Everyone really needs to try the whole “having a birthday on a mission” thing. Especially serving in this mission–I’m a fan. Why this mission, you ask?
District Meetings are usually on Thursdays, and my birthday just happened to fall on that day this year. We decided to have our “meeting” that day at the Palmyra temple, and then, one of the elders had the genius idea to go across the street into the Sacred Grove right after. I really don’t know how anyone could get a better birthday than that, with so many people I love surrounding me. That seems to always happen on my birthday, being surrounded by people I love, but this year–it was different. I had people around me who worked hard to love God more than they loved me or anyone else…and that’s what made the change. As you can imagine, I got some personal one-on-one time with my Father in the Celestial room that day. I had some pretty incredible realizations about what I’m doing here, and what else I need to do before my time is up in Rochester. You know, when you ask, and seriously want an answer…He will answer you. You just have to “go to a mountain,” just like Nephi and other prophets have done, and just ask. Whether that mountain be in your closet or your kitchen, just try it. I promise that His will in fact will be revealed to you eventually if you are on His side and listening. That mountain you’ve worked really hard to get on will, in turn, help you realize what you need to be doing. It will tweek your life just a bit to be perfectly aligned with God’s Plan.
Anyway, I also attached a picture of me and my lovely birthday cake at our lunch at Sister Trimm’s right after; she knows how to make some pretty great Mexican food! She threw a great party for me…even though it was totally not necessary. All I wanted to do was to be with everyone! It doesn’t stop there–that night, we had a “Mormon Mythbusters” presentation at the SUNY at Brockport with the Elders. It went really well, considering we had a bunch of college students asking us every question in the book. We did, at first, present the basic overview of our beliefs, and then like I said, had a great question and answer session. The whole goal of the night was to get them to think Mormon missionaries aren’t weird, and I think we did a pretty good job getting the point across.
Before I get into the rest of my e-mail, CONGRATS TO SISTER HAWKES THE SECOND! My sister, Nicole, got her mission call to the Washington D.C. South mission, leaving June 26th. Since my mission president is the man, he let me call in to hear her open the letter. I can’t believe how huge of a moment that was for my family. I’ll serve with her for four months, until I return home. She’ll carry the mantle for us until Sarah gets her call!
In other news, Sister Johnson has really been sick. Like I told you before, she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and we’re working on repairing all the damage done now from the gluten she ate–before we found out. It will take awhile, which means we won’t be able to eat at member’s homes until she’s back on her feet. It’s okay though, because we are still eating super darn healthy! The members of our ward have been incredible in supporting us, while we can’t really do our job to support them right now. It’s incredible how the gospel goes both ways. I’m extremely impressed at how the members respond in helping anyone in crisis–even if they don’t know her too well right now.
One thing we have gotten to do this week was to help Crystal get ready for her upcoming cleaning checks in her apartment. (Remember her–the one I gave a makeover to in my first week here in Brockport?) She’s been coming to church each week since then, and her testimony has been multiplied by infinity. We’ve gone over almost every week for a couple hours to pick up things that she really can’t, and to get in those little corners that no one wants to do. After our last cleaning escapade at her house, she conversed with our Heavenly Father in a prayer that I’ve never heard said so realistically before. To Him, she said, “I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church…because of what these girls are doing to my home. They are actually doing something, instead of just telling other people what they want to hear.” That’s a huge thing we do as missionaries–simply just serving people. We don’t care if they are members or non-members…all we care about is inviting other people to come closer to Jesus Christ. All we do to accomplish that is do exactly what He would do at every step of the way.
The last random thing: we re-strung the mission violin, and I had an incredible time playing around on it last night! I am absolutely in shock at how quickly songs and fingerings came back to me. Hopefully I’ll get to perform something soon. I really want to do “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” in our May Zone Conference…in the Grove. (Yeah…I know!) I think the Zone Leaders might be sick of me performing, but we’ll see if I can talk them into it.
Thanks to each and every one of you for your support. Even just reading this e-mail helps me, because it (hopefully) helps you to get closer to Christ. That’s the goal! Think of something you can do each day to further your belief and someone else’s belief in Him. I promise it will give you more strength to go throughout each day. Look for them, and He will help you see them. I love you all, and have a great week!
Birthday cake done by Sister Trimm!
My trainer, Sister Correia, celebrated my birthday for me in Hawaii!
And the front view…
On our way to Palmyra.