Tuesday, April 3, 2012

obedience does not restrict. it frees


I am exhausted.  It was 65 degrees today!!! Our zone played outside at Fort Steilacoom park for a few hours.  Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and football. Felt way good to run around and feel hot and sweaty.  Not too often that I get to do that.  Our zone always complains about being bored with nothing to do on PDAYS. Well...when no one takes initiative and steps up to make the plans then that tends to happen.  I usually am a pday coordinator but the last zone I was in one of the other sisters didn't like that I always "controlled" pdays.  Lame. So I have kind of backed off of taking charge of Pdays.  So anyways.

I spent the greater part of the morning with a lady in our ward at the fabric store in Tacoma because she is teaching me how to sew!  It has been the biggest dream of mine lately to take sewing lessons but never thought that I was able to achieve that goal on my mission.  This sister made tons of cute pillows and slip covers and table runners and curtains and stuff in her house and even has made a lot of the skirts that she wears to church.  So, Bro Stowers bought me some sewing lessons from her at the YW auction this past week!  Haha the YW put together a dinner/auction to raise money to go to girls camp.  We were invited to attend but I had no money so couldn't bid on anything.  I sat with the Stowers family and Bro Stowers asked what I would want to bid on if I had money and I said the sewing lessons.  So he bought me three 2hr private sewing lessons for $40.  Sweeeetness.  She offers free classes during the week on tuesdays but I can never go because we have to work.  But with the private classes I could choose my day so I picked today (pday).  She is teaching me how to make an A-line skirt and this really, really nice messenger bag.  Her stuff doesn't look home-sewn at all.  Really quality stuff.  I told her that she should start a business on etsy or something.  She has really good taste in textiles.  I'm so excited!!!

I got to help one of the Agor girls make a dessert for the auction for people to bid on.  Her mom took her to buy a ton of stuff to make cake pops.  Have you guys ever seen those before. Sooooo cute.  They bought this book with all different kinds you can make.  Owls, ice cream cones, pandas, all kinds of cute little things.  We made easter egg ones and arranged them in an easter egg basket.  It sold for $30!! So by the end of the night the ward raised enough money to send each YW to camp. So cool.

This email is going to contain lots of things about food that happened this week.  This week I had one of the best meals on my mission and I also added something really nasty to my "foods I've tried on my mission" resume.  So for about a month I have been craving just a delicious crisp yet soft Belgian waffle with fresh berries and cool whip.  I have had several members attempt to make it for me and all fail miserably.  They never learned the phrase "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" when they were growing up and learning how to tell where was north, east, south, and west.  So this lady in the ward that signed up to feed us took the challenge to make a non-soggy waffle. Oh mannnn, it was sooo good.  Like hotel quality.  She had it all set up in these nice dishes. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. 

Nasty food eaten this week: kuikui (coo-ey coo-ey).  Samoan version of raw sea urchin in this like orange sauce atop a chunk of tarot root.  Ohhhhkkaaayyy.  I gulped it down like a champ.  It was almot worse than the eyeball. Sooooo salty.  I bet Grandpa Ted would have liked it.  I also ate this Samoan raw fish in this like white sauce.  Turkey tails.  Aka the butt of a turkey.  Cornbeef chunks. yikes.  And this curry soup that had all the bits of a chicken that you are supposed to throw away.  Um the like pimply skin that you see when its raw.  Or the vertebrae.  Yeah....I mean it's cool to say that I've eaten all that stuff but it was painful to choke down.  I made Bro Stowers finish mine.

Conference was AMAZING.  I forgot to bring my notebook with me to the library, I was going to email you guys a bunch of the notes that I had taken.  But I forgot it.  So inspiring.  The major lesson or feeling that I took away from conference is that I am so fortunate and blessed to have the knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ that I do. That I have everything before me to be happy and have joy in this life.  To have the tools and the resources to receive answers from on high.  To know that I have a divine heritage and a purpose and plan for my life.  To have a vision and a means to an end in which I am striving everyday to be just a little more qualified for.  To become more like the Savior that I am lucky enough to know lives and that He loves me.

