Last Tuesday on exchanges with Sister Dougherty we saw Jerry and Ruthie. I felt strongly that we needed to focus on the nature of God--who He is and how he has a body like you and me, just in better condition. Ruthie described the feelings of Spirit when she learned that God literally hears us. He has actually ears to hear us. He is someone she can picture in her mind's eye as she prays. He is not some ominous mass, but someone with a heart and mind and feelings like ours. She was soo happy to learn this simple truth. I hope I can show that much enthusiasm every time I learn something new, and allow it to change me as it did Ruthie.
Our exchange was full of lots of other miracle moments and tender mercies...and tried my patience just a little, too. With no map and no GPS it was an adventure finding a few places. But the Lord used this to our advantage in leading us to new people to befriend and teach. After multiple U-turns and going up and down the wrong street entirely I was able to determined we needed a map. On our way to the nearest gas station we spot another road that Sister Belyea and I had tried to find before and had concluded it was in a gated community. Instead this lead to a whole new family community we could access.
We park and head to the less-active member who lived on at the back of the division. On the way we see a woman wiping down her motorcycle and Sister D points out how she loves motorcycles, we decide that's enough reason to talk to her and head her way. Striking up a conversation like she knew this woman for years, Sister D gets us into the middle of a discussion and the lady is surprised there are girl missionaries. Not just guys in ties. (Only the second or third time we got that this week). She tells us how she and her husband just got back from a road trip to Colorado and how they are obsessed with the Mormon Pioneer treks. They even met a youth group on a trek and were extremely impressed. Kate and Tom invited us in and shared with us his favorite pioneer stories, and Sister D shared one from her family's history. We then shared a brief history of the Book of Mormon and they said we could back in 7-10 days. Going on another trip. They asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon and said they would like to see what our services are like.
Thursday. End of summer. End of the month. Best time ever for service--it's when everyone is moving in/out. We offered to help a couple carry some things in and the wife was happy to have us help she just said her husband might refuse. Well, sorry to say, but missionaries are fantastic at taking away people's ability to choose. Instead of asking him if we can help we tell him we're helping and start picking boxes up to carry in. They offer us tea or water for our service....and well, guess which one we chose.
We ask about their family and religious background and for a long while they aren't very open. Cordial but not super interested. Slowly, firmly, and boldly we begin bearing our simple testimonies of the Savior and the power of the Book of Mormon. As we tied everything that we shared to the Savior and His love they began asking more questions and by the end--of her own fruition, without being asked if she would like to--Lisa says she wouldn't mind reading the Book of Mormon. The husband was cute, when asking for the spelling of their names to get their information at the end he says we can call him "brother" because we're "sisters". That put a smile on my face.
I love being a missionary and sometimes it is hard. But it wouldn't be worth it if it was easy.
Sometimes we question ourselves. Our thoughts. Our hopes and desires, our aspirations and dreams to pursue. One thing I love more than anything about what I'm doing now is that I know it's the right thing to do. If you are serving someone. If you are loving someone. If you are bearing another's burden. If you are the listening ear for another. If you are sharing the gospel and giving hope to another, you are right where you are supposed to be. Right is right. No need to question that.
Today is Labor Day. So let's go Labor in the Lord's Vineyard! (yeah...I know a little cheesy. What do expect from a Wisconsinite?!)