Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The more I am out here, the more I realize, God is in everything. The gospel IS life. No need to separate the two, because then it makes living the gospel seem hard. Just be you, have fun, and try to be a good girl or boy. That's really all there is to it. The gospel is like a symphony, and we all have different sounding parts, and we live it and love it just a little bit differently. As long as it's all in tune and harmony, the differences are what make it beautiful. Be you!
We had an appointment with B----and H----- set up and plans with Sister H-----. Sister H------is amazing. She is from the West and served in the West Virginia Charleston Mission like us, and ended up marrying a boy from here, which was her last area. Anyway, we went to B-----and H------'s and no one answered. (I'm so used to that at this point. We get stood up about five times a day it feels like.) So we got to go visit another investigator. We had a good visit with her, but on the way back, Sister H---- said some really important things. She talked to us about the culture here, and how truly different it is than "out West."
She told us how people out West are taught to put their best self forward, and tend to put on this face of perfection, which is totally true, especially in Utah. People here don't do that. The are who they are and they don't hide anything. It's really beautiful, but because of those cultural differences, it's easy for Southern people to feel like Westerners look down on them. She gave us this advice--be real. Don't put on the perfect missionary face. Work hard and people will see that without you needing to put on any kind of act. Have interests. Share what you love with the people, invite them into your space and they will invite you into theirs. Truly be interested in their lives. Truly love them.
The next day we had an experience that made my day. We were walking down the street and an older man waves at us from his yard. His big pit bull runs up to the fence and starts barking at us. He yells to us from his porch, "She's just a big baby. She won't hurt ya." So we stop and pet the dog, who turns out to be super sweet. As we pet her, the man comes over to us. He's older, I would guess in his 60's, and thin and wiry. He was sporting a very worn Universtity of Kentucky hat and a plaid shirt over a very worn black t-shirt. His hair was dark, peppered with grey, as was his scruffy beard. But his eyes. They were blue, and kind, and they twinkled!
He started talking to us about his puppy, who you could tell loved the man to the very core. We spent a few minutes with small talk and petting his dog and then we asked what his name was. The man took a seat on his lawn and leaned back on his elbows and he grinned and said, B---, B--- K----. It's my birthday today." And with that twinkle he added, "I'm 25 today." After some happy birthday wishes and laughing, he asked us who we were, and of course, we told him. He told us he was Baptist, and Sister Boldrin said, "Well, we love Jesus Christ just like you."
Then it started. From this point until we left, B---'s yard that day, the words spoken to me, from B---'s mouth, pricked me to my very core. I firmly believe that God put me in the path of B--- K---- that day, because B--- K----- was the only one who could tell me what God wanted me to hear.
B--- looked us both in the face and said, "You girls are doing a good thing. NEVER LOSE THE FAITH YOU HAVE. Cling to it your whole life." That line hit me so deep. He continued, "You girls are different. I wish more girls around here were like you." He went on to explain how sad he thinks it is how so many girls these days fall in love with some boy and get pregnant without getting married, and their babies grow up without a dad. He told us "You girls don't do that. Find a good fella and make sure your babies have a good home before they come." He repeated his line, "NEVER GIVE UP YOUR FAITH," and added, "Stay YOU. You are good girls. You don't need to be like everyone else." In reference to the lack of morals in young girls he added, "If you could just help one of those girls. Boy, if you could just help one. After a bit more talking he asked us how old we were. We said 19 and he looked right at me. He said, "You still have that little girl in your face. I know because I've had a little girl. You've still got it. You've got the face of a young woman as well though; you've got the best of both worlds. You're beautiful." My eyes threatened to tear up. I've thought a lot about why he would have said that this week, and I'm still not sure, but I definitely left his yard that day feeling like I was worth just a little bit more. Like I really was a daughter of God. That being a "good girl" really is a beautiful thing. God just keeps putting people in my path to tell me how good it is to be good. Good to be on the Lord's side. Good to be me. So good to be in Kentucky.