From: Jessica McKay <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Potato Guns and Proxy Work
Date: August 26, 2013 9:46:40 AM MDT
Welcome to Liberal, where Dorothy’s legacy is, I’ll admit, a little bit overwhelming…There are statues of her all over town…and they’re a little bit creepy haha. It’s pretty much Mexicito here. The majority of the people we run into speak spanish and most of them speak even less english than I speak spanish, so I’m getting lots of practice. I love it here though. The branch is so great and they are so excited to be a ward. There is SO MUCH work to be done here. We will always have things to do and people to see and teach. Also, there are a lot of recent converts in our branch and this area has some of the best retention of it’s new members I have seen so far in my mission.
Our branch covers Liberal, Mead, Hooker (OK), Plains, and a bunch of other little surrounding towns north and south of us.
Saturday night we went to a branch back to school activity and it was so…Kansas. Actually, it was in Oklahoma, so it was more Oklansas. This was my very first time in Oklahoma ever! There was square dancing, potato shooting (as in homemade guns made out of PVC pipe that shoot potatoes) and child launching (as in about 12 men held onto a circular blanked and threw little kids up into the air and caught them on the way down). And Sunday the sacrament prayer was spoken in a veeeery southern accent. I am definately not in Wichita anymore. This is the Kansas I would have imagined if I had been called to Kansas in the first place…except all of the hispanics. It’s a little hick-ish. It’s flat. It’s dry. But… It’s so great. 🙂 This little branch in zion is going to blossom with so much fruit in the coming months and years.
We had an awesome day on Friday where everyone we tried to contact was actually home! Or if they weren’t someone else was who listened to us! We found a new investigator named Tere who was so excited to let us share a message with her. She said, “Wait a moment, let me go get my bible from the car.” (Except it was in Spanish, so all i caught was “momento,” “biblia,” and “carro.” She could have said “In a moment I’ll have a bible that looks like a car” or “One moment my bible was run over by a car,” but I’m pretty sure my first guess was right. Haha) She was so focused the entire lesson and agreed to letting us come back. We should have invited her to be baptized, but man it’s HARD to teach in spanish when you’ve been teaching in english nearly the entire first half of you mission and your vocab is very limited. But it really is getting better :). We’re going to see her again on Tuesday, so we’ll be more prepared then.
We live in a cute little white house by ourselves. It’s very spacious and we just got new couches! The other couches were probably 40 years old and suuuuper gross and ugly. Our furniture doesn’t match, but at least it’s clean…haha.
So here is something neat I wanted to share last week but didn’t have enough time. In Bel Aire, we had an investigator who was RLDS and didn’t agree with baptisms for the dead. I was reading in “Our Search for Happiness” by Elder Ballard about the atonement and he said that we could overcome ourselves and our sins through Jesus Christ who “vicariously” atoned for each of us. At that moment it hit me that proxy work, or work done in behalf of others, has been done from the very beginning. Furthermore, the very most important and necessary proxy work was completed by Jesus Christ himself when he suffered in the Garden for each one of us because we would never be capable of accomplishing a task so great in our own weakness. Our Savior completed the ultimate task that we could not, and in return, He simply asks us to keep His commandments and obey His gospel. By doing this, we are choosing to “accept” the work that He did in behalf of each of us because He loves us and wants us to be happy eternally. Baptisms for the dead are the same. We are privileged to do work in temples for those who are unable to complete the work themselves because we want them to be happy. Then, they have the choice whether or not to accept the work that was done for them. Agency abides throughout everything because it is key in our Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
All is well in the mission (corn)field! I am so excited to be here and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for Liberal, Kansas!