This week represented a continuation of our wonderful two exchange per week schedule. It’s rigorous but it means lots of fun friendship/sisterhood times which is pretty great, plus seeing new sights/fun new adventures/ etc etc. We began our week driving down to Harpers Ferry early in the am with the zone leaders in their zone leader minivan, who were 80% asleep and listening to a Bruce R. McConkie talk or whatever (can somebody tell me what it is with elders and Bruce R. McConkie? I mean, he’s great, but wow). We joined their district meeting and then sent Sister Anderson back to Winchester. Oh it was so fun in Harpers Ferry! The twinkling fireflies dancing around West Virginia! And that’s so close by my old stomping grounds, I got to see some old buddies from the beginning days. I also got to be companions with Sister Whipple, a wise and wonderful woman.
When we returned we had a meeting with the zone leaders and the district leaders just doing some leadership training. Sister Anderson and I walked into the room and all the elders (about five of them and then us) were just going bananas. There was something wrong and they did not want to tell us. Finally after much cajoling they told us that our mission boundaries are being reorganized. The Annapolis stake is going to be part of the DC North mission and we are receiving two stakes from Pennsylvania, the Chambersburg and Lancaster stakes. This will be a big change. Missions carry a strong sense of cultural identity, kind of like maybe a school would, so we have a lot of missionaries who will be feeling displaced and needing to get to know a new culture. Also the missionaries coming into our mission will need to relinquish their iPads when they enter our analog mission. Sorry guys. I’m really excited though because I have seen what a great experience it can be for people to grow and stretch in their own sense of identity by bringing new people into their peer group. I think that’s a very powerful skill and in a way that’s a big part of missionary work. When we find new people who have a desire to come into the church, there’s definitely culture shock there. Some people may have to give things up that they are used to doing or having. It’s part of our baptismal covenant to welcome people with open arms because our ideal is to be united as a human family under one big tent. The Lord definitely beckons us to grow in His infinite wisdom.
After everyone settled down we proceeded to give some training. Sister Anderson and I talked about being “area changers,” using the example of Ammon, because we know this zone has enormous potential. It’s already a great zone and people love serving around here, but we have all been feeling inspired to take it to the next level. Not just our specific area or zone or even mission but on the whole it is my belief that the Lord is increasing the pace at which He accomplishes His work and we need to keep up! Oh it is exciting. ~fostering change~ has always been an appealing concept for me.
We also saw some great miracles with regards to the people we’re teaching this week. For example:
– on Tuesday we were visiting a neighborhood where one of our investigators lives. The sister we were visiting told us she would love for us to invite this investigator over to join our visit but we hadn’t heard back from our investigator and we remembered her telling us that she would be pretty busy that day, but of course we wanted to see her. As we were driving past the community garden Sister Anderson yelled, “There she is!!!!!!!!!!” and we pulled over and invited her to come along with us. It was great! Sometimes teaching is stressful, kind of akin to public speaking in a stage fright kind of sense. In the middle of the lesson I was having some butterflies in my stomach and I prayed that I would feel better. When I did I realized that I was holding on to these unpleasant feelings and that this was really the barrier to receiving divine help. I had to #letgoandletgod, if you will.
– after a lesson with a new family we’re teaching, their daughter (in her young teens) told us, “I want to be a Norman.” We were like, wait what?? and then I said, “Ohhh you want to become a Mormon?” and she said, “Yeah. How do I do that? Do I have to get baptized?” and we explained to her, yes, baptism and confirmation are the ordinances by which we gain membership in the church. She also told us that she has been watching the Restoration film over and over again 🙂
Our final exchange was with the Shenandoah Valley sisters. These are some amazing, sweet, strong missionaries and I love them a lot. My companion for the day comes from a family that hasn’t always been active participants in the gospel but over the years they have grown a lot together. Now this sister has been serving valiantly, her brother is on a mission too, and on Saturday their step-dad was baptized. She got to Skype in and everything. So wonderful.
Finally, a little anecdote: Sister Anderson and I were driving out of our spot at a gas station. A lady was walking toward the car and I was looking the other way for cars coming to my left. This pedestrian and I got pretty close to nudging each other and my companion, being a great co-driver, yelled at me, “SISTER ANDERSON!!!! WATCH OUT!!!” Yes, she called me by her own name. That is the degree to which she is losing herself in the work. Great job, Sister Anderson. Also, I had a dream this week that I organized a baptismal service and our investigator hired a team of hip-hop dancers to perform. Anyway.
Also this week I was reading and discussing about
Well my friends, loved ones, associates, siblen. Please keep being amazing. And write to me. 841 Thomas Ct #57 Winchester VA 22601