The great thing about being in the Wild West of the mission in the springtime is that people get to tell you all about their adventures trying to find morels in the mountains. I love it. We got to go up on the “mountain” of the area this week and it was lovely. No morels, though. We did come upon a house where the inner door was open but the storm door was closed. We decided to knock on it, only to discover that there was a giant, very excited golden retriever and a tiny black teacup poodle behind this storm door. The golden retriever jumped up on the door until it opened and he and the poodle both escaped. They were running around so excitedly so I decided to delegate the giant dog to Sister Rogers and the tiny dog to me because I am a great companion. The dog had run around the corner and I couldn’t leave my companion so I just stood at the corner calling the dog while it went to the bathroom and eventually decided to wander over to me. I grabbed the poodle and saw that Sister Rogers had gotten “Goldilocks” back into the house. She opened the door so that I could throw Curly Top in but instead Goldilocks just steamrolled the poodle running out of the house. Finally we decided to throw Curly Top in first and then Sister Rogers fake threw a stick into the house so Goldilocks would follow. We got them both in and ran away, never to return.
We also had a great experience this week thanks to Sister Rogers and her spiritual power. Right after she woke up Sister Rogers was praying, half-asleep when she had an image in her mind of a certain corner in our area and an impression that we were to be at this corner at 12:30 that day. She mentioned it to me and of course I was excited to see what would happen. Well, after district meeting we went to this corner and arrived around 12:27. We watched a woman walk out of a house across the street, smoking and talking on the phone. I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach her so I handed her a pass-along card quietly. She said, “Leslie, I’m going to have to call you back.” and hung up the phone. She told us that she was a member but hadn’t been active in a long time and that she just barely moved into the area. She also told her that she was at a real low point, and that the last time she hit rock bottom like this she had been staying at a friend’s house and the elders just happened to tract into her then. She said she knows the Lord sends His missionaries when she needs them the most, and I had to agree. We had just printed out “An High Priest of Good Things to Come” by Elder Holland (soooo good, go read it!) and gave her a copy, then we arranged for her to receive a priesthood blessing and have her records moved into the ward. It was pretty amazing. Heavenly Father never ever gives up on us.
This week, like every week, brought a lovely exchange experience. I was with Sister Tripp and she joined me in Winchester. Sister Tripp is an amazing new missionary who really turned her life around before she came on a mission. I loved hearing about her life and her story. She talked a lot about how she was learning that she could be herself and be a missionary and a faithful Latter-Day Saint at the same time. What a wonderful lesson. The Lord needs each of us and all of us.
We also have been volunteering at the Shenandoah Valley Museum in the gardens. This week we weeded for a long long time. I loved it. It’s very satisfying to be able to do physical, tangible work, and our supervisor is this amazing bearded man who lives in the Appalachian mountains with his wife and new baby. Probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I was talking to him about his mushroom hunting activities and he started describing the different kinds of woods with increasing animation. “Now yer just gettin me all excated about mushrooms!” he said. You just meet the best people on your mission.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are the words “succor” and “pacify.” I think about childbirth and infants a lot (for example, this week I tried to get in with someone by offering my labor support services to his wife. It was semi-successful and our zone leaders approved it.) and the term “succor” always brings to my mind the nursing of a child. I don’t know if that’s actually what it means at all, it just sounds like it should, right? The scriptures are full of descriptions of the Savior being able to succor us. For example, in Alma 7:12, the prophet Alma says, “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” I love that one! How comforting to consider that he will succor us. On the other hand, we read about the adversary and how he is prone to “pacify” us. That makes me think of a pacifier, which imitates a something that will succor, or nourish and feed, a child but which offers no real nourishment. For example, in 2 Nephi 28:21 we read a statement describing the adversary, “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” Scary! The Savior will offer us real nourishment because he has the power to succor, while the adversary will always offer an imitation with no real power to feed us.
My friends, I hope you had a great week and will continue to have great weeks forever. Write me lots of nice letters and I will write you back. My address is 841 Thomas Ct #57, Winchester VA 22601
Baby Bumblebee (as they call me here)
PS: We had leftover rhinestones from bedazzling our Elder friend’s crowbar so I moved on to an extra name tag that I never wear…