Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Can I Get an Amen?!

The prospect of working out gets me out of bed in the morning……..yea I’m a freak. 

SO….Wednesday morning, I pull my companion out of bed, grab my Saucony’s, and head out the door, convincing Sister Bishop that this workout is going to be e.p.i.c.

Not 10 minutes out, we’re blazing down an oak-lined street, and I’m happily jabbing away while Sis Bishop is still trying to wake up…..when I feel “drops” coming down from the tree we’re under.

I look down at my shirt and IMMIEDATELY…...... start KRUMPING.


And it’s not just on my shirt. It’s on my shirt…..AND my pants…..AND my head (!!!!!). What on earth is that bird doing up there?!? 

One thing’s for sure…..we never got home faster than we did that morning. And after a thorough shower……I ate eggs for breakfast to show that peep what I’m capable of;) hahaha!

That same morning, we head out to district meeting and the sky was SO close with tons of huge gray clouds moving SO fast and billowing like crazy…….(don’t worry….I took a video of it for the awkward-RM show-your-slides night when I get back.)

By the time we got to the church building, it was starting to rain. Soon the thunder came, the lightening started flashing, and we could hear tornado sirens screaming in the distance. At the end of our meeting, our district leader turned to me and asked me to accompany the group in “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

The one time in my life I’ve had legit background music.

That lightning and thunder could have been bombs going off for all we cared…..EPIC. Probs one of the coolest mission moments I’ve had……it made up for the non-epic-ness of the morning workout;) lol

By Saturday, we thought out adventures were more or less over…….never been more wrong in MY LIFE.

Right before we’re supposed to start personal study, a member of our ward, Sister G., calls us frantically:

“Sisters! I need your help! My one daughter (Amy) is in town for the week, and my other daughter (Jessica) is flying in from Hawaii right now, and Amy doesn’t know….it’s a surprise for her! I need to go pick Jessica up from the airport, but Amy needs help with the kids and with our yard sale while I’m gone. CAN YOU HELP??”

Sure thing. I’m always up for surprises.

So we fly out the door 10 minutes later, show up, and meet our member who’s outside setting up the yard sale. We whisper and laugh for a few minutes over the up-coming surprise, and then Sister G. instructs us to go inside to help Amy.

We walk in the back door, and the first thing Amy says to us is:

“Sisters! How did you know to come right now! You’re a miracle! Don’t tell my Mom, but my sister is flying into town right now from Hawaii and it’s a surprise for her! It’s a total miracle that you showed up when you did, because I have to go pick them up from the airport and Mom needs help here with the kids and garage sale!”

Housten……we have a problem.

Sister Bishop and I were D.Y.I.N.G.!!!! Hahaha! We decided to play the fool and let it all play out on it’s own, so we didn’t fill Amy in, but just went with it.

Eventually, Sister G. comes in and Amy tells her she has to run a quick errand. We could totally see the wheels turning, jamming, and then re-turning again in Sister G’s mind;) lol!

As soon as Amy left the room, Sister G turns to us and says, “I’ll bet you anything, she knows about it, but doesn’t know I know about it!”


Sister G kept it a secret till Amy picked up Jessica and her family and got home ……. PRICELESS. Gotta love a family with secrets;) lol

When our work was done there…..we headed right off to our next service project:

Earlier in the week, I’d looked online for community service opportunities and found a Cancer Walk for Life happening right down the road from us.


So we get hooked up with the committee and show up Saturday morning to start lining stages with purple plastic, taping signs up, and hauling tables, gift baskets, food, and equipment to all sorts of places out on the HS football field. We were having a blast, acting as the DJ’s pre-run audience, chasing down run-away papers in the wind, and meeting people from all over the community who were uber nice…….like Mormon status nice;)

We even met a long-time less-active, Russell, who seemed excited to be in contact with “church people” again (he’s less-active because his wife is not a member)…..we were obviously meant to be there …….K.A.R.M.A…..

After about 6 hours of event prep…..everything was almost finished and families were showing up, setting up tents, putting out lawn chairs, and decked in their team colors and accessories.

And then it HAPPENED.

One of the committee members comes hurrying onto the field, telling us that a MAJOR STORM WAS HEADED OUR WAY. Torrential rains, winds up to 50 mph, etc……the whole nine yards.

Well SNAP.

So we frantically started hauling gift baskets, raffle prizes, food, and equipment into a small brick shed nearby. After that was done, we headed to the DJ stand with Russell to help cover the sound equipment in black trash bags.

By the time we’d finished, the rain was POURING down in sheets and we agreed we didn’t want to get soaked by trying to head for the shed.


So we sat down, right then and there, with Russell while the wind was howling and sirens are blaring in the background, and did what current full-time and past-time missionaries do…….we shared mission stories.

Makes sense.

He started telling us all kinds of stories, and we could see the light in his eyes as he recalled his mission. That light…..as well as the light from the now-turning brownish-green sky. We’d been out for about 15 minutes when the group huddled in the brick shed started screaming at us. We turned to see all of them flailing their arms, signaling for us to come, and trying to yell over the howling wind.

Russell: “Crud. Well….guess we better go.”

SO…..despite our desire to stay out and watch the storm…..we ran for it and YES…..got SOAKED. We’d barely gotten inside when one of the twelve wet and terrified woman in the shed pulled the garage door down and we all stood there confusedly blinking in the dark.


