Hello again, hello!
This week was a pretty darn awesome week, filled with tender mercies, blessings, and miracles. I have honestly come to love those days that are harder than others – the ones that frustrate, hurt, and even bring you to the brink of tears, because those are the ones that bring you to your knees and remind you most clearly of the blessings and the hand of the Lord in this work. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, as a lot of missionaries have been having a tough time, especially with transfers coming up (on the 25th). Every week has its ups and downs, which I am so grateful for (thought you’d never hear me say that, eh?).
A quick round-up of the funny moments of the week:
-I got sunburned while waiting for one of our elderly sisters to answer her door. Five minutes and I was bright pink.
-I met the YSA bishop (next zone over), and he knows the Florians (from the Hartford stake). We laughed at how all of the east is stuck in snow (then I realized I really wanted snow).
-Sister Dame bought a panda for the pandas (aka the Korean elders).
-Elder Silver tried to rename me while giving a blessing.
-the zone leaders did a Michael Jackson impression worthy of American Idol, singing and dancing included.
-I was so tired while interpreting that I accidentally smacked myself in the forehead during Sunday School. Never signing ‘heaven’ again.
-I heard ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘taxi,’ and ‘abandon ship’ during Korean sacrament.
-Elva threatened to write to President Hall if I’m transferred again. So did Wanda and Ed.
We had some seriously cool experiences this week.
A sister who just recently moved from Salt Lake City with her three kids, and has been inactive for several years, reached out to us and wants us to teach her and her children the lessons. Her 2 girls are adorable, and so sweet. We met her on Tuesday afternoon at a member’s house, and had planned to have a short lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong, and led us in an entirely different direction – instead, we talked about faith and the role of mothers, especially the role of mothers in Israel. Boy, was the spirit strong. There were tears all over the place. Tricia (the new sister) gave us these huge hugs and thanked us for following the spirit to be able to talk to her about what she really needed that day. She’s a single mom (actually, all the women we are teaching regularly are either widows or single mothers, and I love it), and so incredibly strong. I am so excited for her to be in the ward and to meet the members.
We got out of the lesson and Sister Dame was just so excited. She was going on and on about how she’d never felt the spirit that strongly in a lesson before, and how she loved it. It made me rethink how I had been teaching. I try to follow the spirit, but sometimes you get so used to it, you don’t have as much joy in it as you normally would. It’s been a huge blessing to be training a semi-new missionary who gets so excited about things I don’t think twice about. It’s really refreshing, and a huge blessing to me.
After we left, we headed to Claim Jumper (a nearby restaurant) to finally use the gift card that a member gave us for Christmas. We were just doing some planning when two girls slid into the booth beside us. They were so excited, and told us they were from the San Fernando Fourth Ward (Spanish) and that they’d never seen sisters out and about like normal people before. They absolutely made my day (their names were Daisy and Jessica), and we sat and talked with them for a while until our food came. Before their family left, their mom came and talked with us for a bit, telling us about her little sister serving in Santiago, Chile. She said that she had been having a hard time (don’t we all?) and had been considering going home, but her mission president refused to meet with her because he knew she needed to stay. I think she just needed our perspective – that struggles aren’t uncommon, but that in the end, all is well. She gave us great, big hugs before she left, and promised to tell Hermana Rodriguez hello for me (I love Hermana Rodriguez and didn’t realize she was serving so close to CPZ).
We were getting ready to pay for our bill when the manager came by and told us that the woman we had been talking to had already paid for it, and she had left us a note that said, “have a great rest of your day! CTR.” That totally made my day – Sister Dame and I both needed it pretty badly that day. We used our gift card to buy a slice of a 6 layer cake. Boy, was it good! But really, that Spanish sister was seriously a tender mercy of the Lord. You hear about stories like that all the time, but in “real life” it doesn’t happen.
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Maria, and our new investigator, Sonja. They are both so wonderful, and I am so excited for them. They are seriously changing their lives so quickly and giving it all up to the Lord. Both are single moms that are struggling a lot the past few years, and it was so incredible to see the change in them after talking with them about the Book of Mormon. Both are reading it like they are starving, and are so excited for church and for us to do more lessons. I love them so much. And it doesn’t hurt that they are telling all their friends that the sisters are cool! :)
We had pupusas for the first time! Mission milestone for sure. They are El Salvadorean and my new favorite food. Even better than tamales. They are little rounds of fried dough that are filled with different things like zucchini, pork, cheese, and my personal favorite, loroco, which is a type of cactus. One of our members bought us a bunch so we could have them to take home as well – we are so spoiled. They are really good, and I am determined to get a recipe from someone for them so I can make them when I get home.
So… Bishop Payne threw me under the bus and informed me at the ward scouting dinner. I’m standing there with my plate of tacos and he comes up and straight up says, “Sister Red, I talked to your mission president and recommended that at some point he put you in ASL work, or at least have you working with the ASL sisters who are taking a break from deaf work so they can keep up their signing skills. I also suggested that he let you get a new tag.”
Thrown under the bus. He had been threatening to tell President if I didn’t (in a good way), and then he finally did when President was in Canoga Park for a meeting with the bishops and stake presidency. That came as a surprise. So I feel like the next couple transfers might be interesting if President listens to Bishop. Bishop and Beverly are my biggest allies in ASL – Bishop pioneered the deaf program in his mission while he served as a young man, and served as an interpreter for several years after he returned home from Edmonton. Good thing I love signing! :)
That’s pretty much all that happened this week – nothing too eventful. All is well in California. I am so thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord that get us through hard days and what we learn from them!
Picture 1 – Jessica and Daisy’s mom’s note.
Picture 2 – Six Layer Chocolate cake.
Picture 3 – Churro picture fail. :)