This week we've been doing a lot of hard core work outs in the morning, which I totally love, but various parts of my body have been SUPER sore throughout the week. Monday we did an arm work out, Wednesday an abs one, and Friday a leg one. My calves STILL are not very happy with me. I love it but I hate it.
Monday was a pretty good, chilled out Preparation Day. We ended up making some cookies and thank you notes for a bunch of members who have been blessing and helping us out a ton lately. Someone asked me this week what is the key to member-missionary cooperation in this work and honestly, what it all comes down to is loving them, being happy, caring about what they care about, and showing them how important to you they are. It's like that with any kind of relationship. Just be their friend!
Tuesday was a busy day! We went to Pres. and Sis. Green’s (Stake President) house in the early afternoon to get all of our absentee voter stuff taken care of, and then we met Brian, a recently returned missionary from the 3rd ward, out at a trailer park in Thorpe (town in our area) and he met with some people with us. He was awesome! He served in Mexico, so his Spanish was casi perfecto, and by the end of the 3 HOURS he spent helping us out, we ended up with 2 1/2 new investigators! (I say 1/2 because I'm not positive about Jose Luis' interest level.)
Carina is an older widow, who used to be taught by the missionaries here about 4 months ago, but then she had to leave and stay in Mexico for about 3 months. So we came back and she's still been reading in the Book of Mormon the other Hermanas gave her! She's had a rough life, she was married at 13 to a 22-year-old, but they grew to love each other and actually had 13 kids! But unfortunately 5 of the kids died, and also her husband died when he was only 40 from cancer. She's been alone for a long time and has had to support her 8 remaining kids on her own, being a seamstress. She is truly amazing.
Amelia was a referral from the Calhoun's, and she came to the Halloween party this Saturday! Woo hoo! That evening we went to the Reina’s for a lesson and found out that Hermana Reina was having a major surgery this Thursday! She'll be out for about 6 weeks in recovery, so definitely keep her in your prayers. She was talking to us a lot about how she feels stressed about not being a good enough wife, mother, member, etc. We shared with her some awesome insights from "The Perfect Lie," a blog post on lds.org from last week. We shared with her the example of the Loaves and Fishes feeding the 5000 and the Water being turned into wine at the wedding, and how Jesus didn't rebuke or condone them, or ask who planned so poorly, he just took what they had to give and made it enough. AH, I love it. Perfectionism is a big no-no! He commands us to be perfect even as He is perfect, but, He never said we have to do it alone. We NEED His grace, or whatever we do will never be enough.
Wednesday we took Fernando with us to meet Hermana Liman, an elderly Mexican sister who just moved in the ward boundaries a month ago. The Relief Society president asked us to go and meet her, because she only speaks Spanish, to find out if she is friendly or hostile towards the Church, and if she wants Visiting Teachers or not. It turns out she's super nice and the only reason she doesn't go to church is because she has super bad health and is bed-ridden. She has a testimony of steel and knows the scriptures super well! We quoted a scripture to her without telling her a reference or story behind it or anything, and she was like "I love Ammon, he just always says things so perfectly."
Thursday we did lots of service. After an AWESOME DISTRICT COUNCIL ABOUT FAMILY HISTORY WHICH I LOVE, we went to Debby's house and raked leaves and pruned her rose bushes (ouch). That night we had a lesson with Fernando and Sister Hansen. At first, Sister Hansen was super tired and a little grumpy because she'd had a hard day, but by the end of the lesson, she was super happy and peaceful. It was so cool to see, once again the power of Christlike character, turning outward and teaching her friend, when it would have been so much easier to turn inward and wallow in her own rough day.
After that we went to the free clinic to help translate for Hispanics that come in. It was a little overwhelming at first with all of those medical terms (gotta study that soon!) but it actually went really well. Towards the end of the night I decide do have the doctor there take a look at my ear and see what she thinks, because the other doctor helped it to mostly not whoosh, but it's still doing it sometimes. So she grabbed that ear binoculars thingy, and said "Wow! You have had a lot of ear infections and tubes, haven't' you!" "Yes, ma’am!" and then she turned to the medical student who was shadowing her and said "take a look at this! Her ear is really flat and grey' and then, without even thinking I was like "I'm an elephant?!" Hahahaha, it was so funny.
Friday we had lunch at the bishop's company as usual, and it was so funny because seriously like 4-5 of his workers came up to us and asked us if we are nuns! NO WE ARE NOT NUNS!
Saturday we helped set up for the "Fall Harvest Celebration" aka Halloween party. It was so fun! Sister Walter is amazing and so creative! In between helping and dinner, we FINALLY met Gerardo. He's a recent convert who was baptized in February, and was super into church and inviting his friends for a while but then randomly stopped coming for the last 2 months. We talked to him about how important it is to come, especially to take the sacrament, and he was like, "Oh yes, I definitely have a testimony of that, and I read in the scriptures every day. I pray a lot." Then he started asking about his friends in the Spanish group and when he found out that most of them are not coming to church he was like, "WOW. That is so bad! They really need to go to church! I'm going to call them. They need to repent." And we were like, "Ummmmm.... you don't go to church either." It was weird. Then we went to dinner with the Spackmans. It was awesome, because Brother S went on his mission in South America and is fluent in Spanish. He gave us a Spanish lesson, and it helped a lot! It's hard to learn when you don't use it constantly.
The Halloween party was awesome! Hermana Shewell and I switched name tags for our costumes (hee hee!) and we actually got to run one of the games for a little while. Then we wandered around and met a bunch of people. There were a ton of non-members there! It was an awesome success, and super fun!
Sunday we did a language moment in 3rd Ward. It was fun to get to meet more of them, and then like 30 mins before 1st Ward’s Sacrament Meeting started the bishop asked me to give a talk!! Usually we are given like 2 weeks in advance, but someone had backed out at the last minute, and missionaries are good back up plans! Fortunately, I already had a few talks written on random topics I've learned about in my mission, so I was able to use one! It went really well and was another great opportunity to introduce myself to more members of the ward. It was kind of embarrassing though, because during the opening song, one of our less-active members that we have been working super, super, super hard to get to come to church walked in and I started to cry! Right there in front of everybody! The Spirit was so strong all day at church yesterday.
To close out, here’s a cool insight from Relief Society yesterday. Obedience is like an hourglass, at first it seems like you are being restrained, and squeezed into something you don't want to do, but once you do it, the blessings pour out so abundantly! You become something even greater than you ever imagined on your own.
I love and miss you all.