mr. bluejoy on my shoulder

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. Ours was straight rain, although we did go “patriotic caroling” and sing “America the Beautiful” to some of our members, since we were told to cool it on the proselyting front for the evening. I even glimpsed a firework from our balcony after nightly planning.
Our week included a tiny transfer! Beautiful Sister Allen got her new companion. We drove out to Harpers Ferry to pick up Sister Johnston and brought her back home. It was fun/bittersweet to say goodbye to Sister Allen but she’s still close by. In fact, they’re emailing with us today in the family history library. The zone leaders nearby have a minivan rather than a traditional missionary-sized car and we thought that between Sister Allen and Sister Johnston it would probably be more prudent to take the minivan so we traded cars for the day. The zone leaders were going on exchanges with our district leader that day so his small suitcase happened to be in the back of the car. After driving a minivan through the countryside of West Virginia, we quickly unloaded the car to rush off to our next appointment, piling all of the luggage haphazardly in the sisters’ apartment. That evening, after curfew we got a call from our district leader saying, “Do you sisters know where my suitcase is?” uh oh. Long story short, the poor elders had to go pick up our district leader’s overnight bag from the sisters in the morning, but only after we gave him some ideas on how they could create a DIY toothbrush. This is why we have the atonement.
On Wednesday we had every missionary’s favorite activity, interviews with President. Basically an opportunity to feel super validated and good about yourself and learn about the deepest doctrines of the gospel. He also quoted “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” to me and then we spent a few minutes browsing IMDB together? And then he gave me art museum recommendations. It was so great. He also instructed all the missionaries there not to eat rat poison. Thanks President. We had our interview last and it kept getting pushed back and back (because he is super thorough, good job) so finally we finished and had nice long talks with him and it was getting to be curfew… but then a senior couple happened to be in the church at the same time and insisted that we all go to Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt. So we did. We stayed out after curfew to get frozen yogurt with our mission president. To make it a better missionary activity we put together a treat for our investigator and brought it to her, though.
The Lord is so kind to us and He gave me the opportunity to reunite with Sister Walker who is in Front Royal, a beautiful town in Virginia which is allegedly filled with “redneck hippies,” according to a local redneck hippie resident. Being with Sister Walker again was such a blessing, she is a shining star. We were able to set goals and make plans together for the remainder of our missionary service and reminisce lots and lots. Also, we had dinner with an amazing family who fed us fresh venison and banana pie and who have a blue jay living near their home who they have become friends with. They found this blue jay when he was a little fledgling and have been feeding and caring for him the whole time. He’s very tame and his name is Bluejoy. I love him. As we were leaving their home they called for the bird, chirping at him, and he flew right over. As his mother human held him, I held out my finger and he jumped right on! Oh it was so precious. Then he hopped onto my shoulder and started pecking at my hair, then as I looked at him and smiled and he thought that my eyes and teeth were nice and shiny, perhaps, so he tried to peck and/or kiss them. I felt like Snow White though. Sister Walker and her companion are both dedicated percussionists and as we were discussing ways to help her companion get more enthusiastic about tracting, we discovered what I will call the “hocket knock-it”, in which a companionship takes turns creating a rhythm on the door together. Pretty exciting stuff.
If you thought that was my only baby animal news, you are wrong! I’ve had quite a week for baby animals. On Monday we went to a place called “Puppy City” where they have designer puppies for sale for $1,00000000000000 or so each. The white handbook instructs us, “Do not keep pets of any kind.” so of course we couldn’t take any home but we COULD play with the puppies. We took our investigator and tried them all out. Photographs to follow. They were SO frisky and cute and mixes of the fluffiest kinds of dogs. There was one chocolate lab puppy which was the perfect height for the length of my skirt, all she wanted to do was pull my skirt off and eat it. I had to get a little bashful.
Final baby animal news: yesterday we were teaching a new investigator all about the gospel. She had lots of cats and a bunny (cute!) and as we were praying I felt the tiniest paw on my foot. I peeked down and saw a LITTLE kitten and prayed in my heart that it wouldn’t leave before the prayer ended so that I wouldn’t irreverently have to reach for a kitten in the middle of a prayer. The kitten stayed and then her sister wandered over. They were basically twins, tiny gray sneezes. I put them both in my lap and they wrestled a little and then fell asleep as we shared our testimonies of the atonement. Everyone was crying because of the spirit and I had two warm little balls of fur on my lap. It was bliss.
Okay wait… we do have a final piece of baby animal news. Even, a baby animal miracle. We have an investigator who has really been loving the gospel and enjoying learning more and everything but she would always say, “I just haven’t gotten my answer yet.” Finally we discovered last week that she has a specific answer she was seeking, perhaps even a sign. She had us over for dinner this week and as we were eating our foraged berry cobbler she said casually, “So I got my answer.” Sister Anderson and I were trying/failing to remain calm. In my heart I guessed that her sign would have something to do with her beloved cat. My good companion said, “Would you mind sharing how your answer came?” and she said, “My cat has had a really bad rash for a whole year. I prayed and told God that if He wanted me to get baptized, to heal my cat’s rash. This week my cat was made whole.” We were kinda dumbfounded.
To be clear, God isn’t always big on signs and our answers to prayers don’t always look exactly like we want them to, but He can heal our cats if he wants to, so to speak. Sometimes it works just right. For another example, we saw our dinner calendar going around Relief Society, so that families could sign up to have us over for dinner, because they are the best. We noticed that a sister in the middle seemed to have forgotten she was holding the meal calendar and left it on her lap. We didn’t want to be rude and ask her to continue passing it so Sister Anderson said a quick prayer and lo and behold, a moment later this good sister seemed to suddenly notice the dinner calendar on her lap and passed it along. She is a spiritually in-tune kind of person so we had no doubt that she would listen to the spirit and notice a nudge to answer someone’s prayer.
After church, the Young Women had a little Book of Mormon reading party. We brought our teenage investigator and she just had a great time. We ate those classic Mormon croissant/chicken salad/half grape sandwiches and our investigator listened to/read the Book of Mormon with great interest. She loved it! I loved it! Amazing.
Finally…. I’m turning 24 on Friday. For my birthday, I invite you all to think of someone who needs a little love or who you’ve been meaning to get in touch with and reach out to them. You will love it. They will love it. Also, if you send a missionary a birthday card that is a lot of good karma. 841 Thomas Ct. #57, Winchester, VA 22601
Hugs and handshakes,
Sister Snow White
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