Buenas, mis queridos.
I’m so stoked that I can speak Spanish with Hermana Hutchison. She is the bomb, and we are very much enjoying our time together here in Poughkeepsie. It’s been interesting, too, to help her adjust out here to the Spanish program. Not going to lie–we both feel like rejects or something up here in the northern-most part of the mission where we can’t even really put our language skills to great use….but we try. Banishment.
Things have been going well with our investigators. We’ve been so blessed and have had a lot of fun this week going through the baptismal interview questions with them. We’re still waiting on some marriages. But…until then, it’s been great to hear them express what they know and already understand. Yesica, at least, attributes her success in other areas of her life with the gospel/her taking the lessons. It is beautiful to see them be blessed in so many ways as they seek to come closer to Christ.
Hermana Hutchison and I have a goal to give out a Book of Mormon every day–which was about a million times easier in the city. Up here, in a car…..it can be tough, especially when you have appointments all day. But it’s been awesome because it makes us be SURE to have some sort of finding time everyday. And it’s exciting knowing that we aren’t coming home until we place a Book of Mormon. She told me how her ward mission leader in Stamford got a Book of Mormon and threw it in his car and it sat there for five years. Then one day, he opened it up and started reading, then called the missionaries and asked to be baptized. I just can’t help but feel like every Book of Mormon we place has that same potential–whether it’ll be in three weeks or five years. It is so powerful and so true. Only true.
It’s been really fun to keep working on that goal–we have been successful this far. And I can remember everyone we’ve given one to. On Monday, we found two gentlemen from Africa (one from Nigeria, the other from Ghana). They are tennis players (BOOYAH) and had a ping pong table out front. We challenged them to ping pong, and I’m excited to play one of these times. They both gladly accepted a Book of Mormon. It was great, and again and again I stand all amazed that in the 10 or 15 minutes we’ll have, the Lord will provide us with someone with whom we can visit and share the Book of Mormon.
Probably one of the coolest things EVER was finding a “Regina”–a close relative of Grandma Shirley’s Stella. Regina is a stand-up music box–not laid down with a lid like Stella. We visited an older member in the ward and I was AMAZED to see it. When I asked how she found her, she replied that her husband pulled it out of the dump about 60 or so years ago. The dump!? I couldn’t believe it. Sister Lowry played one for us–just gorgeous.
I love music. Good wholesome music. The kind that takes your heart with it wherever it desires, and makes your hand start swinging in time and before you know it you are Mack Wilberg conducting the grandest of choirs and symphonies. In the Spanish program–BOY, do they sing! No shame! Loud and not a soul in the right key. It was glorious to come into sacrament meeting and hear everyone participating in every way they could. Singing with their whole souls and really praising Heavenly Father and our Savior. ¡Alabadle! ¡Aleluya! ¡Loor al profeta! It touched my heart. In Relief Society on Sunday, I BELTED our closing hymn amidst all the high-pitched whispers all around us. There is something sweet and beautiful about singing loud and with love–really praising our King. I love that. Music is so powerful.
Today we are off to go apple picking in a nearby orchard (orchards spot the towns up here–they’re EVERYWHERE!). I am SO excited. I am reminded of the community corn mazes and pumpkin patches. The “come one, come all” sort of thing where you’d end up seeing your first-grade teacher there with her family and some neighbors and church friends, too. All brought together as people in the community. Out to enjoy the adventure–the season–together.
On Sunday I was reminded of all those Saturday night waffle parties before the stake dances. We went to a member’s home for dinner, and they presented a waffle bar! Just like home (minus the cartons and cartons of ice cream). I explained about our waffle nights and secretly reminisced on the FUN of stake dances and church activities. They were INTRIGUED with the idea of it–being able to make sure good drivers were taking people to the activities, getting to know the friends, and having the friends in a home where love was spoken (and put into action). Only a winning situation. Only fun. Only good. Thanks, mom and dad, for the waffle parties.
Keep calm and SING on. (Calm auto-corrected to “clam”. We can keep the clams, too).
Love you! Oh so much. STOKED to see you soon! But even more stoked to be here for a few more months. ¡Vamos!