After the first day things got much better. After a long Thursday (the 4th of July) all the missionaries gathered in a large room for a celebration. We sang hymns for a while relating to freedom, and as I say, 'murca (“America”). The spirit was so strong. I felt utterly exhausted, but was strengthened by the lyrics sung. We also had the opportunity to watch 17 Miracles. Although my struggles were nothing compared to the pioneers', I was reminded of their great strength, perseverance, and unshakable faith. The examples shown in the film inspired me to keep going, knowing that everything will get easier with the Lord's help.
After the movie, we were so excited. Why? Well, first of all, we were disappointed because they told us (or there was a rumor) that we were going to watch the fireworks on TV. As soon as the movie ended, they instructed us to go outside because we were going to watch them right before our eyes! They handed out ice cream bars for us to enjoy as well. It was such a great way to end those first couple of days.
|Sister Barney and me|
As time went on, I soon came to realize that my companion Sister Barney is a Saint. We both realized that doing treatments late, not getting exercise, and feeling that tired was not working, and that I was headed in a dangerous direction. We were able to work with our Branch President and teachers to figure out a game plan. Although it's still not perfect as we've had to miss class time for treatments/sterilizing the pieces, I have felt so much better and more able to do the Lord's work. Sister Barney has been patient, and sometimes I wonder how it's all okay with her, but she has been such a great support. But there's been more to our companionship than matters relating to CF responsibilities. For one thing, we have been able to be open with each other, give new insights while reading the scriptures, and have both hungered for more knowledge and insights while studying the scriptures. Sister Barney has a determination and willingness that continually makes me want to strive to stay motivated and committed. We've been able to set and accomplish goals and help each other out. Even more than that, though, we are often found laughing.
I am also so glad to be part of the best district. There are twelve of us either going to Boston, Michigan, or Jamaica. It's pretty sweet if you ask me! We spend 6+ hours in one small classroom with 3 teachers that rotate throughout the day. The time here spent in classrooms can be very long and tiring (I won't even attempt how many times my eyes glaze over right in front of our teachers haha), but to be honest I truly love the lessons we are learning from Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. The insights and teachings shared bring a spirit and a unity between us. Yes, at times we get distracted with our short attention span, but those moments have drawn us together even more. :)
I cannot express how much I love what I am learning. What has stood out to me is how we are not to teach lessons, but people. We, as missionaries, are learning how to fully listen, come to their understanding, and show them how much our Heavenly Father loves them. We have had chances to practice with role-playing investigators as we've been adjusting what to teach according to their needs. We've been able to set goals of how we wish for the spirit to touch them by the time we leave. I've come to understand how important inviting the investigator to baptism and setting a date for them can be in the first lesson, as it gives them a goal to reach for, and that we missionaries will be there for them each step of the way. The spirit has been the ultimate teacher throughout Sister Barney's and my experiences of teaching our "investigators" Dometric and Ivalisa.
The Lord is guiding me and strengthening me each step of the way. I've come to see his tender mercies. One, for instance...Sister Barney and I were talking about how much we missed our families and friends. Literally about a minute or two later, here came the one and only BEN HUGO from around the corner!!
Holy crumb I was so ecstatic! I hadn't seen him in 2 1/2 years because of his mission in Japan!! Apparently he is a teacher here. There was nothing like having that talk and then seeing a family member :)
Another quick point before I log off: I'm the second oldest in my district, behind the Elder that's 21 yrs old (all the other Elders just graduated from High School). It's truly incredible to see this many missionaries so set on the work and able to take this time out of their lives.
Line of the week:
While unloading luggage, I was getting help from a Sister lifting up a suitcase on a higher shelf..
"Sister, Roy, what in the world do you have in here?!"
Jaws dropped and the Sisters looked at each other.
"Yep. Drugs." I opened the suitcase. They all gasped. :)
Much love, take care, I love letters from anyone so write and send away.