Monday, March 17, 2014

Feb 17: I Got A FAT DAD

Happy week, everybody! But really, it was. Let's talk about the fact that Sister B and I have been deathly ill, all week, every day. Hi. Like if I was home from my mission, week-long bed-fest. Skipping school. All of that. On the mission? We were up at 6:15 every day and working until 9:00. No excuses. And we were SO blessed. The Lord took our efforts and moved them soooo far beyond what we can do. I'd get sick every week if it meant murrrracles like this.

Also. It's the most beautiful, serene blizzard outside. Good thing we live in the woods. Just call me little Red. 

HHhhhhhupdates/things I want you to know:

I have been a giggly mess all week. I don't know if it's the flu-cold-bubonic-PLAGUE we contracted, but everything everyone has said has been, so funny. We have an Elder from Roosevelt, Utah, who talks like 'Mater on Cars. Every time he talks, I say, "I'm so glad he's real." Direct quote from district meeting this week: "Many times, life isn't peaches n' cream, it's apricots n' skim milk." He has a heart of actual gold. Also, he played the guitar in one of our appointments this week with a song he wrote, "haulin' hay." It was quite literally beautiful, and all about the ministry of Jesus Christ. The Spirit was incredible. To quote how he wrote it when we are not allowed to have instruments in our apartments, "They'c'n take the gee-tar out of mah hands, but they cayan't get the tune out of mah heyead." He'll definitely be an apostle. 

SO. Sister C is being baptized, Saturday at 10 a.m. TEN A.M., SANTA'S COMIN' TO TOWN. But, really. Although I haven't witnessed the majority of her conversion process, I have seen remarkable growth in her in only a week. Personal prayer has continued to solidify these truths, moving her from home, to belief, to real surety. It's a beautiful thing to witness. She is so zen, it's insane. Soooo. Happy Saturday. See you in white, Sister C!

I mentioned C last week. She's our sweet single mom that came to church last week, by herself, with FOUR KIDS. By herself, though. WHAT. Anyway. I'm pretty solidly in love with her. She is GETTIN' baptized. She's this tiny little African American woman, looks like a top model, and has the most beautiful, bright smile. Also, she's always scratchin' her WEAVE and it moves like eight inches around her head and the first time, our joint-teacher was like, "WHAT." Hahaha. I am so well-versed in weaves and corn-rows and wigs and caps and du-rags and all of that, it's not even funny. When I get back, I'mma open a barber shop. I'll be so skilled people will definitely question how I spent these 18 months. It's fine. Anyway. I love her smile. It just lights up her face. Her second oldest, nicknamed Peanut, has behavioral problems and he is just a HOT HANDFUL OF WHAT. But I love him. All of her kids, really. Her daughter S is eight, and wants to be baptized as well. She draws us 7-17 pictures every time we come. They contain beautiful colors and happy words, such as, "I love going to the church!" "I love Jesus Christ!" and "You guys glow! You sparkle!" Hahaha. Oh my. 

And then there's her daughter, M. She's tiny, and she's the only one who has a different dad. Constance was telling us that, and M interrupts the story and says, in her tiny Thumbelina voice, "Yea'. I got a FAT DAD." And starts to pout-face and almost real-cry. Hahahaha. We asked her after one lesson, "Do you know you're a child of God?" "Yeah." "Well, how do you know?" She shrugs. "He tol' me." Stoooop it. Sweetest.

And then she has a baby J, who is 6 months. He is adorable. I just love seeing the changes she's making. She's keeping a study journal, of her OWN ACCORD, and writing down everything we teach. Even in lessons. She's juggling four crazy children, and still scribbling notes with the one hand. I think she is the most beautiful, capable person ever. I am so excited for her. I was so moved as she shared with us the times she's felt closest to Christ, and shared how seriously wild her life has been. Abuse, neglect, near-murder. We are so blessed, and we don't even realize it. We saw her three times this past week, and in the first lesson, after we taught the Word of Wisdom and repentance, she said, "I just don't know if I can believe that. If I can believe that I can change." We promised that she could, and took her cigarettes. THAT'S RIGHT. Happy Valentines, to us! I had them in my purse all afternoon and was juuuuust terrified that they'd fall out in lessons. :/ Hahahaha. I was pretty gleeful about the snatch. I'll include a picture. I kept sliding around our kitchen in my wool socks saying, "BLESSINGS." 

