Sunday, September 18, 2016

Holy SWIG, Batman!

Today was crazy!
                So first, right after studies, we went to the post office to pick up the packages I got from mom and I had two massive packages full of food! Haha it was like Christmas, so much fun to open! And there were apples the size of my head. It was super great, I loved it. I loved all the low calorie snacks as well, like the pudding and popcorn and all that shenanigans. I haven’t gained or lost weight, but I’m paranoid I’ll gain some.
                Anyway, after that we hit up the library. It was terrible. We had exactly 90 minutes to email. I sat and let my journals upload to the computer, and as soon as it was done loading the computer wouldn’t let me access the internet. So I’d spent a good 10 minutes letting the journals load just to have that computer not work. At that point, we were running out of time. I kept trying, and trying to get the website to log me in but it just kept saying I didn’t have access. I was literally sobbing at that point, I felt like I didn’t have any options. I didn’t want to switch computers because my journals had loaded onto this computer, a process that generally takes 10 to 15 minutes. I didn’t have time to go through that again, and because I was so panicked I just couldn’t think straight. Finally, Sister E just had me log into my account on her computer. When I finally got on to email, I’d been attempting to email for an hour. I opened my inbox to see 44 unread messages and I started sobbing and hyperventilating because there was no possible way I’d be able to even read them all in the time I had left, let alone respond to them all. Sister E talked me down, telling me that there wasn’t a law forcing me to respond to every single person. I’d be okay not responding. Nobody would die or hate me. It was traumatic, and terrible, and I never want to email on Tuesday ever again.
                Exchanges happened and I’ve been learning so much from Sister L! We were supposed to teach L but he’d been in the hospital so that fell through. After that, we ran out of stuff to do so I said to Sister Lundquist “Huh. It wasn’t in our plans today, but I suddenly feeling like trying an old potential named Stephanie.” Well, we got to the house and we saw a man with his dog outside. He had long blonde hair and tattoos, but we taught him the first lesson right there in his driveway! He became a new investigator, we have plans to visit him again on Friday. He kept saying how much he admired our faith. “You girls are something else!” so I hope he digs out his old copy of the Book of Mormon and gives it a read. J
                    I’ve been learning so much from this exchange, I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity. Now I’m pretty ready for bed, it’s been a non-stop and exhausting day haha.

                Exchanges are done! I’m super glad to have Sister E back. I learned so much from Sister L that I’m super excited to incorporate into my own missionary work. Sister L immediately became a trainer out of training, and right after that she became a sister training leader (which never happens). For good reason, too. She really knows what she’s talking about, I have so much to learn from her!
                Crazy day! Weekly planning, then a lesson with G.  We were just helping him  plug some of his family history information into a familysearch account we helped him set up! Sister Eddington and I started a quote wall in our apartment today, just a wall full of sticky notes with funny things we hear or say, and G said a few things that we put on the wall today haha. I love him so much!
                We got the mail on our way to go tract and I was greeted with a package full of SWIG sugar cookies!! I was so excited I  nearly cried haha. It felt like Christmas. They were so yummy, it was nice to have something that made me think of BYU. Swig sugar cookies are the best. Also, dad sent me a camera in the mail so Sister E and I took a bunch of ridiculous pictures today. They’re all horribly unflattering, but it was such a ball. It’s been kind of sad not having a camera, but we definitely compensated for it today by taking millions of pictures haha. Super fun!
                After dinner, we visited the H's. Sister H is such a hoot, she’s super feisty and sassy and I just love it! Next week, she goes back to her home in Florida for the rest of the year so I’m super glad we had the chance to spend a bit of time with her and her husband tonight. They’re absolutely adorable.
                Late tonight, we tried a referral we were given from the Poquoson sisters named A.  He's an artist, so he basically made us walk through a museum showing us walls and walls of his work throughout his house. It took forever, and he insisted that we took these massive prints of his art, and Sister E had to take his ukulele. We were on bikes so we were definitely struggle bussing to get home haha. It was crazy. People give you all sorts of strange things as a missionary. I have more apples in my house right now than I could ever even imagine eating! I now understand how Elder C ended up with so many typewriters haha.

                All sorts of emotions were felt today haha.
                District meeting was today. We seriously have the best district ever! I hope nobody ever gets transferred haha.               
                When we started tracting today, we were probably a quarter of mile down 17, the biggest street we bike on, when we saw an iphone and a purse/bag thing in the middle of the street. We carefully picked those things up and got out of traffic. We called someone back who had previously called the lost phone to track down the owner. The purse contained like $300 cash as well as credit cards and stuff. We were able to track down the owner and leave it at a print shop near 17. Everyone involved in the recovery kept commenting about how great our integrity was, and it gave a bunch of people positive impressions of the church. Honestly, we should have done more. We should have given pass along cards to every single person we interacted with in that exchange. That’s the funny thing about missionary work. Sometimes doing a good thing isn’t enough. There’s always something more that you can do, and it’s important for you to always seek out those opportunities. We may have missed a golden opportunity to share with someone the joy of the gospel.
                Every appointment we had today fell through. When we got back to the apartment, I started singing “Come, Come Ye Saints.” The lyrics to that made me tear up, they just hit  me very close to home tonight. “Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ‘Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never  us forsake!” How true. I’m so lucky to be doing this work. So lucky to have these opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone, to learn and to grow. All is well! All is well!

                It was an average day. We taught C and M,  a laurel in the ward. M is a 16 year old convert. It was really cool, because we planned to teach one thing and Sister E felt prompted to switch it up mid-lesson and it’s exactly what everyone needed. We then asked M to share her conversion story, and the Spirit was so strong. M has been less active recently, and it almost felt like sharing her testimony reminded herself of how much she truly does love the gospel. C also seemed much more receptive to everything we’d said because of the outside testimony.  After, the three of us celebrated Sister E’s 15 month mark with frosties. Sister E and I want to get better at stopping to talk to everyone, no matter how awkward it is, so we attempted to do a “walk and talk” with little success, mostly a few potentials. It was honestly a great day, we saw quite a few miracles!

                Stake conference was today, and Sh came! That was my first investigator at church! Woot woot! It was actually kind of crazy  because he’d told us he’d be out of  town until September 12th so we didn’t even invite him to come this week. Lucky for us, he showed up for what he thought would be sacrament meeting an hour late so he made it to stake conference right on time! He also happened to walk in right as we were walking near the entrance. It was definitely a miracle that we caught him! And just a few days ago,  I thought it would be a miracle if we could ever get a single investigator to church. And this week, an investigator showed up without us even doing anything. Missionary work  is funny haha.
                It was actually kind of cool, because Sh was like “Look. I need to start meeting with you more. I don’t really want to, but God keeps leading me back. And I can’t fight with God anymore. So I’m committed to learning, and committed to changing, and I’m going to be coming to church again” which was SUCH A blessing!! It’s every missionary’s dream to have someone say “Alright, I’m serious about my progression in the gospel now” and that’s exactly what happened!
                It was incredibly powerful. Many people spoke on questions. Sister W talked about how the entire restoration of the gospel started off because Joseph Smith had a question. The second counselor spoke on how we sometimes think questions make us doubters when in actuality they merely make us seekers. It made me think of things in a new perspective, and it inspired me to start a new study in my personal study where I write  down questions I have and I study the scriptures with those questions in mind until I find answers.

                Sister E wrote a long list of wonderful qualities I possess tonight, and she read them to me while giving specific examples of instances in which I’ve displayed said qualities. I cried haha. “I’m with you 24/7, Sister. I know you better than you know yourself” it was really sweet. She’s an excellent trainer. I love her so much, I feel so blessed to learn from her!

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