January 12, 2011
Family! Its e-mail day and I had so many e-mails this week! Thanks everyone for writing. I loved it. So often people are apologizing for not being better writers or for taking up my time or for ten billion other things. Stop it! I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about these things. I just love you, so just love me back and don’t worry about the rest. I am so happy to hear from you in any form or on any timetable.
Something funny is happening here. People are starting to catch onto me. Examples:
Last week at Outback with a member. The waiter asks me what I want.
Member cuts in: “Well I don’t know what she wants but I know if she’s still Sister Brown, she wants a sweet potato on the side!”
Yes please. Yes I would like a sweet potato on the side. We have an appointment in 30 minutes so I’ll probably scarf the sweet potato and box up the rest for lunch later.
For lunch later when I stare at the fridge and think “Which leftovers will go bad first?”
Because those are the ones I will eat. And one day, when I get to choose what I want and not what is molding the fastest, it will be molded anyway. And I will say “What? We took like home like yesterday?!”
And Sister Reynolds will remind me that what felt like yesterday was a week ago.
And I will remember that my concept of time is warped and my world is rocked and I am on a mission.
Hello, let’s face reality.
I order the rest of my food and as the waiter walks away another member chimes in.
“And please bring Sister Brown some extra brown sugar and cinnamon for her potato because she is from the South!”
Love these people!
New Years day we get a text from an investigator, Glow.
“We were just thinking we’d love to have the sisters over for a new year’s good luck dinner! Are you free?”
Are you kidding? An investigator wants to bond with us on the holidays. We are ditching the members for this opportunity.
We text back: “If we come can we teach you something?”
“Sure!” they say.
“And we’re making sweet potatoes– Sister Brown’s favorite!”
How does everyone know?
Do I really talk about food that much?
I come in and they are boiling water for hot chocolate in the kettle they used to use for tea.
“Sister Reynolds, do you want marshmallows on top of yours? We know Sister Brown wants a lot because she is from the South!”
I’m not sure how marshmallows are a southern thing, but I’ll take it!
Sometimes we are out and we need to find a bathroom. Quick. Now. Always when this happens, something sketch goes down. We park and go into every little gas station and donut shop until someone has a bathroom.
Without a doubt:
It will take at least 4 places before we find one.
It will be locked to prevent vandalism.
It will be vandalized anyway.
Sketch people will hit on us from various corners.
I still do not understand this.
We are wearing more clothes that 90% of the women in the greater Los Angeles County.
It happens anyway, at which point I go blank and stutter awkwardly, keep walking, or get serious and tell them what’s up, depending on what they say and how the spirit helps me react. I know I’m a missionary but sometimes these people need to know we are not little submissive weak things they can mess with, you know? It’s hard to explain but it keeps us from being preyed upon.
One night this week:
“Hey do you ladies know where the party at?”
(Oh please. Do I look like I know where “the party at”??!)
I try a new response.
“Nope, but God is available!”
“Is he? What are you doing tonight?”
“Preaching the gospel.”
And then we tell them that we are missionaries and that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and it’s a miracle and he can find out for himself.
Take that LA! Yeah!
This e-mail is a little lighter than usual. It’s because lots of things are heavy these days and I need to be… something other than heavy.
Speaking of being heavy, I can run twice as far as I could the first time we went out! Twice as far! And no swan dives this week!
Today for language study I was so tired. I wasn’t sure what to look up in the book I borrowed– what will help the work the most? Hardly any religious signs are in there and that’s what seems to be the most important. I decided to do an interpretation of Come Thou Fount. I showed blessings coming down from God, building upon each other and becoming a fountain– then I made it come towards me– all around me. I made streams of mercy that go on forever. I surrounded myself with concepts made by my own hands, made for God. What other language lets us do this? It was beautiful, healing even. Signing is like therapy for me sometimes.
I really love this area. I hope I stay here. And I hope I stay with Sister Reynolds. I’ve been having some rough times lately but I got a blessing last night which confirmed a few of the promptings I’ve had about what I need to do next. Heavenly Father knows me. He knows what I need.
If you want to pay off your loans, help people, and experience new things, join the peace corp. Get a cool job. Travel. You will probably love it. If you want to learn who God really is, invest in blessings for your family and future children, and the effect celestial potential of humanity– go on a mission. This is the Lord’s purpose on the earth– happening through you. He will give you all that you need. This is the work of the eternities.
I miss you so dag bad. Promise I’m not whiney. Promise I’m okay. But ya’ll just have to know. I dang miss you.
Love, Sister Brown