I don't remember exactly when or where he gave the talk, but sometime not too long before my mission, Elder Oaks gave a talk in which he said to the women something along the lines of: "You are daughters of Zion, not street walkers in Babylon!" I've thought about that phrase a lot since being out here, and it has occurred to me that as a missionary serving in the California Los Angeles Mission, I am indeed a street walker in Babylon! Not to worry though, I am most definitely a daughter of Zion as well...just a daughter of Zion walking the streets of Babylon everyday. :)
It's been a good week...but then, pretty much every week is good :) They all have their ups and downs, for sure, but the ups far outweigh the downs. We've had to drop some of our investigators in the last few days, which just kills me because I want so badly for them to progress! I just so want them to understand what this gospel means, and how it can bless and change their lives, but unless they care enough to actually do something about it, it won't. And we're here to find those who are ready and willing, so even though it breaks our hearts, a missionary's gotta do what a missionary's gotta do...which sometimes means NOT continuing to work with people you love. BUT THEN the Lord goes and gives you people who ARE ready, and who WILL change their lives because they DO get it, and that is one of the best things about a mission!
Por ejemplo: We're teaching a lady right now who we (well, my comp and the other sister she was on splits with that day) found in the park one day, and she's amazing! She was so excited to find out about living prophets and that Jesus Christ came to the Americas - her response when we told her about them was "I knew it! I always KNEW that Christ came here, and now I have the proof of it!" She's so excited about getting the gospel and getting baptized. She smokes, and also drinks coffee (only about 1 cup/day though), but when we taught her about the WoW this week, she said "Ok, well if it's a commandment, then I'll keep it." Just like that. She said she won't drink anymore coffee, and we're working with her right now to get her off of cigarettes - she's down to 7 a day starting tomorrow!
There's another girl that we're teaching that I am really amazed by. She's had such a difficult life -- her mom left when she was a young child, and her living situation now (with her father and step-mom) is really not very good. Her family isn't very loving or supportive at all. Se struggles with same-sex attraction (no, it's not a problem with us teaching her or anything - don't worry), as well as a form of psychosis. In the words of a BYU education week speaker (he spoke about "the functional family," I believe) who was quoted at our stake conference this weekend, the only thing that's really every been written on her "personal blackboard" is "You are a mistake." It's really sad, but incredible at the same time. We've been amazed at her strength and desire to follow the Lord. As we taught her the law of chastity yesterday, she told us that even though it's so hard for her, she's willing to give up the person that she's loved for most of her life because she loves the Lord more and wants to do what He wants her to do. There's really a difference in her - more peace and happiness and light - since we've been teaching her. She still has problems, but she's so much happier and at peace. I can really feel the Lord's love for her as we teach.
We're teaching about following the prophet tonight at the ward FHE - should be fun!
I know there's lots more I could probably tell you, but sometimes I just don't even know where to start. I'm really growing to love California, and it's finally becoming beautiful to me. It really wasn't when I first got here, but there is beauty all around when you're a missionary!
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! The days are long, and hot (though they're getting cooler :) and hard, but SO good, and so rewarding! Everyday is the same, yet different, and I learn more about letting go of me everyday. And it just makes me so happy, even when it's hard and sad and heart-breaking. The Lord gives us joy.
So that's me this week -- I'm happy and healthy, and am getting a killer farmer's tan (my arms, my neck, my watch/ring lines, even my feet are getting it :) - I actually DO change color--who knew?! The church is true, and I love it!!!
I Love and miss all of you, but I do love being a missionary, in the short little sojourn that I get here in California!
Hermana Sallie :D