yes ma’am

September 28

Some really good baby animal news for yous: we were talking to strangers about whether they wanted to learn more about Jesus (they didn’t) and they said we should go stop by this neighbor who had just moved in. To our surprise, a woman opened the door who is the granddaughter of one of our members and whom we have met once or twice. She said, “Come on in!” assuming that we were just being friendly and visiting her, which we would have done anyway if we knew she lived there. Coincidence? They never are. Anyway the best part was that as we walked in, a tiny kitten bolted across the kitchen and we got to make friends with her. She doesn’t have a name yet and I believe they are accepting nominations. Apparently they found her when she was a third of the size she is now and she was found hiding under a leaf.

Another sort of unexpected miracle we saw this week happened when we were at the church puttering around. The hall phone started to ring which is always kind of a strange and surprisingly frequent occurrence. On the phone was a sister in the ward whom we had met once or twice but hadn’t visited for quite some time. It’s been many years since she’s been to church. She called and told us that she needed a visit from us, an appointment with the bishop, and a ride to church next week. We said, “Yes ma’am!” obviously. Everyone has their own winding path to God and you never know which moment on their path you’re going to intersect, but it’s always fun and magical when it’s a big moment like for this sister.

Another big moment and a very bittersweet one was the funeral of a dear sister in the ward. She was someone who we visited often and who had been a widow of 25 years. When I came into the ward she was living in a nursing home and spend most of her time in bed. Her health was very poor and she would often express that she was looking forward to the next life and to seeing her husband again. For this reason I tried to keep a happy perspective even though I am selfishly very sad that we don’t get to see her. At her funeral two of her long-time home teachers spoke. It was so touching to hear of their love for her. To me home teaching and visiting teaching are exactly why we need religion in addition to our spirituality. Hearing a fellow in our ward (who is usually a very manly football coach) tearfully express that this wonderful little old lady had changed his life was a reminder to me that the gospel is all about challenging us to get out of our comfort zones by loving people who are different from us.

Faith and belief have been a big theme for the week. The elders have been working with someone who is really starting from square one in terms of what he believes, which is a wonderful place to be and a wonderful place to begin. I’ve realized that there is a major flaw in how we are used to talking about God. The norm is to talk about “believing in God” like we would “believe in” an idea (“I don’t believe in libertarianism” or whatever). But that’s not what faith in God is like at all. God is a person, not an idea. A more accurate way for me to describe my spirituality would be to say that I know God. God is someone we can get to know, not an idea we can be persuaded is accurate or inaccurate. Anyway, if you’re wondering about God try getting to know Him rather than reasoning about the idea of a God.

We are presently working with two different young women who have pink hair. Often before my mission I wondered if my quirks would make me a different missionary than most. I’ve discovered that I mostly follow the tried and true methods but at the same time it seems like a lot of offbeat investigators come my way. With that said, I think everyone who meets with missionaries has to transcend a lot of social norms and be really open-minded. I’m just impressed with anyone who investigates because you have to be brave and cool and I just love every investigator I’ve ever worked with.

While driving around this week, we passed through a small town that advertised an upcoming “Apple Butter Festival.” I was amazed that there could be such a specific festival. I love living out in the country. If I wasn’t a missionary I would definitely spend all day at/staff the Apple Butter Festival but one of yous will just have to google it and tell me what the deal is.

Finally… this coming week is general conference woo!!!!!!!! You’ll love it! ~tune in at it’s kind of a big conference season for our ward right now because this week was ward conference (aka regular church taught by the stake leaders and we sang “Called to Serve” in the choir :’)) and next week is General and then two weeks later we have Stake Conference. Why do Mormons love to confer? I don’t know.

You sweet peaches, I love you so. Write me a nice letter at 923 National Highway, LaVale MD 21502.

Your Sister in Zion,

Sister Apple Butter


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