We keep getting those little glimpses of Springtime here and there with sunshine and just a touch of warmth. The bishop here likened the month of February to the principle of hope. It was pretty dark and gloomy, but every once in a while the sun would peep out and we’d have hope for better weather and the warmth of Spring. How fitting. And how TRUE. Oh man. I cannot wait for Spring. When I first got the field, Sister Topham kept saying, “Now you have a lot of beauty to look forward to with Fall, but it’s too bad you just missed the Spring!” Apparently Pennsylvania Spring is just GORGEOUS and I’m so excited to see it with my own two eyes! (Or four, depending on how tired I am that day… Haha).
Okay so we got the new apartment officially! We are finally all moved in and we just have to get our old apartment inspected and checked out and get the washer and dryer from the members’ storage unit and VOILA! We will be all nice and at home. 🙂 But this place is seriously huge. If I have time at the end I’ll send some pictures. But basically this is going to be like the best place for anyone to want to serve because of this missionary mansion. Not kidding. It’s lovely. I’ve found my little hiding places of comfort and serenity and I love them. So, it really is just like home. And Nana sent me some pictures from when I was like six years old wearing a total 90’s dress and I put them on the mantle of our fireplace. Hahaha. YES. I can stick around here for a while.
Funny thing, though. The first night, we definitely forgot out shower curtain at the other place and… let’s just say… It was like we had the entire ocean on our bathroom floor. It was pretty crazy. But we bought a cute new little shower curtain and got some little decorations here and there. I’m gonna work on recruiting all of the Pinterest memories I have and making some little DIY decorations to spruce up the place a bit. It’s not ugly, it’s just really big and a lot of it feels kind of empty with our limited furnishings. So tissue paper pom-poms and wrapping paper wall decorations here I come!
Tuesday night the Beaver Valley Ward had its annual Chili Cook-off Fundraiser. Pretty self explanatory. It’s kind of like the good ole Edgie Wedgie 6th Ward Cake Auction for the youth. But with Chili. And cornbread. And a dessert auction. But the missionaries (which are a rarity in church buildings in Utah… At least they were in my lifetime.. AKA I’ve NEVER seen a missionary in a church building in Utah…) got to be the JUDGES! So, it was pretty fun. Then, because it was a ward function, I had to definitely add to my list of embarrassing experiences (Remember: “Missionary Down!”…. Yeah). Anyway, this little deaf girl in the ward, Rachel, has been doing gymanstics. She’s a member of one of my very favorite member families of all time: The Green’s. Anyway, she’s been learning her cartwheels and wanted to show us but was also kind of nervous. So, we convinced her to show us in the hallway. She showed us her fantastic little cartwheel (and I mean it was really awesome considering that without hearing, balance is definitely a hard thing), and then I decided that I would help soothe her nerves and try one myself. I was wearing pretty thick tights so I didn’t think it would be too much of an issue. I obviously didn’t think very much. Because I went to do the cartwheel and before I knew it I heard a big *pop!* … Which, of course, can only be attributed to the sound of a bursting seam.
Cheeks were reddened.
And there was no hope for repair.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night either sitting down or wearing my mid-thigh length black raincoat… inside. Yeaaaaahhhh. MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT. Just kidding… does anyone remember that show? For some reason that’s been my go-to phrase of the week and I just thought I’d throw it in there.
This week was kind of rough in the companionship. Oh man everyone. I don’t know, I think I just have a lot to learn. But.. Prayers are appreciated. For Sister Crockett and I both. I really love her. And I really love the work. And I want it all to work harmoniously. It just hasn’t been. But… Yeah. Prayers would be helpful. 🙂
Also, one highlight of the week was that a less active that we’ve been working with finally was able to come to church with her three kids. And even better, she totally immersed herself in everything. She participated in Relief Society and was talking with everyone before and after meetings. And her kids were excited to go to primary. The best part, though, was seeing the joy it brought her to be able to partake of the sacrament and truly be CLEAN. What a miracle it is that we’ve been given such a beautiful opportunity to become whole every single week. I don’t think I’ll ever fully grasp how amazing and merciful the Lord is to let us do that every week.
This week, Grandma sent me a letter with a picture of Dad when he came home from his mission. I think this is one of the best things I’ve received in the mail since I became a missionary. And, probably ever, if I’m being honest. It has given me such strength in stressful times this week. And I was reading a talk from the Priesthood session of October’s conference this morning. It was from President Henry B. Eyring, and he talked about the role of Priesthood leaders and the blessings that come from Priesthood service. I could not stop thinking about how much of an example you are, Dad. You have always done your home teaching. You have always fulfilled your callings to the best of your ability. When I think about home, I often imagine you sitting at the kitchen table, reading your scriptures early in the morning before we were all awake. I didn’t often see that, as I was not one for early rising, but I saw the evidences of it with the scriptures still on the table when I did finally emerge from the basement. 🙂
I also thought of the great home teacher that we had–Brother Seifert. I can so keenly remember one particularly difficult night at home when I was at a friend’s house. Dad was gone and Mom was home alone with us and was having a hard time. But, at the the drop of the hat, Brother Seifert was there at Lydia Mongie’s house to pick me up for the night. As embarrassed as I may have thought I was at the time, I have never forgotten that. Nor have I forgotten how he came and patched up the hole I kicked in the wall next to the stairs.
Those are the things that matter. The little things. I’m learning that so much out here. That phrase, “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care,” is 100% true. I’ve seen it in missionary work time and time again. I have to love these people or they have no reason to listen to what I have to say. I have been called and set apart to be a representative, advocate, emissary, disciple of Jesus Christ, and when these people look me in the eyes they HAVE to see Him, not me. They have to feel His love for them. And unless I have that love for them, the Lord cannot work through me as effectively.
I had an experience with this just yesterday. There is a young man in our ward who has recently had to face a great trial. I will leave out the details, but he has been struggling with something that a dear friend of mine recently struggled with. My heart has ached for this young man, but there hasn’t been any opportunity to do anything about it. His family is hurting and we can see that, but I haven’t known what I could do. Yesterday, his mom was in Relief Society and we were talking about faith and repentance and I shared a thought that that dear friend of mine had shared with me about the difference between guilt and shame, and how God’s love for us is truly the difference. I didn’t think much of it but afterward, this young man’s mother came up to me and asked if I would share that story and thought with her son. He came back in the church building and the few of us went into a classroom and I bore to him my testimony of God’s love for him with every fiber of my being. I could literally feel how much God was sorrowing for this young man, and how much He wants his success. It brought tears to my eyes (which honestly has not happened very often on my mission) just to be able to tell him that he is, in fact, loved. And he has such great worth.
I don’t know if anything will come of it. But I am grateful for that experience. I think sometimes Heavenly Father just gives us little glimpses into what he sees and feels for His children and I will cherish that opportunity for a very long time.
Well, this is quite a long email and I should probably get on to some of the other fanmail. 😉 Haha just kidding. But really everyone is still so good about emailing and writing me and I can’t even begin to express how much it keeps me going. I love you all! Take care. Godspeed.
And here’s a picture of my lovely ripped skirt. This doesn’t even really show how far up it really was and how much you could actually see. OH and that’s just the entryway of our new apartment. Haha.