Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Days of Our (Missionary) Lives

Every week on P-day, I go through the same routine: sit down to write my weekly email, feel like my memory's been wiped because I can't remember a thing that happened that week (but somehow I'm exhausted from working so hard:), resort to using my nightly journal entries to figure out what I did for the past 168 hours, and then try to put my gazillion thoughts into an email less than a novel long;).

True story.

This week, I flipped open my journal and here goes:

- It got down to -30 degrees today with wind chill. #NBD. Frozen eye lashes, wearing four shirts, three pairs of pants, and two pairs of socks to bed at night, using blow dryers and the stove to stay warm, shaving ice off the inside of the windows, dancing on doorsteps to avoid freezing, and spending ten minutes trying to get INTO our car because all the doors are frozen in the life:)

- One of the elderly less-actives we're working with introduced me to her "old self" this week by pulling a bright red and yellow outfit out of her closet and announcing, "I used to be a professional clown, y'know!" And then proceeded to try and make me a balloon pet. Ohhhhhhh....bless her heart;)

- Y'know that scene from "The Best Two Years" where Elder Rogers says, "oh, and make sure no one flushes the toilet while the shower's running"? .......yeeeeaaaaa......found out why this morning.

- One of our African American investigators, schooled us tonight on how to "appropriately" use the N word: "I can call you n--, but you can't call me n-- unless I say you can, and if I call you n--, it's meant as a compliment." OH. Well guess what? She now calls us her "little n--'s"......and YES....I'm still adjusting to that one:). Whatever makes her happy;)
- We wrapped up an awesome lesson on the Plan of Salvation with one of our investigators (who's been meeting with the Jehovah's Witnesses weekly as well), the end of our lesson, she was so thrilled with the doctrine of the plan of happiness and it "made so much sense" to her (vs the teachings of the JW's that she struggles to accept) that she said, "Y'know what....y'all should come over after they leave and I'll tell y'all what they said, y' I could be a Jehovah's Witness spy!" Welp.....I think she's officially picked a side:)

- Our 65 year-old investigator went off on a tangent about how she's a 3rd degree black belt, then demonstrated a head kick to my companion (barely missing her face), and then put her elbow on the table and said, "Here....arm wrestle me." What am I supposed to say to that?? Turns out.....she surprised all of us with some stiff competition....AND.....convinced us that we needed to take those morning push-ups more seriously:)

Gosh.......our lives:)

Our week was filled with some incredible spiritual experiences as well though. THOSE are the real highlights! We taught Norine more about the pre-mortal life and how we knew God before coming here to earth, and how we'll someday return to Him. She sat back, nodding, and then said, "Yes.....yes.....I hope this is true.....because that's....beautiful. I always just thought we were lined up on a shelf and one by one we come down, live, then die. But you're saying that we actually lived and knew God before.....and that just makes sense! Oh, I would love for this to be true!"

It hit me as I thought later about what she said, just how beautiful this gospel truly is. Life is hard enough knowing where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going. To be without that knowledge or to feel so detached from God......ah! I can't imagine! Teaching this gospel teaches me just how much God truly loves each of us. He knew us perfectly before we came here, He knows us perfectly now, and if we walk with Him through life, we'll one day become perfect just as He is. How more beautiful can this gospel be?! I love it with all my heart!!

One of our "miracle moments" this week came in disguise, when we were on the brink of discouragement. We'd arranged to go with Norine to the Family History Center one night this week. We were excited to help her get more involved, but when we showed up to her apartment to head to the church together, no one answered. Eventually her brother in law pulled up and joined us on the doorstep in the sub-degree weather, waiting for someone to come down and unlock the door. Norine then called to tell us she wasn't home and wouldn't be able to make it to the FHC. ET, her brother in law, turned to leave when we told him no one was home, but as he was walking away, he slowed, turned, and said, "Wait.....Mormons. You guys do studies with people, right?" 3 seconds ago, we were feeling discouraged, beaten, and freezing cold, but when he said that, we knew the Lord had made plans. We started talking with him, introduced him to the Book of Mormon, and gave him a brief overview of our beliefs. By the end, he took our number and said, "Yea, I'd like to meet with y''s my me anytime. In fact, let's meet next week."

AH!! The Lord is amazing:) We'd actually debated whether or not to go to Norine's that night, or whether to just meet her at the church building, and after that encounter with ET, we were SO glad we'd listened to the prompting to go!! The Lord always has a back-up plan to the back-up plan, and while we were thinking that our efforts had been wasted that night, the Lord put ET into our path, because He knew that ET needed to hear our message! The Lord turned our "tears of sorrow into tears of joy" and my heart was SO full of gratitude that night!

Sis Green and I are seeing the Lord put people into our path that are ready to hear the gospel, and it's absolutely incredible! He is so good to us! At the same time, we've been feeling an increase of Satan's attacks, and it hasn't been easy, but in zone conference this week, President told us that the last few months of our missions is when we learn the most valuable lessons, specifically in Christlike attributes, because the Lord is refining us this last time before we're released.

Well....I'm feeling refined:)

It's hard, and there are some days when I just want to smack the devil, but I'm determined not to coast through these last 2 months. This is my "4 minutes." The spirit's been direct with me this week, in telling me that I need to re-commit. I want to leave it all on the field. I want to walk off that plane, knowing I gave this mission my all. I want to have no regrets. I want to finish my time here, confident that He's proud of me. I want to know that I did my best.

So that's what we're going to do. We're setting our sights high, aiming for success, and holding nothing back. "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage.....and on, on to the victory!" (Joseph Smith)

So onward and upward!!

Sis Anna Parker

"it's like a Christmas tree....."
if you don't know where that line is from..... need help....
Sis Green could've killed me....but instead she took a picture:) haha! #whatachamp

our "professional clown" :)