Monday, November 21, 2011

"That which is to give light, must endure burning"

Another rough rough week.  This is by far the hardest transfer of the mission.  Somedays I just think "December 5th, December 5th, December 5th."  That's the beginning of the new transfer.  But I can't keep waiting for the next transfer or the next companion or the next area or the next investigator.  I have to know how to be content at the current moment.  How am I going to magnify the next 10 minutes, the next hour, the next day, the next week?  There is a quote tacked to the wall of our apartment that was there when we moved in.  It's above one of the lamps in the living room and says, "That which is to give light, must endure burning."  I completely know the feeling.
 At one point I had to pull the car over and just cry.  I asked a brother in the ward to give me a priesthood blessing of comfort.  Nothing he said was a surprise.  They were words that Heavenly Father spoke through him to tell me that I needed to hear from Him.  Confirming to me that the Lord knows me individually and that I am not forgotten.  That He has never left me, even when so often I leave Him.
I got my copy of the General Conference edition of the Ensign magazine.  What a saving grace.  I have been pouring over its pages these last couple of days.  I especially loved our former beloved stake president, Chris Waddell's remarks that were given during the Priesthood session.  His talk was entitled, "The Opportunity of a Lifetime."  And it is about, you guessed it, missionary work.  A part that really stood out to me was when he said,
"Long before leaving our earthly home to serve a full-time mission, we left heavenly parents to fulfill our mortal mission.  We have a Father in Heaven, who knows us-- our strengths and weaknesses, our abilities and potential.  He knows which mission president and companions and which members and investigators we need in order to become the missionary, the husband and father (or wife and mother), and the priesthood holder we are capable of becoming.  Prophets, seers, and revelators assign missionaries under the direction and influence of the Holy Ghost.  Inspired mission presidents direct transfers every six weeks and quickly learn that the Lord knows exactly where He wants each missionary to serve." 
The Sisters conference this past weekend was a much needed break from the prison that I feel like my area has been.  Nice to just get out and see a change of scenery.  All 30 of us sisters went out to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Tacoma and then went to watch the Tacoma stake's performance of Savior of the World.  It was a really well put-together musical depicting the foretelling, birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  The next morning we all had a fireside in their family room and then headed back to our areas.  I always scan the room, thinking "which one of you will be my next comp..."
I sent you guys the copy of the ticket to give me any insights about how to fight it.  My court date is coming up on November 30th.  My cop friend out here is going to help me fight it.  So no, hopefully no one will be paying for this ticket.
It's pretty sad, but I don't think the ward really knows what to do with Sister missioaries.  They haven't had them for at least 3 decades and so they are kind of skiddish around us.  We're like a wet dish rag.  No one is sure what to do with us so they leave us out to dry. Just kidding. Sort of.  No one signed up to feed us this week.  Sad day.  You would think that with how many old people are in this ward, 4pm dinners would be the prime time.  People must love their routines too much to break them for a couple of new sister missionaries.  We are going to have to work more on building ward relations so that people can get to know and trust us and want us over in the their homes.  In the talk by Elder Uchtdorf he says, "..what mattered to Him (the Lord) was that I was doing the best I could, that my heart was inclined toward Him, and that I was willing to help those around me.  I knew if I did the best I could, all would be well...and all was well." 
The weather here has been freezing.  Not too much rain, but gray and overccast pretty much everyday.  Some scattered sunshine.  But the air has been really chilly.  Just as long as there is no snow, I'm good.  Boots, tights, scarves, and gloves everyday.  Tracting at night is kind of painful.  But it's to be expected.
I received the sweetest package from Grandpa Ted chocked full of goodies from Hawaii.  Hawaiian flower hair accessories and a bunch of snacks.  I let my comp take two clips, I kept one, and then gave the rest to this house full of Samoan girls that we visit about once a week.  They loved them!  Good to see them go to people that really will enjoy and appreciate them.
This past week we had so many dogged appointments.  Meaning people bailed, ditched, skipped out.  It's the worst ever.  I hate getting dogged.  We do everything we can to see that the appointments go through but at the end of the day they still have their agency and we can't force them to do anything.  We invite, they commit, we follow up.  When we invite people to act, we are inviting them to repent essentially.  To increase their faith and move closer to Christ.  Keep your commitments, people!
I've really been trying to be better at keeping in touch with my recent converts from Silverdale.  Luckily, all of the people I had the opportunity to find, teach, and baptize are still active and strong in the gospel.  Tim, our superstar, just passed the Sacrament for the first time this past Sunday.  When Sister Holman called me on the phone to tell me about it, it literally made my entire day.  I am really thinking and hoping that he will be able to receive his temple endowment before I end my mission. MIRACLE.  Taylor is doing great as well, Sis Holman said that both his parents came to church on Sunday and seem to really like it.  I know that Kristy has felt the spirit and that she really wants to believe the church is true, if she secretly doesn't already.
Our investigator Dani is moving right along.  She is a very tell you how it is straight up, kind of person.  So I felt like I could just ask her point blank if she has received answers about what we have taught her so far is true.  Specifically, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  She looked at us and said, "Well, I'll put it this way...if I hadn't do you think you'd guys would still be over here?"  Wow.  She is totally becoming converted!  It's the greatest feeling ever to see the gospel change people's lives.  She wants to be baptized and wants her husband to start coming with her to church when he gets home from his navy deployment in the next couple weeks.
Oh!  There is another elder that is serving in the Carlsbad mission that has a connection to the WA-TAC.  There is an elderly lady in our ward that was talking about where all her grandsons have served their missions.  One, Elder Shirley, is currently out in the field and is serving in Del Mar.  Keep an eye out for him.  I think we might have been in the MTC at the same time as well.  I feel bad that I haven't written any of the missionaries from our home ward that are serving right now.  I will make time to do that next Pday. 
We are having dinner with the Wahlquists tonight and Family Home Evening with them and their neighbor, Robert and his son Angelo.  They are the ones I talked about last email.  They are both Catholic so some of the gospel topics that usually take minimal explanation to other investigators, require a lot more time with them.  Slowly and surely, Robert is moving right along.  They even came to church yesterday!  As fate would have it, it was the ward's primary program.  40 or so angelic voices testifying through word and song of their testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I don't know how you couldn't feel the Spirit through them.  Very powerful.  Robert, like a lot of investigators, do not know how to react or handle the power or influence of the Holy Ghost telling them that what they are hearing or learning is true.  It's a feeling that is too big for them to internalize so they often make light or make jokes to dispell what they are really feeling.  So that's what he did.  Hopefully tonight he can really just allow himself to be aware and sensitive to the promptings and whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  We are teaching him about the Plan of Salvation, a lesson that, I feel, will make of break it for him.  His wife died a few years ago and I can imagine that a lot of what we will cover tonight will answer questions of his soul. 
I can't believe the Christmas season is upon us.  We got permission from President Weaver to go to the Graves' house in Silverdale for Thanksgiving.  We are going to "chop some wood" or "rake some leaves" so that we can wear our service clothes.  Aka jeans.  It's going to be weird to not be home for the holidays, but I look forward to spending Christmas in the mission.
I apologize for how fragmented this email probably is.  My brain is in a million different places at the moment.  Don't worry about me, guys.  I have the Lord on my side.  What else do I need?
Love you,
Sis Baylon

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