When the prophet walked out into the conference center for the first session on Saturday morning it was an immediate feeling of the Spirit that washed over me in the form of peace and assurance that Thomas S. Monson really is a prophet of God.  That he really does communicate with Him for us.  And that how brilliant it is that I can trust and be led by God through whatever the prophet will advise, counsel, warn, or challenge me to do in my life.  The warmth and comfort from just seeing him enter the conference center in Salt Lake City on the projector screen in the church touched my heart a 1,000 miles away in Washington.  We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.  I saw President Waddell sitting with the Seventy before one of the sessions had started.  I also got to see Natalie, Shauna Sargent's younger sister sing in the MTC choir!  So neat!  She is going to south america on her mission. Cool cool.

We watched the Sunday morning session at the Agors.  We had the most delicious Sunday breakfast.  Island style.  The most buttery french toast you'd ever eaten.  Prabably because they slather them with butter.  Eggs. Portugeuse sausage.  Rice. Crumb donuts. Bacon. Sausage.  POG. Fruit.  We all watched conference together and just had the best time ever.  After the morning session on Saturday Elder Quigley, one of the car czars for the mission took the entire Lakewood and Tacoma zones out for lunch at Tacobell. So like almost 50 missionaries!  He bought almost 100 tacos for us.  So fun.

I have a testimony that the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ bless our lives and make us free on the condition that we are faithful and obedient in adhering to the laws of God.  We tracted into this 20 something yr old guy named Andy.  Andy said that he lived next door to some Mormons and started making fun of how many rules that they had to live by and how sheltered of a life that they lived.  He went on to say that he didn't need a church to know God and that he finds error in people.  We taught him that the commandments are not to restrict us and keep us bound making our area of living smaller. But rather quite the opposite.  It keeps the evil and harm and tragedy out of our lives that is within our control actually granting us a large area of living or freedom.  We told him that our purpose as missionaries is not to merely add numbers to the church or to convert people to the church.  The church is merely the scaffolding in which we build our lives in the gospel.  We are inviting people to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel and not just to attend a church.  The church helps us to gain knowledge and strengthen our faith in the gospel.  We invited him to come to church and watch a session of general conference. He laughed a smug laugh and pulled up the bottom of his jeans pant leg to reveal an ankle bracelet.  He had been caught driving drunk a few years back and hit someone while under the influence.  Point proven.  Obedience does not restrict.  It frees.  Now Andy literally is going to be imprisoned for his bad choices.  He is on house arrest until June until he goes to state prison.  Make the choice now to be free by adhering to God's laws.

Aunty Allison, do you know a half chinese lady on your street named Maelynn?  Her family is in the ward that I am serving!  There is a PMF in our ward.  The mom is a member and the Dad is Chinese but raised in Mongolia and not a member.  He is dying of cancer.  I'm not sure if she is active or not.  Her family here in WA is kind of less-active so when she said that she had a daughter that lived in Sandy, UT I got excited and asked what part and she said Gracey Lane.  Such a small world!  Another small world story is this senior missionary couple in the mission named the Foleys.  They are from Laie, HI and know so many people!  Do you know them?  They knew the Elkingtons.

Way cool story to close.  We went tracting yesterday and rang this doorbell.  Well I guess when I rang the doorbell it got stuck and it was ringing for like 2 minutes straight!  Awkward.  I didn't know what to do so I figured we should just bust out of there.  Sis Welch told me that happened to her when she was in Steilacoom and the guy that lived there got super mad at them so I figured it was the same house.  Nope different guy.  As we were walking down the driveway to leave this man opened the door and said that he was sleeping and the doorbell finally woke him up.  We got to talking and told him about who we were and what we do as missionaries.  He seemed really intrigued and said that he has really enjoyed the "I'm a Mormon" commercials on TV.  He wants to come check out the church!  MIRACLE.

Well, I love you guys. Hope everyone has a great week.  Just got the Rondo's package today. Thank youuuu!!! The kale was...interesting. I'm going to have to acquire a taste for it.  Mom, I just got your package today, too.  But I haven't opened it yet.  Thanks in advance.

Be happy,
Sis Baylon

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