Happy Day After Labor Day!!!
(italics are questions from Mom . . .)
"So, how in the world are you?!"
"Do you need anything?"
"Money is OK?"
Yep, it's fine. You'll see my personal expenses on my BoA account occasionally;
those are just for things that I'm not supposed to use my mission card (the blue
card) for, i.e. clothes, personal items, souveniers, etc. I try not to use it
very often, but when you see expenses, that's usually what it is.
"Great to hear from you each week and get all the news! "
Awesome! Her we go:
The libraries were all closed yesterday (obviously), so we get to email today :)
I'm on splits again today, this time here in my area with a great sister named Sister Youmans. My normal companion (Sis. Tavares - pronounced "tah-vah-rehs") has one of the two sister leadership positions here in the mission - Sister Trainer. That means that during each transfer, she goes on splits with half of the sisters in the mission. She either goes to their area or they come here, so she works with them for the day, taking time at the end of the day for review, to talk about what things went well, what could use improvement, setting goals, etc. She's also available as a listening ear, and for extra love and support for each of her assigned sisters. SO, since I'm her companion, I also go on splits (about twice a week), sometimes to other areas, sometimes here; today I'm here. That also means that today I'm the acting senior companion in our area, so I was/am in charge of planning, and taking the lead in the things we do today. It's good practice and preparation, and I learn a lot. It's also really fun to be able to work with so many different sisters and to see their different areas. It's amazing how drastically different our mission is from place to place, especially with it being such a geographically small mission. For example, in our mission we have Compton, and we have Beverly Hills. West Hollywood, and Inglewood. Etc, etc, etc.
Totally different places, totally different people, all within less than 40 miles of each other. It's amazing, and I love it!
This week has been good - a little up and down, but overall very good.
Tuesday I was on splits in Redondo Beach. It is a beautiful area! It's also quite wealthy, and the people aren't terribly receptive. Most of the people we talked to were very nice, they just weren't interested. It finaly hit me at one point toward the end of the day when a lady very sweetly told us that she and her family had a great church that they attend every Sunday, it's a great church family, they're very happy there, so they weren't really interested. As we walked away, it really sank in: All day long we'd been talking to very nice, genuinely kind people who all said the same thing: They had a church; they were very happy where they were in life; thanks for what we're doing, but they're really not interested, etc. And I just thought, How do we help these people understand what a big deal this gospel is?!?! How do we show then just how important it is?! How do we help them see that this is way, WAY more than just us trying to get more people come to our church?! How, HOW do we really help them to feel and understand how much better, happier and fuller their lives would be with the FULLNESS of the Lord's gospel, a LIVING PROPHET, the added LIGHT and KNOWLEDGE that we have because of a 14 year old boy who prayed in faith and through whom the heaven's were opened and God spoke again!!!!! This is SALVATION and EXALTATION, people!!!!!!!!!!!!!Like, for real! And for goodness' sakes, they're just fine and happy where they are. UUUGH! But they are. That's just the thing; these people are really, genuinely fine and happy, and find great joy in their lives, it's just that we offer so much MORE, but don't always know how to really tell them that.
Do you see what being a missionary will do to a person? When this gospel is all you do, all day everyday, you really start to see and feel this way. It's just that you don't always know what to do about it, short of grabbing people on their doorsteps and yelling "DO YOU REALIZE WHAT A BIG DEAL THIS IS?!?!?!?! TRUST ME, YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO US!!!!!" But we don't. We just smile, try to say something that will touch them in some way as to open their hearts, offer to help, and continue on our way. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't. Thankfully, the people here in Downey tend to be at least a little more receptive, but still.
We currently have 3 people with baptismal dates, two who ALMOST have baptismal dates, and two who HAD baptismal dates, but are looking a little less promising than they did in the beginning. We're so excited for Elizabeth, Linda, and Teresa, so hopeful for Dutch and Christine, and a little frustrated, but still hopeful for Miguel and Ernesto. And that's just kind of how it goes. Missionary work is SO wonderful, and yet often so discouraging, but there's a price to be paid, and experience to be had, and work to do! It's so interesting too to get a peek into so many different lives and homes and hearts. The world is a sad, hard place, and the gospel really offers so much hope and joy and peace. Something I'm really learning though: we're here for the elect; those that are ready. And when we find them, it's amazing. And when we search and search and search and don't find them, it's sometimes a little discouraging, but then we search some more until we do find them.
Ok, ok, I'm done.
I love missionary life, and this week has been good; this next week will be as well :)
Oh, and my Spanish is getting better! I made my first Spanish referral phone calls this last week, and for the most part was able to really understand and communicate!!!
I'm glad things at home are going well, and hope they continue that way! David, congratulations on school and all the pharmacy work stuff - that's so exciting!
I sure do love hearing from everyone :)
A quick message to please post on my blog:
I got a card and letter this week from Brother Bob Resch! I saw it and though, "Bob Resch?! What in the world?" I knew who he was because Mom has mentioned him before, but I didn't know that he knew who I was, or that I was on a mission or anything! Turns out he does :) Apparently he follows my letters on the blog, and saw that a few weeks ago I had requested conversion stories, and he'd felt prompted to share his with me! It was so wonderful and inspiring to hear his experience with the sister missionaries who were able to be instruments in the Lord's hands in helping him to come back into the church, and of the true conversion that happened in his life. It was wonderful, and gave me so much hope and joy to read that! It really made my night. So Brother Resch, over in Afghanistan, thank you so much, and may the Lord continue to bless you and your family!
Alrighty, well, that's about it for this week. Your missionary is healthy, and happy, and loving her life out here. I'm grateful every single day that I'm here. The church is true!!!
I LOVE YOU, and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!
Hermana Sallie Wilson