So, every morning Sister Pratt and I stumble out of our door at 6:30 sharp and she runs 2 miles around the playground where I do what I like to call my “quirk-out,” which is a quirky workout wherein I swing on the swings, try (and fail) to do a pull-up on the monkey bars, and then skip around for a while. I also like to do a special jug-lifting workout with a gallon jug that used to hold Gatorade and now holds water. I lift it so that my arms will get very strong to help people move and do yard work all summer. Yesterday morning while I was quirking out a young man wearing all black with his hood up came outside and sad on the playground equipment kind of near my jug and smoked and watched the sunrise. I didn’t really want to have the “I’m the weirdo on the swing set and you are the weirdo smoking in the jungle gym” conversation so I just left my jug by its new friend all day and decided to get it later. When Sister Pratt and I got back home at 9pmwe went to get our jug, which was full when I left it there. When we picked it up from the bench where we left it, though, IT WAS EMPTY!!??? Did some weirdo drink a whole gallon of somebody else’s lifting water???? I feel weird every time I look at my jug now.
I also enjoyed another baby chick encounter this week. Life is really good on that front. We visited a family who hasn’t been to church in a long time who lives way, way out in the country. When we arrived we discovered that this family has 9 dogs and 20 chickens, including baby chicks!! I got to hold them and cuddle them and the dad of the family said to the dog, “Look chico, them tennis balls run!” Classic baby chick life.
Because my leopard printed pants were banned, I have been on the lookout for new clothes to wear when I do service projects. I helped a sister move back into her house in my regular skirt and blouse routine, and the elders were honestly very confused and upset about it. They did not seem to know what to do at all, and each of them questioned me extensively about why I was wearing a skirt. I was telling this story to a recent convert who is basically our best friend and she said (imagine this in her very, very slow West Virgina drawl) “Well ahhh have some clawthes that are bein donated to the rummage sale… ahh think ahhh might have somethin for ya” and she pulled out an amazing floor-length overall dress. In case anyone was worried about what I was going to garden in, I have found it. I will need your help and support in not losing my sense of dignity that I start to wear this dress while proselyting, though. Please pray for me.
Because the bishop called the whole ward to be ward missionaries this week, we have had extra people to help us out. This has been awesome. On Wednesday, an amazing sister in the ward came out teaching with us. She is 91 years old, and her secret to aging well is that she eats a whole clove of garlic every day, which she smashes up with a rock named “green boy” and washes down with dark chocolate almond milk. She also goes to the gym every day and does tai chi. In the middle of our lesson, she was bearing her testimony and she suddenly said, “This darn thing isn’t working!” and took out her hearing aid. On the other end of the age spectrum, we have a friend in the ward who is 6 years old who wanted to come teach with us. Their family is friends with a family who they want to invite to meet with the missionaries, so our 6-year-old fellow missionary put together a little package for them with El Libro de Mormon, a DVD, and some pictures of Jesus for them and arranged for her and her mom to come meet them with us. It was maybe the most adorable thing ever. Nobody answered the door, though, and she was pretty sad so we had no choice but to take her out for frozen yogurt. We have probably the widest age range of fellow missionaries in the whole mission.
We had the best lesson ever with someone we have never met with before. She is really close with a family in our ward so she already had a lot of information before she started meeting with us. She is already part-way through the Book of Mormon and has come to church several times. She is a dream come true. She told us about how good and peaceful she feels at church and how it just seems to make her whole week go better. I want to give her a Golden ‘Gator award, which is an award I just made up for investigators who are especially golden. Obviously winners are awarded with a tiny, solid gold alligator statuette. In other exciting missionary news, our BFF/denim dress-giver got her temple recommend this week and is going to go to the temple next month. She has lots of trials in her life, like we all do I guess, and I yearn for her to find a place where she can leave everything hard and stressful behind and enjoy the intense peace and well-being that is so strong in the temple. I can see that having a place where she can go to let the rest of the world melt away for a little while will make everything a little easier for her.
In addition to reading the Book of Mormon and the other elements of my regular study every day (I just finished Mosiah, by the way! Read Alma with me!) I found a stack of old, torn-up Ensigns from the past 6 months or so and have been poring over them. It is a big adjustment to be so starved for media and reading material. The Ensign is a quality magazine but it’s not always the most thrilling reading material, or at least I didn’t always think it was. Nowadays, however, I read every word in every back issue of the magazines, even the articles that have chunks cut out of them. I was very used to having lots of reading material. Anyway, you should all write me letters because I’m on my last Ensign and I think I might start reading the Bible Dictionary for entertainment next. My address remains 14 Deerbrook Drive/Charles Town, WV 25414.
I love you all, and I pray for you. I hope you are seeing the hand of God in your life every day.
Sister Watermelon (yesterday on the phone, one of the local elders said “What is it the bishop calls you? Sister Watermelon?” It’s Sister Applesauce, but I like Watermelon too)