Greetings earthlings! I am ALIVE!!!!!
Boy oh boy you won't believe the week I had. Except you will cause, a) it's me and b) its a mission and c) you already know I broke my finger....
So here's the story you've all been waiting for! We have an investigator who is probably the cutest and sweetest little old man alive (aside from my two darling grandpas who cannot be trumped :) ) and he sells firewood for a living. For a service activity we helped him split wood for a few hours. [ok sorry its so hard to type without a pinky so excuse the poor apearance of this email but if you want the content there must be something sacrificed]. Right. so it all seemed fine and dandy and was pretty much the funnest thing of all time in the moment. we loaded a log onto the giant woodsplitter machine (an axehead attached to a hydraulic pump that just pushes into the wood to split it) and then there was a big snap and it was perfectly split! over and over we just did that and I was quite overjoyed hauling logs and chucking firewood and moving pieces and such. well then i reached for a log and the next thing I knew my pinky was stuck between a giant piece of wood and a metal plate, with a hydraulic pump-axe pushing against it. lets just say the wood split me that time haha. I had on gloves so i didnt think it was a big deal and then it felt a little wobbly and weird and noodly but i just kept chucking the wood. and then we paused and i took my glove off and....haha well then i almost passed out. haha sorry i have low blood pressure, but it was also pretty gross looking. so i stuck my glove back on and kept splitting wood cause looking at it made me feel nauseous. long story short, we cleaned it up and wrapped it, but it started to swell really bad and get all black so we went into the doctor. and that wonderful doctor burned a hole in my nail. yup. that is correct. he burnt a hole to relieve the pressure of the blood and then he splinted me up. how legit is it that? I broke my first bone ever splitting wood?! hahahah if it had to happen, at least it was that way.
this week was full of a kajillion other firsts. seriously, it was so adventurous:
-we forded a river. yes indeed, our gps is super old and out of date and it takes us on these roads that are essentially logging roads. so this week I forded a river on the way to a dinner appointment haha
-after the fording we were laughed at by a car full of lumberjacks (literally) who saw us taking pictures by the "ford ahead" sign. wearing skirts. that was good. they seemed really nice and had nice smiles. we hope we get to drive by there again so we can teach them the restoration. if it feels safe and the Spirit says its ok of course
- I shoveled horse manure.
- I groomed a horse that marches in the Washington DC parade
- I hauled (not sure what verb to actually use) hay bales! Like I hauled them on and off the tractor. without gloves!
- I drove a tractor!!!!!! don't worry it was just around an empty field so there was nothing I could hit, but it was so cool!
*shout out to my father: every time I did one of these things I always told the people, "My Dad will be so proud!" and they just laughed and laughed. But really, I dedicate my adventures to you Papa :)
- I attended a baptism for an investigator! He was totally prepared and I didnt ever teach him, but I still got to go because I taught the Restoration while he was changing. By prepared I mean he showed up to church on his own, found the missionaries, and asked when he could be baptized. When he bore his testimony the Spirit was SO strong, it was such an inspiration to me
-I spoke to a person in FRENCH!!!!
Ok I"ll elaborate on that last one, cause it was a total miracle of the week. We were in Walmart shopping for groceries and started talking to the door greeter. He was super friendly, so we asked him about himself. It came up that he was from the Congo and my heart started racing a little bit, so after a few more minutes I casually asked what language they speak in the Congo and he said French and then we TALKED IN FRENCH TOGETHER! It was so cool!! Mostly he just talked and I listened, but I honestly understood a lot of what he was saying! Definitely not all of it, but enough to get the main idea. And I said a few things back to him and at the end he said I'm understandable. Oh my it was such a blessing. A tender mercy. A miracle. Whatever you call it, it was the hand of the Lord guiding me to this one random man in a Walmart in the middle of Virginia who spoke French. Also he's interested in talking to the missionaries which is the best ever!!!
This email is so delayed because once again I got snowed in. Hahaha day number six of something like that. I'm telling you, He is keeping me on my toes. And I also went on an exchange for the past 24 hours (where I'm a companion with one of our Sister Training Leaders for 24 hours to learn and see how things are going, etc.) I got to serve in the Rapidan area. About halfway through I realized just how much I needed that exchange and the lessons we got to teach because of it. We got to teach a woman the Restoration, which is the first lesson. Seeing the way the message we shared lit her up and filled her with a new understanding that just MAKES SENSE was incredible. THE GOSPEL MAKES SENSE. Plain and simple. When people hear what we are called to go forth and tell them, their lives are changed and their hearts are touched. This woman had never heard some of the things we shared with her, and although sometimes it made new questions arise, each time we answered those questions or shared another truth you could see the Spirit filling her with comfort and recognition of the truth of what we said. Wow. It was really amazing.
So much love to all of you! My favorite scripture this week (one of many many favorites) is Mosiah 24:15, especially, "the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." Sometimes we may feel like we are weighed down by burdens too heavy for us, but the Lord can give us the strength to conquer them. I had a personal epiphany in realizing that oftentimes, He makes US stronger instead of making the burden lighter. He can do both, of course, but understanding that our own strength from previous trials gives us the power to overcome future ones really struck me. There ya go, that's my thought for the day
Thank you for your prayers and love and support! Love you like crazy!
Successful lumberjack Sister-- see ugly finger in other posting
The sign says.. Open Ford....yep that's where I have been