year of humility

January 4

Well, we’ve had a pretty weird and great week together here in the CYSA. It started with zone training, when we gather with a crew of fellow missionaries and roll around or whatever. Sister Walker and I got to instruct and talk about following the spirit. It was actually fabulous because we got to practice teaching by the spirit. In Peach my Gospel (as I like to call it) there’s a section about the things you can do to invite the spirit (pray, use the scriptures, bear testimony, share personal experiences, and express love for God and those you are teaching) and as we practiced teaching with a focus on these elements, I realized that I could express love for those I teach about 100% more. As I did it with fellow missionaries, it really brought the spirit. We often talk about how our testimonies increase as we bear them, and likewise I learned that our love for others increases as we express it. Well good! We really do have such an intense love for those we teach. It takes exactly one and a half seconds with someone to feel the kind of love for them that you feel in family relationships. That is the #1 hard thing about missionary work: everyone around you has the power to just destroy you emotionally, and they do. It’s ok though because the atonement helps you learn to heal quickly and be resilient.

We had our final shift at the visitor’s center this last week. I’m going to miss it. The visitor’s center is a very special place. During a slow part of the day, a family came in with an older couple who didn’t speak any English at all, their son, and his son. The dad wanted a Chinese Book of Mormon for himself and also got one for his mom. It was so sweet to watch him show it to her and as he was ushered into the big secret giant Book of Mormon closet with copies of the Book of Mormon in every language the grandpa and the little baby were just playing and laughing and so happy together. I don’t know why but on a mission everything takes on this intense emotional meaning and I about cried while I watched them.
That night was New Year’s Eve and some missionaries from our mission had put together a musical performance in the auditorium. We originally had a member bringing her friend to the visitor’s center to see the lights and the festivities but she got stood up so we got stood up. Right as we were deciding what to do, President strolled in and said, “You’re not supposed to proselyte this evening anyway. Go ahead and stay! For both performances!” So we got to see those good talended missionaries play their instruments and the “companion’s choir” sing a few tunes. It was just adorable. On the downside, we didn’t get home until 10:30. It was just one of those nights where I had a lot to talk to God about, so I had barely finished praying as midnight rolled around and I crawled into bed with the sounds of yelling and vuvuzelas and fireworks outside. Happy New Year.
On New Year’s Day we weren’t really supposed to be out proselyting but we were allowed to hold any appointments we had. This ended up being a wonderful day because we got in with an investigator we hadn’t seen in a week or two whom we had been concerned about. We lay the foundation for this lesson on Tuesday when we dropped cookies off at her house and she finally got around to texting us back. Cookies work, just sayin’. Anyway we have been on a 3 Nephi kick this week so we read 3 Nephi 11 with one of our investigators on New Year’s Eve and 3 Nephi 17 with another investigator on New Year’s Day. We just wanted to spend our holidays bathed in the spirit and that’s exactly what we did. We shared 3 Nephi 11 with an investigator who is from Haiti and whose English has made vast (even miraculous?!) improvement in the weeks we’ve been meeting with her but who still does better with French. We went around in a circle with us reading in English and her reading in French. There was something touching about it, I don’t know. ~the spirit speaks all languages~ etc.
To remedy the boredom of many of the missionaries who didn’t have anything going on on New Year’s Day, the Christiansens invited us over to mingle at the mission home. We could only stay for a few minutes because we had to rush off to another lesson, but one of our fellow sisters had heard my imitation of President (if you know me you probably can guess that I have spent a lot of time cultivating and refining said impersonation) and decided he needed to hear it. We got a call from these sisters during our lesson and of course we didn’t answer, but as soon as we finished we saw a text from them that said, “It’s president. You can answer.” Terrified, we called back immediately to hear the party continuing at the mission home and President on the phone hoping to hear my imitation of him. I told him that I could only do him justice live, but it was getting to curfew and they were about to send the other missionaries off to bed so we joined them for a prayer on speaker phone.
This week I also brought Sister Tait to the CYSA for exchanges. I missed Sister Walker of course but she did a great job on her first exchange as a leader. She’s such a sweetie pie. They both are. Missionaries have this problem where we have to greet everyone we see (if you’ve ever wondered why everyone in Provo keeps waving at you, that’s why) and as we were pulled up at a stoplight Sister Tait noticed someone in the car next to us who seemed to be waving at us so of course she waved back. Turns out he was just eating while driving and when she made awkward eye contact and waved he slowly pulled forward….. awkwardness is just a condition of the mission. You get used to it.
OK humans. You’re beautiful. Keep sparkling. I hope you sticky note 100 doors this week like I did. Or just sticky note my mailbox… 5455 Columbia Rd Apt 213, Columbia MD 21044-5686
Hugs and handshakes,
.5 of Team Applesky
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