Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 68 & 69: Out with a Splash & Baby Fever‏

Another one bites the dust.  Sister Schulthies left me today to go home.  Every time we did something for "the last time" this last weekend, (last planning session, got area book updated, packing completed, last hour of tracting), she would say most regally, "It is finished."  Or I would say, "You have fought the good fight."  I hope that's not sacrilegious of us.  She hit me a couple times with the car when I backed her out this week.  Fun final memories.  
As planned, K-dog was baptized on Saturday the 15th.  And it was the most beautiful service I've ever been
a part of.  We missionaries sang a medley I composed, of "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and "Be Thou My Vision".  Sister Schulthies and I gave the talks as well, and K-dog's and his mother's home teacher, the member of the stake presidency, baptized him.  The Spirit was strong from the very beginning, but after the ordinance was performed, it just got stronger and stronger.  The feeling inside me swelled and intensified until, for the first time in my life, it felt like a "burning in the bosom" as described in the scriptures, like a fire had ignited in the center of my heart, and I knew his baptism was sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  I hope all in attendance will remember that feeling, that sweet message of mercy that let us know that the Savior had redeemed this man, and be able to say like the men on route to Emmaus, "Did not our hearts burn within us?"

So I got this revelation this week.  I was like, I wonder why it took me so long to see the fruits of my labors.  And then right after my morning prayer, the Spirit whispered, "You are the fruits of your labors."  And I was like, whoa.  You're right.  Like, maybe all those hard areas were soley to teach me patience and hope and humility, as well as to gain as much scriptural knowledge as I could, so that when I was placed in an area that was ready, I would be ready too.  Like the currant bush Elder Christofferson spoke of in his talk about the Will of God, I was getting cut down and cut down and cut down, but the Gardener knew what He was doing.  Even if I never saw any baptisms ever, I would still have what I learned there.  I'd still have those Christlike attributes.  And those are the fruits.  Those are the things we take with us into eternity.  We don't have gold or fast cars up in heaven, as rewards for our obedience.  What we become is our treasure in heaven.  Cool, huh?

I'm now awaiting the arrival of.... wait for it..... MY TRAINEE.  Yep.  It happened.  I'm gonna be a mom.  Am I terrified?  Yeah.  Does it feel right though? Definitely.  President told us over speaker phone and I jumped back (so the sound of my scream wouldn't pierce his eardrum) but he was laughing because he knew I saw it coming.  It's gonna be good.  It's gonna be fun.  I'll do my best to teach her everything I learned in 15 months over the next 3 and maybe she'll turn out ok.

Woohoo!  It's now a week later and so far so good.  Sister Matealona is a hilarious and humble, sassy and sweet little Polynesian girl.  From Utah.  (haha jk, she's originally from Hawaii).  The funniest thing is people trying to pronounce her last name.  They just call her Sister M.  Except little Guatemalan Maria who feeds us lunch every week, she said her name first time no problem.  And since Sister M knows absolutely zero Spanish, I've been relying even more on the gift of tongues to help translate our lunch conversations with Maria.
My biggest fear with training was that I'd get a bratty companion with whom I had nothing in common.  Thank goodness this was not the case.  We do a hecka lotta singing while we tract, and she does funky dance moves sometimes when she helps me back the car out.  Then at night getting ready for bed, she sings me the latest Beyonce songs and I pitch my screenplay ideas to her.  Yesterday I showed her the photo of me at age 18 with my hot pink A-line haircut and she laughed so hard she cried.
The work is going so well in Slidell, it's like not even fair.  For Sister M, I tell her it's beginner's luck.  For me, I think it's the Lord rewarding me for working all those months in Florence without throwing myself off a bridge.
We were worried about Lonnie, because he hadn't shown up to church, so I asked my companion if we should go see him.  She said yes.  (This is how I make decisions.  If my companion agrees, then the thought must be inspired of the Spirit.  Like if we pull up to a street and I ask her if she feels weird and she does, then we don't tract it.)  So we get to Lonnie's, and he's happy to see us.  While we're sitting talking with him, his 17 year old son comes home.  We ask if he's got any questions and he's like, yeah all the time, so he pulls up a chair and we teach him about the afterlife.  It's kind of astounding how teenagers get it even quicker and easier than their parents.  We only saw him that one time, but we taught Lonnie again later that week about the word of wisdom and he's so meek, he's doing the stop smoking program starting tonight.  He'd also been having a lot of problems with a shoulder that wasn't healing and was keeping him from working, so we had the ward mission leader and the elders come give him a blessing.  It was so sweet.  You could see and feel how humble Lonnie is, ready to accept whatever his Heavenly Father has for him.  Oh oh oh he actually prayed like we asked him to, to ask God if getting baptized was the right thing.  And he got his confirming revelation!  He said when he prayed about it, he got chills and then the wind started blowing and he knew.  Ha.  God always speaks to us in ways we'll understand.  He came to church again yesterday and even the members have noticed a change in his countenance.  He looks as happy as he feels.  And I must say, one of the highlights of my week, was when we knocked on his door and he got the biggest smile on his face when he saw us.  Is it weird that my best friends in the world these days are 50 year old white men?
Speaking of the elect, Sister C, the mom in the part member family, is set for baptism this Sunday.  We went through the baptism interview questions, and when asked what the restoration meant to her, she said "It means that the priesthood keys are restored that can seal my family, so I can be with them forever."  And I was grinning so hard my face almost broke.  It just always amazes me when people actually get it, because I guess I don't always expect them too.  Oh me of little faith.  She's ready.  Right after that, we had she and her husband stand and the member that was helping us teach, and like five of us were trying to teach/demonstrate how to baptize someone and it was the most hilarious thing. But they got it eventually.  Just remember, you dip backwards, do not dunk forwards.
I could go on about all the miracles in between, but my kiddo wants to go play some volleyball so I'll fill ya'll in next time.  Life is great.  Work is blessed.  Church is true.  Love ya'll.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. [John 15]
Sister Valdez

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