Guess what happened on Saturday??? THE VERY FIRST BAPTISM OF MY MISSION :’) Everything about it was great. We’re teaching a little girl who really wanted other kids in her primary class to give the talks and it was just too cute. I was grinning the whole time watching these two primary kids give their talks. She’s a person who knows what she wants and she also wanted absolutely no primary songs, only hymns, and chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting and Oreo sprinkles on top. Can you tell that this little girl is so adorable and awesome yet? Her home teacher, who has been home teaching the family since our investigator was a little baby, baptized her. We got his jumpsuit and guessed a size XXL because he’s a very tall and hefty fellow. He’s also from Georgia and sounds like it and looks a lot like the KFC colonel. We gave him his jumpsuit and he said, “It’s taaaht lahk a banjeu, but it’ll wark.” And it did! Because he was so tall and she is so tiny it took 3 tries to get her fully immersed. She had the most confused look on her face the whole time. It is so gratifying to be able to be part of that step in someone’s spiritual progression because it’s a moment when you really feel the fruits of your labors.
This week we also had ~sisters conference~ in which we hiked the Maryland Heights Hike, which is basically the local equivalent of hiking the Y, with all of the sisters in the mission. So fun! So wonderful! I really love the other sisters in the mission and it was a pleasure to spend time with them. We also had instructions for a few hours from the Sister Training Leaders, aka the Sister Bosses. Probably my favorite thing, though, is that we had salads and yogurt parfaits for lunch, in case we forgot that we were sisters. I got to know a lot of new missionaries, which is important because I am so new and haven’t gotten around the block, so to speak, in meeting a lot of people. I also got to see all my former companions and the other sisters I have served with. There are some really solid people in our group. I got another dose of ~girl power feels~ because the young women in our ward are so awesome. We work closely with them, which I expected to be about mentorship or because the young women are the people most other sisters can relate to the best in the ward, but it’s actually because the young women are just the best member missionaries in the church. There are always several new people at young women activities and most of the non-members who come to church who we don’t bring there are teenage girls. We also love taking them teaching with us. I don’t remember having the spirit with me or the depth of faith and commitment that these young sisters do when I was 16-18, but I am so glad we get to benefit from how good they are at what they do. If you want to be a good member missionary, look to the young women in your ward, because they’re probably showing everyone up.
The young men of the ward are also great. I love all of the youth and can’t wait for them to keep developing and to be missionaries one day. This Sunday I was sitting by a really sweet family in my ward and their four boys. I watched one boy tickle his brother’s back all through the service and it made me cry a little to see these guys being so tender with one another. I also loved watching the oldest son have charge over the door while the sacrament was being passed. His job was to maintain an air of reverence in the chapel while the sacrament was being passed by opening an closing the doors quietly while the sacrament was being taken into the foyer. I watched him close that door as carefully as he could and about at the speed grass grows. The care and attention he gave to magnifying his little calling really touched me. May we all bring such care to the seemingly unimportant things we are asked to do at church or for others.
On Wednesday we have TRANSFERS what the heck. I am staying here in Carlos Town but Sister Pratt is going elsewhere to be a Sister Boss?????????????? How can there be a Sister Asplund without a Sister Pratt, you may ask. Through Sister Blanchard, I guess? I haven’t met her yet, all I know about her is her name. I’m looking forward to meeting her and trying something new out despite feeling hesitant to let Sister Pratt leave me. There are three missionaries who are dying, aka going home on Wednesday in my district. I will miss them a lot but I am trying to focus on how fun it will be to have some fresh young missionaries in.
In baby animal news, I met a tiny kitten this week! I even got to hold it! And today I saw a very small snail on the ground and I picked it up and it just had its little curious antennae/eyeballs roving all around trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I put it on a leaf. I met this snail while I was hiking the Maryland Heights hike again this morning. Does that sound like the Y hike yet? I rolled out of bed VERY early this morning, even more so than usual, and stumbled up the mountain. We were supposed to be doing a sunrise hike, but the sunrise wasn’t actually visible from the lookout so it was just kind of an early hike. I love events planned by missionaries. Afterwards we played a game by the name of “corn hole”?? I like it because skill is probably about 15% of success or maybe even less, and also because it involves almost zero exertion. It’s also beautifully simple. You play corn hole by trying to throw corn into a hole. I love West Virginia.
Speaking of elders and of West Virginia, I ate a Slim Jim this week 😦 Not just any Slim Jim, but one that was sweaty, half-eaten, which had been in an elder’s back pocket for a few hours, and which several different elders had turned down. This was a first and hopefully a last for me. The English-speaking elders in our ward arrived to a meeting on Saturday in their service clothes straight from helping someone with yard work. One of the elders was trying to give away the aforementioned Slim Jim. Nobody wanted it but I was very hungry and also Sister Pratt had just impressed everyone by eating a whole (chocolate, strawberry-frosted, Oreo-topped) cupcake in one bite and the other elders dared me to eat it. Although I did once promise myself not to eat anything I had been dared to eat on my mission, I have been working on figuring out how to build friendships with elders because we don’t naturally have a lot in common and I thought maybe eating something disgusting would help us become closer. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it absolutely worked. Now I know how to get in socially with elders. Thank you, Jim, wherever you are.
You are probably WAY CURIOUS about where I am in the Book of Mormon. OK, maybe not. Anyway, I’m still with the missionaries in Alma! These chapters are so good! I’m glad they’re lasting because I’m a little nervous about the war chapters. We’ll see how those go. Ammon and Aaron and co, though, those guys are solid. I want to be more like them. My theme this transfer is “work hard, pray hard.” I have yet to encounter a problem on my mission that can’t be solved either by working harder or by praying harder. I have just felt full of energy and drive since the baptism on Saturday. It felt so good to really see my efforts in action and I think I’m addicted.
Well I love you wonderful humans. I love hearing all about your adventures and your joys and pains. Send me lots more at 14 Deerbrook Drive, Charles Town WV 25414.