I feel like I have approximately five minutes. Mostly because I spent all the times emailing Britty. IT'S HER BIRTHDAY THOUGH! Still 19 and lookin' fresh to death. Congrats, cutie pants! :)
This week was suuuuch a good one. I am so in love with this ward and this area. And I have the best companion. I feel like all we do is laugh and eat Wheat Thins. And missionary work. Last week during weekly planning, she just looked up at me after I asked when we should set someone's date for, and she said, "I just wanna let you know... you have like the most beautiful lips of anyone I've ever seen." WHAT. She was so weirded out at herself after and so was I. We were dying. Sensors. Who needs 'em.
Things are still going so good in the area! Miracle M is in the hospital with a super bad cold, so keep her in your prayers. I love that woman. C is still progressing well. She is so overwhelmed. Single mom of four. We spent an hour and half after our lesson Sunday cleaning her house. Cause sometimes, people, it's hard to be spiritually fed when your temporal needs aren't being met. Oh, I love her so much. Pray hard for March 29th. Stinking cigarettes. She's cut back a lot, but it just breaks my heart to see her so bound by something she hates so much. I know Christ can help her to let that go, and I can't wait. It seriously destroys her self-worth. I guess that's one of the most disturbing things I've seen as a missionary - how badly Satan wants to destroy our sense of worth, and how tricky He is about doing it. And I guess that's why I love sharing the gospel all day every day, no matter the reaction. Because I know that for someone who is ready, this is the joy they can lay hold on. Only through repentance and conversion can we gain true peace and true identity. Christ can help anyone get there. He wants EVERYONE to get there. Anything He lays His hands on, lives, and triumphs. I know that.
We went on exchanges with Stillwater sisters this week! Stillwater is the birthplace of Minnesota, and all the buildings are old and painted colorfully and it's right off the river and it's BEAUTIFUL. Best Main street ever. Go take a walk-see on Google Earth. Cutest. In Stillwater I had the best burger I've had since coming to Minnesnowta, enjoyed winds of like 60 mph in subzero weather while contacting on main, had the BEST blackberries I've ever consumed, and saw the most beautiful stars life has offered me. There are so many happy little testimonies of God's love, every minute if we will see them. Also, it was just forest and antiques, far as the eye could see. Prime.
As much as I felt the Savior's love for my Stillwater sisters, I also felt His sadness as I talked with them. They label themselves and doubt themselves and put themselves in these negative boxes. That's not from God. He doesn't want that. He wants His children, His daughters, converted to the gospel and to the Book of Mormon and to daily repentance because He knows that is what will bring joy. He doesn't ask us things to overwhelm us, but to overjoy us. It's absolutely true. And negative or discouraging labels are a rejection of the redeeming power of the Atonement of Christ. We are His divine children.
Hm. Oh. On the exchange, we visited this sweet old couple. Taught the husband, who's holding tight to coffee. Afterward, the wife pulled me aside and said, "You have such a calm presence." I was like... can I get that in writing for my mom...? ;) She said, "There's just something that goes all out and around you, even when you smile. It's very calming. It's very comforting to be around you." I told her that is the Spirit, not me! Gash, she was cute. That was one of those little tender things that makes your mission, you know? I love when people feel His influence and His love! I feel selfish, because every time we go to serve someone, I probably learn more from them and am blessed more than they are... so. Thanks for having me? Everyone here is so great.
REAL QUICK. We had a HOT DISH SOCIAL in my ward. Cause most people aren't from Minnesota, and everyone is hilarious. We all dressed up in our best lumberjack or stereotypical Minnesota gear. One wall was I heart Minnesota because.... with butcher paper, and another was, Best MN quotes. Including, "30 degrees?! This is a heat wave." "Doncha know." "A couple-few." "Crick" (creek) "Rutes" (roots) "Oh ya suuuure" "Uff-dah" and more. The bishopric also had lumberjack olympics, during which they had to saw a log fastest with a handsaw, layer up fastest for a subzero day, and carve an ice sculpture... AND we had awards for the best hot dish. This place is literally my heaven. I CAN WEAR BEANIES WITH SKIRTS AND IT'S FINE. Unreal.
I love you all! Homework assignment. Read, "In the Strength of the Lord" this week. We are giving it to our seesters to help them better understand the enabling power of the Atonement. SO GOOD. :)