Friday, June 13, 2014

Week 44: Storms, Waves and Bridesmaids

Today was transfers, and after four adventurous months, I said goodbye to Sister Creager for the second time.  I got Sister Dailey now, and I'm stoked.  I also am the designated driver now, so I'm terrified.  We'll be fine.

It was the rainiest week ever.  Tuesday we were tracting and looked up like "Hum, those clouds are moving awfully fast.  They're real gray too.  Whoa where'd this wind come from?  It's pretty strong.  If it rains it means no tornado right?  Or does the tornado come afterward?  So if this rain stops suddenly, we're supposed to jump in the nearest ditch, correct?"  
Good news is, no tornado came and we did not have to fling ourselves into a ditch.  The bad news is, the rain came down in torrents and we didn't have coats.  Just one feeble umbrella a member had lent us when they dropped us off.  Within seconds, we looked like we'd just jumped into a swimming pool.
 But we walked to the nearest house and a very kind older couple let us come in and sit on their plastic-covered couch.  By the time our ride got there to pick us up, we'd small talked our way into a friendship with the couple and they said come back anytime.  We went back the next day and taught her the first lesson.  Don't know how much she absorbed, but she loved our company.

A couple of hilarious old ladies took us to visit a less active who was in desperate need of fellowship, one of them a sassy black woman with a French name, and then they took us to a seafood buffet afterward where I got "full as a tick" on fried catfish, gumbo, etouffe, stuffed shrimp, hush puppies, FROG LEGS, and banana pudding.  Frog legs.  All I could think while eating them was that scene from Princess and the Frog.  Those hunters in the movie, by the way: 100% no joke completely accurate representation.

Remember my dream to be a waitress?  I contemplated how Californians would take it if I was the kind of waitress that calls everyone "baby," old and young, male and female.  Still have not reached a decision.

We taught an older woman who'd spent many years working in a place that made airplanes and was so deaf we had to yell 3 Nephi chapter 11 at her, my voice shot by the end and she told us she enjoyed it very much.  Bless her heart.  We taught a second lesson to one of our ghetto friends, the one that just got out of jail, and then met his mom, who had a single gold grill on her front tooth with a star cut out of it.  I don't know where I am sometimes.  Another of our ghetto friends, the young one, found us on the street and said "I'm glad I caught ya'll!  I read a page in that pamphlet every night til I finished it.  And I would like a copy of the Book of Mormon."  Made our day.

A recent convert that we've been visiting frequently since I got here finally gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  All it took was regular study and earnest prayer, which he had to choose to do on his own.  He's very in tune, and very humble.  Said he was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants and in his prayer said "Lord, this sounds just like you!"  and the Lord answered, "It IS me."  This shook him a little bit, because of his many years believing the Bible was complete, infallible, all there was.  So he poured out his soul, "I don't know what's true anymore!"  And his answer, "You know who you sound like?  Joseph Smith."  And it clicked.  We rejoiced so much at this news. 

Bestest news of all:  the couple that were set to get married, TOTALLY GOT MARRIED!  Me and Sister C bought matching tops at walmart, wore them with our matching skirts, picked wildflowers while tracting Friday afternoon, and were makeshift bridesmaids Friday night at the church, our new bishop performing his first wedding ever.  It was short, sweet, dignified, and meaningful, just like everything else in the church.  They covenanted to be faithful to each other "until the end of [their] mortal journeys" and now our money's on a temple sealing in a year.  Or however long it takes.  We were soooo happy.
He said after the wedding, driving home, he felt a great weight lifted and knew he'd been forgiven.  He told his new wife, and at that moment there was a three-second rainfall, which she took to be a sign that she had too.  There is peace in righteous doing.
And he, the less active, figured it all out on his own!  After our countless nights of trying to read scriptures and teach principles and extend commitments without getting knocked over by the Doberman, they must have somehow felt the Spirit during our visits and he figured out that living the gospel was what he had to do, the best thing for himself and his family, and the only way to be at peace.

15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.
 16 You know, brethren, that very large ship is benefited very much by very small helm in the time of storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.  [D&C 123]
Keep up the small things, friends.  The world's in a storm, and very large ships are counting on us.  Love you all.

Sister Valdez

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