Share Goodness

August 25, 2014
I’m 90% certain I’ve hit the dreaded point in my mission where time flies faster than the blink of an eye. I sit down to email, and all of a sudden I realize that I have absolutely no idea where the week has gone and have no idea what we’ve done, aside from my sunburn being proof that we worked hard.

We were able to get out and do some service this week, which was a huge blessing. On Friday night and Saturday morning we volunteered at the Granada Hills Relay for Life, which was a blast. Friday night was the best – it was our whole zone setting up for the event, so there was a lot of hard work, laughter, and comradery. It was held at a local high school, and so the elders were overjoyed to take a break for a few minutes and throw around a football, reliving their high school glory days under the lights. It was one of those moments when even a camera couldn’t catch it properly: a dozen and a half elders in their proselyting clothing with shirts untucked playing a pick up game as the sun set, yelling for the ball and teasing one another as they ran passes. There are only so many hours that you can spend on a field without playing ball apparently. It made my day to see them become kids again. We see them in trainings and on the street, and they’re all grown up, wearing their suits and ties, so formal and focused on the work. It’s good to see them stretch a bit and have a few hours of pure fun.
The Relay for Life was really fun, we got to talk to a lot of people as we refilled coolers with bottled water and ran the registration booth. I loved seeing the teams represent their loved ones as they walked or ran the track. It was a real treat to talk with some of the patients, survivors, and families for a few hours on Saturday morning/afternoon. There’s just this joy that radiates when you’re working hard for a common goal, no matter how hot it is or how long you’ve been at it.
Sister Johnson and I were able to visit with a lot of members this week and their families. We walked into an apartment complex where one of our members lives, and her youngest daughter just darts up to us, tackles me, and tells me that she has flowers for me waiting at the dinner table. It’s the little moments like that which make the hard days worth it – a family welcoming you in, talking your ear off, watching the kids fight over the last piece of garlic bread, and a big round of hugs before you leave.
We had a really cool experience with one of our part member families. Omar is our assistant ward mission leader, and the only member in his family. We dropped by one evening, hoping to catch him between shifts at the airport, so that Sister Johnson could meet him. He was totally surprised to see us on his porch, and his daughter Aiyana all but commandeered the conversation. She’s got to be the cutest kid I’ve seen in this area. She’s fluent in both English and Spanish and just has her dad wrapped around her little finger. She’s got such a big personality for such a little girl. My favorite one-liner from her was, “when I was a little girl yesterday…” We talked for a bit and headed home, not thinking much of the exchange. When we got home, we got a text from Omar, telling us that his wife (who is very hesitant around missionaries) was okay with us coming over another time and having dinner. So the next night, we headed back over and had dinner with them, which was just a really sweet hour and a half. Aiyana loved watching me eat Mexican food, and piling toppings onto my burrito, saying “this one is pico” or “this one isn’t lots of pico.” (‘pico’ means ‘hot’ or ‘spicy’) Aiyana even loved us enough to share her cheesecake with us. It was so cool to talk with Omar about his life and experiences (he’s been in the states for 7 years) and about growing up in Cancun, Mexico.
The next morning Omar texted us, saying, “just for the record… you are the first set of sister missionaries who step inside the house.” Aiyana saw us at Church yesterday and clarified: “Hermanas! You are the first Mormons in our house!” Incredible, right?
I love working with part-member families. We were able to meet with a young couple in our ward who recently got married. Kacey has been a member her entire life, and her husband Justin asked if we would be willing to go through the lessons with him. It was really cool to get to know him, and to see how determined they are to have a successful marriage and family, no matter how busy they are or how much they travel for work (Kacey is in the acting/music industry, and Justin is in the film industry as an engineer). Sister Johnson and I are both so excited to be working with them.
I’ve been continuing my studies in Isaiah this past week, and am so thankful for those quiet mornings between me and the Lord as I study. I was reading in Isaiah 49-55 this morning, and a few verses in chapter 55 stuck out to me specifically, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come yet to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth thee? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you…” (Isaiah 55:1-3).
Elder Villejo and I were recently talking about how when you’re reading the scriptures with a prayer in your heart, you will always find something that touches you, no matter what the verse as a whole is talking about. Here’s what stuck out to me:
1. Hearken diligently – listen to the Lord with an intent to act, not only for yourself, but in His name for His purposes.
2. Come unto me – go to the Lord with everything you’ve got, give it all to Him, and prepare to be blessed!
3. And your soul shall live – no matter what, the Lord has us in His hand. What is this life compared to eternity?
One thing that has really gotten me through this week is looking for the little blessings during the day – someone offering us cold water while we’re out proselyting, a kind word from a stranger, a text from a member offering support and encouragement, brownies for dessert… I love the new social media push from the church, #sharegoodness. Check it out!! I know for me, sharing those moments that are made of just pure joy and happiness are key to pushing through adversities, trials, and struggles, and amplify the triumphs we have in life on a daily basis. I’m so excited to see how this initiative works as an outreach to brighten days of people around the world!
I hope everyone has a good week, especially with fall coming!
Love you!

Sister Redner


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