What is up?!?!
Oh my gosh. Where the heck do I even begin???!?!? This week was INSANE!! Hold onto your…knees…(my family knows that “knees” doesn’t actually belong there…) because I’m just going to word vomit a bunch of miracles and hilarious things at you.
The mission is the best–partly because the people I meet and the experiences I have are so random and so crazy and so ridiculous. I love it.
To start off–the reason I was so short on time last week: we went to the temple with a recent convert–Rosa. She was baptized the cycle before I got here and is a saint. I love her so much. The temple was absolutely amazing. I can’t even describe it. We went as a ward and did baptisms–my first time to do baptisms in the Manhattan temple. It was so beautiful and so….I just felt like I was home. Like I was home with my family. My people. I can’t describe it. Something I absolutely LOVE about our ward–and Spanish wards in general–is that everyone is so open. So loving and concerned about each other. Loud and goofy and just trying to figure it out together. So consistently kind and connected. Not that I didn’t feel that in my home ward, but it is somehow different here. Maybe it’s because almost every single one of them are converts–they have ALL been there before. They have all been new and needed that friendship and that extension of love and help more than I could ever know or relate. They relate so well to each other–they all live in this crazy place and work so hard to support their families and they all watch out for each other. They are loyal and true to each other. I love our ward so much. Anyway, I really felt that in the temple–it was Zion to me.
Rosa is absolutely incredible–she can’t swim and has a huge fear of water. And yet there she was. Doing baptisms for the dead even though she is TERRIFIED. She is such an example to me. Definitely the most beautiful thing I saw, perhaps on my mission, perhaps in my whole life, was a brother in our ward–about 30 or 35–who has Down’s Syndrome come into the temple with his dear mother–60 or so. He is such a happy person. I love him SO much. They are from Honduras and are just darling. In church every Sunday, greeting and loving and hugging everyone. All smiles and only smiles all day everyday. They don’t live in my area, so I don’t really know them very well, but I love them so much.
At the temple, his mom wasn’t going to be baptized, but he was. He went down into the water, and his mom stood right there where he could see her–right where he would see and look when he came out of the water. They said the first prayer and he came straight up out of the water–wide-eyed and looking scared and alarmed. I got really nervous, really fast. His eyes searched around him for just a moment, and then he looked up and saw his mom. A huge look of relief came over him and he was all smiles. He kept going. Dressed in white, so concerned with doing it right, and so peaceful knowing that his mom was proud of him. Not only feeling, but contributing to the spirit in the temple. It was so beautiful. I loved every moment of that experience. It was so so beautiful. It really, truly was.
On Thursday we had a huge and super long training with Elder Evans from the Seventy and Brother Allen from the missionary department. It was incredible. I was feeling vamped and chastened and ready to be a disciple of Christ. That was the big thing–being a disciple of Christ. They talked a lot about just choosing the right and repentance. The whole point for the training was about missionary work in the “digital age.” So basically it was about repenting and being super consecrated and dedicated to the Lord and missionary work. There were some absolutely incredible things and I don’t want to copy all my notes into this, but I’ll share a few things:
First: Jacob 5. Elder Evans explained that he really doesn’t now exactly what it means or what the symbols are and everything, but he knows that the servants are the prophets. He said that the only thing he really knows about that chapter is that all the servants asked for more time. Again and again with the seasons and the work–more time. More time. “Wait, Lord, a little longer and give us more time.” He then pointed out that ALL the servants do this except for the last one. They all ask for more time except for the last one, who asks for more SERVANTS. And then he looked at us and said that we have a prophet that has asked for more servants.
AHHHHH!!!!!!! That is me!!!!!!!! That is all of us!!!!! When he said that my mind exploded a little bit and I was overcome with such a deep and real sense of responsibility to care for this part of the vineyard. On our way home, I was looking at the literally thousands of people we can see from the train and the people shuffling on and off and then thought–“I am one of two representatives of Jesus Christ in my area. I am responsible for each person here. The Lord desperately wants His children to come home to Him. And I need to show them the way.” It became so real to me–why I am here and what the heck I am to be doing. Ever since that moment it has been SO MUCH EASIER to see opportunities to serve and help. Even just the old people crossing the streets and saying hi to every person I see. Doing and interacting any way I can. I am stoked! But think about it–as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are ALL representatives of Him! All of us–the responsibility is collective and, yeah, I get to wear a cool badge, but it is all of us. Missionaries can’t do SQUAT without the members. We are a family. We are a team.
