July 04, 2011
Hey beautiful people!
Did you know the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday? I love it because everyone gets out their blankets and sits on the grass barefoot with their food and just loves life! Usually I’m one of the only ones doing that… but on the Fourth of July the whole town joins me! Except this Fourth of July I’m dressed up in my missionary clothes walkin around the ward pancake breakfast with hawk eyes for non-members and less-actives. Happy Fourth of July! Let’s talk about your life and relate it to the gospel and then set an appointment with you! Yeah! Then I’m doin my p-day thing with Sister Warr, shoppin for groceries and e-mailin my family! We found matchin American flag shirts for 3 dollars! We’re gonna wear them to the cook out later today. The other missionaries in our zone are coming and after the food we’re gonna play some wiffle ball. Then, at 6:00, p-day is over and we’re goin to a family’s house for dinner. I predict more cook out food will be eaten– which I’m totally fine with. Then we’re goin to the mall because a bunch of families will be scoutin a good spot for their blankets to watch the fireworks! We made these family packs– full of booklets and info from the church about how to strengthen your families. We wrapped them up in cute bags and we’re going to go meet people and hand them out. Everyone here is really family oriented so I think it’ll be great. We’re also bringin some Faith in Christ DVD’s to give out. Inside our little bags is a note about how we want to teach them about the gospel and they should call us so they can change their life and have their world completely rocked– except I wrote it a little more professionally than that. It sounds good. I worked on it for a whole personal study. Anyway– it’s street contactin time at the fireworks! So many people will be there and it’s just drippin with opportunity. Then, before the fireworks start, we’ll have to go home to make curfew. Which means yep, I’m missin the fireworks even though I’m OBSESSED with fireworks and think about them ALL THE TIME. Do you have any idea what kind of blessings are in store for me? This is a HUGE sacrifice!
Here’s a few things that are goin down in Valencia these days…
*It is so hot. 101 degrees at 5! 5 PM PEOPLE! And we are just out workin all the time because we don’t have very many people to teach. Work work work. I know those people will come. I can feel it.
*This area is hard! It’s so different from Mission Hills. Things that worked there do not work the same way here. The people and culture and norms are completely different. It feels like a whole different mission– like I had to start from scratch. I’m always praying to know what types of things we can try to help people trust us and see that the gospel will improve the quality of their life. These last few weeks we’ve discovered what seems to be a golden answer: service. Now I know that seems obvious– serve your fellowman. Not a new idea. But opportunities to serve people outside of the church are just falling into our lap lately. Like how we found Curly and help her put her bed back together. We’re going back this week to help her with some more things. And then we’re going to teach her. She loves both of those ideas! So do we.
*Another example: The other day we went over to Deary’s house. Deary is a Mom with two kids that we began teaching quite a while ago. She loved it. We always left them with a specific chapter to read and questions to think about as a family– kind of like a family home evening. We did it because we know Deary wants to teach her kids and have the spirit in her home, but she’s not very confident in her ability to do so. This way it’s easy. She’s learning how to do it on her own. She is an incredible Mom. She had missionary lessons years ago and seems to know it’s true already– but she didn’t join because her husband said we had too many rules. I think she also fears the commitment and the change it will bring. But I know she wants it. The thing is, now she’s not married to that man anymore. And the spirit is very strong at all of her lessons. I know she is one of the people I was supposed to find on my mission. But a little while ago she stopped calling back. And she was never home when we went by. We didn’t know what happened. We kept praying for an opportunity to find out.
After a few weeks we went by and she finally answered. She let us in and sat us down and told us how stressed she’s been. She just found out she has to have knee replacement in a few days and she’s scared and worried and trying to make all her preparations. She’s a single Mom and she doesn’t have a lot of help. So she hasn’t called us because she’s been busy… and because of something else. There’s this 30 year old lady that sometimes comes by and takes her kids out for a while. She used to be their daycare teacher. This lady told her kids that if they kept listening to the missionaries she “would be their friend anymore.” Isn’t that strange? She’s 30 and she told a 9 and 11 year old that. Anyway, I think Deary depends on her for help with her kids and as much as she knows that shouldn’t affect her, it seems like it did.
Deary is a teacher and her car was loaded up with classroom supplies she had to bring home. We unloaded the boxes into the garage. This is awesome because Deary, like most people around here and most people in general, has trouble asking for help. She doesn’t let anyone do anything for her. We’re getting better at knowing how to help anyway. There’s this certain tone we take when we ask– it’s hard to explain but it keep working! She let us! And then we ran some errands for things she needs before her surgery. While she’s recovering we’re going to do her yard work and make some dinners for the kids. She was so glad to see us. She loves us and she loves the church but she is pretty fragile about things and I think her fears still hold her back a lot.
We shared a scripture with her and said a prayer. She asked us to. I love Deary. I just know she’s one of my people. During the prayer I felt the spirit telling me that I needed to tell Deary that one day she would join the church– it was just up to her to decide when. That’s pretty intense right? But I knew I had to say it. So after the prayer her son comes in and is doing a funny dance. Everyone is laughing and I’m thinking… Hmmm, how do I bring this up? When he leaves the room she says “He’s funny. He wants to be friends with you girls. I just know he wants to be part of this.”
“Do you want to be part of this?” I ask.
“Yeah. … I do.” she says.
So I tell her I know it’s true and that she will be a part of it. But it’s up to her to make the choice. She says she knows she will too.
“I’m always drawn back to this,” she says.
“No matter how far I go or for how long… I always come back to this.”
I love Deary. We will rock her world with service while she’s sleepin off the pain. I know we were supposed to run into her at that time, to serve her in these ways, so her heart will be more prepared to trust that this is a safe place and the things she’s felt are real. It is real. Living truth is on the earth.
I love being a missionary.