Okay. This was the best experience. We had Elder Bednar, Elder Rasband (presidency of the seventy) and two other members of the seventy, Elder Smith and Elder Hamilton. What an opportunity! This is how it worked. We woke up at 4:45 am (yeah…. kill me). The elders picked us up at around 5:50 and we headed to Harrisburg. We ended up getting there at 7:40… And the meeting started at 9:00. But we got great seats. 🙂 And when all the missionaries were coming in, guess who I met?! ELDER DEROEST. AKA second cousin. Oh man that was so fun! We took a picture so I’ll be sure to send it. 🙂 He’s funny. He called me “Sister Cousin” the rest of the day. Pretty fun. Anyway, all the missionaries are coming in and it’s freaking chaos. Everyone’s got other missionaries’ crap they left in areas and wanted back, and people are hugging and crying and taking pictures and naming their first born children after each other…. Okay not really but you get the idea. Anyway, once we all sat down and were waiting for about 30 minutes, something ridiculous happened. Sister Ferrin and I had all this room on our bench (4 benches back) and we were pleased with ourselves for getting there early and having that luxury. But then everyone and their dog just decides it’s totally legit if they got there at 8:45 and they can just come up and squish in our pew! OH MY HECK. I was kind of ticked, if I’m being totally honest. We were like sitting on each others’ hip bones and couldn’t even put our arms at our sides. So, I went to walk around and ask the people at the other end if they could possibly move down since we had been there first. They agreed and as I was walking back around I looked behind me and realized that I had just been the most embarrassing missionary ever because the AP’s were closely behind me… Followed by President and Sister Topham… Followed by… You guessed it. Justin Bieber.
Haha just kidding. ELDER BEDNAR. Like are you kidding me? I’m the most embarrassing person ever. Not to mention that I’ve already had an embarrassing moment with Elder Rasband before.. He came to our stake conference my freshman year and in the Saturday night session it was a Q&A. I wasn’t going to ask a question but then for the last like 30 minutes, my heart was thumping, I couldn’t breathe, and my hands were shaking (hey kids, that’s called the Spirit is SCREAMING at you). So when it was the last question, I totally JUMPED out of my seat and ran to the microphone in the aisle. I asked some question. And then they asked me to recite Mosiah 2:17 and Elder R. was like “When you are in…” and I said “the service of your God you are also in the service of your fellow men!” ……… If that’s not so embarrassing to you then go look up the scripture.
So I’m embarrassing, it’s fine.
Anyway, despite that, it was so awesome. We had been given three talks to study beforehand, and so the first hour and a half of the meeting, Elder Bednar asked us to tell us what we learned. I braved the prior embarrassment and I stood up and told him what I had learned about acting in faith for the little things, not just the “moving mountains” type experiences. And IT WAS SO COOL. Elder Bednar was looking me in the eyes, bearing testimony of what I had said to the other missionaries, adding some input, and thanking me for my comment. He told me it was a great comment. I would say that he was just being nice, but he’s totally not like that. If you want sincerity, talk to that man. It was an awesome experience.
The last half was missionaries asking questions. It was so neat. I learned so much. One of the things Elder Bednar often encourages is that when you have a question or want to learn about something specific, get a cheap copy of the Book of Mormon and look for that throughout the whole thing. Mark it all up, and when you’re done, write a one page synopsis of what you learned about the thing you were looking for. For example: hearts, the strength of the Lord, grace, etc. And then put the synopsis in the Book of Mormon and write down the spine what that one is about, and keep a whole bookshelf. I’m totally going to do that. I can’t think of a better way to study the Book of Mormon.
Here was the coolest part, though. At the end, Elder Bednar left us with an apostolic blessing. He promised us that as we knock, seek, and find, and as we press forward and persevere, we will NEVER fall away. It was so powerful. The Spirit was so strong. And I am excited to live up to that blessing. We all got to shake his hand and got a picture with him at the end. And I feel like I can pretty much conquer the world with missionary work after that experience!
