November 24, 2010
All I can say is: Miracles Abound. And: I’m Exhausted.
Everyone that e-mailed me this week said something that was literally an answer to one of my billion prayers. Thanks for being my people out there. I am so relieved to hear each of these things and I’m scribblin them down on library scratch paper so I can save them and read them all each time I’m about to go nuts.
I want to write to you about yesterday– because it was a pretty standard day and I think maybe I’ll try to show you what one of those standard days is like here in the mission field.
6:30: Wake up. Gear up. Go run. Mamaw sent me $20 so I bought a zip up hoodie. Now I can be warm for our mornin runs before I even get sweaty! I also bought thick warm tights. How did I do both with only $20? Genius, that’s how. And also blessings from above via clearance. We run underneath one of my favorite trees here, which is almost like a weepin willow tree from home.
Sister Mackley sprints and walks. Sprints and walks. Sister Clark stays with me at my pace even though she is a marathoner. (literally she is!)
This whole Clark=Marathoner but staying with my pace to be nice thing is a constant theme in our companionship. I love her. She pushes me harder during actual missionary work. We come home. I shower and take the full hour to get ready and make breakfast. Picture me tryin to match grey tights to brown shoes and a red coat and… who knows how to find a shirt for that? Much less a sweater? Picture Sister Clark continuing to exercise for 30 minutes and then she showers and gets ready in only 20 minutes.
8:00: Powerful personal study. Turns out all this give-my-whole-heart-to-the-Lord impression was encompassed fully in a conference talk. It was from Priesthood session so this is my first time reading it. Throughout I find almost direct quotes from my journ/mind/heart which are of course completed by the Lord there on the page. Also a beautiful promise from President Eyring about how to develop a two-way trust with my Heavenly Father. I write down a few lines I want to remember and stick them in my bag for later.
9:00: Companion study. We plan how we are going to teach Sister Scrap’s Mom the most important things about the Gospel in the five minutes she’s agreed to allow us. Apparently this has been years in the making. Is there a way to explain the trust and gravity of those five minutes and how it feels to prepare for them?
10:00: Language study. Sister Clark studies her Spanish. (I haven’t told ya’ll yet but our Mission President said I could study ASL during this time because I love it and there is a need in our mission. My books are on the way. There’s a deaf member in our ward and I sign with him when we go over for dinner. I get all nervous and excited.) Today I turn on some EFY music and sit by the sunny window to study. I do different things every time. This time I started making pictures to teach the Plan of Salvation.
11:00: Lunch. Smell that bacon cookin!
12:00: We go see Sister Goldy in the hospital. She is so sick in her baggy skin but still cheery with her little Australian accent. “You kids look good! I love your little red jacket!” She does? SCORE. Sister Goldy is the stylinist little lady that you ever did see. Her living room ceiling at home has gold sparkles! Not even kidding. I know because we used to teach people in her home. She would sit in with silvery hair and some assortment of fabulous jewelry to match whichever of her various pink moo-moo’s she’d chosen for the day. The man we most often taught there tends to be a little jokey and sometimes she’d get feisty with him, but he would always thank Heavenly Father for Sister Goldy at the end and then pray for Him to bless her. Once I snuck a peek at Sister Goldy as he prayed. She was leaned back in her rockin chair, eyes closed and hands folded, with the biggest grin on her sweet little face I’d ever seen. This is my favorite image of Sister Goldy– smilin big while we pray.
But she hasn’t been in her sparkly living room for a while because she hasn’t kept and food or liquid down in weeks. Her tongue is black with morphine. Pancreatic Cancer. “We’ll see what the good Lord has in store for me” she says. Her voice is humble and a little squeaky. We ask if we can sing to her and she chooses one of her favorite hymns. Her weak arms hold tight to the bars around her bed and with wrinkled eyelids closed she sings along. The same big grin spreads across her face.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
I watch her pull her tired knees into her swollen belly and I attempt to sing behind my hymn book under soft, sniffley sobs. I love this little lady. She is strong and hopeful inside a fallible and fading body. That’s her spirit in there. I feel inspired and grateful, sad and achy, all at once for her. Her tiny voice fades in and out of my companions’ singing…
He lives, my kind wise heavenly friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives I’ll sing.
He lives, my prophet, priest and king.
He lives, and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death…
He lives, my mansion to prepare.
He lives, to bring me safely there.
He lives! All glory to His name.
He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
Oh! I am cryin just writin about it! I was a mess. She didn’t have her glasses so I don’t think she knew.
We left and I was torn up all the way to our next appointment.
Pull it together Sister Brown. Pull it together.
I have to keep writin next week cause I’m out of time.
I love you!