Kimbo, I just wrote you today!!
So good to hear from everyone this week. I did not get ONE letter in the mail this week. Oh, wait I take that back. I got a letter from Daryl Farnkoph from the ward. So nice of her to write to me. I still am so happy for her that her husband, John, was able to get baptized. Whenever I have attended a baptism or I have had a baptism for an investigator I feel so much joy. Not even for me or for the other missionaries because we worked hard to see this happen. But because the person being baptized has been brought closer to Christ and now they get to feel what I feel everyday.
This past week has been so awesome and this next week should be just as great. I get to be apart of my first "shifty" or I guess most people know them as "exchanges." Where an entire zone or district swaps companionships and areas within that zone or district. So basically everyone rotates and shuffles around for teaching/learning/experience purposes. So the neighboring Bremerton zone is doing a shifty and they want their set of sisters to be able to participate. Since sisters can only swap with sisters and lucky for them our zones are very near eachother, we could help them out by agreeing to swap with them. So I am going to B-town! So exciting haha. I'm seriously just going like 3 miles away but I'll be spending the night at their place, driving in their car, seeing their investigators, etc. So it's kind of like a baby transfer. Except you get to come back to your area and comp. Sister Mills is staying here and they will bring her the greenie that just came to Bremerton.
Ugh. This has been the week of nasty old granny food. Guys, I seriously was dry heaving at the dinner table. I was sly about it though so I don't think anyone noticed. One day we were fed by this recent widow in the ward. Sister Mills actually ate at her home with her husband the first week she was in the area. She warned me that the food might be on the "mushy" side. Not much has changed. Mushy central. I never in my life had experienced green jell-o with...wait for it....wait for it....CABBAGE. Yes, you heard correctly. Green jell-o w/cabbage. Gag. Then we had these ridiculously mushy carrots that were served in this like orange jelly glaze. Oh man, my stomach is turning just thinking about it. Then we had this chicken noodle casserole. Followed by gummy rhubarb pie. MMM!!! The next day we had another meal with an older lady in the ward. Sketchiest kitchen ever. Things stacked and cluttered on the counters and stove. Open containers of things everywhere. Just not exactly up to Health code. We had burnt pizza and Crook neck squash. It was like 50 times worse than that burnt pizza Grandpa Ted ate at the hospital. Just black. The cheese was cardboard. She scooped about a gallon of yellow goopey squash on my plate. Gulp..... I basically just mashed it up on my plate and then just swallowed it down with some room temp orange flavored SunnyD. I may or may not have scooped some of the squash back into the bowl when she got up to get the phone. Shh...don't tell. The next day we ate a family's house that are siliac. They can't eat anything with gluten. They also are allergic to nuts, dairy, soy, and fish. Basically what can they eat? Oh they can eat vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. Oh want some more peas? ok here is 4 ladle full. Want some more Brocolli? Oh here let me fill a cereal bowl of it for you. You don't look like you have enough caulliflower Sister, Let me scoop you some. Save me!!! I have never had so many heaps of soggy steamed vegetables in my life. I thought that week of food would never end.
Mom, Brother Elkington knew every single person in your pictures! He was so excited. A good number of those people were his first cousins or close family friends. He said that you looked vaguely familiar. He didn't go to BYUH he just grew up in Laie but he went to school actually in California on a football scholarship. I forget which UC school it was. I can't wait to tell him that you got him a shirt he will love it!!!
This week we spent some time studying mormon.org. We are allowed an hour a week to study the website, watch video clips on it, and know what all is featured on the site so we now how to use it with teaching opportunities. Have any of you reading this checked it out lately? If so, that's great! If not, why not?? It's SOOOO user friendly and they totally redesigned it so that it actually looks interesting and not such a visual eye sore. Dad, there is this video you would love. It's under the section "Our People" and then there are a bunch of different videos about different members of the church. If you scroll down to the very last one click on the video about a guy named Steve Brouggy. I believe he is from New Zealand and he races motorbikes. They have so many really just inspiring and amazing stories of members from around the globe, from all walks of life that tell their story from an interesting perspective. There is even a video on a cute Japanese girl with the last name Adachi and she's a high school senior. I would invite all of you to make a member profile on Mormon.org. You can decide what you want to write about or what you want to share, but it is a great way to let the world know and our communities know who we are and who we are individually. Puts a more relatable and recognizable face to the Mormon name. Here are some notes I jotted down after watching a few of the video:
-There is a point in our lives where we have to have God. Because we have nothing else.
-God has given us everything that we love. That inspires us. That gives us energy.
-Life shouldn't be sad. You can always find the upside and the humor in everything.
-I'm still young. I have a chance to change. To be better.
-Good things take time.
-Whatever I do, put 100% into it
-Do I give my best to everyone else, so that when I go home my family gets my leftovers?
-If I believe in God, how can I possibly become depressed?
-If you are weak on the inside, you won't last for any time at all
-I will come to understand who I am and who God is through adversity.
-Everything GOOD comes from GOD
-The most happiness we can experience is often found within the walls of our own homes
-Embrace challenges rather than avoid them
I know that they are pretty fragmented and sound pretty cliche but if you watch the stories and lives that coincide with these basic mantras and principles, there is real power to these words. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Gospel is beautifully simple, and simply beautiful. How many times do we complicate our own lives with things that are of really no importance? I know it is hard for many if not all of you to have an hour of personal gospel study each morning, but if you can designate some time with the scriptures, or the Ensign, or even writing in your journal as you eat your breakfast in the morning, your day will be less likely to unravel. I love my personal study time in the morning and cherish that hour that I have designated before I begin my work day by being able to invite and feel the Spirit. I can totally tell a difference in lessons with investigators or other members when I either have or have not done a very good personal study that morning.
This week I have had to learn a lesson with forgiveness. Forgiving others. Forgiving myself. Allowing the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to take over where my own idividual shortcomings end. I love Elder Holland. I read a talk he wrote during one of my personal studies and he said that "Forgiveness was the key to the meaning of all the suffering [ Christ ] had come to endure." I don't know why, but there were 6 different people this week that told us that they were victims of sexual abuse as a child and how they are still dealing with the aftermath of those events. There is so much hurt and mistrust and sorrow in their eyes as they each told us their stories. The people and the places and times were different, but one thing was the same. That it was not their fault and that the Atonement covers them too. The innocent that was wronged just as much as the guilty that had wronged them. A big hurdle they have all had to jump was not only forgiving the perpetrator, which sadly was usually a family member or friend, but they really struggled with forgiving themselves. Feeling like somehow it was their fault. President James E. Faust had said, "Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in." I would invite all of you to take a look at today, this past week, this past month. What are some things you could ask forgiveness for from God? From others? Who are some people you could forgive? What are some grudges you have been holding on to that you need to let go? I have seen the power of forgiveness though Christ's Atonement work miracles in my life. Burdens and guilt carried for me. Sorrow and pain erased. He loved you enough to die for you, He loves you enough now to want you to live through Him.
Love you all,