– a street contact, who was not interested in learning more, gave me a sunflower out of her garden.
– I had put my magnetic tag on both my cardigan and my dress, and as I took my cardigan off in an investigator’s bathroom to change into my service clothes, my tag went flying and landed in the toilet. I stood there for a few minutes just appreciating the moment and then took the magnetic backing of my name tag and fished it out.
– zucchini season, aka the season of people leaving boxes of zucchini in the foyer hoping for someone to take some home, is winding down EXCEPT in the case of the 92-year-old returned missionary who is our relief society president’s mom. She has some kind of super-plant and we’ve been going over to our relief society president’s house and leaving with zucchini bread and a list of assignments. A relief society president is truly a sister missionary’s greatest ally.
– a gracious member of the church was having us over for dinner when I noticed that our alfredo got a weird crunch to it. A moment later the cap which had been put on my tooth after a root canal a while ago fell out. There is nothing about lost tooth decorum in the white handbook so I just quietly spit it out into my napkin. I then sat and prayed about what to do for a little while until the sister who was feeding us said, “Aren’t you hungry, Sister Asplund?” and I explained everything. Fortunately I was able to get in with the dentist the next day and have everything put back in order AND I’m proud to say that one of my transfer goals has been diligent flossing and the dentist made a comment about how healthy my gums are.
And now some BIG magical moments that make missionary life extremely magical. First of all, we had an investigator to church for the first time since I arrived in Cumberland. She brought her beautiful children and husband and they fit in so well that everyone assumed they were visiting from another ward. They already have kind of a Mormon glow about them. It’s known as a bit of a slower area but toward the end of any transfer your efforts start to show and the miracles come in.
We also had a wonderful church tour with an investigator who brought his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s brother. They all have a strong interest in learning more. Helping investigators read the Book of Mormon can be hard but when we texted this particular investigator a few days after committing him to read the first chapter, he said, “I think I read up to the 5th chapter to the point where nephi brought zamorn or something back to his father after getting the bronze plate” and when we asked him about it at our next lesson he said, “At first I was just going to read the first chapter like you asked, but then I just wanted to know what was next so I read a little bit more. I just keep wanting to read more and see what happens.” The Book of Mormon is full of great and thrilling stories! AND it brings the Holy Ghost, which means that the Book of Mormon makes people happy when they read it. It’s an instant mood-lifter.
Finally a REALLY BIG MOMENT namely that Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve came to visit the mission!!! Oh it was pretty great!!! I’ll go chronologically: Last Sunday night at 10:28 pm, our (very reserved and formal) mission president sent out a text that began with “SWEET MIRACLE!!!” and we knew something exciting was going on or that maybe one of the elders was ghostwriting the text message. In any case, he announced that we would be gathering in Annapolis (known locally as “nap-town”) to hear Elder Cook address the missionaries. We immediately cleared our Saturday of the zero appointments that were scheduled for the day and arranged to spend Friday night with the nearest other sister missionaries and drive down with them the following morning. We had an excellent sleepover and rolled off of the pile of couch cushions we had been sleeping on early on Saturday morning full of excitement and nail polish fumes.
We arrived at a small chapel buzzing with hushed excitement. Being with the whole mission is always a pleasure. Our mission president’s wife/aka the ultimate queen calls us the “Maryland Baltimore Family” :’). We all stood and sang “Called to Serve” as Elder and Sister Cook entered to give them a warm welcome and when he got to the stand he put his hand over his heart. Is that blasphemous? Probably not. Anyway, we had wonderful talks from President and Sister Christiansen and Elder Gerard of the Seventy and we all lined up and shook hands with Elders Cook and Gerard. Elder Cook had a nice pillowy handshake to match with his very round head.
Elder Cook’s speech consisted of four key points that the wants our mission to focus on. They are as follows:
1: we are ward and branch builders
2: we succeed when we invite, regardless of the outcome
3: we are the message
4: we should focus our spiritual power on teaching, planning, and our purpose
Sister Cook, a skilled choir director, illustrated point #3 by having us stand and directing us in “Hark All Ye Nations” with a fun descant. She taught us that this point could best be fulfilled by our developing Christlike attributes and directed us to list hymns that coordinate with the Christlike attributes featured in Preach My Gospel and to sing those hymns often. She was so cool. He left an apostolic blessing on the mission, promising that we would see how precious our efforts are.
Then, between the closing song and closing hymn, Elder Cook jumped out of his seat (the poor elder assigned to pray didn’t know whether he should continue approaching the stand or not) and said, “I’ve never done this in a meeting before, but the spirit has told me four times now that I should tell you that there are many single people between the ages of 17 and 25 who are ready at this time in their lives to hear the gospel. Work with your members who are young adults and find out which of their friends are interested. Make an effort to find people who will have the opportunity to serve full-time missions.” We drove home in an edified haze and worked during what was left of the evening.
Another wonderful experience I had this week is that I finished the Book of Mormon!!! Oh it’s a good book!! Here’s a confession: that is the second time I’ve read the Book of Mormon in my life. I felt so nervous and guilty that I did not know the Book of Mormon very well before my mission, but I knew enough. It really does read easy and more importantly, it will bring you closer to God. Becoming close to God is the most important thing you can do in this life.
You are all treasures to me. I hope you know that. I express my love for you and I pray for you and I hope to hear from you when you get a spare minute. My address is 923 National Hwy, LaVale, MD
Hugs and Handshakes,