I’m thankful that my days in California have felt better than my MTC days.
The MTC was rough. I’m not sure how much I let that show. I still don’t know how to describe that place except to say:
I was both extremely discouraged AND extremely uplifted AND I’m glad it happened AND I’m glad it’s over!
My days here in California are not easier, but oh man! They feel better!
My trainer’s name is Sister Griffiths and I WANT TO BE HER. Which is great…because…I think that is kinda the point. This is her last transfer and I’m the third missionary she has trained. One of the Elders told me she is the best in the mission and I am not surprised.
This woman is bold– she doesn’t beat around pretty bushes to get to the truth. But she has so much love at the same time. She is in the people’s hearts…which is why they take it just fine when she tells them like it is.
She came to pick me up in big red glasses with the lenses popped out. She had a matching white pair for me and insisted that I wear them around with her for a while. “MY little little homey!” she said. “Come with me.” She is goofy. We play board games at lunch because it helps her stay sane. We work really hard. Last night during weekly planning we soaked our feet in Sister Mackley’s “natural oils” and ate Almond Joys and debated over what all our people need to feel this week.
The best thing about Sister Griffiths is that she is living proof that you can be a fun person and a good missionary at the same time. At the MTC, I always felt I had to choose. I’m still figuring out how to be myself…which is SO weird for me. I haven’t had to work on that since like the 7th grade.
It’s an adjustment but I love it so much.
Everyday I love what we do.
I also have another companion. Her name is Sister Mackley. She’s the most humble little woman I’ve ever met. She is never demanding or condescending or anything close to offensive. It is work for Sister Mackley to be bold and persistent with people, but she is growing so much every day. I have learned so much from watching her leave her comfort zone to teach people.
Before her mission she used to plan out what she was going to speak about on the phone, even write it down sometimes because she would get so nervous. Now, she calls strangers we met on the street and sets up appointments. She’s a rock star. I love this girl. Sister Griffiths was in meetings for 3 days so we taught/contacted without her for that time. She rocked the map (thank goodness) and I drove and we did so well! It was hard but really good for both of us. This is only her second transfer so she just barely finished being trained.
Okay on to our people!
Our investigators are: Philippino. Nicaraugan. Thai. Mexican. Korean. Vegan. Smokers. Single Mothers. Catholics. Alleged Drug Dealers. Modern Spiritualists. Intellectuals. Teenagers. Landscapers. Skeptics. Breakdancers.
I am not even kidding and I love this stuff.
I feel the most myself when I am testifying to people. (That’s a good sign, right?) A few nights ago we dropped by a member’s house to return the workout DVD they let us borrow. (It’s called Insanity. So intense.) Anyway, we actually came because we know they have two friends over to work out every night– two friends who we are determined to teach. These boys are generally pretty sarcastic with us, but we won’t let up. They’ve declined a few times and for some reason that night they listened pretty willingly. We told them about how the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. We told them about prophets and priesthood authority. They were resistant at first, but eventually had so many questions. “There’s a prophet today? Does he warn us about stuff like Noah and the flood? What’s his name? How was he called? Does he get paid? What happens when he dies?”
Toward the end, Sister Mackley asked them if they would read the Book of Mormon. They kinda half answered…. “Hmmm… I don’t know. Probably not.” The member is trying to explain that the Book of Mormon is cool and it won’t take long to read a few pages and you know… he was trying to appeal to it’s “cool and not that bad” side.
I just decided it was my turn. I went a little nuts because they just HAD to know.
“Do you guys know what this means?! If this is true, it means there is a prophet on the earth TODAY. It literally means that God is speaking to mankind directly. At General Conference. ON TV. TOMORROW. Do you understand what that would do? It would change your entire life! Of course it’s “not that bad.” I mean this is huge! And the Book of Mormon is the only way to know if it’s true. We’re not even trying to convince you. We just want you to read some and ask God. We want you to get your own answer. And I know if you do that, if you ask with a willingness to act on the answer, He’s gonna tell you this is real. This is true. And that means Joseph Smith is a prophet. And that means that God really did appear to him to restore all the truth that was lost after Christ and his apostles and all the direct authority was gone from the earth. It means this church is run by Heavenly Father himself, and not mankind. Don’t you see how it would change everything? It has! That’s why I am going nuts in this living room trying to show you! You just gotta read it. It’s such a small thing for such an earth changing answer. Will you do it?”
You bet they’re gonna do it. They are! They’re reading for 5 minutes every day and then they’re gonna watch conference with us on Sunday. After that, we’re teaching them the Plan of Salvation.
Check it out! The truth!
Sister Griffiths asked them what they wanted to know. They asked…
- “Am I going to heaven?”
- “How did people get to America before Christ came to them?”
- “Are there any boat stories?”
She marked all the answers for them with post-its and well, we’ll see them in a few days.
This kind of stuff happens.
In real life.
In my real missionary life.
Isn’t my life great? It is great. Bring it on.
Not all times are this way of course. People think I am awkward and nuts. (Imagine that)!
Of course they do! But that’s okay.
Because sometimes someone lets us in, like this family yesterday… someone lets us in and they say things like…
“We just don’t know how we feel about religion anymore. We’ve seen a lot of hypocrisy in religious people. Sometimes we try different preachers, but how can we ever know which one is true? And we’re tired of being told why we’re going to hell. And how can we listen to these people if they can’t ever answer our questions about what happens after we die? There always comes a point where they can’t answer anymore. So why even try?”
And I’m just on their couch about to pee my pants because I know the answers to all of their questions!
Because it’s been restored people! This is real and it’s for everyone! It’s all I can do to not teach them for the next 36 consecutive hours!
So…I am a bit nuts.
I am a lovin little greenie over here in California and you can think I’m awkward and nuts too if you want.