(Except, I made the mistake of committing with her for solidarity and now we can't eat sweets. WHOOPS.)

We came back, and she hasn't been able to quit yet, but she has cut back significantly. That is amazing, since she's been smoking since being about 8 or 9. She was a little discouraged, and so we asked her again, "Do you believe that you can change?" And she said, "No. I don't know if I can believe that." We asked, "How did you feel when you prayed?" She was quiet for a moment, just chewing on her lip and staring at her hands. Then she looked up, her eyes brighter. "Like I could do it. Like He could help me." 

And he CAN! I have such a testimony of the Savior's grace. We saw that time and time again this week, light-headed, near-throw-up, coughing up our lungs, etc. We gave all we could and He just worked alongside us until we couldn't any more, and then he stepped in and we went the whole way. I know that He will do that for her. I know that Christ is willing, eager, and able to do that for all of us. I testify that His grace is sufficient. That as all of us do our level best, as we show our gratitude by trying, and when we slip up, trying again, we show Him our love. He doesn't expect us to play the masterpiece of life perfectly the first time we sit down at the piano. Or the second. Or the third. Or the three-hundredth. He just expects us to keep, striving. To keep practicing. So she recommitted. She's getting a blessing Wednesday and we expect miracles! Also, our next step was Law of Chastity, and she just casually busts out in our lesson that her and her boyfriend broke up after our Word of Wisdom lesson. Nephi was sooo right in 1 Nephi 3:7. God doesn't give any commandments without first providing a way for us to obey them. I LOVE seeing people catch a little vision of what they can become through Christ. It's the best thing.

Also, we went on exchange to Wisconnnnsin this weekend to work with our sisters in Eau Claire. Roadtrip! Sister B and I were prrrrretty hilarious in all our head cold stupor for that hour and half, juuust driving in the snow. Hitting allll the bass parts with Vocal Point. :/ I've sounded like an elder on the phone allll week. Good old Wisconsin. We slept on the floor, and I had the best bleu cheese of my life. But also. I got to work with Sister B, and it felt like such a testimony of God's love and knowledge that I got to spend my halfway mark with the girl who made me feel safe even before we started it all. We laughed over pizza in some hole-in-the-wall restaurant (where a man kept grabbing his wife's bum and I literally thought they were going to have to scrape me off the ceiling. I jumped so hard. PHYSICAL CONTACT. They were a solid 10 feet away and I still wanted to Spiderman it up onto the CEILING to avoid seeing it. So, yeah. I'm still pretty normal, guys. Thanks.) and just reflected on how cluuuuueless we were, meeting up to go through the temple, going to each other's farewells, loving the MTC. It feels sooo long ago and also like yesterday. I could go on, but I'll spare you all the weird missionary time-warp-y rambles. Just. This time has been so precious. It continues to be even more so. And I know that God has given me every inch of it because He loves me. I'm grateful that my mission is different than Sister B's mission and vice versa. I'm grateful each of our lives are different, and catered to our needs. I'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who prepares our hearts, opens our minds, asks for all of us, and through Christ, carries us further than we can imagine. I love the gospel, and I love this week.

P.s. Our investigator J is literally Ron Swanson and he came to President's fireside last night, which is about 40 minutes away, and the whole time he talked about how much he hates taxes and how he just wants to work in his private junkyard and hunt things and also told a wild story about pyrotechnics and shooting puppies to put them out of their misery and I was sooooo giggly the whole time. I FOUND HIM. J Swanson. We're going over on Thursday to work in his junkyard and groom his horses for service. I promise you he's made the statement, "I like fishing. It relaxes me. It's like yoga, but I still get to kill something" at least two to four times throughout his life, without EVER having seen Parks and Rec. Keep him and Constance in your prayers!

Wowwwww, I had way more miracles I wanted to say. We almost tripled our member presents this week! Go Cottage Grove ward! Yeeee-hoooo! Okay. My head is still foggy. Enjoy pictures of Eau Claire's main street and the blizzard outside my window at this very moment. :) I LOVE YOU! 

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