Monday, September 30, 2013

August 19: A Year To The Day

In two days, it's a year to the day that I moved to China. I've been reading over my journal entries from last August this week. It all feels so surreal, you know? Like it's this huge chunk of my time and of me, so filled with moments and colors and magic, that it just bleeds into everything else that I am or hope to be. It feels simultaneously like yesterday and like it never happened. And in two days, that day in the airport, in my glasses and my green shirt, that sleepy stumble up a dark Beijing alleyway was a YEAR ago.

And now I'm here.

Packing my plans away and embarking on the trip the Lord has in mind, lugging along an over-large, under-packed suitcase into the unknown seems to be a pattern this past year.

I think I love it. :)

Welp, today is transfer calls. And we have been informed that this week, I will both finish my training, and START someone else's. I'M TRAINING SOMEONE HELP I CAN'T BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE. I have no idea how to teach someone how to be a missionary! My gash. Also, I'm taking over the area from Sister M. No big deal, she's just been here a year and OPENED the area in the first place. I'm not intimidated. It's fine. But really, it will be. If there is one thing I have learned this transfer, it is that our inadequacies don't need to make us fearful. They just need to make us faithful, and it will all work out. I can't teach someone how to be a missionary, I can't take over an area and run it, I can't even teach an inspired restoration lesson. But the Lord can. Every last time. BOOM. Thank goodness, right?! 

This week has been both amazing and super hilarious. I feel like Sister M and I got things figured out just in time to switch. Hahaha. UGH. That's how it goes, I guess. Seriously, this week has been unreal. In e'rry sense of the word.


-Got stuck in a lesson that became two hours and every time we tried to walk away, end it, or comment on anything, the guy just started following us, talking super close to us, talking about the heavens and prayers and electricity and things that made no sense while also offering cookies and I just can't even make this have proper grammar because what EVEN JUST HAPPENED I CAN'T. Hahahah, you can bet your sweet bippy that I muttered the words, "I'M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION" to my companion in the lesson while we couldn't get a word in edgewise. Hahaha. Afterwards, we tried to figure out how to describe it. The best was when I started twirling and saying, "I'M A WHIRLWIND OF FRUSTRATION AND FEELINGS." Yeah, so... anyways, things are going great. :/

-Sat down to teach a Liberian man, and it was the most tense atmosphere in the world. He invited us in, got us food and water, said the opening prayer. His wife was on the couch and she was TICKED. She was also preggers, so I was like, eh. I'd be ticked too, no big deal. Nope, it was a big deal. I was like, "Oh, when are you due?" And she was like, "Any time." I thought she meant any day, but then as the lesson went on, her husband casually tells us she's been having contractions for two days and they're waiting on the nurse to call.

.....Ummmmmmmmmmm....!!! I'm SORRY, don't invite us in when your wife is in LABOR. I feel like these are just common things people should know. Sweet mercy, sir! We just grabbed our scriptures and were like, "We'll stop by another time." I don't know NOTHIN' 'bout birthin' no babies. Not about to tackle that one just yet. 

The Twins game was awesome! Minneapolis is incredible. The Twins lost by one in the last inning, after leading the whole game. I love being at the baseball field. Something I come by honestly, I guess. Plus, we stopped at this suuuper legit brick, hole-in-the-wall/sky loft/rustic dreamland of a burger place. Malts, shakes, burgers, sandwiches. It was divine. It's called Annie's Parlour, and I cannot wait to go back there someday with dad. For real. We will gorge ourselves. 

And my birthday was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who sent me so much love! Seriously, I got spoiled. Homemade granola, GPS, knitted booties with POM POMS, gummy worms, new clothes, new journal, cards, Ryan Gosling journal with Mormon Hey-girl sayings... seriously. I could go on. It made me so happy. I love you all!!! :) Every birthday should be a mission birthday. 

As we worked on Saturday, and I thought of the contrast between this year and last - spending the day at home with my family before moving to China - versus a day of every appointment falling through, walking until my feet were sore and my blisters rubbed raw, trying to talk to everyone and only to teach two people. It could've have been one of the most discouraging days of my mission, but I just felt so grateful to be here. 

Also, we had Subway for lunch, courtesy of Grandma and her cute giftcard. I got an African cooking lesson from a Kenyan family we teach, during which we swapped the principles of the Plan of Salvation for advice on which mountains to climb when in Kenya. (Toto may or may not have been playing in my head.) We also had dinner at an Asian buffet with a less-active lady we're working with. ASIA! All the workers were from China and I loved talking to them. Cuties. :) It was a good day. You people are wonderful.

I think the real reason this week was so good, despite being a lot harder and more discouraging than other weeks was because of mom's email this past Monday, telling me that Uncle Wallace had passed away. It's all been pretty sudden, and I sat at the computer in the library and just cried to myself. I love and admire that man so deeply.

Right after, we had a meeting with a member to talk about fellowshipping the family we are teaching into the ward. Instead of talking about the investigators, she talked about her own family. Her daughter-in-law's sister committed suicide a few weeks ago. It was an enormous tragedy and has required this sister to do so much. We of course understood, and listened as she tenderly testified of the comfort of the Plan of Salvation has brought her - through the suicide and through her husbands passing a year or so back. I cried with her, because although neither she or Sister M knew, she was saying everything I needed to hear. When I asked her what we could do, she said, "Find people and share this. It is SO important what you teach. People are going through these things, and they don't know. It's so important what you're teaching."

The Spirit was extremely powerful and I felt our purpose SO strongly. All week, I felt like the best tribute I could give to this John Wayne, cowboy-esque disciple of an uncle, and to this sister and her family, was to labor with all my might. We didn't teach as many lessons as we usually do, but we taught to peoples' needs so much more and the experience of farewelling Uncle Wallace gave me strength and was something I felt prompted to share a few times this week as we taught the Plan of Salvation. He truly remembered that he bore Christ's name and everything he did was a teaching of that principle. I am extremely lucky to be a missionary, a member, and his great-niece. 

I am so thankful for the plan Heavenly Father has for each of us and for our families. I love it. I love our family and I love my friends, who feel like family. I am so happy to be a missionary. As we have taught this family, D and S, I have been so humbled by my good parents, who disciplined me and kept me out of trouble, who raised me in truth and love. 

I LOVE YOU and I like you.

P.s. This choice quote from a sir we taught this week. I was laughing so hard. His girlfriend just broke up with him:

"She a psychology major, and I think she messin' wit my MIND. I'on't even got a Associates, she can't DO me like that!"

He then proceeded to read me all their texts and ask us to pray with him. Hahaha. It's cool. I love missionary work. :) Have the best week!!

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