Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 8: Due Season

I don't mean to sound prideful in this - indeed, I boast not of myself but of my God - when I say I've given some pretty bomb-diggity amazing spiritual lessons in my head.  I was pondering on the possible needs of this one part member family, in which only the father is a member and he's not active, and suddenly a rush of inspired questions and accommodating doctrine came to my mind, and it's as if I could see them all sitting before me.  I'm pleased to announce that the desk chair in my living room knows who it is and its relationship to God and is getting baptized next month.
Last Tuesday, we racked up a whole lot more potentials for which I hope these in-my-head lessons will prove useful.  We walked to the apartment complex where we'd always had some sort of luck before, and handed out three books of Mormon, and got five return appointments, one of them being from a woman we swear is golden - she had questions for us the second I brought up the Restoration and it's clear that she's looking for something her churches before were lacking.  And all this before lunch.  It was our greatest day yet.  Most of the return appointments were made tenatively for sometime Friday, so of course that's when we went back.  Let me tell you a thing about Friday.

Everyone had been readily and gleefully predicting rain, and lots of it.  Thursday night was rocked with thunder and a little bit of lightning, and we all hoped it would continue.  And boy did it continue.  Despite a flash-flood warning we'd recieved via text, Sister Haviland and I went out, her with an umbrella and I in a rainjacket, to walk to the apartments because of course the other sisters had the car that afternoon.  The precipitation was refreshing at first, and Sister H was okay tiptoeing around puddles in her flats while I hopped through them in boots like a preschooler, but then the drops swelled and gained speed.  Minutes later, we were sloshing through an inch of rain on every sidewalk, cringing and fleeing onto strangers' lawns whenever cars went past through the pools that flooded the gutters and streets.  The worst was a city bus, speeding and relentless, that sent a tsunami over our heads as it flew past.  Not an inch of me was not wet.  I had to literally pour water out of my apparently-not-waterproof boots.  Fortunately, our miserable state invoked the sympathy of two previous contacts who let us in to teach them a bit.  Here we discovered that despite our efforts to protect our bags, a few Books of Mormons suffered from moist bindings, and several pamphlets perished.  But we got 1 and 1/2 lessons out of it (the half because we had to leave one early when the kid's family texted from the next room, probably saying "stop talkin to them Mormons!").

I want you to know that the fact that we still haven't gotten any second lessons with anyone (any of which would have moved "potential" to "progressing" investigator status) has not had any negative effect on me, i.e. has nothing to do with the fact that I've maintained the diet of a pregnant woman for the last week or so.  It probably had more to do with the cake and Oreos I got for my birthday.  I celebrated my golden on Sunday, the 22nd, and it was wonderful.  I can't think of a better place to spend my birthaversary than in the mission field, doing something meaningful with my young life.  (Irony of the moment: I'm the oldest person in my apartment and the youngest missionary in my apartment.  22 years old and I've been out the least amount of time, six weeks.)  We spent most of day after church visiting teaching with a sister in the ward, and then at dinner (tender mercy!) they happened to have cupcakes left from their son's birthday the day before and lit one up for me with 22 candles so they could sing to me.  It was fabulous. 
All my love and thanks to those of you who remembered me this week and sent gifts or cards.  I felt so loved!  And my whole apartment was blessed by the Oreos to indulge in, new CD's to play while we clean, and flowers for our table.  Yesterday, my dear companion and roomies threw a mini combined birthday party for me and Sister Harker, who's birthday is on Thursday, at the church in the cultural hall - pinata included.  Then upon returning to my apartment, I learned that stringing your room with streamers, stealing your mattress and shoving it in the bathroom, and leaving candy on your mattress-less bed is the common elder's way of saying "I love you and happy birthday."
my gift from the elders
transfer calls
Today is actually transfer day, so I'm currently in limbo, companionless.  I said goodbye to my "mother," my trainer Sister Haviland this morning, and am awaiting my follow-up trainer Sister Brimley to arrive in Shreveport, whom I know nothing about except that she's got the personality of a Disney Princess straight out of Enchanted.  I'll bet she's got her own Happy Tracting Song and all.  I'm hopeful for what this change will bring, and I know that if we continue in obedience and trust (despite the awkward early stage of every new companionship) that we will get those second appointments and I won't have to do the majority of my teaching to empty desk chairs.
"If ye walk in my statutes and keep my commandments, and do them;
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yeild their fruit."
[Leviticus 26:3-4]
Remember how it was unbearable hot and gross not too long ago?  Well the weather preceding that stormy Friday has been beautiful and perfect and a testimony to me that all good and promised things come in their season from He that keeps the earth turning.  Wish us luck!
Sister Valdez


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