Random fact: Uncle Steven was Sister Jennings’ math teacher at BYU, and it was her favorite math class! Way to go, Uncle Steve! 🙂 (And Sis. Jennings takes it as a physical confirmation that she’s in the right place, which I totally and whole-heartedly agree!)
One (of many) miracle(s) for the week was Viri. Sister Jennings met her while I was in Emporia on an exchange on Thursday, and then we went back to teach her the next day. Turns out she’s met with missionaries before, but we have no record of her name anywhere. We taught her the restoration and invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She is working towards the middle of May. She cleans hotels most Sundays, but is off every few weeks, so she’ll be off on Easter and said she could come to church then. We’re really excited about her. Pedro and Graciela haven’t come to church yet, so they’re baptismal date had to be pushed back. If you could include these investigators specifically in your prayers that they will come to church, we would be so grateful! We’ve been having a tough time getting people to come to church, but finally had someone attend yesterday!
This week we’ve been making a bigger effort to contact less active members of our branch. We went to visit the Rojas family, but found out that they no longer live at that address. So instead, we met Edwin…who also informed us he has angels living in his house and he spends most of his days trying to catch pictures of them on his tablet. He even showed us his pictures. Interesting fellow. But he liked hearing about our message, so we referred him to the english elders!
We just had one of our elders transferred out to Dodge City. It was a bummer. He was really helpful with learning spanish! But the new elder is a hard worker and we think the branch will like him too. It was Sis. Jennings’ first transfer experience though, and even though it didn’t affect our companionship, it was still unfortunate, especially for her. I don’t feel like any other changes will happen for the next couple of months though…but who knows? I’d be perfectly fine to stay here with my comp, so let’s hope I do!
Funny story about an old folks home. We went to do some service helping to clean all of their glasses, so we’d go room to room with our little lens cleaner towels asking these nice old folks if we could clean their lenses. Well, I went to this one lady’s room and asked her if I could clean her glasses, and she gave me kind of a grunt and a nod…so I figured that meant yes…But she didn’t make a move to take them off, so I reached forward and removed her glasses to clean them. Immediately after that, she snaps her eyes on me and says, “Give me back my glasses. You give those back. Don’t you break my glasses. You break my glasses and I’ll break your neck!” I was so scared! She couldn’t have done anything, she couldn’t even move, but I was still scared out of my mind! So I put them back on as fast as I could, but I didn’t get it over her ear quite right, so she goes, “Look what you’ve done. You messed it up. Now fix it!” …So I quick as a whistle fixed her glasses so they were sitting right on her face, then said, “Ok, you have a nice day…” and got out of there as fast as I could hahaha. This sweet old lady was both frightening and ornery Not a good mix! Long story short, I quickly learned that I needed to ask them all permission if I removed their glasses. Whoops! That was on my exchange this week. We had some other funny experiences, but I want to wait to talk about them until I can load the picture…it’s priceless.
I spoke in church this Sunday! Yes, in Spanish. It was not the…worst…haha. No I did pretty good, actually. But, please don’t over-estimate my spanish skills. They are not very good. I am just getting good at thinking of really round-about ways of saying things to stay within my limited vocabulary. Haha! Even though I’ve been out for more than 15 months, I haven’t been a spanish missionary all that long, so I’ve still got a long ways to progress before I would consider myself “fluent.” But, I can communicate and understand a lot better, so I consider myself blessed with the gift of tongues.
As for being out 15 months, I really don’t try to keep track, but January 9, 2013 was so ingrained in my mind before I left, that every time the 9th of any month passes, it hits me like a ton of bricks that another month has gone by. I just love being a missionary so much I don’t want it ever to end!
Spiritual Nugget for the week: Sister Jennings helped to broaden my understanding of spiritual refinement the other day when we were talking and planning for someone who was going through quite a rough time. When someone refines silver, it has to go into the very hottest part of the fire, but it also has to be taken out at just the right moment, because it will be ruined if it goes over. How does the metal worker know when it is finished? He must keep his eyes on the metal at all times. He never takes his sight off of it. When he can see his own reflection in the silver, he knows it is finished. I loved this applied to our own spiritual refinement. Sometimes we are placed in the hottest part of the fire because that is where we will be refined the most. As we continue to let the Lord help us through our trials and give ourselves to him and his wisdom, eventually the countenance of the Lord will be seen and reflected in our own countenance and actions. I continued thinking about this process throughout the week, and I began to reflect on colors (not sure how I made that transition, but I did…inspired maybe?) Growing up, I’ve always so upset that black was basically all of the colors mixed into it and white had none of them. Black absorbs them all and white reflects them all. I am an analogy person and I wanted white to have all of them because then I could say “…and it’s just like our Savior, who understands everything and has everything in him…” yahda yadah yah. (I would figure out something profound) 😉 But then I realized that it was even better the way it really is. In reality, black turns inward while white turns outward. Black is selfish, and white is selfless. Black wants everything for himself and never gives anything to others. White gives everything. It’s whole purpose is to help the other colors be brighter and more pure. White is light. Light is truth. Truth is eternal. The more we strive to become more christlike, the lighter, brighter, and more pure we become. This also makes our souls and trials not seem so heavy and we have more hope, faith, which is ultimately more power. (How faith is power is a topic for another time) Basically those are some of my mind gushings for the week, and I hope you can take it and run with it far enough to apply something into your daily lives. That is a principle of faith. Faith is both the belief and action. Without the action, you only have half of the power (if any).
I love this work! And I realized today that when I leave my mission I won’t go back to “normal life” because this IS my normal life now! I love it!