Greetings from the swankiest library probably in the whole mission/world. The general area I’m serving in is pretty fancy pants, especially this library. I am also presently on exchanges with Sister Reatugi and Sister Garcia, a wonderful pair of greenies. They are in a trio with a sister who just finished her own training experience and then as soon as she was done being green she had twins. Fun! Definitely an adventure for the brave missionary that she is. They’re nice and quiet, that good greenie way.
On the other hand, last week’s exchange adventure brought Hermana Rodriguez into the area and sent Sister Walker into the Spanish missionary life. Same area (the entire Columbia stake) different demographic. Sister Walker’s temporary companion is a former CYSA missionary, and they ended up running into an investigator who she had taught during her tenure here but who we lost touch with and couldn’t seem to get in with ever since. Hermana Hart recognized her and got her new contact info and introduced her to Sister Walker. Every exchange brings miracles. It’s because they’re so weird and different from normal life.
The best part of exchanges in a family ward are the babies, and the second best part is the nice old ladies, for example I went with the twins to visit a lady with a dog named Timpanogos (Timpy for short) who told us her wild and miraculous conversion story and entertained us with tales of her life on the board of La Leche Leauge while Timpy climbed on us. We also got to meet with their Relief Society president who gave me the inside scoop on the YSA-aged sisters. Honestly Relief Society presidents are probably the number one most useful demographic in the entire church. The wonderful upsides of life in the YSA are innumerable, though. For example, when you spend much of your missionary coordination meeting brainstorming potential suitors for your investigators because Mormons have zero power against the temptation to matchmake. Everyone needs a vice, right? Missionaries included.
Yesterday we couldn’t email because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I hope you all read the Letter From Birmingham Jail for me. If not, there’s still time. With all our free time, we went to a thrift store and I found a dress that almost definitely belongs in the lineup of drape-based play clothes from The Sound of Music. Don’t worry, it still has plenty of wear left in it. We also got Sister Walker a haircut with a member who we then shared a spiritual message with and committed to go on dates with people of her choosing every week this month. Such are the spiritual promptings you receive in the YSA.
In awkward street contacting moments, this week there was a fellow about 20 feet ahead of us, just far away enough that we couldn’t really start talking to him but close enough that we wanted to. In an effort to prevent him from getting in the car too soon, I yelled out, “I like your pants!” before I could stop myself. He made a face like he was trying not to laugh/cry and quickly climbed into his car. They were cool pants, though, with a nice orange stripe down the side.
We also had a wonderful opportunity to have interviews with the mission president. I realize that Mormons use the term “interview” in kind of an unusual way (I kept asking missionaries if they got the job, ha ha) but that just means a one-on-one conversation. I just felt loved and great and I am so grateful for the leadership I have received as a missionary. During my conversation I realized that a humble missionary (as I am seeking to become) strives for Heavenly Father’s approval and is satisfied with it. It’s really tempting and easy as a missionary to set an unreachable standard for ourselves that is based on worldly measurements and that is designed to satisfy pride rather than fulfill our duty. On my mission I have gained a true love for following, listening, and being a disciple.
I hope you have had an opportunity to see this beautiful video of the new Provo City Center Temple: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/provo-city-center-temple-public-tours?cid=HP_TH_1-14-2016_dPAD_fMNWS_xLIDyL2-2_
To me it is such a beautiful metaphor for the power of the atonement. Before the fire, the Provo Tabernacle was a great building. It was a beautiful part of the culture of the city and was well-loved by everyone. However, it had lost its central tower and in other ways was experiencing disrepair, and although we did not know it, it was being prepared for greater things. I remember hearing about the fire, and for months feeling that there was no return and no redemption. Of course this was not the case. Seeming disaster made way for something greater, for the tabernacle to return to its full architectural glory and not only to be restored but to be glorified to the higher purpose of a temple. Oh how I love and treasure this building. Remember the Provo Tabernacle if you ever feel like you are beyond redemption or if you don’t know why disaster has struck.
I love you my siblen. Write to me always at 5455 Columbia Rd, Apt 213, Columbia MD 21044
Keep the faith,
Mother Asplund (as one of the elders called me today. yikes.)