On Friday we had one of those days where everything goes so wrong it’s almost right. I honestly ended the day feeling very amused and entertained because our day had taken such an impressive turn for the ridiculous.
To begin, we texted someone who we had street contacted last week to confirm our appointment and he replied with messages that were increasingly flirtatious. This is honestly just a hard situation for a missionary. When he said, “which one am I texting? yall are both beautiful” I said, “This is Sister Asplund. What did you think of the pamphlet we left with you?” and when he said, “send s picture” (sic) we just called the elders and asked them to come to the appointment with us so we could hand him off. Shortly thereafter, we got a call from the bishop saying that there had been a death in the family of the planned speakers for Sunday and that we would need to quickly plan talks on the subject of fasting.
Before our lunch hour was over, all three of the lessons we had planned with our investigators had fallen through and our busy day was suddenly very open. Open to calamity, that is. We went to our first appointment with an investigator the elders had taught several lessons to but had decided to pass off to us, and she immediately let us know that she was no longer interested. Our standing appointment with a less-active sister was cancelled when we got there and after failing to get in with anyone, it was time for us to pass our investidater off to the elders. When we met at his home, the flirtatious fellow we had planned to meet with was not home. I was then reprimanded for dancing by my district leader, who is a great missionary and who also I think comes from the town in Footloose.
When we got home, we discovered that we had locked ourselves out for the second time since our landlord went out of town, and we had to call the neighbor of theirs again who held the spare key. He patted me on the shoulder and said gently, “We have to stop meeting like this.” Finally, the calamity of all calamities and also my least favorite Baby Animal News to report: spider season has begun and there was a real whopper on our mantle. Probably the size of a frying pan. My resourceful companion had the idea that perhaps 409 was toxic enough to kill a spider and sprayed it on our new friend Aragog. He fell out of sight and my companion said, “Well, out of sight, out of mind!” which is her carefree philosophy when it comes to spiders. My philosophy when it comes to spiders is, “Out of sight, could crawl on my at any moment” I went to sleep laughing and a little shaken. Most days on the mission are pretty amazing and even during this day, which featured many strange and unpleasant circumstances, we saw the grace of God manifest at many moments. A terrible day on the mission is still a pretty good day, in the end.
The following morning as I furiously wrote my talk, Sister Madsen started to put on her shoe and quickly stopped. “Something doesn’t feel right,” she told me. She put her hand into the shoe, pulled it out quickly, and then peered into its depths. When she gasped I said, “A spider?!” and she said, “THE spider.” She was very composed and threw the shoe into the bushes outside but I learned some important things from that experience. First of all, 409 does not kill spiders. Second of all, spiders have a highly vengeful nature and will hide in your shoe if you try to kill them.
Speaking in church was an eventful experience itself. When we got to church, we anticipated that three of the missionaries serving in the ward would speak. Then a young man walked in who had returned from his mission a few months prior but due to family circumstances had been unable to give a homecoming address. Our bishop let our district leader, one of the three speakers, off the hook and privately invited the recently returned young man to bear his testimony in place of this elder speaking. After my talk, the bishop stood up and forewent my companion’s talk as well as my district leader’s. He said, “This day will go down in history as the Sunday of change.” We also started off sacrament meeting with a beautiful and unplanned baby blessing. I left the meeting grateful to have a bishop who is so skilled at thinking on his feet. The experience of speaking was also very mildly eventful because I had mentioned The Spider Incident to our ward mission leader and he had suggested that we should talk about spiders over the pulpit, assuming we would just laugh about it. However, a missionary never says no to a request from their ward mission leader and so I made a very brief mention of spiders during my talk. As I spoke I heard my ward mission leader start laughing and then start coughing and choking, in strong contrast to the congregation who mostly had their eyes closed peacefully, probably because they were enjoying my remarks so much.
This Sunday we had a Linger Longer which is a very important feature of Mormon life. As I passed the children’s table to go sit by my companion I heard a cute little voice say, “Sister Applesauce! Come sit with us!” and OBVIOUSLY only a monster would turn down that request. As I ate with them, one of the 9-year-olds said, “My mom said I could only have one dessert. How many desserts are you allowed to have?” and my heart swelled with pleasure as I said, “As many as I want.” Her eyes got huge and I thought to myself, sometimes being a grown-up seems too hard. But maybe it’s worth it. And then I ate three desserts.
This week we also started up a Bible study class. I’m very excited about it and have been inviting everyone I see. When I suggested the idea to my companion she said, “I’ve always wanted to do that!!!” and when I mentioned the concept to the elders, they said, “We’ve always wanted to do that!!!!” so what I learned from that experience is that you shouldn’t lock your ideas up in your heart because maybe other people have those ideas too. This coming week we’re learning about the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas to us all.
I mentioned someone who we had found miraculously last week. We had our first lesson with him yesterday and it was pretty amazing. I look up to this person so much already and teaching people about the Restoration for the first time is like seeing it with new eyes. There’s no greater joy than sharing good news with people, especially when it’s The good news.
I have been reading the book of Ether this week. It’s a really good one. Ether is its own little narrative within the grander context of the Book of Mormon. I’m not sure why it’s placed where it is within the sections of the Book of Mormon. Does anyone have ideas? Write me and let me know what they are!! At 923 National Hwy, LaVale MD 21502