Last Sunday I looked at Sister Nish and said, “We are going to have a really good week.” That’s exactly what we had! We experienced so many magical miracles. I don’t even know where to begin so I guess I’ll start with the most important news, which is Baby Animal News. There is a wonderful brother in the ward who is a beekeeper. Obviously when I found out about this I was thrilled and offered him service for days. On Tuesday we were able to go out to his beautiful garden and hives. It was a wonderful experience. He was extracting honey from the hives and putting honeycomb in a big machine that twirls around to pull the honey out. When he opened the whirring machine to show us what was inside I was hit by a gust of honey and beeswax-scented air and I just felt so at home. We got a tour of some of the hives (no veils because we live on the edge) and I was just overwhelmed by how much I love the sensory experience of beekeeping: the aforementioned fragrance, the hum of the hive, the beautiful golden bees and their honey, and of course the delicious fruits of their labors. Speaking of which, this generous fellow sent us home with fresh honey straight from the extractor and armfuls of produce from his garden. We also spent lots of time at his blueberry bushes, eating straight off the vine. I looked around and I thought, “Ah yes. My future.” The members of the ward are so good to us.
My sweet companion really helped me reach my goal of visiting the hives and I was so inspired by her service that I decided to call and ask around for a violin. Sister Nish would talk a lot about her love for playing the violin and I knew that having an instrument around would make her happy and bring the spirit. Our wonderful ward mission leader found us a violin to borrow for as long as we are in the area not a day after I asked him. We are way too blessed. Since then We have been having lots of jam sessions, aka singing and playing hymns. It’s wonderful to have a house full of music.
This week we had our semi-annual mission temple trip. The relief society president and her daughter drove down with us and we enjoyed a really beautiful experience worshiping there. If it’s been more than a week since you were at the temple, I would recommend going posthaste. It’s a place of peace and miracles. While we were serving in the DC temple, Sister Nish’s brother was getting married in the Salt Lake temple. It can be really hard to miss important family events on the mission, so we wore her brother’s wedding colors and visited the sealing rooms in the temple so she could feel close to her family that day. On our way home, we had quite the adventure when the tire of the car we were driving blew all the way out. We were all in our skirts and dresses at the side of the highway trying to change it. Fortunately our relief society president’s daughter is a person of much practical skill and took control of the situation quite impressively.
After our wonderful day at the temple, poor Sister Nish was pretty tuckered out and an illness she has been trekking through all week came to a head. She was just all nauseated and sad and wanted me to hold her hand. Our mission president’s wife, one of the nicest people I have ever met, gave us good advice and recommended that we stay home from church and rest all day. It was a sweet experience because our ward was so helpful and supportive in reaching out to us.
On Saturday, I experienced one of the best things about mission life, which is that someone I taught was baptized! I couldn’t be there because it was in Charles Town and we’re pretty far away and had to be working all day, but I just felt all warm and tingly all day. I loved thinking of this amazing person who I had come to love so deeply taking a step that will bless her life forever. I love thinking of how the gospel will make her so happy and how much she has to offer our community. She’s on the best journey there is and it is a privilege to have a front row seat to that kind of experience.
Last night, the Assistants to the President called us and said, “Hey Sisters, we’re calling to let you know that you’re being shotgunned out of the area tomorrow!” I almost fell off of the couch until they said, “Just kidding, but you are having a mini missionary come serve with you this week!” Another of so many moments when I am keenly aware of how many teenage boys have authority over me. What a strangely educational experience. In any case, we are so excited for our little friend to arrive this evening! I can just feel the miracles coming on.
Speaking of miracles, we had a major breakthrough with our investigator! She has been really resistant to reading the Book of Mormon and would often say that she was just too old to get used to a new book of scripture. The member friend of hers who we were taking to our lesson suggested that we do a good old-fashioned reading of 1 Nephi 1 with her, explaining it really slowly and simply. Surprising to nobody, when we sat back and let the word of God take the reins, it went beautifully! It was so important to have a friend there to make her feel safe and comfortable as she tried something new. She was just loving the Book of Mormon by the end of it. Keep in mind, this is after a year of various missionaries trying to talk her into reading it. I’m not sure what changed, but I have already seen the Book of Mormon answer her questions. It is, as our favorite missionary reality show/training DVDs say, a “pure vehicle of the spirit.” A member friend in a different lesson long ago gave a wonderful testimony of the Book of Mormon in which he said that he reads it every day because he is hooked on how happy it makes him feel. That is so real! It’s a mood-enhancing and soul-strengthening text. If you don’t have a copy, here’s where you get one: http://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon
Yes, FREE! Sidenote: we often try to get to know people by giving them pass-along cards, which are basically business cards with the mormon.org
site and our information. I knew a missionary who would always say, “Would you like a free card to our church?” I don’t know if a free business card is necessarily a very exciting prospect, and it just made me laugh to imagine him street contacting.
In terms of my own Book of Mormon reading, I just started 3 Nephi. This is just where it starts getting really good! It’s the part with Jesus! Anyway, dearelder me or write me at 923 National Hwy, LaVale MD 21502