(The Best Week of my Mission)
To quote a fellow sister missionary: "90% of the time being a missionary totally sucks. It’s hard; it’s sad; it’s homesickness; it’s blood, sweat, and tears, and you just want to go home. But 10% is absolute, pure, unadulterated JOY. That 10% makes everything else worth it."
THIS WEEK WAS THAT 10%
Monday after P-day we went to a less-active member’s house and had one of the most spiritual lessons ever. She finally opened up to us about why she isn't active in the church right now. It was a very powerful feeling to think that she would have enough confidence in us to share something so personal. After that, we had planned to have a lesson with Max, who is scheduled for baptism, and his wife, Jane. Sister Taylor came along as well. (We love having members there!) Unfortunately, Jane is still feeling a little upset about all of this. She wants to be involved in the lessons, but she is just so busy and is feeling left out. She also didn't understand why Max felt the need to be baptized into another Christian church, even though he was already baptized once as a kid. He was trying to explain things to her about what he has been learning but asked for our help. He asked us if we could just make a really simple, basic list of what makes Mormons different. He asked for it to be really simple so he wouldn't have to go further into explaining it. It was kind of hard but we did it with the help of our awesome Sister Taylor.
Tuesday we had interviews with President Lewis. It was really great. I was glad to have a chance to talk to him one-on-one about some things for a little bit. I'm so grateful for the awesome support he and Sister Lewis are to us! The Hood River hermanas were scheduled to have their interviews after Hermana Hull and I finished, so they were waiting out in the foyer of the church building. Suddenly, during the middle of Hermana H's interview with Sister Lewis, Sister Lewis’s phone started blowing up! Text after text after text... she was like what is going on? So she looked at the phone and it was the Hood river hermanas texting Help Help Help Help Help HELP over and over and over to get her attention. Then they said "Come out to the foyer! Help!" So Sister Lewis and Hermana H went out there to find that a homeless man had wandered into the church building and came over and sat by Sister Palsson and was saying weird creepy gibberish! It was pretty funny when President Lewis and I came out of my interview, and they were all like, "Keep the doors locked whatever you do!!"
Texas sisters! Hna. Palsson from Prosper, Hna. Hull and
Hna. Harston from Austin, and Hna. Knight from Rockwall
After interviews we headed back over to White Salmon and picked up Hermanas Luevano and Harston for exchanges!! It was SO FUN. I GOT TO BE COMPANIONS WITH MY “MOM” AGAIN. I absolutely LOVED working with Hermana L again for a day. I love her so much! It was cool to see all the progress and growth we have both experienced in the last 5 months. It was also really good to listen very closely to her Spanish accent and be able to apply things to my Spanish and improve again! I hope I can have another native companion in the future.
Hermanas Knight and Luevano
Hermanas Hull and Harston
Wednesday we actually had the chance to visit with Tyler. It was equally amazing, terrifying, and weird! We were so happy when he met up with us, but it was a little sad to be honest. It was really hard on Hermana M and I when his baptism fell through at the last minute a couple of months ago. It really made us feel kind of like failures. Constantly we would look at ourselves and our teaching skills and his lessons and say, "Where did we go wrong? What happened? I wish there was something we could do to help him!" Seeing him again brought a few of those feelings and questions back, but fortunately my companion Hermana Hull was ON IT. She was so bold and loving and just amazing in that lesson. She's already an amazing missionary. I can't wait to see what she will become in the future!
Thursday we had a chance to teach the Merrills (Max and Jane) again with the bishop's wife, Sister Goodrich. It was a great lesson with a lot of spirit and a lot of great questions. Jane really appreciated the 10 things sheet that we had made for her. (I’ll send a pic), and she said it helped her understand a little bit more. She still had some questions and concerns, and we could feel a tension there, but we are praying hard that things will get better.
