Have you ever been trapped in a small apartment with a bored percussionist for 72 hours? I have. Have I ever. This week brought the record-breaking winter Storm Jonas, which shut down everything for days. The library is finally open again. Around Friday the snow started coming down and President texted us advising us to “bunker down” until further notice, this of course after all our ward and branch mission leaders ensured we had adequate blankets, food, water, gasoline, and 72-hour kits. Mormons are the best when it comes to storms, actually. If you’re ever in an emergency situation, call a local Mormon. Said individual will absolutely have enough dried beans and cracked wheat to get you through whatever you’re dealing with. Missionaries are very much used to being up to something at all times and we don’t have much access in terms of media and entertainment (that’s right, we were stuck inside WITH NO WIFI are you shaking in your boots yet?) so we had to really put in effort to find good things to do with our time. Here are some examples:
– calling every phone number in our phone and trying to set appointments with them (awkward because they all said, “I’m trapped inside so I don’t know when you could come over)
– going though the area book (aka all our records and files) and grooming it to perfection
– cooking all the food in our apartment
– cleaning everything in sight
– memorizing The Living Christ (it’s pretty good! Go give it a read!)
– reading Jesus the Christ
– reading Das Buch Mormon aloud for practice
– watching the Restoration film… and… and Legacy… and Meet the Mormons… and the special features of Meet the Mormons (very boring, not recommended)
– face masks, pedicures, etc.
– more napping
– trying (to no avail) to arrange a “missionary-related” conference call with our mission leader and the other missionaries just for some company
Church was obviously canceled and the church parking lots only just got shoveled out today. On Sunday we finally ventured out after calling the branch president and then the elders and coaxing them into agreeing to a tiny sacrament meeting because, hello, I’m way to weak and puny to get through a week without the sacrament. Sister Walker and I walked/trudged about a mile to the mission office where we joined with another trio of sisters and with our elders and had a mini sacrament meeting. Sister Walker and I had both prepared little messages to share and we had a tiny testimony meeting. It a sweet experience. The spirit was so strong there, and I thought of Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” He truly was in the midst of it. I felt it. We all did. The spirit instructed me early in my mission that I should walk out of sacrament meeting a different person than I walked in, and since then I’ve learned time and again that it is always, always worth it to get the sacrament on the Sabbath. After that we just didn’t have the heart to return to our dreaded apartment so we shoveled our car out from its mountain of snow, Sister Walker with the “official” shovel and me with the dustpan and also a broom. I tried to feel like a resourceful pioneer woman and not like a useless embarrassment to the church and to our companionship. Pictures to follow. Sister Walker is also a total service go-getter and talked me into shoveling many people out of the snow with our shovel and dustpan. #betterhalf
(our car is the one on the right. you can see a tiny peek of windshield wiper poking out)
On Monday night we finally got to really get back to work when a wonderful member took us out in her nicely-tired car. After we had visited everyone on our plans, it was nearly time to go home and we drove by the stake center. The parking lot was absolutely covered in several feet of snow and behind the building we spied a big hill with a huge, huge piece of cardboard, like double refrigerator box sized. We obviously had to go sledding, and it was amazing. Night sledding is the only way. After a deep and intense lull, a little spike in adrenaline was much needed.
Today is also an eventful one because sweet Sister Walker is 20. Her nickname back home is “Mickey” and so I prayed really hard for guidance and figured out how to make Mickey Mouse banana-cinnamon pancakes for her using a technique that the spirit brought to my remembrance from a youtube video I viewed in the pre-mission life. I’m not much of a cook so I was pretty proud that I didn’t light anything on fire whatsoever. A companion’s birthday must always be taken full advantage of because a missionary can sneakily incur favor for their companionship as a unit while appearing to be a great companion. Just a little lifehack for all you future missionaries out there. Today was also transfers. Nobody is going anywhere (whew) for another six weeks (which we didn’t find out until 10:45pm on Sunday night, the missionary equivalent of 3:45am). Our area is the transfer hub so we were peripheral to the transfers happening. They decided to do away with transfer meeting in order to free up maximum time for missionary work (and to avoid emotional trauma for outgoing missionaries, I suppose) so everything is weird and different. Fun though.
In baby animal news, remember Tinkerbell, the blind one-eyed pomeranian? The elders met her for the first time and one of them, a slightly newer (but not really new enough for this to be acceptable) elder crouched down and said, “Come here Tinkerbell! Come to Uncle [first name]!” His companion just looked at us with pure shock and terror and the room went silent and everyone got uncomfortable and finally his companion said, “I don’t know which is worse: that you called yourself by your first name or that you called yourself uncle…. or that you were talking about yourself in the third person to a pomeranian.” It’s okay, Tinkerbell just has that effect on people, especially because her best friend is a fluffy white seeing-eye kitten named Gusgus.
This week we also had a PRETTY GREAT AND I ALMOST FAINTED OF HOW GREAT IT WAS worldwide missionary broadcast. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all I have to say. I was struck by the way everyone presented the gospel and missionary work with such intense simplicity. The way they did it, being worthy vessels of the Holy Ghost, every missionary was able to receive personalized counsel from the spirit. Here’s a little report: https://www.lds.org/church/news/leaders-instruct-missionaries-during-video-segments-of-worldwide-broadcast?lang=eng
On of my main takeaways from the broadcast is that living the gospel (especially missionary work, aka the greatest duty of living the gospel) is not easy but it is simple. I love it.
And? I love you! Feel free to send Sister Walker a present at 5455 Columbia Rd Apt 213, Columbia MD 21044-5686
The Jonas Sisters