Hola hola hola
Well, here I am in the Poke. What an EXHAUSTING week. Seriously.
It is SO different up here. I won’t lie–it has been an adjustment coming up here. Not much walking, speaking English, there are trees and plants that don’t look like they were planted and nourished with radioactive rainwater, and the air isn’t brown or smelling bad.
I feel like instead of being transferred to a different area, I was transferred to a different mission. I even have a new mission president! I guess it is a new mission. Anyway, it’s just been weird.
Poughkeepsie has some amazing people up here. The wards are so fun and the members we work with are great. We also have some amazing investigators–just amazing. We are working a lot with a couple–Oscar and Christina. The elders tracted into them after their apartment got burned down. They are such prepared and kind and humble people, and come to church almost every week. I’m excited to see all that the Lord has in store for them. A few wards get together on Tuesday nights and play soccer–and usually the majority of the people that come are investigators. It is a great time, and Oscar is super good. It’s fun to see and play with him and Christina and Christina’s sister–Yesica–and have their kids there. Really, this whole family is moving forward with the gospel. Yesica was at Oscar and Christina’s one night during a lesson and listened, though not there in the room. Her interest was sparked and she is absolutely incredible. She reads in the Book of Mormon consistently, and she told us that she has a small book she keeps with her to write down what she feels or how she can apply it. Talk about an inspired investigator.
One of our recently reactivated members–Sharon–is the sweetest thing. She received her recommend to do baptisms for the dead last week. That week, we had prepped her (she has been prepped for a long time with the sister missionaries before I got here) and when we walked into Relief Society, she jumped up and raised her recommend in the air and said “I am so happy! I have it! Look! I am so happy!” She said that literally 18 times.
I am so happy too, Sharon.
We also work with someone named Joanne. She is a STAR. She is older, but just as sharp as a tack and kind and wonderful. A true seeker of truth. She has been investigating the Church for a few years, and has made tons of progress in the last few months. She LOVES her Bible, and it is so fun to be able to talk so openly and so much about it with her. I hold my experiences in Jerusalem close to my heart, and I feel SO blessed that the Lord let me attend that study abroad. With the age change, I took off to my bishop and had almost all my papers done in a few days. I was OUTTA there. I didn’t stop to think or pray about it–it was a good decision, right? But within those few days, I felt like something was missing, so I knelt and prayed and asked. And I really felt a big question mark–not so much a “no,” but definitely something like “not yet.” I was frustrated with that. I explored other options, and ended up going to Jerusalem. Then, in winter and spring, I grew a lot–through several things that came my way. When I prayed again, I felt more confident in actually going out to serve. And so I went.
I’ve often wondered why I waited, why I needed to wait — if I even did need to wait another year, etc. On my mission, it’s been confirmed to me that I am out–now–during the time of my life where the Lord wants me to be. AND I got to have some amazing experiences that helped me grow and see and become better before I came to serve. That was confirmed to me again as we’ve been able to work with Joanne. Her deep studies of the Bible have lead to some questions. Her LOVE for the Bible has made accepting the Book of Mormon as scripture a little difficult. I feel like I share that love for the Bible with her, and feel so blessed that I could study it in more depth in Jerusalem and in seminary for years and years. Anyway, it is just a tender thing for me to see someone so faithful and true, and to be seeking for more and looking in all the right places. Miracles will come with Joanne this cycle–I’m sure of it.
Yes, we all did get to go to the Yankee’s game last Friday. It was so fun to be in that atmosphere–I LOVE baseball games. It brought me back to all those years at “Mormon Night at the Angels.” So fun. A couple of our missionaries’ moms sang in the MOTAB and were able to see them and squeeze them for a bit, too. That pricked my heart and I teared up and cried. Ha, the mission has really done something to me–I tear up a lot now at things that used to never mean all that much to me. I remember watching football games with Grandma and watching her tear up as she saw her boys come out–together and unified and off to face a battle and do what they loved and be good. And Mom in sacrament meeting and in seminary–thinking and listening to music and testifying of the Savior. I always just thought it touched her in a different way and that I was not a “cry-er.” But, alas, I watched the MOTAB come out on the field–all unified and together and off to perform and bring light and cheer and goodness and patriotism to us in the stands, in the middle of the Bronx (it felt nice to be home in the Bronx again), with thousands of people–I teared up. They really were like a light on a hill.
I recently restarted reading the Book of Mormon, and I’m doing so with the “lens” of prayer. Focusing on prayer. It is the Soul’s sincere desire–it’s been mine as I’ve somewhat struggled in the adjustment from city to upstate. I read in 1 Nephi 3-4 this morning. I wonder how many silent prayers were uttered as Nephi stood up again and again to his brothers. Took charge–he being large in stature, sure, but YOUNG. I bet the angel came in response to a silent prayer uttered in the mind and heart of Nephi. Or Sam. I like to imagine it being Sam. He being older, but maybe not so large in stature. Not so powerful as Nephi. Nephi says that Laman and Lemuel beat them both with a rod, but the angel comes and asks, “Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?” That is singular. Was humble Nephi including Sam in the punishment because he didn’t want to be the only one standing for truth and didn’t want to put himself in the spotlight? I wonder if Nephi was being beaten up and Sam was on the sidelines–small in stature and unable to do anything but pray.
Talk about reading in between the lines. I was just thinking….
I love you all so much! I do. The Lord is so good and I love Him. He makes us strong. He created all the earth–He literally moves mountains. “For behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than (insert affliction here)” (I Nephi 4:1).
That is true.