Friday we stopped by to see the Damans, a sweet older couple in the ward. Sister Daman had a stroke almost a year ago, but has been doing really well the last few months. On Tuesday Hermana Luevano and I had visited them and Sister Daman was doing really, really poorly. We were really worried about her, but then on Friday when we went she was back to her normal self! It was a miracle, truly. Friday also included a visit to the doctor, because my companion has been really sick! She has had a sore throat and a swollen tonsil for about a week and a half, so the mission nurse said to go to the doctor. After, we went to Hood River to pick up her meds and go home a little early so she could sleep. The good news is now she's doing a lot better! It was just an intense reaction to allergens in the air. Adjusting to a new climate is no fun!
Friday I also had the opportunity to read a really cool talk by Elder Bednar that Hermana Luevano had given to me on exchanges. It's called "The Answer is the Doctrine" and it's SO GOOD. It's all about how the true doctrine of the Lord's church, is not the deep stuff that people think it is, it's simple, fundamental, and foundational. It's the basic simple things that the lord taught that are essential for salvation. I loved that definition! He also talked a lot about the difference between Doctrine (why), Principles (what), and Application (how). You should read it when you have the chance!
Saturday was the first of two days of amazing miracles! ROMERO got baptized!!! Woo hoo!
We also took the opportunity to use our extra miles from the end of the month to drive out to Trout Lake again and try for the last time to contact a referral, the Shelby family. We got a little frustrated and discouraged when we couldn't find the address and the phone number didn't work. But we wanted to make the best of it, because it’s about 80 miles and takes at least two hours round trip to go out there. So we decided to say a prayer of what we should do. Hermana Hull had the idea that we should stop at this RV resort we saw just outside of town and ask them if they knew where this address was, so we did that. It took 20 minutes, and they said that address doesn't exist. Then we decided to call another referral and see if we could visit her. She lives in Glenwood, which is close to Trout Lake. That took another 10 minutes or so, and then I had the thought that we should just pick a random less active member that lives in Trout Lake and visit them. We looked at our ward directory and chose a family. It took us a little bit to figure out their address (GPS doesn’t work very well up in the mountains of Trout Lake), but we found it and went to their house. We knocked on the door and they let us right in! They were super excited to see sister missionaries. We didn't know anything about them, we just poured love into them and even sang a few hymns for them. We had told them that our investigator, Romero was getting baptized that night and that we were doing a musical number, and they asked if we would practice it for them. We sang "Jehova Mi Pastor Es," and by the end they were both crying and asked if we would do it again so they could record it on their phone and watch it over and over and over again! Then they asked if we know “I Stand All Amazed.” So we sang that one and they recorded it, too. They were hugging and crying and said that was their favorite song and it got them through hard times in their life together. The Spirit was SO STRONG.
Then day two of miracles--Sunday. We were sitting in church, and all the sudden Hermana Hull started getting choked up. She said, "THEY ARE HERE!" I looked over to see the family from Trout Lake walk into the chapel and the bishop was in shock on the stage. After the meeting was over, he pulled us to the side and asked, "Hermanas! How did you do it? They haven't been to church in over five years and they won't let anyone in when we try to visit." WOW. WE HAD NO IDEA. WE JUST PICKED A RANDOM FAMILY!
Another really cool thing was that we got to teach the 5th Sunday combined lesson! We shared all about member missionary work and easy ways that we can work together in this missionary work. We shared some clips from "The Missionary Next Door" by Diana Hoelscher, and then we were talking to them about things like how tracting and knocking on doors is extremely ineffective and annoying to people. Then, our investigator, Max, raised his hand to make a comment. "Sister Knight, I was just wondering, how did you and Sister Marble find me? Were you just knocking on doors walking up the street?" and I said, "No, actually a member suggested that we go to your house," and he was like, "See guys! There you go!" Then he bore his testimony about the things he had been learning. My favorite part, "My sister missionaries come over and teach me all about the Church and Jesus and you can just tell that their whole entire life is made up of faith. It's in every part of their DNA. They live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Obviously we started getting emotional again!
Then last night we ended the week with an awesome lesson with Maria and Romero and their family. (They are dating right now) we started off by asking how Romero's confirmation went and talking about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then we were talking about the importance of our families. We ended up sharing really funny stories about our childhoods (I talked about when I almost killed my baby sister, Libbie with my tights!) it was great and a lot of laughs.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. The 10%makes it all worth it!
Mt. Hood in the distance
More beautiful scenery