Monday, June 20, 2011

9 Months Along, and Showing.

I have officially hit my 9 month out mark. Sis Cannon and Mortensen and I are all ready to pop... Man, it's been a hard labor. Hopefully I can lose the baby weight fast. I've got 9 more months of miracles, laughs, tears, not enough sleep, callused knees (yes, from praying. I was going to include a picture but then I thought that would be weird. I have a huge brown spot on both of my knees. "God answers knee-mail", right Mom? Well what happens when your knees get a little too comfortable with the carpet? It's gross. I will have a serious hay-day with a pumice stone in about 8 and a half months.), wonderful people, scary people, bad hair, skirts, discoveries, revelations, tender mercies, and love. I am the luckiest gal around.

Speaking of that. I really am so blessed. My old companion, remember sister Morty? She committed me to only saying gratitude prayers. To not ask for anything, only say what I am grateful for. It's been a really neat experience because I realize that a lot of the time my prayers are very demanding! GIVE ME GIVE ME! (did you ever read Berenstein Bears? There is one called Gimme Gimme... It used to be my favorite. Which is ironic because I was totally that kid who would cry in the store for everything... I guess I didn't really learn anything from the book.) There is a story, written by Sister Holland,  in a like prelude to a  talk my Mom sent me called "The Inconvenient Messiah" by Jeffrey R Holland (in fact, Mom, I lost it, can you send it again? I think the cleaners threw it away cause I left it at the center) about a girl who loses a campaign at school. When she comes home, her Mom is ready to give her a hug and take her shopping or something but the little girl says, can we pray? So of course they do. And the little girl says something to the effect of: "I know this wasn't the way you wanted me to serve, so I will do what you want me to do. You don't have to be my servant anymore. I'm ready to be yours." Ouch, right? And that's how I feel right now. I'm done being demanding for the things I need. I am ready to be a dedicated servant. Ok not that I haven't been for 9 months but I'm just re-focusing on my purpose as a missionary. Don't judge.

I can't believe its a new transfer in a couple days.  That is nuts. It amazes me how fast this time goes, when thinking about 18 months before I came seemed like a LOOOONG time. Now it seems way too short.

I love being a missionary. It is so wonderful. HARD, but wonderful. I've realized a lot about myself this week in understanding that I can do as much as I can do, the best that I know how, and then trust that it is enough. There is no measure, check list, or person that can measure my progress or my effectiveness. The only one who I can truly account to is the Lord, and at the end of the day if I have given all that I could, tried my very hardest, and served well then I can trust that He has accepted that work and I don't need to stress about it. I'm definitely learning how to be less hard on myself. If I hit the pillow at 10:30 and am out cold until 6:00 (we read in Spanish in the mornings for 20 minutes... ) then I know I worked hard.

We are very blessed in Bel Air. Skeema is progressing, still slowly, and is very adamant about not needing to pray about the Book of Mormon because she says she is doing this anyway, so what difference does it make? But she keeps her commitments, comes to church, is reading, and is very fascinated by the history of the book of Mormon, but a spiritual witness of its truth is lacking. She seriously cracks me up every time we are together. She wants to go on a South American trip to find all of the might-be sights for the Book of Mormon. I might have pinky swore that we would do it.... So I guess I gotta do it.

We have a new investigator, we will call her Granny G,  who is a 70 year old Italian woman. She really loves us a lot, and we have just fallen in love with her too. Our first 2 lessons she said over and over again that she didn't want to be baptized. In our last lesson she said she would think about it. She is really funny. We are hoping to get some of the ladies in the ward involved with her progression. She always grabs on to our arms and says how grateful she is for us coming to see her. We randomly went to see her on an evening at like 8:45 and she was in her night gown and said "come back later" and we did, and now she is our adopted granny. She is adorable.

I got to see RWLJ this week and it was such a tender mercy. He told a story of a man in his new ward calling him minutes after RWLJ was having some doubts about things and was slightly frustrated. And then a phone call! And now RWLJ has a buddy, home teachers, and feels comfortable in his ward. AND he knows that God answers prayers because that was a huge answer. I was completely teary when he told me... So grateful for the Brother in his ward who followed a prompting to call my RWLJ. RWLJ sent this to my Mom that also made me feel so wonderful:

"Talked with Robert Webster Light JR. the other day.  He called in the am and got the voice mail so he called back  the next day.  We talked about your mid-mission crisis because he had read your blog and he said he was going to comment that the first half of your mission was worth it because you brought the gospel to him.  and he even quoted "the bring just one soul unto him" statement.  He said he was worth your hard work.

I love that RWLJ has taken on my Fatherly figure. He comes to check on me, make sure I am sleeping enough, getting fruits and vegetables, and that I'm not too stressed. How sweet is he.

Speaking of Fathers... I really have been grateful for experiences that have made me think of how great my Dad was. I met this man at the Visitors Center a couple weeks ago who knew my dad and my mom wrote this to me about it:

"The other morning I answered the phone about 7;30 and it was a Brother Priday?  I think that was his name.  He worked for Banner hospitals and knew Dad, but called to tell me how wonderful you were with his 22 priests he brought over there for a super activity.  He just went on and on about your spirit and how you really touched those boys.  He said he was endeared to you because he liked Dad so much and just knew how proud Dad would be of you.  He just couldn't believe you are so amazing...he just went on and on.  I am so proud of you and know your Dad is too.  I wish you could see yourself the way we all see you as AMAZING..."

I would definitely take that as a tender mercy. Little notes to me that my Dad loves me, that Heavenly Father loves my Dad, and that he was a great man. Last night, I was writing in my journal about my Dad and I looked to my right where there is a picture of him on my wall and I got teary. I know my Dad is so proud of me for being here and sometimes I wish I could hear him say that, and I wonder what kind of effect it could have had on our relationship to be able to write back and forth. BUT I also know that Heavenly Father is in charge and that my Dad is being taken care of. We have to do our part over here on this side of the veil to make it possible to see each other again. I love you, Dad.

Sis Bodily and I are doing great! I love her a lot. We get along great, and are trying to practice espanol as much as possible. Reading together in the Book of Mormon and trying to practice at the Visitors Center and such.

I don't think I really have anything else to report on. I got a wonderful blessing this week from Elder Wood who I really respect and appreciate. It was really wonderful. Everything that was said was exactly what I needed to hear. The priesthood is amazing.

I have the bestest friends and family in the world. I love you all!

Sista Brink

Sis Cannon, Mortensen and I, 9 Months MISSIONARY work!

- Elder Isaacson and his investigators who I LOVE at the departing fireside. So good to see them.

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