Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 23: Keep Thou My (Purple) Feet

Shreve district
Did you know that in some remote parts of the world (Antarctica, Louisiana, etc.) it can get so cold that your companion's feet turn purple and then your pipes freeze and no water comes out which means No-Shower Sunday?  It's okay though because if you put all your hair in a sock bun, no one can even tell it's unwashed and hecka grody.  Also, if you wrap your companion's feet in a fleecy blanket and rub em for 20 min, they eventually regain feeling.  Today's errands will include a stop at Kohl's for sweater tights and long socks.

Hula time!
In other news, Happy New Year!  Thus begins 2014, the year I will spend entirely in the South and entirely in the service of God.  It began, interestingly enough, with a ward luau.  Big shoutout to our ward mission leader from New Zealand and the Relief Society sister from Hawaii for making it legit, and our awesome counselor in the bishopric who's enthusiasm made our collective dream a reality.  We missionaries had been pulling for a major ward activity for months and BOOM new year's eve success.  All eight of us missionaries (4 sisters, 4 elders) ran around all night handing out plastic leis, distributing the 30 roasted chickens to the tables, running onstage to provide entertainment.  I was hoping for a firedancer, but instead we got elders and young men doing the haka, sister missionaries and young women doing the Lilo & Stitch hula, Relief Society sisters in mumus singing Tiny Bubbles, a few brethren on ukuleles, and tiny lil activity day girls with their own hula plus major cuteness.  Just as good, right?  Unfortunately a roasted pig takes two days to cook instead of one, and does much better in a hole in the ground than a giant grill, but at least some of it was consumable.  And it looked cool.  And the elders can now say they've killed a live-and-kicking pig.

Actual pig.
(note: I'm seriously proud of my hula skills, can someone find out how to post the video I sent to my Facebook or something?  the world needs to know what a killer luau Shreveport had.)

One of my new year's resolutions is to be more bold.  I think it's actually getting there.  I've also always wanted to tell someone we're teaching "The heavens have opened!  The God of miracles speaks through a prophet today!" to let them know that this is seriously something to be jazzed about.  Why else would we be out in 19 degree weather trying to tell you about it?

By the way - Sister Sellers and I have come up with this running list of things we wish we had a nickel for every time we heard it.  For example, if we had a nickel for every time someone said:

"Ya'll are out in this weather?"
"How old are ya'll?"
or "They let girls do this now?"

New Year, new style. Bangs, yo.
... we would have enough to buy each companionship its own car.  I think my favorite of the moment is, "It's cold outside!"  No, really?  Is it?  Huh, I hardly noticed, only been out here maybe 45 minutes.  Or better, "Stay warm!"  You know, if you let us in, we might actually be able to do that.  In the meantime, we're trying to keep my comp's toes from turning purple and falling off.  Nonetheless, I know all this tracting has a purpose, if only to show our dedication and obedience to the Lord.  His servant, our mission president, has asked us for 7 hours of tracting a week, and by gum, rain or freeze, we'll do it.  Because obedience brings blessings, not always in the way you'd expect, but the blessings do come.  That's the promise.  And we've seen it.  One example was yesterday - we tried our best to get three solid investigators to church and none of them made it - however.  A random nonmember family of three showed up, who said "We're trying out different religions.  Our friend here has been trying to sell us on this one for awhile," motioning to their friend, a member from a nearby ward that they've known for several years.  I almost fell over.  Members are EVERYthing when it comes to missionary success.  Let me repeat in case you didn't get that.  MEMBERS. ARE. EVERYTHING.  :]

Another case of this happened with Dee* just yesterday.  Dee is exceptional.  There's not been one time we've gone to see her and she hasn't let us in, or tried to make an excuse.  Not even yesterday, when she was still a bit sick.  Ever since I first met her, in all her slightly-brash, "I don't care what you think", "I don't take crap" kind of attitude, I loved her.  For reasons I can't explain, I'm probably her biggest fan.  But see yesterday, we were supposed to go with Jess (a member) to see another lady who cancelled five minutes before our set time.  So still trying to make use of our time with Jess (splits with members is rare and precious), we went to back up plans, but all four of them fell through - not home or not available.  We finally decided to stop by Dee's though we'd just been over there - the night before, she'd been sick so we'd sat with her daughter, age almost-8, and exceptionally bright, and taught her a killer plan of salvation lesson, drawings and all.  When we pulled up with Jess, Dee was just getting out the car.  Timing was perfect.  And when Jess told her about her mom, who used to be of Dee's former denomination before she found the LDS church, and described the process, Dee said "That sounds just like my story!"  You bet.  And we're gonna make sure it ends the same way, baptism and happy family.  Her little daughter's on board.  She'd put up my beautiful diagram of the plan of happiness on her bedroom wall, and they're set to read the Book of Mormon together.

Funny how things never go according to plan, but they still work out.  Random three investigators at church, having a member to meet my favorite investigator, finding the chance in a lesson last night to finally introduce the Restoration to someone with "The heavens have opened!" (yes, it finally happened).  Because God has it all mapped out on a scale bigger than I can comprehend, and He makes it work.  He has the birds-eye view of the corn maze, as Sister Sellers would say, and we can only see a step ahead.  All we got to do is ask Him - okay, right or left? - and He'll lead us through.

"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments [...] and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

[1 Nephi 17:13]

And don't I know it.  As my favorite hymn says, "Keep thou my feet, I do not wish to see, the distant scene, one step enough for me..."  May our prayers sincerely be "Lead thou me on," and He certainly will.


Sister Valdez

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