Let’s do this.
The Lord is coming. I know it. I felt it so powerfully.
The other thing I felt again and again was the power and significance that comes when I choose to be a real disciple of Jesus Christ. Elder Evans was a soft-spoken man, but spoke very powerfully. I was reminded a lot of President Eyring and how he speaks. Sometimes with a little quiver in his voice, but always very piercing and powerful. He looked out to us several times and said, “I know He lives. I love Him and I want to be like Him. I want to be a disciple of Christ.” I looked up at him and thought–dude, you are a disciple of Christ. You are a member of the Seventy. You are on assignment from President Monson. You’re there! But as he went on, I thought again and again of how we need to take up our cross DAILY. It’s a full-effort, everyday battle that we all must fight. Everyday. A disciple of Christ. That is so true. I must choose every day to be and do and say all I can in order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It requires consecration and focus–all of which I believe are born out of love.
He mentioned how when Mormon finally gets around to introducing himself, that is how he chooses to do it. He calls himself a disciple of Jesus Christ:
12 And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression.
13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.
3 Nephi 5:12-13
I can’t think of anything more noble or powerful or humble or beautiful than that. I felt again and again how that is my desire. I just want to be a true disciple of Christ.
We were so blessed with a bunch of lessons this week. The highlight, for me, was Niver and Elida. They are new investigators that are LEGIT. They are the first family I have taught on my mission. I feel so much goodness and real intent from them. The husband and wife are both interested and are united in learning and are both incredible. I am so stoked! THEY ARE TOTALLY GOING TO BE BAPTIZED. We first found Elida alone, so we were teaching her. But because her husband is super interested too, we had to pass them off to the elders. My heart broke a little. Or a lot. I love them so much. But you know what–that is so selfish. We’re on the same team. And I know that they will be taken care of. I just wanted to be there for it. That is something so hard about the mission–loving people so fiercely and then having to let them go. Or you moving away to a different part of the city. It’s the worst. But there it is. It’s tough, but I am grateful that I have these emotions–I’m a human with feelings, as it turns out. I still feel super stoked for the elders, but mostly for Niver and Elida. They rock.
The bummer of the week was Juana Miguel–a progressing investigator that’s been in the DR. She dropped us HARD. I am just let down. I’ve waited a long time to meet her, and on the first time, she gives that to us. This was funny though: Hermana Molina was explaining how she got a new companion and it’s me and my name is…..and then I was supposed to say my name. I DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT IN THE EVEN HECK HAPPENED but I could not say “Hermana Boud” FOR THE LIFE OF ME. I choked out “soy” and then almost said “nueva” and then I realized that was wrong, so I stopped half way and then could not even say or think of anything. It was SO AWKWARD. And SO hilarious. I about wet my pants laughing about it on the way home. No wonder she dropped us–she took one look at me and thought “oh boy, now they sent this gringa that can’t even speak and they expect me to what?” Ha! Just kidding. Anyway, the Spanish fail took the sting out of it a bit.
Two more stories, I’ll make them quick–they’re miracles.
We planned for an APF (basically a proselyting activity for all the missionaries to help a specific area for our zone) for our zone, but we didn’t really have “cool” ideas. Honestly, we need some new investigators, and so we decided we were going to all go and knock some buildings. To start, we prayed and asked for inspiration as to which buildings we should go to and knock so that we could find people prepared by the Lord to teach.
It was just an inspired revelatory process. It really was. It was AWESOME and just amazing. I know it was headed by the Lord. We picked three buildings and split up the zone according to Spanish and English so that each group had at least one Spanish speaker (though everyone is Dominican here, the Spanish ward still has less missionaries than English. We’re the chosen ones!). We got it all set up and spent time making tons of pass along cards with all our information on them. Everything was good to go.
We got to the church and some of the missionaries didn’t come, so that threw off the companionships. Anyway, we fixed that and it left Hermana Millett and I on a split knocking one building all by ourselves.
We went for it.
We got to the first door and this mean old lady barked at us about her religion and then told us we weren’t allowed to solicit in their building. Good thing we’re not solicitors!
