Downton Abbey and superbowl food huh? I'm so proud. Since you brought up the superbowl.... I have a small confession to make. T---- and S---- invited us over to have wings and all sorts of yummy superbowl food (T---- is such an incredible cook) and the superbowl may or may not have been on in the other room the whole time. #BadInfluences #GoBroncos
This week has been incredible. Especially this weekend. It all started Friday.
Friday Sister Pierson and I had NO appointments. Not one set appointment, which doesn't happen a whole lot here in Lexington. We usually at least have one set appointment. So we planned to go see a few people and do a lot of knocking doors and street contacting. So we go out and no one is answering, but we seriously just had so much fun. We stopped to swing on swings and take pictures at all the funny street signs and just enjoyed the work! We always play Door Knocking Roulette (Our version of Russian Roulette.) We just knock every other door no matter if someone answers or not. It was the first nice day in quite a while and we just really enjoyed being missionaries! We seriously have the coolest job in the world! We get to go around, meeting all kinds of crazy people, and making them happy! That's fetching awesome! ("fetch" is a terrible missionary thing I've picked up. EVERY missionary says that out here.) Anyway, we had a great day and ran into some crazy people and at the end of the day we picked up a new investigator!!! She is a great black woman who works at Virginia Military Institute and her name is F-------. Apparently she talked with missionaries before, way back in the day! She is SUPER southern! I left her with a prayer, and as I'm praying she's going "mmmhmmm, amen, mmhmm" It was so awesome! I wish we did that in church!
Funny story about closing prayers though. A few days before we were at another lady's house, and I'm leaving a prayer with her, and I'm talking about Christ and then I go to close my prayer, and instead of saying "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen" I had just been talking about Jesus so I say "In his name we pray, amen." #PrayingLikeAProtestant #I'veBeenInTheSouthTooLong
Also that day, we knocked on one of our other investigator's doors. She didn't answer but later that day we were walking past her house and she was out on the porch. We talked to her a little and she asked if we had been there earlier. We were like "yeah," and she says, "Oh girls, you gotta knock loud when you come here! You gotta knock like you da po-po!!!" We laughed pretty hard about that. She's the same one who almost stabbed us with a fork.
Friday night we got to eat at the Bishop's house. Bishop's house is only second to T---- and S----'s on feeling like home. We just ordered pizza and hung out with their kids and their son Z--- even made us these cool little bracelets out of little rubber bands. I'll send pictures because it's awesome! He didn't finish them until Sunday and we were in the foyer greeting people with the other missionaries in our ward when Z--- brings them to us. We were thanking him and telling him how awesome he is, and Elder Ostler says, "I know he's cute Sisters, lock your hearts." Haha!
The next day was Saturday, and we decided to go to COLLIERSTOWN!!!! So of course I was pretty pumped. It was a gorgeous day and I was SO happy. We had planned to see T---- and S---- later that evening. It was weird though----- we hadn't seen them in almost two weeks because they had been sick the week before and couldn't feed us or come to church, and T---- hadn't answered any of our texts this week. We thought it was weird, but didn't think too much of it. So as we're driving out to Collierstown, Sister Pierson says, "let's go visit T---- and S---- first," and I agree. It just felt right, even though they are the farthest out and we NEVER go see them first. We pull up to their house and hear the dogs barking as we walk up to the door. It sorta feels like we should just walk right in since it seems so much like home there. S---- answered the door with his big smile and I almost died. It had been way too long not seeing them.
We walked into their home and the sun was just pouring in their big windows. It felt like heaven. T---- and S---- were just chilling on the couch with S-----, and when Sister Pierson and I sat in our seats (we have seats that are OURS now!) B---- came over and got on my lap. I can't explain it, but there is a connection we have to T---- and S---- that goes far beyond anything that could be from on earth alone. I knew them in heaven. Of that I'm sure. We just sat and chatted for a while and shared a little scripture. It felt so good. So right. It was such a simple visit but it was SO SO good. We left with huge smiles on our faces, as we always do, just as the sun began to set. Life as a missionary is so good. I'm the luckiest girl alive.
I started my fast after lunch that day, and later that night we were at a member's home to teach her kids the disscussions, because bishop has asked us to teach all the youth in the ward the discussions. She is SUCH a good cook and she offered us dinner. I'm bad at fasting in the first place, but her offering us that food was SOOO tempting. It made it even worse because Sister Pierson said yes! She hadn't started her fast yet! So I awkwardly had to sit as everyone else ate. I knew I needed this fast though.
The next morning I was so fetching hungry and it felt like it was the hardest fast ever! We went to church and S---- got to bless the sacrament for the first time!!! It was so exciting! He looked so good and he didn't even mess up! But then, he did something else. S---- got up, the very last person, and bore his testimony. (He and T---- call bearing their testimony "testifying". They're so funny.) He started out talking about their conversion, T----'s cancer, the blessing she received..... I was already getting choked up. Then, he started talking about "his Sisters." For the first time on my mission, I got to hear my name, Sister Lytle, come from the mouth of an investigator standing at the pulpit, after having entered into the covenant of baptism. He looked down at us, me, Sister Pierson, and T---- all in the back of that Lexington Chapel. S----, the tough construction worker, with tears in his eyes, he looked at us and said, "Sister Pierson, and Sister Lytle, thank you. I love you girls." I looked at Sister Pierson and we both looked at T----. Tears were running down all of our faces. And then, Sister Pierson grabbed T----'s hand, and I grabbed both of theirs. We held onto each other as S---- finished his speaking, bearing the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. That moment, made every hard thing, not only on my mission, but in my entire life, every difficulty I have gone through that has led me to that Lexington Chapel with a name tag on my chest, it made it all worth it. Everything.
This gospel, this is what happiness is. It's the truth. And if you're looking for true joy, you need not look any further. Because it's right here.
But the story doesn't end there. Later in Releif Society, T---- was asked to bear her testimony. She was crying before she even began. She started out with her conversion a little, and then she said, "The Sisters don't even know this," and the tears came even faster, "but this week we found out that our costs for my treatments have doubled. And we didn't see any way we could pay them." With S----t's job and all the problems with the government, T---- and S---- have been having to pay for her cancer treatments themselves, with no insurance help. This week it went up. T---- told how she and S---- had fought about it all week. She had wanted to stop treatments. To just give up. She didn't see any way they could pay, and she didn't want to leave S---- not only without a wife, but without a home or money as well. Her cancer has no cure. She will have to have treatments forever. There is no guarantee of how long she will live even with treatments.
She said she had felt that way, like giving up, until, on Saturday, her missionaries showed up. She said that just our presence, just our spirit, and the simple bible verse we shared, had completely changed her views. It was no coincidence that we had decided to go to their house first that day. Coincidences do not exist.
T---- is the strongest woman I know, and S---- is the best man that has ever lived. The gospel has literally saved their lives, and I can't believe the Lord let me be there to see it, and learn from it, and love them.
I'm the luckiest girl in the world.