The sites here in Palmyra/Fayette are getting busier and busier.
Which means, we get to play the “do you know…?” game even more! I’ve met a lot of people who know family, friends, MTC buddies, and of course past missionaries…it’s been great. It feels good to have a connection again with people before we hit them with the Spirit while teaching at the sites.
This week, we gathered a few new investigators to our teaching pool. Jessica, a wife and mother of three from Puerto Rico has been attending church every Sunday of her life. She feels peace. She feels like she’s doing the right thing. But, she felt like there was something even more out there. She ended up on mormon.org to chat with the missionaries online there (which happens to be the sister missionaries here at the Visitors’ Centers) and she requested missionaries to come to her house to teach her more. Well, within 24 hours, we were contacted her, but she was running out the door, so she told us to come back Thursday at noon. Naturally, at 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, we knocked on her door and she invited us right in. “Oh, girls, I have so much to tell you,” she said. Of course we quickly sat down and listened intently. (I was smiling so big that my cheeks hurt just 5 minutes into the conversation.) She started to tell us that her close friends and family thought she was crazy for believing in Christ so much, and for being positive and enthusiastic about everything. Regardless of what they tell her, she still feels peace and happiness, and knows God has a bigger reason for her to be here. She knows her education from on high should not just be once a week, but should be daily, straight from Christ Himself. Yes, she did use the words, “I know God has a purpose for me.” I just wanted to hug her and cry…and tell the camera crews from The District that they needed to be there ASAP. The Spirit helped Hermana Steel and I teach the most perfect Restoration lesson which began with tears during the First Vision, and ended with her baptismal date. However, she told us she needed to learn a lot more before she made that commitment–which is every missionary’s dream comment from an investigator of the Church. We finished up the lesson with the promises God has for each of His children that follow Him, a prayer, and her own personal copy of el Libro de Mormon. Hermana Steel and I sat in the car for a few seconds, still beaming, then knew we needed to offer a prayer of gratitude. If my whole 18 months was to come to Jessica to teach her that one lesson, I would have still done it. Not even a question.
I wish I could tell you more stories of what happened this week. One included a less-active member who (after laying down the law of the Word of Wisdom) looked at me and said, “You’re never going to give up on me, are you?” Or even the man who has been Catholic for 84 years, prays everyday to God the Father, but never realized God was his Father. His specific question this week is if Hermana Steel and I are true messengers from our Savior. We told him that if we aren’t, you never have to see us again. But if we are…oh the happiness we could bring to your life.
The focus of my studies lately have been why missions have to be hard. Can’t they be fun all the time? Granted, I still find every way possible to have a blast–because hello people, this is fun! The only obligation I have right now, is to preach the gospel! However, have you ever thought that things can be hard and fun? Basketball taught me that lesson very clearly my freshman and sophomore years, and now a mission is teaching me even more of it. A mission is hard, because it’s what you don’t expect. If you expect it, it’s going to be easy. So–expect the unexpectable! The Lord teaches you what you need. Quoting Elder Holland who “quoted” Jesus Christ in his October 2012 conference talk, “What I need, Peter, are disciples…and I need them forever.” He will convert you to what He needs at His own rate. At BYU, in the MTC, and when I got out of the MTC, I was sprinting at full speed. When I got to the field, even with the Pageant, the sites, and our areas to balance, I felt as if I had been dropped on a treadmill going two times slower. My “hard” time, was and still is learning how to slow down, but to still accomplish the same amount of work. No one is going to listen to you if you live your life like the energizer bunny. However, the goal is to energize everyone around you with that same type of energy. I know my dad is laughing right now, but, “whatever, Dad.”
Zone Conference tomorrow is in the Sacred Grove, and unfortunately I couldn’t find a working violin fast enough to play it–so a piano arrangement of “Abide With Me, Tis Eventide,” will have to do. I’m so lucky. I’m so happy. We are working so hard, but there is still always more room for improvement. I told Hermana Steel this morning, “Every day I’m out in the mission field, I feel more and more inadequate for the work.” I’m guessing that’s a good thing. Thanks so much for your prayers, and even just putting up with reading my e-mails! I love you all, thank you!