Anyway, I had a great switcheroo for the most part. I went to Hagerstown with a wonderful missionary who I went on an exchange with six months ago. It was cool to see my progress since then and Sister Sirrine was so sweet about pointing out all the progress I’ve been able to see in my mission. She is a missionary who has coached and mentored me a lot in my mission and she’s going home pretty soon so it was great to have this time with her.
In Hagerstown they have this terrible tradition of playing volleyball every morning with all the other local missionaries during workout time (we can’t do that kind of thing in the land of cucumber because we are so remote. Thank heaven for distance.). Normally when people want to play sports I just sit and read but we are required to work out during workout time so this case was a little different. As soon as I found out about the dreaded day of volleyball I started sweating and praying (every missionary’s favorite combination) immediately. To my credit I did not pray to get out of volleyball but to get through it, but the Lord is merciful and we were asked to teach seminary for a teacher who was out of town the first morning in Hagerstown. Thanks, God! Nice work! Teaching seminary was a little rough in many ways because seminary is inherently rough, being that it starts at6 a.m. and features a number of sleeping teenagers who you are trying to excite about the Old Testament. I think they all felt the spirit at least once, so I feel okay about that experience. And I got to read a few of the chapters about Joseph’s reunion with his brothers (Genesis 33 and 34, I think) which are quite lovely and moving. The second morning, I found myself being dragged into the cultural hall and trying/failing to be an active participant. I sincerely intended to hit the ball with my poor body parts but every time I saw the ball coming toward me my survival instinct would take over and I would just kind of step away. It was fine, though. The elders on my team just kind of took over while I slowly moved further and further against the wall. I did successfully serve, though! I liked that better because the ball was not moving.
The exchange provided many other wonderful adventures including:
– knocking on a door and awkwardly talking to the lady of the house while the man of the house walked by with a giant gun, cackling.
– knocking on a different door with two giant, angry-sounding dogs who jumped against the door until it OPENED SLIGHTLY. I was ready to back away but my courageous and diligent companion just held the door closed with her foot until the man of the house came and was not interested
– visiting a sister who had two cats. One cat was normal and the other cat really took a shine to me. This cat climbed onto my lap without asking for permission and started rubbing its face on my face for a long time while the owner told us that he has fleas. I was just kind of sitting trying to still be polite. I don’t think I have fleas but being that I am allergic to cats I came away with a beard of hives. Thanks cat. Happy baby animal day, everyone.
– going on splits, which means that a sister in our ward is our temporary companion for a few hours so we can do even more missionary work!!! This was kind of an extra adventure because I know nobody and nothing about the ward I was serving in and my normal companion/guide was on a different team. I showed up at the home of a family I didn’t know and made the kids pick ponderizing scriptures and write them really nice with crayons to put on the fridge. fun tho!
Getting back to Cumberlie was great, exchanges always remind you to miss your regular routine just a little. As my companion and I were strolling around town, we heard a voice from faraway shout “ARE YOU MORMONS?!” Which usually ends up either being wonderful or terrible. This time, it was wonderful. We turned around and said, “YES W E ARE!” and he said, “RIGHT ON!” and then told us about how much he loved Mormons and we made an appointment for him and the elders! We saw another great miracle when we were going to visit some members who are in the process of moving out. There was a fellow I had never seen before blowing leafs in the yard. He was kind of turned around and looking elsewhere so normally I might have left him to his noisy business but the Holy Ghost told me absolutely not to so I walked really slowly until he turned around. When we got talking to us he said that his wife is a member of the church but they had lost touch with the church in the past few years. He spoke so highly of his Mormon friends. The spirit is real!!
Love you all!!
Your Sister In Zion