December 1, 2014
This week was absolute chaos. And a lot of fun to boot. We got rain! It rained all day yesterday, and it was absolutely wonderful. Sister Cox and I were so excited to play in the downpour – our neighbors officially think we’re nuts. That’s okay, we had lots of fun. We had dinner on Thanksgiving with the stake president and his wife. They are some of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met, it’s no surprise that everyone loves them. They are both just absolutely incredible, and it was a real treat to spend a few hours with them to celebrate the holiday. President Walker was telling us about how he was invited to be the key-note speaker last minute at an inter-faith dinner. Our ward is involved in an inter-faith food pantry, and on Wednesday night representatives from various churches, mosques, and synagogues were invited to a dinner. He shared a story with us (that he told at the dinner) about two major generals in the middle east who were fierce enemies for years as they fought a war. One of the general’s wives came to him and asked that he use whatever power he had to send a package to the wife of the other general. Long story short, this gift of hand-crafted olives that were made using an old family recipe and the gift given in response were integral to the peace accord that occurred between the two warring nations. I loved how simply President Walker described this gift. To some, it was a bottle of olives. To others, it was a gift of love because it took time, and was a cherished family recipe that encompassed ages of perfecting and love, as well as an expression of gratitude. I can’t tell it as well as President Walker, but I have been thinking a lot about how each of us has a gift to give to others, and how when it comes to an expression of love, not much can stop that force. It is really the answer to most problems. Sister Cox and I both got the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting on Sunday. We weren’t given a topic, so I prayed and prayed, and ended up speaking about what it means to be a Christian. I think it went well – they said ‘amen’ and the end, so that’s a good sign! We also were able to teach the youth on Sunday, which was pretty cool. We couldn’t for the life of us figure out what to teach on, so we ended up doing a Q&A about missionary work, school, and living the gospel. It ended up tying into my talk really well, so that was a blessing. There’s a primary song that says, “we all must brothers be,” and I realized that that really summed up what I was trying to get at both in my talk and in my lesson. In the Christian community, there is no room for anything but brotherhood, especially with the way things are in the world. I’m grateful to be a part of such a huge global family. We weren’t expecting to both speak and talk, but the elders area in our ward has been temporarily closed. We have taken
over their area, and are trying to balance everything as much as possible.
We spent several hours this week going through their area book and cleaning it up a bit, as well as our own, which will help in the long run as we try to work with the ward and with investigators and potentials. Lots and lots of paper work this week. Luckily, Sister Cox and I have the weirdest discussions, so it keeps things lively.
The highlight of this week that will make you laugh is an absolutely, 100% true story. Elder Miller is in a trio with the zone leaders, and we were planning on having a lesson to hand off one of his investigators to us. We knew it was going to be awkward, having five missionaries trying to teach one person. But we got there, and it just was worse than expected, and absolutely hysterical. Imagine five of us – two sisters and three elders – sitting outside this woman’s house on her dining room chairs, while she sits inside, about ten feet away at her dining room table. The elders couldn’t go in because there wasn’t a guy in the house, and we weren’t about to leave them outside alone. So that’s awkward enough. Then comes the best part. All of a sudden their investigator is all, “you know! I’m glad to have both you girls and you guys here. I want you to teach my granddaughter the law of chastity.” Insert awkward silence here. So we taught the law of chastity to her eighteen year old granddaughter, who sat just inside the house. The poor girl probably felt like she was being court marshaled. We sure did. It’s just an awkward lesson in general, trying to tactfully explain why we believe in being chaste before marriage, then you add in an 18 year old girl, three elders and two sisters. And their investigator had started off the lesson by asking, “so who is married to who??” Yeah. It was hysterical. Probably the most memorable lesson of our missions. We were all trying so hard to be serious and thoughtful, but we just knew that we looked absolutely ridiculous, and that it was probably the most awkward lesson in the history of all missionary work. Luckily, the elders are super chill (I came out with 2 of them), and Sister Cox is pro at keeping a straight face. I feel like that lesson sums up or week pretty well. :)
With the holidays coming up, we’re focusing a lot on service and helping in the community. We are working with the Burbank rose float, which will be in the Rose parade. It’s pretty legit – and HUGE! I’ll have to tell you what it looks like, so you can see it on TV. I never realized how detailed the work was until we spent 2 hours sorting marigold petals! It was fun, we got to talk to lots of people, so it was worth it. A family in our ward had us over for dinner, and we helped them decorate their Christmas tree. That was a real treat for the both of us, to be able to do that with them. I’m so thankful for their family, they are our biggest support in this ward, and we love spending time with them in their home. Their son, Joseph, is on a mission, so they spoil us a little extra just for him. It’s that missionary parent karma thing – the more you spoil the missionaries, the more spoiled your kids are in the mission field. :)
The worst moment of the week was receiving the first of my ‘trunky letters.’ We get a series of letters and paperwork in preparation to return home, and I got my forms for my flights. It totally made my heart drop, just thinking of how little time I have left in the field. But it also helped me to reapply myself and make some goals for the next three months of my mission, which is good. But it was still really hard to sit down and fill it out. I feel so bad for teasing Elder Hansen and Elder Villejo when they got theirs! Again – missionary karma.
My ASL is improving, once again. I think Sister Cox is an incredible ASL teacher. We have a lot of fun playing finger spelling games and working on my vocabulary. Luckily, she hasn’t made me interpret any meetings for her yet (not that she needs it). I love being able to sign on a regular basis again – it makes me so happy. Sister Cox shared a little about her story in sacrament meeting about going deaf. She’s one incredible person, to face what she’s facing. Right now, she has about a 75% hearing loss, and will be completely deaf once she’s in her mid-30s. Talk about facing trial with grace, that girl. I’m so glad to be her companion. It’s such a blessing to me, and we get on so well.
Well, I’d best be off – we have an appointment in half an hour. Sometime this week, I encourage you to check out Christmas.mormong.org
and watch the new video “He is the Gift” – I’ll be talking about it this upcoming week. It’s a beautiful reminder of what Christmas is all about.
Love you all!
Picture 1 – rain! :)
Picture 2 – sometimes we make baby pancakes.