Herrrroooo! Happy day of transfer-calls, eh? The verdict is: Shingle Creek for life, baby. I'm training a brand new missionary on Wednesday. Sister C is off to open an area on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I have full confidence in her and I am so excited to see how she grows. I will miss her dearly. She's my longest companion in the field! WEeeeeeird. She's a good one, that kid. :)
So this week, Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy came and visited our mission. I absolutely loved him. He is from Brazil, and has the most quality accent you ever heard. He was quick to laugh and quicker to cry, and testified deeply without ever taking himself too seriously. He is exactly the kind of disciple of Christ I hope to be someday. He... may or may not have interrupted a role-play that was going badly by putting his hands out in front of him like a zombie and saying, "Oooooooh, it's the Holy Ghost coming." We were all like... Can he DO that? Oh, he DID. It was prime. First of all, Elder Godoy has extra love for sister missionaries because he was found and taught by two back in the day. Therefore, the conference was peppered by comments about how the Lord notes the sacrifice of sisters coming, and how we should know it's not because we don't have anything going for us - marriage, school, etc., but because the Lord needs angels to do his work. PREACH. Hahaha. We loved it.
One thing Elder Godoy really hit on was the importance of our relationship with our mission president and his wife. He talked about being foreordained for this mission at this time so we could learn from their examples and attributes specifically. He said it's a huge part of why missionaries are called where they are. I loved that perspective so much! I love my mission president and mission mama. I guess if I want to emulate their examples, I'll have to start spinning out a lot of WHB clarifications and ban music with beats. But really. They are both wonderful examples to me. I am so, so lucky to be in this mission. Also, we had an hour leadership-guy-thing-meeting after the conference with him. General Authority in the FLESH. I always feel lost in those meetings. Like... will the real sister training leader PLEASE step forward? Everyone's bustin' out inspirations and I'm just back there like.... "Yeah, so I think it'd be a good thing to start with the restoration when we teach people. Have you guys read the Book of Mormon? It's GREAT." Hahaha. But anyway. He was doing this crazy object lesson about a man on a dam, seeing the waters rise and the rains come down, and looking down with anxiety on the city below. He asked what we could do. I feel like this is a good time to mention that he full-bodied EVERYTHING. Like lunged at the pulpit, arms flailing at all times, wild voices. South Americans are FUN, Mom. Anyway, everyone was throwing out these wild and creative solutions, and I just kind of raised my hand from the back and shrugged. "Why don't we just pray for it to stop raining?" He LOVED it. He like lunge/leapt/levitated and was like, "CHYES! CHEEEYESSSS! This is the faith this mission is lacking!!!!" Pretty sure I ruined the object lesson, but I loved what he said after - about how we have all this unseen help - families, and angels, and our Savior Jesus Christ, and every day, we just take it for granted and play victim to our circumstances. We need to be praying constantly, and including him in our every-day crises. Even when God can't change the circumstances, He can change us. I know that's true. I love it. :)
T continues to progress like a champ towards baptism. To be honest, I have had hesitations about her progression, since she is VERY much a sassy 14-year-old girl, and one with specific and special challenges for someone of any age. However, this week, she progressed MILES. It warmed my heart like nobody's business. The Young Women joint-teaching with us kept remarking that they couldn't believe her understanding of doctrine and how much it had grown. She LOVED the investigator fireside President set up with Elder Godoy and took frantic notes, which she then showed us later. They were tremendous, and reflected great understanding and growth. Also, she wrote our names in hearts and said, "My guides." Let's throw down here. Let's be straight up. As we have met with T, I have been unsure about why we feel so specifically prompted to continue. It has been rocky, to say the least. I always wonder if she is ready, or if we should wait. I just want to do right by her, and the Lord. I'm certainly not here to force anyone to be on a specific timeline. Then it becomes way more about me than them, and that's 89564% not cool.
