A short email this week, not due to lack of love (happy Valentines day in a few days, by the way), but due to lack of time! I swear, each week we have less time on Preparation day because we have so much more to do!
We’ve had a lot of Focus Fifteen lessons this week, which I really enjoy. My favorite was with Brother Ryan, an old widower from England who is absolutely the sweetest. Sister Olsen came with, and we met Sister Pascale there, so it was a bit different from normal. When we got finished with our lesson on the Plan of Salvation, he insisted we stay for dessert, which turned out to be jello and ice cream. Gross, but I survived. I never realized how much I despise jello until I got on the mission and every member and their neighbor want to feed it to us in mass quantities. Blergh. The photograph Brother Ryan has hanging on his wall of Princess Diana makes up for it, because that’s just adorable.
Exchanges were good, as usual. I love that I get to have 24 hours with Sister Olsen, who is perhaps my best friend in the mission. We’re definitely kindred spirits, and it’s nice to have that change of pace that exchanges bring. And we play my “Three Wooden Crosses” album on repeat for at least 16 of those 24 hours!
This week was rough, to be honest. I thought it was a joke that between the 2nd and 4th transfers, most missionaries have a little breakdown. It’s totally a real thing. I guess it’s just the reality of your calling and the stress that you haven’t let get to you hitting you finally. I talked with President Hall for about 2 hours yesterday about several things and concerns about our area (Chatsworth), and it was good. President Hall is absolutely incredible and so loving. If I can be a fraction of who he is, I feel like I would be well on my way to celestial approval. (I’ve also become slightly blasphemous on the mission… just kidding)
I’ve also determined that President is all-knowing. I told him I had learned to sign and was interpreting meetings and all he said was, “I know.” You know? And you didn’t tell me?! Thanks, Pres.
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with one of our ward missionaries, Carey. She served in Spain years ago, and has such a unique perspective of missionary work and is so willing to help us to become better missionaries. We had planned to do some service for her on Saturday but she texted and said she couldn’t because she had hurt her hip (well, her dog had hurt her hip). But the rest of the text is what made my day: “Keep praying with people – it’s mighty powerful. One of you should keep an eye open when praying with strangers… just in case. This is L.A. after all! :)” I just about died when I read it, because that is SO Carey.
She had reminded us of not only the power of prayer, but the power of a missionary’s prayer. As missionaries, not even simply elders, we have the authority to literally call upon the powers of heaven to bless families, individuals, and homes. I had forgotten that, honestly, and was grateful for her reminder that we do have that power, and that responsibility to use prayer to its fullest potential as we go about our work. Bishop reminded us too – last week he asked that each time we visit the home of a less active, that we close with a prayer inviting the Spirit to remain and for the Lord to strengthen and protect the family therein.
The Lord has given me a lot of little “Come to Jesus” moments this week, which were certainly needed. I’m thankful for the reminders of my purpose and of the gravity of my calling. It is such a huge and wonderful blessing. I’ve learned so much these past five months (breakdown aside), and am eager to continue learning.
Carey taught me another valuable lesson: no matter the question, love is truly the answer. It is the response to all concerns of humanity and of the gospel. Indeed, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ because of the pure and infinite love of our Heavenly Father. If I can help people to understand, truly, truly understand that principle, I count that interaction as successful because I know that the knowledge that God loves His children is the one thing that He wants His children throughout the world to understand.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love personified, and it truly is Jesus Christ. So, when you get down to the basic, Jesus is the answer.
Yeah, my mind was a bit blown too. I should have learned from Elder Magele this week – he was street contacting and when someone refused a pass along card on the grounds of Christ not needing them, he simply handed them the card again and said, “You need Jesus.” It wasn’t harsh or condemning, just a simple statement of fact. Because we all need love.
I promise a longer letter next week. Know that I love you, I pray for you, and think of you daily!