All you could hear were twelve jittery women fluttering between, “TORNADO!…….funnel winds! ….touchdown!….green sky!.....too young to die!….we’re going to get hit!……(and then a whole lotta) get down on the ground! Get flat! Get down on the ground! My husband always says….get down flat! Green sky, get down!” and one pessimistic DJ muttering in the corner...... “my equipment’s going to get RUINED. Blasted tornado.”

Sister Bishop and I couldn’t help but suppress laughter…..all the while one of the 60 year old woman in the group crouched down with her head poked out under the garage door, giving us weather updates every 2 minutes.

And THEN…..the prompting came.

“Offer to pray”

Sold. They've got no where to go:) So I waited for my cue (a huge crack of lightning and boom of thunder…and subsequent terrified squeals), before announcing, “Would it be ok if we prayed for our safety and the safety of those out in the storm??”

Unanimously the women harped, “Yes! Oh yes! Yes, yes, yes!” and started forming a circle in the small 10x4 foot area we were in, each holding hands with their neighbor (yea, and Sister B ended up holding hands with Russell…..

(btw…it’s not awkward holding hands with non-mormon guys in a prayer circle, but holding hands with member guys…esp. returned missionary guys….in a prayer circle….now THAT’s awkward;) lol)

BUUUT…..before I could begin praying, a woman in the circle shouts, “Ladies! 10 HAIL MARY’s! 10 HAIL MARY’s!”

And again…..unanimously the women harped, “Yes! Oh yes! Yes, yes, yes!”

GREAT……..Well…THAT backfired on us.

So off they go: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women…..” Over and over and over again…………While the three of us Mormons (two of us wearing the nametag of SISTER) just stand there speechless.

Now what??

Eventually, the lead woman stops and says, “Hail Mary, full of grace…ok! Ok! Ok! ……that’s probably good enough, right??” 

I’m thinking……WRONG.

So…..the Spirit of course….nudges me and I muster up, “Would it be ok if we (pointing to Sister Bishop and I) prayed?”

More unanimous “yes’s” and we bowed our heads in prayer. As I began that prayer, I was immediately struck by the difference in the Spirit that came. It filled that small brick shed, with a dozen wet and scared women huddling together while a tornado swirled around outside. I KNEW I was talking with GOD. HE was the one I was addressing….that I was going to as my FATHER…..who I needed help from and who I knew was listening to my prayer.

I wasn’t talking to Mary…and I wasn’t turning to my iPhone to find assurance from the Weather Channel that I was going to be safe…….I was turning to HIM. God Himself. And through that prayer, I knew we’d be granted safety, and that He was with us.

When I ended, there were quiet, “Thank you’s” and “That was beautiful.” They felt it. They felt the difference. The conversation suddenly went from “we’re going to die” to “God is with us.” One of the women who just moments ago was crying, “get down on the ground! Get down, get down!” stood there calmly next me and with her arm around me said, “Trust in God and it will be ok….that’s what my mother used to tell me. He’s with us.”

I looked at her straight in the eyes and said, “HE IS!”   And I knew it with all my heart!

After the funnel winds passed, the rain eventually died off, and we left the shed. EVERYTHING we'd set up....tents, stands, tables, signs.....were trashed around the field, some stuff floating down the field with the rainwash and other items strewn every which way. It was kinda depressing.

Unfortunately, they had to call off the whole event an hour before it was supposed to start, but hey, we got more service in afterwards, helping with clean up:) #blessingsindisguise

AND....we gave away our number to a number of the women that were in the shed with us, AND we got a dinner appointment with our less-active! I called it a good day:)

Sunday came and so did Bethany WITH her MOM!!! We were stoked! Her mom ended up staying for all three hours too!! What what! Afterwards, we gave Bethany a tour of the baptismal font and walked her through the program. When we first offered to have her mom say the prayer at the baptism, she declined, but after we'd showed her the font, and talked about Saturday as such a special day for Bethany, her mom said, "Well, I was actually thinking, maybe I should say the prayer, so I can be a part this for you, Bethany."


We're keeping our fingers crossed that the Spirit works on her and she can see the difference its making in her daughter's life! Gonna happen.....

Oh...another Sunday occurrence......we went to a dinner appointment at a member's, and at the end of dinner, their boys tell us that the elders were over yesterday and had a go at pogo sticking. We got visual proof too.


Sister Bishop and I turned to leave just as their sons pulled out the pogo sticks and handed them to us with, "are you better than the elders?" Can't let the elders outdo us now, can we??

SO....I pogo sticked in a maxi skirt.   


And we proved that pogo sticking in a skirt takes more skill than pogo sticking in slacks. #sisterswag #whatupelders 

So we're keeping busy, serving with a smile, and teaching with the spirit.......and it's A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!

I'm continually reminded that The Lord calls the weak things of the world (MISSIONARIES) to do His work, because they easily rely on Him. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect. A mission teaches you how far from perfect you actually are:)

BUT it also teaches you just how powerful you can become because you're representing HIM and can tap into His power and blessings if you're trying your best!

So....just "try a little harder, to be a little better!" (President Hinckley)

Onward and upward! 

Sister Anna Parker