This week started out with a nice 1:30 AM drive to Roanoke for Mission Leaders Conference!!! We got the joy of waking up that early to go pick up the Vinton Sisters so that they could go with Sister Tripp and the Blacksburg Sisters (Sister Reed is now an STL!) to MLC. I was dropped off in Salem, Virginia to spend the day with the Salem Sisters. I was dropped off at their place at 4:30 in the morning, and then immediately crashed on their extra mattress and slept until 6:30. So I at least got a little rest that night. It was a super fun day just hanging out and working in Salem.
Also this week we had Zone Conference. Our poor Zone Leader, Elder Ostler, puked his guts up (literally he puked like 7 times) the whole night before and he STILL got out and taught for a whole hour. I'm just so in awe of people. Just people. This 20-year-old kid, just spent a whole night as sick as could be, and he got up the next morning to teach another group of 20-year-old kids about missionary work, and this gospel. No one was there to get him up and out the door, no one told him that he had to do that. He just did. Because he's committed. He's knows this work and this gospel is true and he does what he has to. His money is right where his mouth is. My ward mission leader used to say "You gotta put your money where your mouth is" all the time, and I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Commitment and action are pretty much what life is about. You have to live what you learn. Truth is truth, and when you find a piece of truth, you better be ready to live by it. Because living by true principles is the only thing that will bring us real happiness in this life. #PutYourMoneyWhereYourMouthIs
Also, the day of Zone Meeting, Sister Tripp got her West Virginia tooth fixed! I'm not even sure I told you about this, but Sister Tripp has had a chipped front tooth the whole time I've been with her. She chipped it when she was in Huntington, West Virginia. When she showed it to President Pitt at transfers, he said to her, "Sister Tripp, you’ve got to get that fixed, you're going to Virginia!"
We got it fixed by a member in our ward who is a dentist in Buena Vista, so that was kind of fun! We also went on exchanges with the Buena Vista sisters this week after zone meeting. It was weird though, because one of the Rockbridge sisters went home this week. That was kind of a blow, especially for Sister Tripp, because the girl who went home was her MTC companion. Everything that happens, I know happens for a reason, but it's hard to look at situations like that and wonder what could have changed the outcome, and try to not put your own opinion and feelings into it instead of just trusting that it's all in God's hands. So I got to be in Buena Vista in a Tripanionship (A “Trip Ship” as we like to call it.) It was fun. I got to be with Sister Hutchings and Sister Maddox and we just had a blast together. Also, I got to see how Sister Tripp's bravery has rubbed off on me. We were driving between scheduled appointments, and while we were driving I saw this guy making a bonfire on his front lawn. The other sisters were like, "Ha ha, we should talk to that guy" in joking, but I'm like, "No, seriously. We have to talk to that guy." So I made them pull over and awkwardly get out and talk to him.
Not gonna lie, I really just wanted to stand around that fire, and talk to this good old Virginia boy and look up at the stars and feel at home, but I wouldn't have actually done it if the spirit hadn't been working on me, and I hadn't had Sister Tripp’s awesome example of being brave and talking to everyone. We got to talk to this guy. Turns out he wasn't very interested, but he did accept a Book of Mormon, and ended up really opening up to us. That's the thing about the South though, people are just so open; I love it! We stood there around his fire for a good while that night, just feeling it's warmth in the cold night air, under the gorgeous Southern stars, with country music coming from his truck. I think it's those kind of moments that God gives to me just to remind me that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. The WVCM, that night, this was made for me. I know I say this all the time, but I truly am where I'm supposed to be, and I am SO happy. This is it. This is the good life. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.
So yesterday we got to teach M----- and B----- with the H---s. We went through the ‘Stop Smoking Workshop’ with M-----, and she is so committed. At the end we talked a lot about prayer. M----- gets really emotional during our lessons, and as we finish talking about prayer, she looks up at us, tears tolling down her face, and she says, "Well you're gonna have to teach me how to pray first." I've never heard a sentence as beautiful as that. The sun slanted into the little classroom in the church and lit up M---'s eyes as she said it. I've never felt such sincerity. It made me want to be a missionary forever. This woman, just wanted to know how to pray to her Father in Heaven, and learning how, meant the world to her. How many people are out there that just DON"T KNOW? They just don't know that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them? A Father they can speak to? And who will help them in any way if they only ask? So we taught her how to pray. We explained the simple steps, and we asked her if she would be willing to give the closing prayer. Tears continued to roll down her face as she said, "I can't, I just can't."
Then something beautiful happened. Sister H--- leaned over and grabbed M----'s hands. "There's no better place to learn than with people who love you. C'mon, I'll say it with you," Sister H---- said in her sweet Southern accent. Everyone closed their eyes, but I couldn't help but peek as I watched these two women pray together, hand in hand, as M---- repeated after Sister H--- one of the most beautiful and simple prayers I have ever heard. We all tried to hide it, but by the end of that prayer, tears were abundant. We can talk to our Father in Heaven. He does answer our prayers. I know that, because getting to be part of that lesson, was an answer to mine.
|Sister K--- gave us goat cheese from their beautiful farm|