This week. Whaaaat? I can't even handle it. Missionary work is the literal best thing.
My exchange with Minnetonka made me SO happy. I can't even tell you how good it felt to know where I was going, to know how to contact and WHO to contact, to have prayed for a whole transfer about their needs... man. It was the biggest miracle, and it was peppered with little tender mercies in between. Sister H was my companion, and she was Sister Q's other trainee, so we worked together like PB and J! Straight-up magic. We had so much fun. Our first day, we taught eight times our restoration goal for the day. And honestly, numbers aren't important, but helping THAT many more people than we planned?! Nothing better.
Also, our first appointment of the day was with K. :) She'd told him I was coming, and he was so excited. He kept saying how happy he was and kept thanking me for the baptism book I made him that the new sisters dropped by. (Did I email about that? I just had everyone at his baptism write their testimony and took a picture of them with him, wrote out a timeline of his conversion with different dates and pictures... and put it all together the morning of transfers as we were white-washed.) It just brought me incredible peace to see him doing well, and that these new sisters LOVE him. The new sister who just came from the MTC cried when she first met him. :) They are everything to him that I prayed for. They stop by whenever they're in the area and teach him at least once a week. He also drives himself to church every week and attends all activities, without a ride. Oh, it does my heart SO much good. He was seriously glowing. He said every day, he's happier. Also, he was wearing a white button up shirt, halfway unbuttoned. With jeans. Corporate casual. K, look at you GO. He invited me to a Chinese buffet. I had to decline because it was out of our area. Hahaha. He wanted to take us out on the TOWN! There's a special place in heaven for him. He's quite possibly my favorite 72-year-old Vietnamese man in the world. No. Definitely. He's so special. Before your mission, you never picture the way your world can revolve around these random and complete strangers. But man. They get all up in your heart like I can't describe.
Alsoooo, it was my first day biking because President called them mid-month and said he needed to take 100 miles off their budget. I got SUPER sunburned. Made me happy. It's been beautiful outside. The Africans back in our area like to tease us about how brown we're getting. And then they like to hold up their arm next to ours and shame us. And maaaaybe we tried biking to our dinner and realized we were on a no-bike highway. SORRY MOM. It ended up fine. So.
One of my favorite miracles this week was seemingly small, but probably something I will remember the rest of my life. We finished lunch early the first day in Minnetonka and I felt prompted to walk around the corner and take two minutes to print a certain talk. As I pulled it up, another talk came to mind - one I hadn't read for a year, nor that applied to my situation. Still, I followed the prompting and queued them both up to print. I had two dollars, and both were lengthy talks. I inserted the first dollar into the machine, and it accepted. When I went to put in the second, it had a rip and wouldn't work. I had no change on me, and the Spirit kept pressing on me the importance of printing that second talk. I was only supposed to have thirty cents returned, and I needed seventy. I closed my eyes briefly and prayed to understand how to accomplish the prompting, and right then, exactly seventy cents fell out of the machine. Sister H and I both had chills. We kept looking around like we were being punked. The change belonged to no one, and it had been and instant and specific answer to my prayer. I printed the second talk with the exact change I needed and had been given, and we were back on our way.
The next day, in a lesson with another one of my favorite investigators, he brought up a concern that was addressed almost verbatim in the second talk. We had chills again. We both knew what to do, and handed him the talk. He read the first line, and was stilled. It was a small thing with huge consequences, and a testimony to me that the Lord brings to pass miracles in specific and inspired ways in our daily lives. He knows us, and beyond that, He knows how we can help others. He shows us every day, if we'll see, through little things, like 70 cent miracles.
AND, there were about fifty million lemonade stands as we were out and about knocking doors. If you know me, and my chronic lemonadestanditus, you know what a tender mercy that was. Sister H looked at me and said, "You know, I think people forget that side of missionary work. And I think you never will. If Christ were walking this street, He'd take the thirty seconds to make their day. And so would you. Every time." There must've been some ONIONS in the lemonade, cause my eyes were all sorts of watering after that.
I got to see all my favorite families, and we contacted into a lady named I right at 8:50 (we have to be home by 9:00 if we're not teaching a lesson.) She was really tired, and Sister H was just going to give her a Mormon.org card and then all the sudden I was like, "Hey, we'd love to come in and share this message with you." What words are coming out of my mouth? You don't invite yourself in? But she let us in. Cue the most spiritual lesson of my mission. She was bawling from the first prayer and said she'd been praying that very night for help and knew this was it and that it was true. Sister H was SO inspired in that lesson. GUH. Minnetonka is full of magic. :)
There were so many little things SO intensely for those two days, but another moment that was a huge blessing was our visit with Sister S. She's older and less-active, and for some reason, my first week in Minnetonka and as a missionary, I felt prompted that I was just gonna be obsessed with her. That's cool as a missionary. Anyway. Just saw her name on the ward list and made it my goal. She came to church every week of that transfer but one, and we always saw her twice a week! Before that transfer, she hadn't been for five months. It was awesome progression. We went with the elders to give her a blessing before we had to exchange back, and it was powerful. She just cried, and it was so specific to her. I was just so happy to be in her home again. As we left, she came and grabbed both my hands and just looked at my crying and told me I was what brought her back to church, and that no matter what people told me for the next 18 months, to remember she loves me. That she would never forget me as long as she lived. Now, I know with all my heart, I didn't do anything. Her coming back to church had nothing to do with me and had everything to do with her good desires and open heart, and the Spirit. But it was exactly what I needed.
Things in Shingle Creek are awesome as well. I love Africans. I love the tiny, daily opportunities to help someone and to increase their faith. I love being in peoples' homes and understanding how they live and how they know Him - or want to. I love hearing, "Ooooh, honey-girl, you coo'," at the end of teaching evaluations with less-actives. I love every little kid that yanks at my hands as we walk and shows me their braids and their beads for summer. I love my companion and all she is teaching me. She is incredible. And we keep finding families! I love teaching with little kids there. And seeing whole families make changes is so sweet. (Also, eight cuties at church this Sunday! Our investies. All chillin' in their hoodies and jeans. Hahaha. We'll talk dress-code sometime. Soooometime. I personally feel like the Lord was just happy they were there. I know I was!)
Other happy tidbits:
"And thank you that the girl elders could come. And that we're having my favorite pasta. Amen." - The most sincere prayer I've ever heard.
"I know, like a mission is preparing me to be a better mother and all that, but I just feel like it's preparing me to be a serial killer. Like I know how to FIND people and HUNT THEM DOWN." - My hilarious companion.
"Are we gonna pray?"
"Are we gonna cry?" - the best 4-year-old ever.
Annnnd, the Spanish ward in our stake photoshops Jesus into group photos. I'm not even kidding. The cultures and subcultures here make me so happy.
Life is gooooood, and even when it's hard, I feel like the Lord is so much kinder to me than I deserve. :) I am happy.
The Lord is so good to reassure us, through the daily miracles and happenstances, and through other people. I have been really blessed this week and it humbles me like nobody's business. It makes me want to be the kind of person who can bless others like Sister H and Sister S - like the Lord - blessed me. I love this gospel, and I know it's true. Nothing makes me happier.
I love you, and I like you.
Have a good one, eh?!