This week was a true whirlwind because I got myself a new companion! Sweet Sister Madsen. People are already saying we look like sisters. She is three months into her mission, which is amazing. New missionaries bring special skills and talents because they have the “beginner’s mind” and are free of some of the assumptions that many older missionaries allow to limit them. I am learning a lot from her. She has a radiant kindness and sweetness that I want to cultivate in myself. She and I are also kind of a brilliant companionship because we are absent-minded in many of the same ways. Coming into my mission, I noticed that I had companions who were very well-organized and punctual Type-A sort of people. I was relieved because I usually don’t even know where both of my shoes are or what day of the week it is, and so far I have completely relied on my companions for this sort of thing. Naturally, my time spent in my comfort zone was to be short-lived because, as the oft-repeated MTC proverb tells us, “There is little growth in a comfort zone, and there is little comfort in a growth zone.”
I would say our companionship has many elements in which we support and compliment each other easily and comfortably which I love, but what I love most about our companionship is that it is putting me in a gentle growth zone. I am learning to empathize with my past companions and most importantly I am learning about what steps to take in order to be on time or to create a list of things we need to take with us when we leave so we don’t for example, lock ourselves out. (Did that happen to us this week? I’ll let you decide). This is the genius of having a companion. Companions provide so much support and so many opportunities whether we are different or similar, or a lot of both as the case usually is. This is what I like to call a “God Prank,” or a prank initiated by God not only for our mutual amusement (if we can have the right attitude) but also for our growth and edification. God has a brilliant and loving sense of irony, for example in giving me a companion with whom I can learn to overcome my own challenges because we share them. I’m deeply impressed by our placement together.
In Baby Animal News, I met a tiny kitten this week! The self-proclaimed crazy cat lady in the ward had us over and I got to bottle feed her newest, whom she has named “Survivor” because his parents and siblings all died but affectionately refers to as “the baby.” In further Baby Animal/Elder Shenanigan news, we have a greenie serving in the ward now who is a former master of the rodeo and who grew up on a cattle ranch. The first time I met him I noticed a little red soaking through his white shirt and I said, “Elder, you’re bleeding!” to which he replied, “Ah man, that’s my rope burn again.”
This past week included the six month anniversary of my mission! It’s hard to believe I’m already 1/3 of the way in. I feel about as experienced as Survivor, but I try to remember that I have the divine equivalent of a crazy cat person bottle feeding me every step of the way. My mission has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I feel closer to God than I ever knew I could. I am becoming someone who is more loving and competent than I ever thought I could be through the Atonement. Are you thinking of putting in your papers? Do it! Serving a mission is one of the least-regretted decisions in the world.
I’m in the climax of the Book of Mormon, just soaking in the goodness. 3 Nephi is one of my favorite things I have ever read. It’s a real cryer, too. Go give it a peek, you’ll be glad you did. It especially picks up around chapter 10 or 11.
I love you all, I hope life is what you need it to be. Good luck recognizing the pranks God sends us. Write to me about them at 923 National Hwy, LaVale MD 21502