Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Week 54: Things of a Better

We're comin down to the wire in Florence, now.  In interviews with the mission president, Pres confirmed that I'm finally transferring out in two weeks.  I love this town to death and it feels like no less than home by now, but it's been 7 months and I've knocked on 87% of the houses here.  The rest were done by the sisters before me.  I think that means it's time to give someone else a turn.  But this last transfer has been so killer and I'm so blessed to have been able to stay extra long.
The couple I mentioned last week, KK and Cha Cha*, who got hooked after a POS lesson:  still strong.  Taught them 8 times in two weeks.  And guess what else?  THEY CAME TO CHURCH!!! :D  They could only stay for sacrament, but it was a good one.  We'd brought five different members of the ward over so they already knew some people, and five more members introduced themselves after the meeting.  May or may not have had something to do with the talk our assistant ward mission leader gave on the three-fold mission of the church and calling them all to repentance.  Elder Homer and I also got to sing a duet in sacrament, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" to drive the point home.  Your friends' eager eyes are watching, longing.  And in the darkness they may be lost.  However, You may rescue, you may save.  
Brother S came to teach KK and Cha Cha with us the other night, and told his conversion story.  It sounds like movie, basically.  Crazy teen life, tragedy strikes, a friend in his last moments says "Man, you have to turn your life around," so he does and on the one day he happens to have football cancelled, the missionaries show up.  And now he's got an eternal family.  Cool huh?  KK was really touched by story, as he'd had similar experiences.  He said the closing prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for Brother S being there and sharing his story.  I've started doing this thing where I put on instrumental music in the car, and then I imagine how the lesson is gonna go, and them coming to church, and them getting baptized, and then sealed in the temple.  Well part of my "vision" this time included Brother S and KK bro-hugging after the lesson.  When we left their home, they totally bro-hugged.  Moral: Envisioning success really works.

I got a package on Thursday that 100% made my day.  A pinata.  Yes.  An entire candy-filled pinata, plus sour patch kids.  Who sent them?  My good old band brothers, the Castle Town Convicts themselves - Chris and Jose.  Currently in the process of finding something suitable to bust the pinata with.  In the meantime, sour patch kids kept us going tracting yesterday.  We were out in the pouring rain, typical, but when we went to a new street and pulled up at the end of a dead end road, we were about to get out when a young man, probs my age, comes up and taps the window.  Scared Sister Dailey, but he was the nicest guy, invited us to come talk to his fam on the porch.  I swear he's secretly Californian.  He's a non-denominational Christian, believes in God but not religion, is super chill and yet intelligent as well, and doesn't talk like the people around here.  We taught them the Restoration (over the sound of the rain) and while his father didn't say much, his teen sister participated in the discussion and he said he'd be interested to read the Book of Mormon.  I'll be darned if he doesn't relate to Joseph Smith way more than he realizes (i.e. is the reason he chose non-denominational - he hadn't found the truth yet because we hadn't found HIM yet).  And by the way, we never have lessons like this.  Where people actually welcome us in and proceed to actually understand what we teach.l  This was like a miracle moment.

In other news, we finished the great pear preserves project with the member family and I found out that God really does show you your weakness when you ask.  After praying to be shown what I need to work on, I somehow ended up in Doctrine and Covenants 25.

Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady,whom have called.
 Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in time to come.
10 And verily say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this worldand seek for the things of better.

 13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoiceand cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.
I received similar and more specific counsel from the Holy Ghost, from a concerned Sister Training Leader on exchanges, and from my mission president during interviews.  Namely, "Stop obsessing about your appearance."  But in much more loving words.  It's sneaky and bothersome how something as good and wholesome as a health kick can somehow warp into a slight obsession with weight/diet/body image.  I promise it was to no extreme, what happened was I just started thinking about my appearance way more often than I should, so it was throwing off my focus.  But don't worry.  No disorders or anything.  I'm back on track now.  As stated, I've had dessert like every night this week so the old me is back.  Still trying to keep my health up.  But not freaking out over how my tummy looks in fitted shirts.  The lines are fine and the adversary is so tricksy in how he can inch-by-inch nudge you over them.  You lost this round, Satan.  Holy Ghost wins.  

Refocusing has proven to be a daily struggle (as most of ya'll know, I've always been a little head-in-cloudsy) but we continue to find joy in our work.  Driving in the rain.  Cute dogs who don't look diseased or like they want to tear your limbs off.  Introducing investigators to church websites and then hearing about how they stayed up til 2am watching Bible Videos.  Rice krispie treats and cookies from caring members.  Helping your comp identify the signs of intoxication so she knows when to bring up the Word of Wisdom to recent converts who slip up.  It's a blessed work.  We do give up a lot to get to the mission field, and even more while we are here in it.  But what Heavenly Father gives us in return is so much better.

Sister Valdez

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