Well, that’s pretty long about that but it really was the coolest thing that’s happened on my mission so far, so of course I had to share all the amazing details! (and to make you all slightly jealous. 😉 Haha.)
This week I’ve seen a ton of funny things happen and there’s also been a lot of miracles.
This work is pushing forward. The other day, Sister Ferrin and I were planning on tracting some nearby apartments. But, when we were on the bus, I thought that it would be a good thing to go and give a card to this man at the post office that is always super nice to us. So we changed plans, went downtown, and we were able to give him a card. He was so grateful. And we felt great about it. Then we were street contacting and we talked to a girl named Carly who said that her aunt is Mormon and that she wants to meet with us! We will be calling her tonight to set up an appointment! We got another potential named Scottie, as well as a girl named Jessica at forums. They all said they want return appointments! Everybody, if that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is. I can’t even believe it. What a neat experience to be able to follow the Spirit and be totally blessed from it!
ALSO I FREAKING HAVE AN INVESTIGATOR WITH A BAPTISMAL DATE, KIDS. I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING EITHER. THIS IS REAL LIFE!!!!!!!
We taught Maxwell yesterday and he committed to be baptized on July 13th if he finds that this is true. Sister Ferrin and I had a neat experience yesterday morning. We were both praying about a date for Maxwell, and we were scared to tell each other the date we had been impressed with. So we wrote it down and closed our eyes when we turned our individual papers around and guess what? They were totally the same date!!! It was SO LEGIT. The HOLY GHOST IS A BOSS. It was awesome. So. #toteshaveanivestigatorwithabaptismaldatesuckas
Here’s another cool experience. Remember that really nice bus drive that we talked to the other week that told us we have joy in our eyes? He’s the best. And last night when we were bus contacting and we were the only SOULS on the bus, he asked if he and his wife could take us out to dinner! NEWSFLASH: NONMEMBER AND HIS NONMEMBER WIFE THAT AREN’T INVESTIGATING THE CHURCH [YET] INVITED TWO MISSIONARIES TO DINNER WITH THEM. That is the best thing ever. We were so pleased and smiling as we went to bed last night.
Okay. I’ve gotta just say this. You may think that all of a sudden I’m the most perfect person ever since I’m a missionary. You’re mostly right because I’m awesome and my hair looks GREAT in PA… Haha just kidding. But there are still some things that really bother me:
—When people use dictionary definitions in their talk. i.e. “I’ve been assigned to talk about faith. The Bible Dictionary/Webster’s Dictionary define ‘faith’ as:….” yeah. Stop it. Find your own definition of faith. That’s what we want to hear!
—Feet. I still want to die anytime anyone touches me with their feet. Sister Kingsford did that the other day and I almost slapped her. Once, I was really carsick and everyone was talking about feet to make me sick and I almost cried. Not kidding. It was so mean.
—When people are crying and they have a tissue so they blow their nose and then wipe their eyes with the same tissue. That is literally wiping snot into your eyes! That is so gross!
—When people sneeze/cough into their hands. It makes the inner germaphob in me wince and squeal.
That’s all I can think of. This week, Elder Vassallo was trying to jump into his seat in the car all cool and totally just slammed his entire side of his body into the frame of the car. Also, ever since we lost that sleep on Saturday morning, Sister Ferrin and I have been seriously kooky. We laugh at everything and it’s so ridiculous. But it’s fun. Until today because everyone (minus Elder V.) has been acting SUPER WEIRD TO ME AND SISTER FERRIN. I don’t understand it! Like… Somethin’s up. But whatever. I love it here and I love all them and they’ll figure it out eventually.
Well this has been a long email. But I love and miss you.
Love you family. Here’s my PMG quote for the week:
“Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before… Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over… and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relaltive. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, ‘And now Lord,… grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.'” –Spencer W. Kimball