We’ve been quarantined a lot this week. We’ve tried to go out as much as we can, but it only seems to be an hour or two at a time. It didn’t help that I woke up sick on Easter Sunday morning too…this weather is killing me when it drops thirty degrees overnight! Hence, this e-mail will probably be more what I learned than actually what I did. I hope it’s usually like that, but in any case…bear with me.
Sister Johnson and I have continued to talk a lot about our futures, and how our missions will shape the person we were meant to be. I know she was meant to be my companion, not just because she’s teaching me how to really love a person, but because she’s also teaching me more than I could ever teach myself about my own potential. She told me it’s not normal for a human being to be this optimistic, at such a constant rate. We’ve been trying to diagnose why my brain works like that, and what I can do to magnify the reason for it. After her help, I’m slowly starting to realize that’s...weird? Anyway, I want to share some of my journal entry on a day that we couldn’t work at all. Usually, that situation would make me really anxious to just go out and do the work, but somehow, that day…it just made me…well, you can read it:
“I opened my mission call a year ago today. It’s incredible how fast time flies… but I just have to express how much hope I have in my life right now. I think today might top it all, just because everything is continually getting so much better. Nothing special–in fact we’re quarantined right now because Sister Johnson is really sick. But I’ve just been studying and pondering about my family and my future. I am just so extremely HAPPY…I have absolutely no limit on anything I want to do–and to say that as a 22-year-old is mind blowing. My future looks better than I can even picture it, and God is always giving me more than I ask for. I think it’s because I’m finally realizing it’s not about me. Anyway, it’s just lovely to be SERVING A MISSION! I can’t believe I’m a missionary!”
I really want to reiterate the fact that it’s not about me. The more I read my Patriarchal Blessing, the more I realize that I am a vessel only to be used for the Lord. It’s great to see how obedience and dedication play a part in me thinking that. I feel like I’ve been trying to be obedient for so long previous to my mission, and all I experienced was failure. I always ended up doing my “back-up plan.” I still was happy, but I always felt like my first choice was never what God wanted for me. But now, It’s taken me this long to fail over and over again to actually comprehend that it was all for something, and something much much better. I’m finally seeing my rewards of obedience to our Father in Heaven, by just letting it all go and asking Him to make me want what He wants for me. It really works. My first choice is finally His, and I intend on keeping it that way.
In other news, we could go to the local nursing home to visit Anne’s mother, who is undoubtedly stuck in there for the rest of her life. She grew up a strong baptist, and is very close to Jesus Christ. It’s fun to periodically read to her poems from her mother’s journal, and talk to her about her husband who passed away a short time ago. Sometimes, we can even get in excerpts from the Book of Mormon. She continually seems to be surprised that Christ did come to the Americas, and that He said the same thing to the Nephites as He did to His disciples in Jerusalem. All she can say is, “Well that just makes sense. It just makes sense.” She’s not at all looking to convert, neither can she at this point with her physical health, but the simple fact that she is accepting our message and loving us makes me feel like we’re doing something right. This week, as we were walking out, we smiled at another old woman who could barely even move her mouth. Before we walked on by, she blurted out, “I just want to go home.” Both mine and Sister Johnson’s heart tore right in pieces. We turned around and just clung to her. We started talking to her, and asked if she had any family close around–she didn’t. Then we explained to her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her countenance did change, so we offered to come back and teach her more, but she didn’t want it surprisingly. I hope people know, especially at that age and situation, that there really is something more than sitting in a nursing home until they have to pull the plug. Like I said, it breaks my heart, but what puts the pieces back together is the knowledge of the Atonement and how we can use it.
On Saturday, we also went to the Bishop’s Storehouse in Canandaigua to help fill orders. It was extremely humbling to see how much time and effort the Church puts into the physical well-being of their members. We truly have everything taken care of…if we just come to church! Later that day, we got to go to a baptism of a 9-year old girl that Sister Johnson taught in Irondequoit. It was a beautiful service, and we got to sing “He Sent His Son.” It was very simple, and a good reminder that we are doing the Lord’s work.
I hope you all take time to find reasons throughout your day that your life really isn’t about you. It is all about other people. The more we can comprehend that, the better our life will turn out, and the happier we will be. So…