Monday, February 17, 2014

Now Leap

Elders Blake, Moffet, Proctor, and Ostler, Sister Pierson and Me

The past two weeks have probably been the craziest, and hardest of my mission. I felt worn out to the bone, both physically and spiritually, but honestly, I don't thinkI've ever been happier. It all started with P-Day two weeks ago. That night me and Sister Pierson, (my now ex-companion and best friend in the entire world,) went to go spend the night in Vinton, Virginia with two other Sister Trainer Leader's (STL's) so they could wake up the next morning and go to Mission Leadership Conference in Roanoke. I spent that night on a yoga
mat on a hardwood floor. We had to leave Vinton by 5:00 a.m. so we could be in Blacksburg by 6:00 to pick up another STL and drop me off with Sister Reed (my awesome MTC companion.) I then spent the day working in Blacksburg. We had NO set appointments, so we tracted ALL DAY. And it was FREEZING. They say the more you tract the hotter your husband gets, so all I'm gonna say, is my husband is probably real good looking by now!  :)  That night when all the STL's got back to Blacksburg, and I was tired and hungry to the core, we went to the waffle house right off the campus of Virginia Tech. We were pretty much the only ones in there and our server took a picture of us and posted it to the Blacksburg Waffle
instagram account, so you should check out @blacksburgwaffle on instagram and see if I'm there!  

I missed being with Pierson all day; we are seriously best friends. I can't tell you what a blessing it's been to serve with not only an amazing missionary, but my best friend. On
the hour drive back to Lexington from Vinton that night, Sister Pierson and I listened to a CD of Elder Holland's talk about the atonement given to missionaries at MLC. It is the most amazing talk I have ever heard. I'm working on getting a copy I can send home. We cried the whole way home. The tears started because of the talk. It's the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, but then we cried because on the mission, there is so much emotion, and sometimes it just needs to come out. We cried because we knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be, and because we knew that when we first saw each other in that Lexington, Virginia parking lot, it was definately not the first time we had met. We cried because this work is hard. In the words of Elder Holland, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy, because SALVATION IS NOT A CHEAP EXPERIENCE." This is the best, and hardest, funniest, most exciting, most heartbreaking experience I have ever had. I was supposed to come on a mission.

I think I said this when I left Ashland, but I still believe that the majority of missionary work is learning how to live with a broken heart. A mission is full of beautiful heartbreak. It happens daily. Working with people, REALLY working with them, and working with yourself and with God, I've found it requires your whole soul and whole heart. And once given to the work, your heart will without a doubt get broken. But it's beautiful. Because it isn't until your heart is  broken, that the atonement can fill back in all the little cracks and holes that this life and this work creates.

I don't have much time to fill in the details, but what follow are some of the  crazy things that we did the past couple weeks:

*  I slept on the same air mattress as Sister Pierson in Lynchburg and had to wake up and teach in a Zone Conference for half an hour with her.  
*  Sang at a funeral with Sister Pierson the next morming after driving to Lynchburg, dropping off the Sister I was on exchanges with, and picking up Pierson and bringing her back from Lynchburg. 

*  We taught in a Zone Conference one hour after we sang at the funeral, giving us only
half an hour to prepare. 

*  Woke up and helped set up for our ward Valentines dance, then spent a few hours volunteering at RARA (the food pantry,) then back to the church to keep helping T---- and S---- set up. (They have been called to the ward activities committee!!) That night we spent helping out with the Valentines party and dance.  Sister Pierson was probably the best Valentines date I've ever had :)

This week has been crazy too. Transfers were supposed to happen Thursday, but were pushed back to Saturday because of the crazy storm that came in Wednesday night. Wednesday night President called and told everyone to stay in because a huge storm was coming. We drove back to our house as it started to snow, only to find our mailbox was
gone. . . . and a truck was upside down on our lawn. Our cop landlord was there to save the day, and luckily the driver was totally fine. The next day was P-Day but we weren't allowed to drive our cars. Everything was COVERED in snow and the whole city was shut down.

We got with the Elders and walked the mile to the church to send off a few emails telling our families we were safe. Then we went sledding!!!! It was honestly probably the most fun P-Day of my mission. We sledded and sledded and made a snowman (they put a bun on it's head and my name tag on it and made it a Sister Lytle snowman!) and threw snowballs until we were so cold we thought we would die, and Elder Ostler's toes were black! It was so fun though! That night we went out with the men in the ward and shoveled walks and driveways for older people.  We also shoveled the church sidewalks. It was so cool to see those men work, and just serve their ward with such love.

On Monday of this past week we got to do a really fun service project with our District. We went to this old civil war house called the Paxton House in Buena Vista and helped refurbish windows!  How cool will it be to take my kids back one day when it's finished and say that I helped re-do it?? We were using heat guns to scrape off paint and Sister Pierson was totally joking and saying "This is the most fun I've had in years!!" And Elder Hughes (who is now on the last transfer of his mission) looks at her and says, "Hey now, that's actually true for me." 

Elders Moffet, Huges, and Blake
The next day we spent all day shoveling. And when I say all day, I literally mean all day. (Except for our lunch break where we got to go to Walmart to pick up food because we weren't able to drive on our actual P-Day, and we randomly ran into T---- and S---- and they
invited us over for beef stew and yorkshire pudding!!!  #Score  #BestLuckEver) We just shoveled random people's walks and driveways and would leave cards on their door or car or whatever. It was so fun! We also did a few members' homes as well. It was a blast but we were all so sore and had so many blisters.

Getting to spend Pierson's last evening with the H---------'s was so perfect, especially since it was Valentines Day. That night Sister Pierson and I cried together as we laid in our beds in our little apartment for the last time together. We got to see a baptism together, but more than that, we got to see each other be saved over and over again. I can't even begin to express
how much I have learned from Lexi Pierson, or what an amazing woman she really is. You all will have to meet her someday, I think that's the only way you can really understand the depth of the person she 
really is.

Sister Pierson gave me her dress before she left. Her blue one with polka dots that I loved so much. She loved it too.  She gave it to me with tears in her eyes and said to me, "When it comes time for you to go home, I want this dress to be tattered and torn, and I want you to be so tired, and so worn out. Because I want you to give everything you have to your mission, and I want you to do it because you love the Lord."

Sister Pierson knew how to give everything she had. And she did it for all the right reasons. And I will take her example not only with me for the rest of my mission, but for the rest of my life.

On the tag of the dress, she drew a butterfly. Sister Pierson and I talked a lot about finding ourselves, and making our own wings, which is funny, because butterflies have always been my thing. We had this quote on our wall that said, "She took the leap, and built her wings on the way down." We took the leap, we came on missions, and we got to build our wings together. We would often talk about how we constantly have to be taking the next leap and next step, and 

we learn from trial and error, and we build our wings on the way down.

Under the butterfly she wrote, "Now leap."

Coming on the mission was the best leap I have ever taken.

P.S. Sister Tripp is my new companion and she is AMAZING!!! She is from Cedar City and loves the outdoors too!!! She came in Saturday night, and the next morning we woke up and had to teach in Relief Society! Also that morning . . . our shower was broken!!!

Not again!  I'm starting to think this is the go-to Elders prank.

P.P.S.  We got stuck in the mud on our way home from my favorite less-active's house.  We called the Elders to help get us un-stuck, but they couldn't get us out.  Then we had to call the bishop to bring his big truck to pull us out.  So glad, mom, that you had me get the gore-tex boots.  SO glad!

Yeah, we went mudding.  Accidentally.

Pierson and Moffet on the Highway waiting for the Bishop
It's all good!

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