hope you all had a fabulous halloween and that you didn't get too spooked out by creepy things! :P mostly i'm just glad that as a missionary i get to avoid all the creepiness of halloween and just eat candy and study the scriptures. ha. :) our curfew on halloween is 7 pm, at which point we return to our apartments and study the assigned chapter from president clayton. this time it was D&C 84.... holy moly, can i just say i love learning new things in the scriptures that i've never read before?? i can't wait to come home and take all kinds of institute classes on the doctrines that i don't get to study all that often cause i just teach people the basics. :) anyway. there's a footnote in D&C 84 that leads to hebrews 7:11-16 that absolutely blew my mind. i love, love, love being taught by the spirit. read it. :) and don't worry, i still did SOMEthing festive... sister brown and i were each other for halloween. we wore each other's dresses and nametags (picture attached). (that's about as festive as you can get as a missionary.)
in other news... i about had a HEART ATTACK when a few certain visitors came to the battalion this week... aunt janette, ash and malloree TOTALLY SURPRISED ME!! haha, not fair. :) you all kept me in the dark! i totally knew the day uncle steve was coming, and i knew grandma was coming sometime, but holy moly, that was so unexpected! :) :) i was starting a tour in the middle of the introduction room with some other guests, and suddenly, three dark haired beauties were walking in from the lobby--i started to wave them in to join us, and then i realized who they were. let's just say i felt really bad for my guests that had to watch my reaction. they probably felt really awkward!! haha. but i was just so surprised and OVERJOYED to see them that i couldn't help it! i let my companion take over my tour while i tried to calm down my heart and the four of us sat down to chat for a little bit. :) it felt so surreal to be with them, but so great!! and then i got to take them on the tour! :) we had a fabulous time together. thanks so much for coming to see me, you three!! i REALLY really loved your visit! it made me so happy!! thanks for letting me share such a cherished part of my mission with you. :) I LOVE YOU!
we taught george the word of wisdom last week and guess what? :) he hasn't had a single cup of coffee since. it was so super hard for him to accept that he had to give it up... but he did it anyway! he also was given an incredible priesthood blessing from our ward mission leader after the lesson. george has so much faith. he is still battling satan though, who's trying hard to convince him of other reasons he shouldn't give up coffee, so continue to pray for him, please! we also taught him tithing this week, and he didn't even blink. he accepted it without question. :) SO COOL! george is easily one of the most faithful converts to the gospel that i've ever seen on my mission. all that's left to do is put him in the water! :)
we also did a service project this week for a woman from india. her name is gheeta. she randomly met one of our members at the store and they've kept in touch. gheeta recently decided to move apartments, and she's needed a lot of help, so our member asked us to come to her aid. i've learned quite a few lesson from this interaction: first, other cultures are SO FASCINATING. and sometimes, frustrating. the things that they value compared to the things that i value are just so radically different... it was kind of difficult for me to help her pack, when there's so many things that i would just throw away, and so many things i would just... handle differently. and honestly, i was trying to do what was best for her by relieving her of some of the stress caused by all the STUFF she has and just wants to keep... i was trying to teach her how to have a "house of order, a house of god." but guess what? indians believe in a different god. in fact, they believe in hundreds of gods. so to them, a house of god is one that's packed full of trinkets and rose petals and incense and golden images and candles and ivory elephants and bangles and jewelry and hair accessories and intricately designed clothing... on one hand, they really appreciate beauty. but on the other hand... heavenly father was just showing me how lost some of his children are. so i had to put my pride away and just put myself in her shoes--some people's beliefs are just so incredibly opposite of ours, and their beliefs are SO INGRAINED, that we can't even begin to teach them. we just have to love them. so that's what we did. and she was so sweet and so appreciative of our help... she left us with parting gifts and called us her angels and fed us spicy indian food. someday, i know that gheeta will learn that jesus christ is her savior. until then, i'm grateful to have lent a helping hand to one of heavenly father's beloved daughters.
i think the most humbling indicator that i really have been doing some good around here is the way the members of my ward are responding to my soon-to-be "death." :) many of them are asking for contact information so that we can keep in touch, and members that i've only interacted with a few times are requesting the last open slots on the dinner calendar so i can come visit their home once more. many of them tell us they're going to miss us when we leave, but they aren't just saying it to be nice--they're sincere. they really mean it. of course, i have been in this area over 5 months, which allows for stronger relationships... but i have seen such a huge change in the way that the leaders of our ward respond to our requests for help, and the way they talk about missionary work. i may not have had many progressing investigators or baptisms in this area, but i know that sister brown and i have made an impact on the ward, and the ward is where the REAL missionary work has to start. so, even if all i did was push the ball to get it rolling, that's enough for me.
think that's it for now! hope you're not too freezing in the SNOW! haha. i get three more weeks of sun. :)
I LOVE YOU!