Then, in meeting with Elder Godoy this week for mission conference, I recognized that my faith is lacking. Something he said really stuck out to me. He said, "Sometimes they don't looks like church material. But there is a spirit in there - there is someone inside there, even if they don't mentally or emotionally know - that is CRYING out. Help me here. Find me here." He started to cry, and told us about his attitude and appearance as he took the discussions at 15. He said, "You're not just wasting your time. You're finding a CARLOS." (read all of this in an accent; it's infinitely more endearing, I promise.) It was extremely humbling and I felt the Lord's love as He.. kiiiiiiind of chastened me. This girl has so many struggles. Who am I to deny her the gift that will help her most of all as she fights through them, based on my doubts? When we met with T this weekend after Stake Conference, she was glowing with the light of Christ, eager to show us more entries in her study journal about the changes she felt taking place. She is on top of personal progress, dressing modestly, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to love her and learn with her. I am also grateful for the Lord's loving guidance as He directs me towards the ways I can change and improve. President Clements suggested writing miracles and praying with gratitude right after, every. single. night. I've written in my journal every night since the conference, counting miracles and expressing gratitude in my prayers. I have seen a mighty change in only a few days. I love my Heavenly Father SO much! Every day is a good day on a mission.
A miracle this week was in referral from the Hmong elders. Hmmmmoooooooong MONEY. The elders had just gotten to the area Tuesday night, and found it too dark to creep out Hmong homes. They went to knocking-town anyway, and met a man - H - who is Vietnamese and Buddhist. He was rude at first, but let them in and began to cry as they shared the restoration. He kept saying that was what he needed. We were able to do a pass-off lesson with the elders the next day. I was so impressed with their level of love and focus for the investigator as we taught. To be honest, it was super weird, because pre-mish, Elder H and I knew each other from high school and promised to throw each other any solid referrals - Hmong and English. Looking back on that as we sat in someone's home, listening to his inspired dreams and experiences with God, I thought about how not-real life off the mission is. You get so caught up in the things that truly, do not matter. And I used to refer to off-mission life as real life, but now I stand with Elder Holland in feeling like... this is as real as it gets. That hiding behind monitors, dreaming about the good you can do, checking social media, being attached to TV series... That's the actual weirdest, in the grand scheme of things. Why are we doin' that when we're surrounded by our brothers and sisters who need our help? That's not real living of this life. And standing there in H's driveway, listening to Elder H now, going on and on about this man with his eyes all bright, I just felt like. Yep. This is real life. This, is how it's done.
ANYWAY.. H is truly golden. He learned about God in jail as he read the Bible. His fiance has stomach cancer and is currently undergoing radiation. It's extremely serious and the timing of this message into their lives is perfect. We met with them every day from then on, sharing the message and discussing with H and their family. He was so eager, asking to be baptized in five minutes. He had prayed after the visit with the elders and had had a dream, about a door with bright light behind it. He had it three times in the same night. No matter how many times he tried, he couldn't open the door. But then he said, "I couldn't open the door. Yet." Ahhhhh!!!! YET is right, sir. We invited them to attend the baptism of R, the Medicine Lake elders' investigator. H was so excited he was up at five! They fetching loved it. Vietnamese people and me... who knew? We had a lesson after in our ward mission leader's home. It was so wonderful. So... keep you posted. Asians are my favorite. XIE XIE FOR THAT. Just kidding. That's Mandarin. Vietnamese. Can't. (Mandarin, though? Also can't.)
FINISH WITH FUNNY:
We were in the middle of this lesson with H... spiritual climax. Reading Alma 7. Atonement. Spirit is HOT. Spirit is BUMPIN'. Then.... we hear this CRY and look over and his ILLEGALLY OWNED PYTHON IN THE TANK NEXT TO ME AS I TAUGHT IS STRANGLING A LIVE RAT. We just... watched it open-mouthed. At the end of our leadership session with Elder Godoy, he asked if there were any questions we'd always wanted to ask a General Authority. If I could go back... that'd be one. "So... say you're in a lesson and a 9-foot-snake STRANGLES THE SPIRIT RIGHT OUT OF THERE. Do you acknowledge it? Make a joke? Keep teaching? Keep me posted."
Also, I tripped up the stairs so hard before a lesson this week, and then to cover, asked to go the bathroom once we arrived to make sure I didn't pee my pants from repressed laughter. Spoiler alert? There was a comb in there, and on a whim, I parted my hair on the opposite side, and came out like it was normal with the creepiest smile on my face. My companion noticed and tried not to laugh. Then she used the bathroom, and came out with HER hair parted on the wrong side. Great lesson, also. :) But anyway. We are suuuuuper weird. I am going to miss this duffer. I am so excited to see what she does, and sooooooo beyond grateful for the time I have had with Sister C.
Have a happy week!!! I love you, and I like you.