Feliz año nuevo!
I hope that all of you had the best week ever. For me, I had one of the most awkward weeks of my life. I don’t know what it is about Sister Endemaño and I, but somehow we end up in the weirdest situations with the oddest people. Part of it might have to do with us knocking every single door on streets, no matter what the houses look like from outside (we found one totally void of any sign of human life, inside or out, except for the copious amounts of wet cat food on plates everywhere – no cats were sighted). But, basically, we see some pretty weird stuff.
Some of our unusual experiences include:
~Someone letting us into their home and trying to give us a bassinet. They thought we were the people who called and bought it…instead we just prayed with them. She had cool hair.
~Sis. Endemaño getting her first face-full of a half-naked old man as she leaned in to put a card on the door while he simultaneously opened it.
~Visiting a less-active with Sis. Belnap, a young mom, and the LA yelling through the door “No hay nadie!” (there’s no one home!)
~Rene, our LA, asking our ward mission leader and his Finnish “friend”, “So are you two married?”, and them responding at the same time, one saying, “I wish!” and the other, “We’re just friends getting to know each other.” (they met online – not judging)
~A 93-year-old Cuban woman opening her shirt all the way up to show us her scar from her recent open-hear surgery
~High-centering on a median in the car as we tried to get out of a “Residents Only” entrance of a neighborhood (don’t ask me how). A man in his car just stood there and laughed at Sis. Endemaño and I as we yelled at each other (not in anger) trying to get out of the dilemma (the embarrassment is real)
~A man giving Sis. Endemaño his whole wallet out of his car window to let us into a neighborhood. Never met him before.
~Asking a former investigator that was apparently interested de nuevo, “What are your expectations from our visits?” and him responding, “Well….none. Maybe just, like, an opportunity for dialogue.”
~Rene trying to get me to swear
~Sis. Rowley choking on a grape as she laughed at me (eating 12 grapes at once for New Year’s is not a good idea)
Anyway, all awkward aside, we had a bit of a rough week yet again. Rougher than the last unfortunately. We have taught so many less active members and investigators the importance of having patience and faith throughout trial-ridden times, and it seems that I am now getting my very own taste of that medicine. It definitely isn’t chocolate-covered cherry flavored, but if all times on the mission were fabulous and successful, then everything would be a little grey. I’m happy to have some black and white. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to brains other than mine, but all I’m really trying to say is that there must be opposition in all things in order to experience real joy (see 2 Nephi 2:11-12). All that being said, we had members cancelling on us, gators dropping us, and only a recent convert’s grandmother at church (not that that’s a bad thing, but we were expecting many more). But, FAITH, brethren. Pray for my faith. And that we can find people. Elect people. 🙂
Despite the skruggles, we still saw miracles in the form of Sister Chu, the Spirit of Elijah, and OYMing (Open-Your-Mouth-ing. Grammar.). Let me tell you how great a blessing our dear, sweet Sister Chu is. She was baptized in the last two or three years and is the sweetest person anyone would ever have the pleasure of meeting. She is 51 and single, and lives in a little one room efficiency (essentially an”apartment”someone made with a mini-kitchen and bathroom out of a room or two of their house) all by her lonesome. No one could ever find a kinder person (except Jesus). She has a sweet little voice and absolutely sings her heart out in every church meeting and bears her testimony every Fast Sunday. We member-blessed her on Friday night and she shared with us a pretty heart-wrenching story about her son, whom she had to give up for adoption at age 4, who will soon be turning 18. She hasn’t been allowed to speak to him once in these 14 years, and she asked us to pray that now he’s an adult he will reach out and find her. She feeds us every couple of weeks (I honestly don’t know where she gets the money), and just bought us some amazing Greek food on Saturday. Yet on Sunday, our food list got passed back to us with five blank spaces. She was sitting right by us, and as I was reading the couple names we got, she asks me, incredulously, “Sister Burdett, why are there so many empty spaces?!” As I tried to scrounge up some non-verbal answer with my hands so as to not further disrupt the RS lesson, she snatches the list out of my hand insisting, “Give me that!” She quickly signs her name for Thursday muttering “These people are ridiculous!” I love her. Then, to our later surprise, we got a voicemail a few hours later from our dear, sweet Sis. Chu, informing us that she would be feeding us not just on Thursday, but on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well because “[we] need to eat!”. We called her back informing her that she would be doing no such thing, but she insisted on at least doing Tuesday too. She wouldn’t let us deny her that. I was quite the lucha, I tell you what. My point is, the world should have more Sis. Chus. It would be a kinder place.
We had a pretty amazing experience with Sis. Gomez, a less-active member! We’re reactivating her through family history – a 12-week program miracle! She really wants to do the work for her father, and we actually helped her find out that the name is 100% ready to take to the temple – she just needs a recommend to do it! Now she is thrilled and is planning on having her son be baptized as his proxy and being there right by his side! They committed to come to church this Sunday to start preparing! It was amazing to see the Spirit of Elijah truly working in others.
We have been OYMing like crazy while we’re out and about and actually found a pretty cool family! Yami and Mario with two children, Sabrina and No-name (not because they didn’t name him, but because we didn’t meet him). We are hoping to teach them the Restoration ASAP – they were so interested in the concept of eternal families! What a blessing it is to have that gospel truth revealed to us today – to not even have it be a question if we will see our loved ones after we die! Hoorah for Israel. We have great hope in them after a rough week of finding.
Let’s get spiritual.
This week I found a gem in Alma 37:44-45 that I don’t remember ever before reading: 44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ,which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course,to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
Such an awesome promise! Heeding the Liahona (see 1 Nephi 16) was easy as long as they did so diligently, faithfully, frequently, and trusted in God! As long as we heed the words of Christ, and we all know it’s not really that hard to set aside 15 minutes a day to read the scriptures or pray, we will be brought to a “far better land of promise”! I loved it. Hope you do too. So do it! Also some good advice in Alma 36:36-37.
I love you all! God does too! Have the best day of your life today! Write a missionary a letter! And tell someone about a gospel truth because you love them!
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