Anyway, we kept going and kept going, all the while I had a prayer in my heart that we would meet a Spanish family to teach. A Spanish anyone. Every single door was English–all of them. I could feel myself almost wanting to be discouraged, to be down in the dumps that my prayer wasn’t answered. It is so weird that I almost wanted that. Ew. Anyway, I fought it. I kept that prayer and hope going, but decided to also counsel with Hermana Millett about the situation and see what she thought. The Lord gave me a companion, so I’m going to use her and see what she thinks!
Her words were clear and all I needed, “if you prayed about it, this is inspired.” Oh yeah–that’s what I am thinking! So we kept going. No one was interested. No one was Spanish. And then. On apartment 4O. Finally. She opened up and we showed her the video Because of Him. She liked it. I bore my testimony to her and I asked her very sincerely and straightforwardly if she wanted to learn more and have us teach the message we have. She held the little pass along card with all the articles of faith on it and read through them quickly. Then she kept her gaze down for a long time. Then quietly but surely looked up at me and said “yes.”
I was on cloud nine!!! In that moment I knew that the Lord had answered my prayer and I knew he had done it very specifically. I had prayed and asked for someone to teach–a family. She was the ONLY person we found that spoke Spanish. And she was pregnant with twins. As we talked more, her husband came in and I could hear parents and grandparents jabbering on in Spanish behind her. A family. A Spanish family. I am so stoked and so grateful. It was amazing!!
Yesterday was sweet. The coolest thing was an impression I had to go visit one of our less actives–Milka–that NEVER answers the door and is super unresponsive to everything. It is very hard to get into her building and almost every time we can’t even get to her door to knock (she doesn’t buzz us in ever).
I said we should go and Hermana Molina was kind of bummed–she didn’t want to go (Milka hasn’t been very cool to us). I almost backed off because I didn’t want to inconvenience her, but then I thought, “what the heck!?! I am inconvenienced all the time! And this is the Spirit! Who cares!” So I pushed a little more and we went.
On our way, I got some GNARLY hiccups and could barely choke out three words to Hermana Molina without gasping and making the little squeaky noise my hiccups always make. The whole time walking there I was trying to get rid of them and feeling lame, but I just kept praying and asking Heavenly Father that we would know what to share and that my hiccups would go away and that somehow we would get into her building and that she would be home.
That prayer was answered BIG TIME. We got there and she didn’t buzz us in. I just kept smiling and praying that somehow we’d get in (her building is a lot less busy than most others). Just as we were getting ready to go, I saw an older Mexican man turning the corner and coming to the door. YAHOO! He let us in and there we were. We got to her door and we knocked and I could hear absolutely nothing. And I still had the hiccups. Big time. Then, out of nowhere she opened up and seemed happy to see us. We came in and had a nice and, I thought, needed lesson about new beginnings. We read Enos 1:5-8 and talked about forgiveness and the atonement. And the ENABLING power of the atonement. Hermana Molina is always the first to testify of this because that is so much a part of her–the enablement that comes from Christ. I admire that about her and want to have the same conviction that she does–about the ENABLING power. That I can do and be anything. That I can overcome anything and be clean and free. How many times did I hiccup in the lesson? You guessed it: NOT ONCE.
It was just a super awesome experience for me. I am so grateful that we tried.
Also, it’s been snowing like crazy the past two days, but isn’t super cold. I’m so stoked it’s not BLISTERINGLY freezing anymore. And speaking of it snowing a ton (not freezing rain, which is THE most fun to walk in…), can I just say that the movie Frozen is my worst enemy. I love it and its music too much and it was playing in our last appointment last night. The kids were mesmerized and the aunt was watching, too, as well as having to fix the computer every time the baby got excited and smacked the screen. It’s such a good movie! How am I supposed to compete with “Let it Go” blasting in the background?!?! (Ha).
Anyway, this week was awesome. I have been working hard on personal consecration. I am trying hard to change and grow and listen and submit and obey. It’s so hard. I didn’t even know how prideful I was/am!!! But, I have seen that in direct response to my efforts to try a little harder to be a little better, the Lord has SHOWERED blessings on us. Miracles. Opportunities. Love. Light. I testify that weak things do become strong when we seek to be made strong IN Christ. He lifts me up. He strengthens me and is everything to me. He is so kind to me. I love Him so much.
Have a great week! See miracles! BE a miracle or two.