grandson. He was really sick and had so many boogers, he didn’t know what to do with them all. The grandma knew. First, she put her mouth over his and then blew really hard, shooting all his shot out his nose all over her face. And then she put her mouth over his nose and sucked out all the rest of them!! AHHHH! Again, Hermana Molina was dry-heaving and I sat staring and intrigued and mind-blown and concerned for the little boy’s lung health (wouldn’t his lungs explode if she blew into them like that?!), all while trying not to laugh at my struggling companion. Oh dear.
Last one: we dropped in on an investigator we have named Rita. She answers the door with no pants on. And no undies. WHY?! Also: ew.
On to better news!
Marian–an AWESOME investigator–is doing really well. She just finished 2 Nephi and continues to chug along in her understanding of the gospel. She is very intelligent and it is so wonderful to teach her. I love her so much. Last week we asked her to do an act of service and take a picture of it to show us (we were going to teach about service the following week). When we got there and asked about it, she said she hadn’t done it yet because she had no one to take a picture (bless her heart). But she was so excited for it–she was going to take out the garbage for their apartment. So we go over to the door to take a picture of her doing it and see a MOUNTAIN of trash blocking the door. Bless her heart! We took the picture and helped her take it out and had an awesome lesson. She is going to be baptized on March 1, but is a little shaky about certain things. We asked her if she knew why she was shaky about some of the things we taught, and she immediately answered (not in a guessing/questioning voice), “because I haven’t gone to church.” Yes! Exactly, Marian. When you come to church , you will understand more. You will feel the Spirit. You will continue to learn and you will know. She works on Sundays and can’t come, but is trying to change her schedule, but it just hit me during that lesson again that church attendance is so important! The sacrament. The lessons. The Spirit. The understanding. The support we give and receive. It is the best. I love church.
Ha! One more funny thing about church this week–our pianist was not there to play the prelude music and it was getting to be pretty loud in the chapel. I didn’t realize how wonderful and important and spirit-filling it is to have hymns playing. Anyway, Hermana Molina and I looked at each other and decided we would play for sacrament meeting. We got up there and both of us are not very good at piano (by the way, I am sorry to my mother for always fighting with her about piano and to every piano teacher that tried so hard with me. I truly regret it now and am going hard on piano when I come home!). We worked it out so I would play the right hand and she would play the left hand. It was definitely not very good, not to mention absolutely hilarious to see us both sitting there trying so hard to bust out the hymn. Man! I’m so glad the pianist came just a little late. It was ROUGH!
On Saturday we had a split and I spent the day with Sister Boseman–she is such a sweetheart. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for His help with directions that day. We only got lost once! Whew! She doesn’t speak Spanish, so, bless her heart, she would sit there and try to pet spastic Nathan or the other crazy dogs we encountered and keep them quiet as I taught and talked. We’d come out of every lesson and she would look at me and ask so earnestly, “how’d it go?” I am so grateful I have the opportunity to learn Spanish out here! I love Spanish. I love learning this part of so many cultures. It is the best. The best part of our split was teaching an older less active lady we found named Onelia. She is so funny. The first time we went over there she told us she was Catholic now and doesn’t remember anything about our church. Slowly but surely we’ve reignited some memories and her testimony and she is awesome. She is a total know-it-all and the older-wiser-than-thou type. She is hilarious. We are really trying to have her teach the lessons to us and just probe and guide her with questions about what happened. That way, she learns better (because she is explaining) and her testimony can ring of truth in her own ears. Hermana Molina’s game plan to teach her was to challenge her on a few points of doctrine and ask things like, “so you’re telling me, that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that they are two separate people?” And with her answer she will be saying truth out loud so the Spirit can testify that what she is saying is true. It is so fun. It works so well with her, too! Teaching people–not lessons–is so important.
We were told not to be heroes on Monday due to the crazy snow. The trains were all messed up and the buses, too, so that was mostly a stay-in day, much to my disappointment. But, there it is, I guess. It just makes me that much more grateful for the opportunities I have to go out each day that I can!
Here’s a thought:
Life is all about the attitude with which you approach it. If you start a diet with a defeated spirit, you’re going to fail (sorry). If you go on the sweetest vacation ever but are focused on the fact that they don’t have your favorite grape soda, your vacation is going to be a lot less fun and happy and fulfilling than what it could have been. I think about this a lot when we knock on doors to random people or are trying to find a less active member. If I approach that door with fear, or with anticipation that I am going to be rejected, I’ve already lost the battle! And the post-battle discouragement lingers. You know what? Most of the time, I do get rejected, but if I am happy and positive before hand I am able to laugh it off or just try again and I can learn from the experience. And I am about a jillion times happier. The same goes for my language study, for my college studies at BYU, for the meals I cook, and the times I trip on the sidewalk, etc. I have learned that every single one of these experiences, be it a “success” or not, yields a lesson and growth if I will just let it. I try to ask myself with each new companion and place and situation we find ourselves in, “what’s the lesson here?” There always is one, though sometimes I can’t see it because of my pride or discouragement or whatever.
Discouragement, it seems to me, is one of the adversary’s greatest tools. He uses it with whatever he can whenever he can to keep us from doing what we came here to do: progress, and to help others do the same.
Last thing–faith is always pointed to the future. It always is. And with our faith we must hope. And I hope for “a better world, even a place at the right hand of God”. I hope with all I’ve got for that. It seems like kind of a lofty goal, doesn’t it? But that is why our faith is centered in Jesus Christ. He is the way. I finally get it–a little more at least. HE is the way–He is the way to that better world, that better life and that better me that I so long to be. I know that if we do take His yoke upon us our burdens will be made light. And don’t miss the play on words here–our burdens will be made LIGHT (sunshine). I believe that as we “yoke up” with the Savior, light will come. Light will be shed on our burdens and our trials and we will be able to see them clearly and address them appropriately. These trials will be brought into light and we will be able to understand and, therefore, endure and triumph. I know we can! And I am so grateful for that grace He offers us as we seek to understand, endure, and triumph.
And one more thing:
Didn’t the Savior, Himself, command us to “be of good cheer”? I find myself breaking that commandment every so often (or more). But the Spirit of the gospel is optimistic! The spirit of the gospel is loving and kind. I am trying so hard to not just feel or visit that spirit every so often, but to live it. To swim in it and make it a part of me. To be that sunshine that we all so earnestly long for. I know that the source of that light and optimism and joy is the Savior, Jesus Christ. I have seen Him carry burdens and lift hands and heal and save. I love Him so much, and it is my earnest desire to be a conductor of that light–that sunshine! I know we all can be that as we yoke ourselves to Him, or in other words, as we take His name upon us. I hope we all will rise to that challenge and privilege.
So yoke up. Journey on. Hope on.
I love you so much! I do. Have a wonderful week and be SUNSHINE!