Happy P-day! I hope that all of you had the most delightful time in the land of Disney and that you were able to ride all of the mountains (except Mollie) and that the Pirates line wasn’t too long. We had a lot better week here in Killian, though it definitely wasn’t quite up to Disneyland status.
We were able to have another really powerful lesson with Cristina, and, fortunately, by the hand of the Lord, a Brasilian woman about her age with many similar past experiences (divorce, two sons, looking like they’re twenty-somethings when actually they are forty-somethings – I’m convinced that the fountain of youth is in Brasil – etc.) moved in to our ward about two weeks ago and LOVES to go out teaching with us! She committed to come to church this Sunday, so we’re planning on doing our absolute best to get her there (we’ve been teaching her for quite some time now, but we feel like we’re finally getting somewhere). We were pretty disappointed yesterday because up until an hour before church started we had seven investigators, two less-actives, and two nonbaptizables (too young) committed to come and then every single one fell through in those short sixty minutes, despite our sincerest efforts. We are positive that this Sunday will be different, especially since it is the last week of the transfer (what?!), and are absolutely determined to be exactly obedient and super diligent as we work this week to earn some miracles.
Halloween was basically the strangest day of my mission because it consisted of a variety of strange food appointments, a minor bicycle crash, and a member telling us how much he adores the smell of newborn flesh (not a Halloween joke – he was very serious). It certainly was bizarre, but we at least were able to experience the most amazing food of my life (except maybe Hubert Keller’s) – papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado, and conchitas (corn kernels cooked in oil and salt until right before they pop into popcorn – life-changing) -, witness a lonely Colombian woman from our ward kiss her rat-sized chihuahua for several minutes straight as we ate her rice, chicken, and “not-colombian salad” (she was very adamant about the fact that it was not Colombian, even though it only consisted of avocadoes, green beans, tomatoes, black beans, and a kind of Italian dressing), and watch Legacy because we had to be in by seven o’clock (who knew that would become my favorite movie? caution: media deprivation does odd things to you and leads to severe bike-dancing). That was a very long sentence.
We had an amazing district training and companion study with Elder Nogueira this week. Our DT was all about more fully following the spirit and helping our investigators to conquer their mountains/dragons (we had a pretty radical illustration to accompany this) that are in the way of them getting to church. We learned about the importance of teaching short, powerful lessons as well. It was likened to us through dessert: Q – why are dessert portions always so small? A – because they are extremely delicious and leave you wanting more. This is how our lessons should be. Get in there, help them feel the spirit really strongly, and then get out, leaving them wanting that feeling again. We had some pretty amazing experiences with that this week. Especially with Sandra – she finally came back from Colombia! She had the surgery that she needed while there and is currently the happiest I have ever seen her! And the best part was that she was thrilled to see us! We read Ether 12:27 with her and she just cried and cried tears of joy because she could recognize how much she has been blessed. We are excited to get her progressing again. Definitely a miracle.
Our comp. study was even more encouraging and inspiring. Sister Heacock and I always have a hard time deciding what we should discuss and learn about for these, but this time, after both praying, the word that came to both of our minds was love. We had no idea why, but we decided to just go with it and texted Elder Nogueira, telling him to study charity and love for us. We were worried that it was a sign that one of our ‘gators was going to drop us that weekend, and that we would have to show a lot of love and patience to them, but it ended up being totally different. As in 360 degrees, polar opposite, 90s Brittney Spears v.s. 2000s Brittney Spears different. He asked us to define charity and love, and our list ended up including obedience, humility, joy, service, sacrifice, never failing, sharing the gospel, and complete submission to God’s will. He also drew a huge heart on the board and asked us to name off some of the things that are in our hearts. Our heart ended up containing God, family, soccer, investigators, music, Call of Duty (Elder Stewart’s contribution), food, and a plethora of other things. Then as we further discussed what should be in there, E. Nogueira slowly began crossing the things out that didn’t correspond with the mission. Leaving a lot fewer things in our heart to more fully focus on, and ultimately, giving ourselves completely to our Father in Heaven as we serve Him. It was a really powerful visual for me and has made me reflect upon what I have in my heart. What do I love or am not letting go of that is holding me back from serving completely? I am still searching for some answers, but I am striving to live up to the responsibility that my nametag brings. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I should have charity for all men, which truly is “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:45-48). While on the earth, He only did the will of the Father, and as his representative, I should be striving to do the same. If I truly have charity for my fellow men, I will not be afraid to open my mouth to everyone with whom I come in contact and strive to bring them a little more happiness, whether it be through a simple smile or a life-changing baptism. Basically, it blew my mind. I want to fully give myself to this work. And I am so excited to see the miracles that come from it.
Running out of time, but here are a few more awesome scriptures that you should go read: Alma 7: 11-12; D&C 121:41-42,45; and Hebrews 11. We were also committed to change our OYMs (open your mouth) to ARKs (acts of random kindness), to instead strive to show people love in any way possible to our fellow men. We set a vision for it every day, and I want to commit you to do the same! Try to have 5 ARKs a day this week: look for small ways to serve people (bring in the groceries, compliment their shoes, smile and say “Hello!” even when you don’t know them, you get the point) and to share kindness. It doesn’t have to be big and life-changing, but I promise that it will help you feel happier. As a wise Dove chocolate wrapper told me yesterday, “Happiness never decreases when shared”, and it’s true! In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
So go make someone just a little bit happier today! And I promise you that you, too, will be able to feel the love that God has for you and the people around you a little more each time you do it.
I love you with a correct portion of my heart (applying comp.study)!
Mary quote of the week: As we are talking about Halloween and Andrew (her great-grandson) dressing up as Harry Potter, Mary stops the conversation and says, “Wait, wait, wait, who’s the big fat lady?”, leaving us all in fits of giggles.
Also, while I was cleaning out someone’s storage shed this week, a lizard ran into my clothing. That is an experience that I never want to repeat.