Ni hao, family. Como estas? PSYCH! I went English-speaking. Really had you going there, didn't I?
Welp. I'll be brief, because we have some lessons and some finding to attend to tonight, and we're on the tail end of the hour. :/ I'm not panicked about finishing this in time... it's fine.
Things I want to tell you this week:
This weekend, I hit my month mark... Wait. What? Let's all take just a sweet minute to drink that in. The WEIRDEST. Where does time go? I feel like last P-day was yesterday. Bla, bla, bla, more anecdotes about time. But really. Anyway, in kind of the coolest coincidence EVER, Elder Holland is coming to our mission to give a conference on June 15. Yep. This is a real thing. I feel like all of my wildest gospel dreams are coming true. Can't even handle it. You should've seen me when we got the text! I love him. It's going to be a gooood week.
This week has been really crazy. All over the place, heartbreak and happiness, CRAZY. My trainer keeps saying any other trainee would've packed up and headed home after this week.. but I'd just like to point out that I don't know anything different in the mission field. So I'm just rollin' right along thinking this is normal? I don't know. We've had a lot of people drop us out of the blue, get really hostile, or just straight-up not want to keep any commitments, but want to keep meeting. I've been really taken aback at how quickly and deeply I fall in love with these people as we teach. And I mean. I think we can all agree I'm generally friendly, but this is like. I am tripping out on more peace, love and desire to befriend every single person within a 25 mile radius than a drug user at a Pink Floyd laser show. I LOVE these people. I want to know their pains, I want to see them succeed, I want to understand what has stopped them when they don't. I want to listen. I want to hear the words they are not saying. I just love them. So it's really heartbreaking... but then also, so rewarding. It's SUCH a privilege. Missionaries are SO lucky. And it's the weirdest kind of heartbreak because I am also so happy. You just fall in love with these people and want so much for them to do well. So we had one baptismal date this weekend that got postponed, due to some personal safety issues that needed to be sorted out for the individual. Then our baptism for next week just dropped us because she doesn't want to quit coffee or find the time on a weekend. And then a whole ton of my favorite investies were like, "Ehhhh. Better not." And we were like, NO WAIT, YOU BETTER.
It makes me sad for them because I know how much it will bless THEM, but then I think of how few people listened to the Savior in His time on the Earth. I think of the ways He was ridiculed and mocked and cast out and misunderstood. And then I think of the millions seeking Him today. I think of the people all over the world, of different backgrounds and maybe even different beliefs, who rely on Him to make it through each day. There was no immediate evidence of His planting so many seeds. But He went about doing good and giving His all anyway. And so, even when days are rough, when weeks don't turn out, or when months feel like failures... they're NOT. I'm just really grateful I get to be a part of it. To wear a badge and go give it my all, to share the best thing in my life, and yeah. To sometimes give people the power to break my heart as I see them turn away from what will help them most. Not now doesn't mean not ever. And when we are disappointed or when we are told off, I try to remember that in the way we react. I LOVE these people. Things will get even better this week. And this week, in its difficulty, has been SO great.
Tender mercy, though? Our investigator K. More like CAN I TAKE YOU HOME AND ADOPT YOU FOREVS? He's such a cutie. He's a 72-year old Vietnamese man. He wants nothing more than to follow Christ and to trust in God with all his heart. And he tells us. Teaching him the first vision was one of my favorite things of my entire life. He's had a stroke of some kind and has mobility issues and has a hard time speaking, but we understand each other. Honestly, he reminds me of being around Grandpa Heap. When I showed him the picture of the first vision, he took it in his hands like a first-time father would hold a newborn, or someone in poverty would take a million dollars. I can't even describe it. He treasures the truth and recognizes it as such. His whole life, 72 years, he has been prepared for this. He's having a really hard time with the Word of Wisdom aspect, and after we taught, he sat for like 20 minutes in silence. It wasn't weird, but you could just see the struggle. Finally he looked up, emotional, and said, "I want to trust in God, but I don't think I can do this." He drinks coffee every morning, and a little beer to numb the pain. He is in SO much pain. It breaks my heart every time we are over. He lives alone. And he was SO ashamed about not being able to let go of his vices because of the pain. I absolutely love him. He has pictures from China all over his walls, places he wanted to visit. He was so happy when I told him I'd been those places! Just grinnin' down there. He's like three feet tops. Always wears his p-jams as we visit. On good days, he wears jeans and a polo. Also, he had a map of Hainan on his wall randomly. I told him I LOVED that island and spent a week there, that it was how I knew about being able to go on a mission and that it was beautiful. He was SO STOKED. Hahaha. He displays all his pamphlets on his shelves like trophies after we teach.
Aaaaand, I wish I had words for how he looked when we gave him his Vietnamese Book of Mormon. But words only go so far. We came back the next day and he was already well into 2 Nephi without us having committed him. I LOVE HIM.
Here's the thing. We're told often as missionaries that there are people God can reach only through us, that we promised in the pre-earth life to find. And most of the time, it's a tender thought, kind of cliche, but every moment we spend with K, it's a living, breathing, nostalgic reality. In his silence and in his disability, in my weakness and great imperfection, there is sweet understanding that only God brings. I know him, and I knew him, and because God let me find my friend, we will always know each other.
AH WHAT ELSE, I have like five minutes. CRAP.
Sister K. This African lady, less-active, but only because she works to support all her family here and back in Africa. She's black as night with a smile a mile wide. She fed us African food the other night and I died of happiness. So spicy. So good. She told me, "Girl, you gon' come back here and BLOW UP LIKE A HOUSE IF YOU KEEP LETTIN' ME FEED YOUUU." Hahahha. I can't even. So good. I felt prompted to share with her D&C 25, about Emma Smith and the Lord using her talents. And about how the Lord may not need her to make a hymn book, but He needs something she has. Sister Q built on it and we went to D&C 46, and talked about how all of us have talents. The look of surprise on her face was priceless. She just said, "I never knew I had talents. I don't dance, I don't sing. I never knew." Ahhhhh. The LORD KNOWS HER. I love it. Also, she was talking about how hot Mormon women are as we left. And I quote. "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmhmmmmmm, WE DA MORMOMS." Hahaha. Ugh. Yes. Forever and ever yes.
What else? We got talking about Lord of the Rings, making allusions, and then found ourselves craving a marathon. :/ What's the missionary equivalent...? TRACTING EVERY STREET WITH ANY SEMBLANCE OF MIDDLE EARTH. We hit up Rivendell, Lorien, Isengard. Alllaaadat. Pictures to come. :) We found some way cool people.
I gotta go. We're teaching K and getting him a priesthood blessing, because he seriously is in so much pain. Kills me. He's my BFF. I love him with all my heart.
Also you. :) Have the best week. I'll send pictures soon! Thank you for the mail. And the love. And the examples. And everything.