Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 32: Break-Up Call

The Clinton Zone :]

I can't say I know where to start.  Except that this week was break-up central.  The G family we were stoked about dropped us like a bass.  Via text, too.  Feels a lot like getting dumped.  A few of our potentials were way too under-enthused about our actually returning when we said we'd return for them (if someone gives us an inch, we take it, doggone it) for them to be interested.  It's even better when it happens on the same day you're on bikes and spend the afternoon walking in ditches and getting shoes full of mud.  Yeah.  The best.
Most traumatic thing of my life:  We're in this trailer park and see this pack of dogs, like a gangbang of dogs, hustle after and corner this stray cat (stray animals are everywhere in this town) and then we see them all barking up this tree - they had literally chased this cat up a tree - and the cat was scrawled around this tree trunk hanging on to the bark for dear life.  So we laugh and stuff cause it's a funny sight, but right after this picture was taken, the worst thing ever happens THE CAT FALLS off the tree and six dogs jump on it and the feline that had just minutes before been following us around, is no more.  It was like the Hunger Games or something and I will never be the same.

Speaking of trauma.  We knocked this house last week, and the guy who came out was clearly out of his mind.  It's a good thing we didn't leave right away though, because then his brother comes out, who explains that he's never been the same since the motorcycle accident and his ramblings about Vietnam and '72 are normal, and we make a return appointment with T-Bird* (the sane one), who says he'll hear our message.  So we go back last Saturday, and, to our surprise, T-Bird* came outside and said everyone else was busy, but he'd listen.  So right there on the porch we gave the full message of the Restoration, and he said he'd be interested in reading the Book of Mormon, and if he found out it was true, yes, he would be baptized and join the church.  We were hoppin excited.  And then his wife Cher* drives up and looks at us with this accusatory no-nonsense look when she finds out who we are and asks how many husbands we have, and I'm scared outta my pants but keep my cool as we explain the Book of Mormon and who we are.  Then she's like, "Well, I guess I have no problem with you talking to my husband" and SHE ends up chatting with us for another 20 minutes and invites us to dinner the following week.  How?  I don't know.  But we went over to do service for her yesterday (house needed it, her husband, son, nephew, brothers in law, and two hobos live there), and she taught us how to cook and talked with us for two hours.  I guess when your household is Snow White and the Seven Drunks, you get desperate for female company.

Other highlights:

Bye Elder Larson!
Zone conference.  I learned that one of the main reasons we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, is because we're trying to align our will with the Father's like He did, i.e. we're trying to pray for the things Christ would pray for.  Whoa.  One of the departing elders who everyone looks up to because he went from being average Joe to gospel scholar in like a year on his mission, said these two things I have to quote:
"There is no 'bad day' in the mission, because it will make you who your Heavenly Father wants you to become[...] There is no failure in the work of salvation."
The same applies to real life, everyday disciples, my friends.  Remember it.

MTC sisters

And one more was this:  "You have nothing to lose by inviting people to baptism in the first lesson.  So just do it."  Ha.  Let me tell you.  Me and Sister Creager are for real going to take this to heart this time.  It's been a goal of ours for awhile now.  And it's true!  We have nothing to lose but people who don't want to progress anyway.  Had two lessons tracting last Sunday, invited both to baptism, both rejected.  Cool.  We know not to waste our time going back there.  And T-Bird gave a tentative yes!  It's a win-win.  Like, hello McFly, wake up, why haven't we been doing this all along?

they call him...Ugly.

A member took us out to Mexican for Sister Diehl's birthday, and they put a sombrero on her head and sang and brought a free dessert.  My question:  is it actual Mexican tradition to smear whipped cream on someone's face while you sing them a birthday song or did Mississippi Mexicans come up with that?  Because I ain't never seen it before here.  Same goes for deep-fried, sugar-covered "sweet biscuits" all the Chinese restaurants have in the South.  I seriously question their authenticity.

Someone actually called us from the pass along card we left at their door.  This happens never.  He thought he called to teach ME about Christ.  This happens often.  I gave him the skinny, about how we really are Christians, testified of the divine role of Jesus Christ, and he was confused cause "it's not what my religion believes" cause a bishop he talked to told him something different one time, .  Sister Creager laughed because I was using my "phone-voice" that makes me sounds like a Disneyland employee.  Same week, I got a call from a very distressed less-active who was "locked up," "at the bottom," and "not worthy."  Yes, he called from jail, crying because he was scared and didn't know what to do.  Perplexed, I think I just told him to remember to pray and that he's still a child of God, then sent his info to the missionaries closest to his location.  Confession: I've always wanted to minister in a prison.

True friendship is when two of your close missionary friends settle who gets to have me as a post-misson roommate with an arm-wrestle.  I love Sister Creager and Sister Ray.  I'll be roomies with both of them.  Somehow.

M-Hall Serial Killer update:  When we went over last, as promised he plugged in one of his guitars and played us some blues.  "If it weren't for bad luck, I would have no luck at all."  That's a catchy one.  And then I played him an acoustic version of How Great Thou Art and the Spirit was there, so we taught him some.  He'd done some more reading, so we have no choice but to return and pray that he doesn't snap while we're in his shack.  Oh, and he wears his hair long because Jesus did, and He's his role model.  Can't judge em by covers, goes to show.

Jaco update:  We broke up with him.  Sister C, who like never gets emotional, was hiding tears when he asked why we seemed sad.  I was just ticked by this time and so over it I had no room to be sad, except for when I think of the welfare of his soul.  But we gave the "drop talk."  We-can-still-be-friends, and call-us-when-you're-ready-to-commit, and all that jazz.  Maybe someday he'll realize that there's much more joy in gospel truth than man-made philosophies and he'll come around.

I know this isn't a scripture, per se, but it's the words of Oliver Cowdery concerning the day the priesthood was restored to him and Joseph by an angelic messenger, because it's just so beautiful and it struck me to the heart with inexplicable joy and renewed perspective:

I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion;[...] nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many[...] but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. - [Oliver Cowdery, from Joseph Smith History 1.]

A lot of crazy things happen out here, both strange and wonderful, both frustrating and miraculous, and I add my declaration of faith to Oliver's in this expression of hope and eternal perspective:

In those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.

Sister Valdez

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