Helloooooo beautiful people!
Where do I even begin? It's been a busy, exhausting, beautiful, crazy 10 days. It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving. Maybe it will at dinner in 2 or 3 hours, but right now it feels like I'm a missionary and I'm going to be busy doing missionary work and I'm not going to get enough sleep tonight whether I'm in bed on time or not (I absolutely will be, but it sure won't feel like it)... But that's how it should be! I AM a missionary right now. I don't want the holidays to feel like I'm at home, because I'm not. I'm out here with a message of hope to share with everyone I meet, a message that can bring hope and comfort and peace. The message we share as missionaries has the ability to change lives. I know that because I let it change me, and I've seen the change it makes in the hearts of those who let it in. It's a message of our Savior, that no matter how hard things get or how low you feel, He is there to lift us up and put us back on the right path. I am out here in California right now, inviting these people to come closer to Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
The past week has been filled with Zone Conference for us missionaries, where we were all humbled IMMENSELY and inspired to be better, to work harder, and to stretch further than we ever have before. We were blessed to hear from Elder Baxter, from the Seventy.. This man does not sugarcoat a THING. He's Scottish and he's got the accent, and he's tall and bald and he's got an icy stare that will paralyze you on the spot... He is also wonderful and wants us to reach our greatest potential and he is a representative of Jesus Christ and I love him.. But MAN, he is intense. He spoke to us at the conference, gave us 16 commitments (yep, we're all feeling a little overwhelmed.. But that's okay. Builds character.) He made sure we all knew that we needed to get stuff D-U-N DONE. Here's a couple of my favorite least-intimidating quotes of the conference:
"You don't almost, hopefully, or usually 'do it'.. You just DO IT." [at this point I tried to imagine him being Yoda so I wouldn't be so intimidated.."Do or do not, there is no try."]
"Find out what the Lord wants you to do, and DO IT. Find out what the Lord wants you to say, and SAY IT."
Basically we need to stop being comfortable with where we're at, we need to be bold, we need to get out and get things done.
Sister Lewis (the Mission President's wife.. whom I love a whole lot) spoke as well, and gave us this parable of the King's Son...
The King's Son is having a birthday, and some father in the land told his son to go bring the king's son a gift. His son didn't want to, but the father made him. He traveled to the castle and spoke to a guard at the gate. "Why are you here?" said the guard. The boy replied, "To bring a gift to the king's son." The guard then asked, "Why did you come?" and the boy replied "My father made me" the guard sent him home, he would not allow those who came against their will to enter into the kingdom. Another father asked HIS son to bring a gift to the king's son. The son resisted, but the father bribed him with a few dollars, so he too made the journey to see the king's son. The son got to the gate, and again the guard asked, "Why are you here?" and the boy replied, "To bring a gift to the king's son." The guard asked "Why did you come?" "My father paid me" replied the son. The guard sent the boy on his way, for he would not allow someone who came to see the Son for his own gain. Another man said to his son, "you should go, and give a gift to the king's son." and the boy replied "I would love to. I love the King, and I love his son." A third boy took his journey into the kingdom, and once again, the guard stopped him and asked "Why are you here?" The boy replied, "To bring a gift to the king's son." "Why did you come?" the guard asked. "Because I love the king, and I love the king's son." and this time, the guard allowed him through the gate to give the king's son his gift.
It's a simple story, but it speaks volumes. Why do we do what we do? Why am I serving a mission, why am I spending 18 months of my life on the other side of the country, when I could be going to school and working and being with my friends and enjoying my own life? I'm here because I love the King, and I love His Son. I know the power that comes through knowing and living the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I want other people to know of that same happiness. It's like hearing a new song on the radio or seeing the newest Doritos commercial, you love it and you want to share that joy you experienced with everyone else.
Okay, on a lighter note.. This week has been wonderful. We've had some wonderful lessons, we had EXCHANGES last Tuesday. I stayed in Bass Lake with Sister Twitchell and Sister Dees came to join us, while Sister McLelland was in East Sac with Sister Maughan.. It was a long day but Sister Dees is the sweetest and we had a lot of success :) We had a lesson with Cathlina and it kind of turned into a drop lesson (basically we broke up and it broke my heart). She's been taking the lessons because her in-laws are LDS and she wants to understand where they're coming from, and she felt like we had answered her questions and that was about it. I was pretty upset because I love her a lot and I know she sees what the gospel can do for her, but we've gotta wait for God's time and I know every little thing is gonna be alright.
Oh we have an investigator named Kelly and he is wonderful and I don't remember if I've ever told yall about him, but we finally taught him about the restoration and I invited him to be baptized and he said yes and that's the first time that's happened to me and I kind of asked him twice because I didn't think he actually said yes but uh, yeah so that happened and the spirit was super strong and I'm so excited for him. Wow rambling, sorry guys.
IT WAS SISTER MCLELLAND'S BIRTHDAY ON MONDAY AND I WAS MORE EXCITED THAN SHE WAS and I don't even know why but I just love her a lot and I love that I got to celebrate with her and eat all of the powdered donuts that her bestie sent her. It was a good time.
Ugh there's so much more to tell but we are way out of time for email and I JUST REALIZED WE LEFT OUR MILK IN THE CAR WITH THE REST OF OUR GROCERIES AND WE NEED TO GO PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE AND I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M TELLING YOU ALL BUT IT'S A PROBLEM AND WE HAVE TO GO TAKE CARE OF IT OKAY I LOVE YOU ALL, WRITE ME OKAY? PEACE AND BLESSINGS, BUH BYE.
Okay one second.. QOTW. Can't resist.
We have an investigator who is 17 and his mom nicknamed him turtle, and she told us that turtle was at work.. walking back to the car this was the conversation as Sister McLelland was discovering that turtle was NOT their pet turtle.
McLelland- "Uh their turtle has a job? That's awkward."
McLelland- "Uh their turtle has a job? That's awkward."
Me- "...Maybe he works at the Shell station."
WE'RE HILARIOUS OKAY PLEASE LAUGH
Really now, tchau tchau, loves.