I did fall off my bike a couple weeks ago, because we were starting out on a hill and Sister Christy was in front of me, and I guess the hill was steeper than she thought, so she didn’t have enough force to go upward, and I thought she was going. So I just started pedaling, but she wasn’t moving, and I didn’t realize it until I almost ran into her, so I swerved really sharp and just barreled. All I can say is thank goodness for helmets. (And that I was wearing a jacket so I didn’t get scraped up.)
Sister Christy says I look really graceful on my bike, which I find funny because I feel like a pig trying to pedal a trike. She’s really funny though. She has no sense of direction whatsoever, and openly admits it. She can’t even find her way around the church building, and a lot of the time her direction senses affect her coordination as well. There is this little gate we have to go through on our way home each day, and it’s a slightly awkward turn from the trail through the gate, and the opening is really skinny. And when it’s rained there is a big puddle of muddy water right there in a hole that’s difficult to avoid (which I’ve been lucky enough to do so far). But each time we go through, without fail, when she turns she wobbles and then jerks off the trail, and her front tire goes down into the hole, and splashes the water on her, and then she falls over into a patch of stinging nettles. Every time. It’s so funny! And she knows it! And she knows it’s going to happen, but she can’t find any way to avoid it.
I have been studying Alma 13 this week about the priesthood, and I’m learning a lot there too. It just strengthens my testimony of the priesthood and makes me SO GRATEFUL for the power and means God has given us to get back to Him. The priesthood is the vital part of our salvation, and it’s interesting to me to learn not only about it, but about the history of it, and the men who exercise it.
I’m really working on knowing the members of the ward better, and it seems to be really good.
On Friday we taught the first lesson to a man and his 20 year old son and I extended the invitation to be baptized, and they both said yes! It’s just scary to me, because that was the first time I had done it in real life, and this is the first time I’ve been responsible in real life for helping someone work toward baptism. I’m so scared that something is going to go wrong, that maybe something will happen and they’ll question their decision, or back down or something, or that Satan will get at them. All I can do it pray for them every day, and make sure we have contact with them on the days we don’t teach them. They are supposed to be getting baptized on August 6th. That dad’s name is Kevin and the son’s name is Jordy, and they are such good people that I wonder why they weren’t members of the church before.
The original goal in our mission was to have 400 and something baptisms this year, but they’ve just had to modify it, and now it is 225 baptisms by the end of the year.
I don’t think it’s actually hit me yet that I’m a missionary. I feel like I’m going home really soon, sort of like I’m dreaming and I’m going to wake up and be at home, and wonder what happened. Really I don’t remember much about the last month, but I remember home so clearly, so it seems like I’m dreaming. When I think I only have sixteen months left here, it seems like such a short time, and I don’t think I’m going to be fully aware of all of it. I can just tell in sixteen months I’ll be going home, and I won’t have a clue what happened to me. It just feels like I’m in a dream. I’ll get to the end and not remember much about it, but I guess it’s okay, because the Savior will remember exactly everything about it, and that’s all that matters.
We are helping two ladies in our ward, one a returning less active, and one a convert of about four years go to the temple, and I think they’re my favorite people to work with, just because ultimately the temple is the place we need to get them, and they’re almost there, and it just makes me to happy to see people going to such a pure place to make more covenants with God.
I’m glad people actually like reading my emails. Personally I think they never turn out the way I want them too, but at least people like them. 💁🏻 That’s so nice of that lady from Georgia. I got a card today from a lady that lives in Big Lake MN, Tamara Stenberg I think her name is. She said she reads your blog and that she can tell through your writing that you have a cheerful disposition, and that you love the Lord. She just wrote a very nice letter and said it must be hard to be away from my family and home, so she thought an extra letter would help lighten the load. She even sent me a stamp so I could use it to send a letter back to you in the States. Anyway it was very nice of her.
I got a package from aunt Boo today and she sent me three little journals that she made, and put little pieces of advice that she collected from our family members that have served missions in them, and it’s so amazing! I love them so much! She’s so wonderful, and I can’t even think how much time it took her to put them together, but they’re seriously SO NICE, and I can’t wait to go and read them all tonight.
This week at Zone Meeting we were going around and each person was supposed to say their favorite superhero and why, and what powers or qualities they had that you would like to use as a missionary. So everyone was saying Captain America, and Spider-Man, and Batman and everything, and I was feeling really stupid because I didn’t know most of the superheroes they were all talking about, (homeschooled 🙇🏻😉) so I was racking my brain trying to think of who I would say and feeling really dumb because I couldn’t think of anyone. So it got to me and I was almost the last one, and before that everyone was laughing and joking and all this stuff. But then I stood up and said that I didn’t really know about many superheroes, and the ones I did know someone had already talked about, so I was going to change it up a little. Then I said that my favorite superhero was my dad, and all these Elders’ hands flew to their hearts, and they were all nodding and completely serious. I said, “Because he really is my hero and he’s super. But he’s just very good, and patient, and strong; very spiritually strong, and I want to be just like him because I want to be all those things.” And when I was done, nobody was laughing anymore and they were all dead silent, and I was really embarrassed. And then someone started clapping! And then everyone else started clapping, and I was SUPER embarrassed and I think I turned red, and sat down. But afterward an Elder came up and told me that was his favorite part of the meeting. And the zone leader said it was perfect, and it brought them back around to being serious and spiritual after messing around. So it was embarrassing, but I was the only one who got applause at the end of their turn.
At the fireside we had to do last night where we taught the youth about missionary work, we also did a session with the parents to talk about how they can prepare their kids for missions. And I said that the best thing that my parents did to prepare me was that you talked about the gospel, all the time, anywhere we went, some how you guys always related everything that happened to us back to some gospel principle or truth, and that helped me so much, because not only did it embed in my mind and spirit tons of precepts of the gospel, but it helped me gain a testimony of them as well. And that’s all I’m doing out here is talking about the gospel to people, and using the way you guys talk about it.
Your both my superheroes, because you’re both very good, and patient, and strong, and I want to be just like you. I knew I was going to miss you when I left, Mom, but I didn’t know it was going to be this much. It’s amazing how many of the things I do and think every day that I got from you. I don’t think other people’s moms are as great as you. Whenever I start to get sad, I just think of you, because you always have a bright perspective, and it immediately makes things a million times better.
Another thing is that you guys seem to love my companion almost more than I do, and that’s a great example to me, because you haven’t even met her, yet you love her and pray for her. I had to make a list a couple weeks ago of all the people I knew were praying for me, just to console myself, and I explained to Sister Christy that that huge number it added up to meant that they were praying for her as well, and she was really touched by it, especially since her family aren’t members, except her mom. But now that I’ve made that list and added up very roughly the number of prayers that are said in my behalf each day, and seen what a high number it is, I can feel them so much more strongly now, because I’m more aware of them, and I can literally feel the strength that I get from them. It makes me feel like my prayers for everyone else are pretty meagre, but I’m SO grateful for all the prayers everyone says, and I literally can feel them strengthening me.
I get what you’re saying about stress. I’ve been realising lately that some things are just beyond my control, so I don’t need to worry about them. Like you said, things are going to happen the way they’re going to happen, so there’s no use stressing out about them.
Anyway, I knew my mission was going to teach me how much I loved my mom, and it is. I sure love you a lot. Sometimes when I’m not sure what I’m going to do, or how to do it, I just think, ‘I’ll do it the way Mom would.’
I’m glad everything is going good at home. Everyone seems really well and happy, and that makes me happy!
(This post was created from several emails Marie sent to different family members last P-day)