I don’t even know where to begin, my dear siblen. I’ll start with the most exciting thing this week, which was interviews!! Our sweet and loveable mission president/dad has a li’l sitdown with us missionaries on the regular and it’s always a great experience. I was bursting with questions and he gave some great answers. As we sat down, he said (and please imagine a very distinguished lawyer who carries about him an air of quiet dignity for full effect), “Well Sister Asplund, it seems like you’re really tearing it up in Cumberland.” I have seen from the two exemplary mission presidents I’ve worked with that being able to give ample praise and adequate correction are two very important mission president skills, and I enjoyed the way President Christiansen has developed some of the missionary vernacular in his praise. We love him.
In baby animal news, there are two cats who have become dear friends, named Boss and Sherlock. These cats have fallen in love (if you are going to tell me that cats can’t fall in romantic love, I don’t want to hear it) and they have kittens together who are almost grown up. These two cats live in a neighborhood we frequent, and they have come to be very familiar with us. Whenever we come around, they run toward us and follow us around. It makes me feel important and very good about myself. If you are going to tell me that they probably follow everyone around, I also don’t want to hear it. I have this dream of writing a children’s book about Elder Boss and Sister Sherlock going on a senior mission together :’)
This week we saw some pretty fun miracles. Miracles are a part of life for missionaries. One thing I have learned from my mission is that in order to be sensitive and obedient to the spirit, you have to be somewhat impulsive. Ironically, planning ahead to allow some spontaneity is a great missionary skill. For example: This week, Sister Madsen and I were going to visit a family in the ward. As we were walking into their house, I noticed a man in the corner of his yard blowing leaves with his back toward him. Normally I might not go out of my way to interrupt a busy person and talk to them but the spirit prompted me gently to talk to this fellow. I “timed my run”, in other words I walked kind of slowly so that I could make eye contact with this guy instead of being weird and sticking my face in his face. As soon as he saw us, he looked way more excited than most strangers do when we meet them. We started to introduce ourselves and he said, “I know who you are. My wife is a member of the church. We were married in a Mormon chapel and the church has been so good to us. I am so fond of the missionaries that have come to visit us. We just moved here from California, and we’ve lost touch with the church in the past few years but my wife really wants to get going back!” I thought maybe I was dreaming but no, this is what he really said. Keep in mind, although he had moved in downstairs from a family we visit often, this family just moved to a new house and this was our last time visiting them in their old house, in other words this was our last shot!
The miracle kept rolling yesterday when we hit that awkward 8pm with no set appointments moment that comes to every missionary once in a while. We were in one part of our area and I felt prompted to visit this family we had miraculously met the other day, although they are in a very different part of our area. We have to be pretty careful with the limited number of miles we’re given to drive every month but we have been pretty frugal and therefore we had miles to spare on a big journey. This family was not home, and I wondered why the spirit had sent me all the way out to this little town. While we were there, we halfheartedly decided to visit some investigators whom we had lost contact with and struggled to get in with even after knocking and texting diligently for some time. We went by and they were home! We were able to come visit and the mom in the family asked us, “When can you come back?” and we set up an appointment for today. The spirit has a kind of funny, indirect way of working. They were just getting home when we arrived, so we would not have been able to get in with them had the spirit not sent us to first knock on the door of another family.
In the humorous mishaps department, our phone stopped working this week. We can no longer write or receive text messages. I never knew before my mission how vital this tool was because we are truly held back by our inability to text. We’re getting a new phone, but for now we can only operate our current phone by barking at the voice command in an undignified manner.
Finally, this morning I was thinking a lot about confidence and humility. It seems that these are attributes that are very difficult to balance: humility and insecurity have a blurry line between them as do confidence and pride. But I realized that the key to developing humility and confidence as complimentary attributes rather than as opposing attributes is having a strong faith that God is in our corner. When we know that we have God on our side, we feel a confidence that is not rooted in our own abilities and we know where our power comes from. The relationship we have with ourselves is a tricky one, but it is made simple when God plays a leading role.
I hope to hear from you, my dear friends, very soon. Please write me at 923 National Highway, LaVale, MD 21502.
Hugs and handshakes,