FAMILY, FRIENDS, COME ON, come ALL!
Hahaha. No. Like it's SO cold outside. Translation? We get weirder by the MINUTE. Donner Party wasn't even out of food. They were just COLD and looking for some laughs and it got crazy. I'm 86% sure. (Twisting church history? Eh. Sorry.)
Today is TRANSFERS. SPOILER ALERT: I am ghetto-fabulous yet again! Still got a wicked case of the Shingles over here in Brooklyn Center. Hahahaaha. Shingle Creek. So many good jokes. Just still here, being an STL in SHINGLE CREEK. That sounds so much like a disease. Anyway, I get to finish Sister T's training. I'm so happy. :) I've been praying.
This week was one of heavy-lifting, I'll be honest. The Lord is very determined we develop those muscles, and I feel so grateful. This week, Satan has been fighting us hard. Which... we have to take as a compliment, because something great is coming, am I right?! He doesn't bother with sticks-in-the-mud. So. THANKS, Satan. Kindly escort yourself out, now. Sister T and I have had great opportunity to rely on the Lord and feel His love many times this week. I'm happy about it! Missions are hard! Missions are great! Everyone says it because it's TRUE. I guess more than anything this week, I just want to tell everyone ever that I am so absolutely positive that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. He's aware of us in every adversity. He knows the quiet things we carry, and He also knows when we're bent to breaking. And every time, His hand is outstretched to us.
This Monday, we went and stopped by a media referral we've been stalking for a month. She's in a real sketchy part of the area (I mean like, the ghetto of the GHETTO, people.) Her last name is spelled a lot like junk, so I always ask mi companera if she wants to stalk SISTAJUNKKKK. You just have to hear the voice to think it's funny. Anyway. We could have lost faith in this woman in the past month, but because the Lord directed us to keep trying, we were there again. And this time, she answered. And on this night, it was the ten year anniversary of her mother's death, and her stillborn son. And within the first minute of meeting this sixty-year-old woman (who has the most dazzling smoker voice I have EVER had the pleasure of hearing), she was crying in my arms. I kid you not. Solid five minutes just sobbing like she was a baby. And I felt so much gratitude that the Lord let me, an absolute stranger from Utah, represent Jesus Christ for her in that moment. I know that the Savior would take each of us in his arms, and cry with us. And I don't know why or how I got so lucky to be able to do that for my sister.
Allllso, she accepted baptism and also used to do hardcore drugs and also felt comfortable talking to us about STDs and things. And her neighbor, T, who was inebriated and terrifically thuggish and half her age, came into the kitchen and WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A DRUG DEAL BUT IN ALL SERIOUSNESS HE WAS COMING TO TALK WITH HER AND HAVE COOKIES AND I JUST CAN'T EVEN TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE EVERYTHING SHE IS. Keep you posted on that little rogue-cutie.
I exchanged with my Elm Creek sisters this week again, since one just went home. :/ The new sister was Sister M's trainee! She was a lot like her. Super focused, super hard-working. We spent the day in North Minneapolis, and I was so happy. There I was, in a simultaneous winter wonderland/Tupac music video, and the Spirit was as strong as General Conference. And the cold didn't feel cold. And two gangsters in leather jackets got teary-eyed on the street, telling me they were jealous of Joseph's Smith experience because they wanted to know God and Jesus, too. HI. This is my LIFE. :)
Now, the sadder stuff. We were unable to see the C family at all this week - because they've just welcomed little M - who is incidentally the cutest baby in the world. Whenever we dropped by, they were busy or unpleasant. This complete 180 in behavior was so hard to cope with after having seen such strong confirmation of the truth. We've had daily contact, either through our efforts or the ward members. We've extended specific commitments. We've served them. We've done absolutely everything we know how to do, and given our hearts to these people. When we went to our Saturday appointment - which Brother C himself had set up - the family was irritated and told us there wasn't time. That was the appointment we were going to teach word of wisdom and be able to move forward with an official date-set. I had been looking forward to it all week and praying for it about 40 times a day.
I was so discouraged afterward. We had scheduled the next hour that afternoon to print some talks from Mormon.org for a less-active visit that night. As we drove to the library, and the discouragement was just washing over me in waves. I wanted to sit and bawl. Instead, something just rose within me, and all the sudden we were driving to another former investigator - the Hmong referral we told you about two months back. SNAKE MAN. I felt exhausted of Satan taking wonderful people and incredible spiritual experiences and stopping them short. And I think, when I started my mission, I would have gladly taken the mormon.org hour to refuel and cool off. I would've seen it as a tender mercy that we had scheduled it that way. This week, we saw that time window, and the bad setback, and we listened to the Lord's will and worked with a vengeance. We had an incredibly bold, spiritual lesson as we stopped by the former investigator. Inspired questions and concerns were coming out right and left, and afterward, Sister T and I had absolutely no idea what we had said to them. We had an adrenaline rush. We finished the lesson with Sister T singing "I'm a Child of God." Everyone in the room had goosebumps. I am so thankful for my sweet companion, for her faith and her obedience. Her talents touched their hearts.
And the thought came to me, as I looked back on the day, and on the week, Satan might've won an inch, but when we used those feelings of discouragement to go out and serve and love with that much more passion, the Lord helped us take back a mile. I got a blessing earlier this week, and it said that every day, the Lord is happier with my efforts. And every day, Satan gets a little angrier and little more determined to stop us. I know that's true of anyone pursuing a good life. I also know that with Christ's help, we overcome that. All his little tricks and tools, discouragement and pride and confusion - they fall away.
I love the difficulty of a mission. I love the mercy of Heavenly Father who caters these burdens and obstacles to exactly what we need to change, and grow. I feel so much gratitude to my Savior Jesus Christ, and all that He enables us to do. We can't do this work without him. We need our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This work is impossible without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I know they love us. I know this gospel is real. He shows me all the time. Just this Sunday, when none of our investigators would commit to church, four investigators who haven't responded to calls or stop-bys for about a month showed up OF THEIR OWN ACCORD. I was honestly astounded. After church as we ate lunch, we found the following verses in 1 Nephi 21 particularly comforting:
4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
5 And now, saith the Lord—that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him—though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
6 And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a blight to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth.
7 Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful.
8 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee a servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
12 And then, O house of Israel, behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and bbreak forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.
15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have bcompassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
All our efforts, and all our love of the Lord and His will were not in vain. He had not forgotten us. He is pleased with our efforts, and He has shown us that by the encouraging and numerous daily miracles, that let us know that He is in this work. What a sweet show of love that He allows us to participate. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love my companion, for her obedience and love of the Lord. She is so meek! She teaches me so much daily. I am also grateful for the opportunity I have to serve those in my sister group. I exchanged with Sister T this week and marveled at her consecration and appreciation for the Lord's time. I love this mission. Every ridiculous, hilarious, happy, heart-breaking, humbling minute of it. There is nowhere I'd rather be.
In the words of one of my newly favorited hymns, Jesus, my Savior, is truly piloting me. Anything I can do is because of Him. :)
I AM SO HAPPY I GET TO TALK TO YOU NEXT WEEK! See you all in a Minne. Cuuuuuuties.
P.s. A little preview of the coming Christmas card. Love you!!