August 15, 2011
Oh my gosh you’re at the beach and I love that place!
How weird to only have 7 people?! Does Mamaw know how to cook breakfast for only 7 people?!
I’ve been thinkin about Lacey movin out to college all week. I love her so much! I’ve been telling everyone about it. If I have time today she’s the first letter I’m writin! What’s her new address?
I LOVE SISTER BAUM!
She works hard with me and she is on my team! I just know she’s got my back and that feels so good. She supports me. She helps me in all of my zillion goals– from health goals to spiritual goals to obedience goals. And she has goals too! She wants to be better! Which is nice. She remembers to set a return appointment when I forget. She goes with the flow if the spirit changes the lesson from our original plan. She repents out loud in our comp prayers all the time– for little things we wished we would have done better.
(I think I am supposed to learn this from her. Not necessarily to repent out loud– but often. I’ve learned so much about how merciful Heavenly Father is and that would help me apply that in my own life and believe it can work for me too– even for my dumb little mistakes like wasting time and just being inadequate in general. I think it will help me stop feeling so guilty all the time.)
She is my friend. I love being supported. I know she’ll back me up when someone’s being intense at the doorstep or when I’m unsure how to explain something. We take turns being the bold one and that keeps me from being so exhausted all the time. My comp’s got fire. I love this. I hope I get to stay next transfer. I’ll find out on Saturday.
Here are some quotes from her lately that made me laugh:
“But I lovvvvve pants! Can I just pretend to be a boy so I can wear pants? I’ll even stay two years…”
And in her prayer the other day:
“Please bless that the people who are interested will remember that they’re interested…”
Wanna know the other reason why I hope I can stay next transfer?
Because Valencia is ON FIRE, that’s why!
We have 14ish investigators right now.
And we have appointments with 6 new people next week.
Who said this area was dead?! Who said you can’t tear it up in a rich town?!
I am so happy to see how much it’s grown since we white washed this town down.
I know God is leading us to people and blessing us for all the backbreakin work.
The past week we decided we’re goin on an invitation revolution. This means we’re inviting all of our investigators to be baptized. The brand new ones, the ones that have been learning for years and tell us all the time they’re not ready– all of em. Some of them are going to freak out! But hey, this is eternal life people! Welcome to our purpose. Tell us your concerns and we’ll work through that mess.
So Sister Baum and I prayed over dates for everyone and we’ll be inviting all of them within the next few lessons.
Our first try was with a man we just love. We’ll call him T-shirt. His wife is a member and he’s made it very clear he doesn’t intend on joining. Very clear. T-shirt comes every Sunday and loves the people but as far as the spiritual side goes– he has a lot of doubts and questions. He grew up learning that God was a far away power– sort of like a prestigious acquaintance that he respects but tries not to bother. So the idea of having a personal relationship with God is relatively foreign to him. We’ve done a lot of work to try and teach to his needs and help him understand that we are there to be much more than nice girls who eat dinner with him and his wife. He is so great at the dinner/friendly part and we love him! But there’s so much more than that.
But! T-shirt’s been reading The Book of Mormon. For the first time in missionary history! And I mean consistently! He’s up to 1 Nephi 15ish. He’s progressing and I literally jump up and down every time he shows me how far he’s read that week. Yeah! This is a miracle.
So the other night we asked him what his concerns would be about daily prayer– about being more personal with Heavenly Father. He told us. We read about prayer from the bible dictionary and worked through a few simple principles to try and resolve those concerns. We read this a little bit at a time and talked about it:
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
It was beautiful. Very simple. Very clear. I felt the spirit there so pure. It calmed every part of me– like peace flowing slowly. I felt so pure. Iridescent. I can’t even remember what we said except that it came out so… right. We invited him to pray every day and he accepted. “I’ll have to work at this,” he said. We promised him blessings that I can’t even remember. The spirit said them for us. That’s the thing… nothing particularly earth shaking was said, but the spirit was powerful. Tangible. It was testifying.
So much that we extended the baptismal date we prayed about. He of course was shocked and doubtful. But the spirit didn’t leave. “If I know by then, I’ll do it,” he said. And I know if he reads and prays with a sincere heart until then, he’ll know.
We are so privileged to be instruments. I was in awe all the way home. My heart felt so purified and patient and reverent towards what I had witnessed. That was God in there. His power. His spirit. His word. It was beautiful and sacred to me.
The thing is, we could have just said “Oh T-shirt’s nice but he won’t progress. Let’s just let him and his wife take us out for ice cream and we’ll be friends and go there when we need to wind down from the stress of the work.” And we could go and have a nice time and “share a thought” on something vaguely uplifting with no invitation or expectation for him to actually APPLY the healing power of the gospel to his heart through reading and praying and searching for answers on his own. Everyone would have a nice time and no harm would be done. But that’s just not why we’re here. And when we pray and have faith and do everything we can– miracles happen. Miracles beyond nice and friendly experiences. That’s what this is about. Receiving. Applying. Changing. Finding answers for yourself and then acting on them. It is not about complacency or mediocrity or playing it small.
Ahhh! I love missionary stuff!
In other news…I bought a new journ today for $5!
Last thing I wanna say:
Lately I’m having a hard time because I’m realizing that I can’t possibly change as much as I want to in the short time I have left. Habits I wanted to Perfect and knowledge I wanted to Master are turning out to be lifelong processes. This is a huge bummer because I totally wanted to come home from my mission a nearly perfect person. It seemed so do-able! What happened?!
Man I just love what my mission has done for me though. And hopefully for my people. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean it.