Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Conference, Rain, Bizarre Week

Week 9

I wish I even knew where to start this week, but I don't. So let's dive right in. I will start by telling you that when you are on a mission, you see things and meet people that you would never ever even knew existed. So let me start with an interesting streak of events that occurred this week.

Tuesday: We went to a ward member's house for dinner and to teach an investigator. During dessert, one of the ward members stands up and walks to the bathroom. She comes back out looking dizzy and hot, a look I know all too well. She told me she was epileptic and I knew she was about to have a seizure but before we could run to catch her it was too late. She was on the floor seizing before our very eyes. For anyone who has ever had to watch me have a seizure, I apologize. It is terrifying. And you feel so helpless just watching them have no control over their body. After she was done shaking, she continued to be passed out for five minutes... ten minutes... fifteen minutes... eventually we concluded that we would just teach the lesson anyway. So sitting on couches surrounding a very passed out sister, we taught the Restoration to Melanie, our investigator. I asked our Mission President if that counted as teaching a lesson with a member present and he just laughed and told me that the member needed to be conscious. Good to know.

Wednesday: We had what's called "Veteran's Meeting" because I'm practically a veteran now, obviously, so we drove to Oklahoma City for this meeting. As we were driving through a toll, the car in front of us lost a hub cap so we pulled over and I got out and bolted down the (luckily carless because no one drives at 6 AM) freeway and then I ran back to the car and we "drove the speed limit" to catch up with him. When he pulled off and we gave him his hubcap, he laughed that my companion and I were matching, because yes we have matching polka dot dresses, and yes we accidentally wore them on the same day. So two things could come of this. He will either 1) Think Mormons are way weird. 2) Totally join the church one day.

Thursday: Picture it: it's 9:30. Being the completely hard working missionaries we are, we roll in and are walking up the stairs when these two Islamic girls get out attention and say "Hey, hey. Come into our apartment". We, naturally, don't hesitate at all and walk inside. They start giving us cookies and wine glasses filled with juice--don't worry, we both discreetly sniffed it to verify-- and telling us that they just moved here to go to school and they wanted someone who could teach them about Christianity but that they didn't have any friends. These girls are the sweetest. They taught us all about what Muslims believe and I was able to recall the little knowledge I had retained from my 9th grade geography class to ask about Mecca and Allah and whatnot. I asked how they know where Mecca is when they're in the US. Turns out, there's an app for that. Who'da thunk. It's funny having to teach them about Christianity and then teach them what we believe. It's also not easy to describe to two girls who really struggle with English. Unfortunately, I didn't learn Arabic in the MTC. Strange, I know.

Friday was somewhat normal. We met up with our new friends from Saudi Arabia, Amaal and Sarah, once again to learn more and teach more. We're really not allowed to teach them the lessons, for their own good, but it's an interesting learning experience. I've included a picture of them, they taught me how to turn my scarf into a head wrap the proper way, but Amaal was not fully covered the way their culture requires so I'm covering her up. What are bizarre apartment neighbor friends for?

Saturday, after conference, we were completely edified and spiritually uplifted. So what better think to do than knock doors of people who think you're not a christian? To preface this story, let me tell you what Wichita Falls is in a terrible drought so everyone of all faiths has been praying for rain. Well, Saturday (because the Prophet spoke, of course!) it rained! So we knock this house, a lady opens the door and the following conversation ensues:

Me: Hi! We're in your neighborhood praying with people to thank God for rain!
Her: Oh! That's great!
Me: Would it be alright if we prayed with you?
Her: Of course!
*Sees our name tags
        .... Wait, who are you with?
Me: We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. --Silence-- Is everything okay?
Her: No. It's not okay.

And she proceeds to back away into her house and slam the door. And my heart hurt. I finally understood all the scriptures of the righteous in the scriptures that say their hearts hurt for the hardness of their hearts. God bless that sweet lady. We are all Christian. We are all here to glorify God. And it is our responsibility to strengthen one another and help one another return to him. I'm grateful for this experience, because it reminded me there are so many people who may be happy in their faith but need help coming closer to Christ in their hearts.

I absolutely loved conference. I thought it was just what the world needed to hear. I loved the focus on being sure our standards align with God's law and that even though it may be legal of the world, it is not acceptable in God's standards. I loved how much focus was given to the nature of God, and what he expects from us.

I also expect you all to share with me what you learned in Preach My Gospel, per the request of Elder Ballard. ;)

Lately I've been studying the Sermon on the Mount, and I was impressed how often it was mentioned in conference. I encourage everyone to read it and apply it because it is a wonderful reminder of what God expects of us.

Our investigators are all progressing really well. We have quite a few that we meet with once or twice a week and that come to church. Mark, who is incredibly Christlike and obsessed with serving others, and KNOWS this church is true admittedly, but is nervous about the responsibility he would have to bear after joining the church. Pete, who just lost his wife and is intimidated by the amount of members in our church services, and Melanie who was baptized catholic a few years ago but feel that our religion answers the questions that her leaders in the catholic church never could.

This is exciting. Missionary work is (draining, hard, long, emotional) exciting and spiritually uplifting. Thank you (everyone) who reads and supports me. Thank you for the letters and treats and emails. They are consistent reminders of how blessed I am. I love you all. And I know, absolutely know, that God loves every single one of you on an incomprehensibly personal level. He watches over you and pulls you out of your afflictions one by one, he answers your prayers precisely the way he sees it will help you the most, he cares about you so much. I can feel it when I pray for you. I love you.

Sister Best

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