This week brought a few major events, one of which was a sporting emporium??? It was one of those moments where I just had to forget my identity and follow orders. It ended up being fun because all the other missionaries were there so I could see past companions and other missionaries who I wanted to catch up with. The event was the annual “Mormon night” that the Orioles host. It was my first time in Baltimore, and I just loved it there. It’s been a long time since I was in a city of that scale, and I felt wonderful looking up at all the tall buildings. We had a few hours to just sit and chitchat and catch up and not be busy with something and there was also a baseball game happening. I think the Orioles lost. The only downside was that we are in the most remote area of the mission and it was a two and a half hour drive home. We finally crawled into bed at two in the morning and I awoke the next morning with a burning testimony of the missionary schedule we normally follow.
The other major event of the week was zone conference, when we gather at the stake center for a little seminar with the mission president and his wife. This was very inspirational, and much needed. The mission president and his wife have a special talent of giving us a lot of candy, which I never realized was an important leadership skill but it is. They carried around baskets full of (full-size!) candy bars (and a ~healthy~ basket full of granola bars and fruit leather) that had stickers on them that read “feel loved.” We’re obedient missionaries so of course we followed that order. We got to meet the two daughters of the mission president and his wife who are joining them on the mission. We love their family so much. As a missionary, when you’re far away from everyone and everything you knew you often have to cling to the people around you for support and we are blessed to work with some very supportive people who fill not only the roles of a boss and a spiritual leader but also of our family away from home.
At zone conference we received some much needed inspiration and motivation for the coming weeks and months. Sometimes missionary work can get to feeling a little aimless if you don’t have a strong sense of direction, so guidance from leaders helps me know how to focus my efforts instead of spreading them around according to the whim of a particular day. Having a vision for an area or a transfer is very important because it helps us use each day as a building block toward a greater whole rather than a period of time with little impact on the future or on people’s lives.
In this particular context we developed a vision to begin teaching more people. We’ve been engaging in a little more street contacting, which is my least favorite part of missionary work. Usually if you feel awkward or scared of doing something that means you should do more of it and street contacting extra has proved very fruitful. One night we were traveling to visit a sister who is on our records but whom we have never seen or heard from before. There are many such sisters in the ward, so usually we take direction from the relief society president in which sisters to visit. In this case, I just saw her name in the directory and felt a strong prompting that we should visit her. My sweet companion put her skepticism aside and agreed that we could try by her home. Her house was completely dark but her neighbor was outside with his family. We got to talking to him and he agreed to meet with us. He said, “I’ve been praying and praying for a month and felt like God wasn’t responding to me, but not I know that His answer was to send the two of you.” We are so excited to start teaching his family and regardless of what kind of progress he makes with us at this time in his life, he will always know that God is there for him.
In baby animal news, I met a dwarf hamster this week. I thought hamsters were already dwarfs, but there it was, rolling around in its little ball. I also stopped our car in the middle of the street to see if I could catch a frog. I could. It was a wonderful frog.
Finally, this week I read from 4th Nephi! Oh how I love 4th Nephi. The beginning of the book describes this society that was so edified by the visitation of Jesus Christ that it enjoys 200 years of utopia. To me this is a great model to build a home and family on because families have their own little cultures. I would invite you to read from 4th Nephi (it is very short) and think of a utopian or Zionic family as you read. I promise this exercise will be fruitful in your own present and/or future families.
I love you all, my friends and family. I pray for you often and desire all the blessings of heaven in your life. I love hearing from you, and you can write to me at 923 National Highway, LaVale MD 21502
Sister Morning Glory