Monday, March 2, 2015

I can't believe I make this mistake

Hello, hello, as always it seems like it has been forever since I last wrote, which is especially funny this week since it has actually been a day less, but a lot has gone on this week! By the way, p-day is today because tomorrow is transfers and this time I'm actually getting transferred! Although I don't know where yet until tomorrow. But at least until the end of my mission I can probably say Hasta Nunca to Taylor Ranch.
 You know, I was actually kind of surprised how hard it was to say goodbye to this area. Especially as we were going around yesterday talking to people. I mean, you always know that you're not going to stay somewhere forever, but I just assumed that I wasn't going to leave yet. I don't know, I guess I just didn't think that I was done here, and it seems weird to leave when there are so many things left unfinished. (And of course it doesn't help that Rebecca is getting baptized this weekend and Daniel and the end of the transfer...) I suppose that it's something that over time you get used to as you transfer more but, I guess I never really realized how much I liked it here, or how much effort I put into this area until I had to leave it. I mean my sweat, blood (don't worry mom, not literally), prays and tears for the past three months have been all day every day devoted to this place and these people. It's sad to think that I'm going to have to leave that behind. But I guess that all I can hope is that it is a little better now than it was before. 
So, by the way, super embarrassing story about transfer news. Sister Stokes is getting put in as a new Sister Training Leader (like a sister zone leader, kind of...) so we naturally assumed that she was the one who was getting transferred, since this isn't an STL area. So, we started telling people that she was leaving! Not too many, just whoever we saw throughout the day, but still that night when we found out that actually I was leaving and this was becoming an STL area we had to go back the next day and be like so.... um.... actually take back what we told you yesterday.... So, now we know, don't make crazy assumptions or else you look like an idiot, ha ha.
The other crazy thing that happened this week is that it snowed! Like hard core too! Or at least hard core for New Mexico. We got about 6 inches on Friday, it snowed almost all day! And then the next day it stuck around until about noon. But don't worry, yesterday it was back to being almost 70 degrees. Ha, what is wrong with this place!
On Friday when it was snowing we had a little mini Christmas. We decided (ok actually I decided) to put in a Christmas cd (partially because it was snowing but mostly out of desperation for some different music to listen to) and we decided to stop by the Reeves family to see how they were doing. Sister Reeves' dad and sister and her family, who are Catholic, were over and so we had a little mini lesson with them. Somehow (probably because it was snowing) the He is the Gift video came up so we watched it as well as a few other Mormon Messages. We also had some traditional cake that is made around Lent that was a lot like fruit cake and some cinnamon and clove tea that smelled exactly like Christmas. So that was pretty awesome. 
Friday we also discovered the secret to getting into people's houses! So we hardly ever tract, partially because it is terrible, partially because it isn't super effective, but when there is no one around and we have nothing else to do, we do it a little. So for some weird reason no one was out in the snow on Friday so we knocked on a few doors (hmm, I wonder what they would have done if we had sung Christmas carols to them). No one really answered but one family. The mom told us that they weren't really interested but we asked them if we could just use their bathroom (which we actually needed to, I promise we aren't just terrible people). Anyway, as we got the chance to talk to them more they totally became more interested and we taught them all about the Plan of Salvation and left their house an hour later. So, it was pretty cool. 
Saturday morning was a designated service day because of the snow so we met up with the Volcano Cliffs sisters and walked to the church to get snow shovels (oh yeah, we also weren't allowed to drive). While we were walking was when we got the call that Sister Stokes was going to be an STL next transfer so that started our later regretted explanation to people of her supposed departure. We shoveled our way over to the Payne's house and on the way ran into Rebecca who didn't recognize us at first because we were all wearing pants (by the way, totally worth it. I would shovel snow every day if I got to wear pants). By then the snow had pretty much melted so we were good to drive and went on the rest of the day with our regular lesson and all that other good regular missionary stuff. Oh and also continued to spread that rumor. By the way, I have also learned this week that there really are no secrets in the church. I think we told like 5 people that Sister Stokes was leaving and by the next day we had to fix it with like everyone that we talked to. 
By far one of the coolest things that I have seen happen this week has to do with the less active member that we are working with. Our numbers of less actives that we actually see regularly is shrinking pretty fast, and not because they are all coming back to church. This week though we had a great experience with two of them. We were fed this week by the Manzanares family (less active and part member), who we had been trying to meet with for forever and had never been in their house for more than 20 minutes. By the way, I do mean that we were fed by them. In that we and the Elders and their son Paul had dinner and they went in the other room and watched TV and talked. So... that part was a little weird. But, after that we had an awesome spiritual message with them about service. Brother Manzanarus talked about how he had first met the missionaries (a friend sent them over and when they asked for him he told them that he had died... Ha, can't say that I've heard that one before) and how now he really respects and appreciates them. We asked them to come to church and they did! 
We also had an awesome lesson with another less active who had told us that she was talking a 3 month break. We stopped by so that I could say goodbye (by the way, there is some real getting in the door power in "hey, I'm leaving tomorrow for maybe forever...." and ended up talking a lot about her concerns and how even though she is a good person now and is living a good life, there is so much more happiness and knowledge, comfort and joy waiting for her if she will just do what Heavenly Father has asked. He is waiting to bring her more blessings; all you have to do it want and work for it. She said she would come to Rebecca's baptism this weekend and let the missionaries meet with her again, so that was awesome. 

The best and really the most amazing thing I've seen this week though, is really be able to see people become spiritually self-sufficient. There is a phrase that missionaries throw around to investigators about how we are their spiritual guides but ugh, I do not like it. When I think of a guide I think of like a safari, and I'm sorry but no matter how many times that safari guide takes me around the jungle, if I venture off on my own I'm most likely going to be eaten by lions. I can't do it without him. I much prefer the idea of being someone's spiritual trainer. About showing and teaching them what they need to do and how they need to do it, so that they can become spiritually self-sufficient so that they don't need me anymore. They can work with others and on their own to build their testimonies and find their own spiritual answers. Anyway, I've been able to see that a lot this week. It's really cool. I'm really happy for these people and that they don't need me as much to find and live the gospel but in a selfish way I guess it's a little sad for me. Ha, maybe that's what parents feel like when their kids grow up and leave. Awww, our investigators are becoming spiritual grownups! ha ha. 
Well, sorry that this has become so freakishly long but since I forgot to tell everyone last week that p-day was on Monday no one else really wrote me, so you got the majority of my e-mail time. And you all know I'm sure when I'm writing and have time how I tend to blather. So, let me think of a spiritual thought real quick to wrap this puppy up.

For some reason all I can think of right now is Job.19: 25-26, which I'm sure you all know is the one where he says "For I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." I just love the last line of that. Yet in my flesh shall I see God. This life is not the end. This life is not even the beginning! This life is a middle. I necessary middle but a middle none the less. We will be resurrected after death. We will regain our bodies and even more than that, in our flesh we will see God! Our father! Who loves us more than we can even imagine right now. Who wants nothing more than to love us and be with us and give us everything that He has to offer. If we will only do what we need to make our way back home. 
I hope everything is going well with you all and that you have an amazing week! 


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