Holy cow! Can you believe that another transfer is about to end?? Where the heck did the time go?!
Oh sorry. We're not supposed to say things like that. "Replacement" curse words are apparently still curse words. Oh dear. Our mission loves rules. And I am quite the rule follower... but I gotta say. Even I'm having a hard time keeping track of them all!
So if you want to send me letters, please wait until next Monday so we can find out if I'm staying in Bountiful or not.
I hope I stay. It would be incredibly lame to leave right before the holidays. ;)
Okay, awesome things this week. First off, I. GOT BAPTIZED! Her new husband was able to perform the ordinance. And there was great ward support. The evening was really just so beautiful. We sang "A Child's Prayer" and watched the new video, "He is the Gift." Her family friend gave a talk on Baptism, and her father in-law talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The feeling of love was so strong in that room! I was completely unprepared for how overwhelmed I would feel. The joy was indescribable. I've been able to see plenty of baptisms at home, but really it was so wonderful to be able to be a part of her story. We had time allotted for sharing testimonies, and I got up and bore mine. As I stood there I realized that the single most important thing to me that I wish I could express clearly to everyone in my life is my love for the Savior. HE is the gift! He is the reason we will have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Through Him everything. EVERYTHING that is wrong with this world can be made right. I know this with all of my heart, and thinking of it makes my heart ache it is so full! Seeing Irene baptized wasn't a "woohoo! Look what I did! I convinced her to bend to my will!" No. That's not why I'm here. I'm not here to persuade, bribe or convince anyone to do anything they don't want to. I'm not a salesman. I am here because I love my Savior so much that it wouldn't matter to me if everything else in my life fell apart. It wouldn't matter if everything else in life was taken away from me, because I know that He has already overcome it. He has carried it so that we don't have to. He has promised that we will have everything restored to us. He is my joy and my peace and my hope. I didn't do much for Irene but share these things with her... and the joy of seeing her embrace this great hope was overflowing. :) I now understand the phrase "my joy is full."
We were also able to see that same day the baptism of a little girl that we had taught. Her family doesn't really attend church, but they wanted her to be baptized at 8. She has 4 older siblings in a "yours/mine" family so some of them are more active than others. These kids though. Two are completely active, the other two are returning to activity, and then there's her. :) It's kinda crazy sometimes how kids are such a good example to their parents.
So I mentioned that "He is the Gift." This is a video that you should ALL watch! And share it! We have hundreds of pass-along cards that we are supposed to hand out over the month of December. It's hard to find people in Bountiful that aren't members of the church, but Sister Alaiasa and I are showing our faith by deciding to walk each day, and we've had the opportunity to pass out a few! There are still hundreds though. ;)
Funny story though - last week we walked to the church building. (WE WALKED TO THE CHURCH BUILDING!!!!!! There are actually THREE buildings within walking distance that hold a total of 9 wards. Utah is crazy. :) We were just about to turn around to walk home - just a 15-20 minute walk or so - when I saw a person sitting on the ground by the bowery. (Another Utah word... means pavilion.) I couldn't tell how old he was, and I couldn't even tell at first if he was alone or not. I thought, "Well, we're running late, and we've been able to hand out a ton of cards today, and this interaction would probably be really awkward, so I'm just going to go home." Then immediately I had the thought, "Turn around and go talk to him." Done. I literally did an about-face... my poor companion was so confused! As I approached it was clear that there were two people - a boy and a girl - who were very tightly wrapped. Well the second he saw us he sat bolt upright and said in a slightly annoyed voice, "Sisters!" Yep. That's us. They were so young! I asked if they were in school. She said that she was in college. He said that he wasn't right now... he just got back from his mission the day before. Oh really? Where did you serve? Maryland.
As in, Maryland Baltimore?
With President Richards! Yes....
OH MY GOODNESS THAT'S MY HOME!
He was not nearly as excited about this as I was. :) This was Elder Martineau. I don't know if I ever officially met him, but I sure heard about him a lot! He served in C2 for awhile last year, and I remember the missionaries from our ward mentioning his name sometimes... It was clear that he wanted us to leave just so he could snuggle his girl some more. So we showed him our cards and said, "Well then you probably know all about this?" Yep. He did. He took a card to share with someone, and then we disappeared.
Good times! Life as a missionary is so awkwardly hilarious sometimes!!!
Ok ok. Now for those of you that hung in there for all of my missionary talk. Here's something fun. Christmas parties. Christmas ward parties. Christmas ward parties that do really cheesy lip syncs that have Jon Schmidt!
Well Jon didn't do a lipsync. Darn. :) But we had a pretty neat interaction! (And yes. Here I am. Talking about Jon Schmidt again!!!)
So we arrive at the party and I remembered that we were supposed to contact the Schmidt's about a lesson that we were going to teach at their home on Sunday. I found Michelle (his wife) and asked her my missionary-totally-acceptable-reason-to-be-talking-to-the-Schmidt's question. To which she responded, "Sounds good to me! Go check with Jon. Tell him I said it's okay with me if it's okay with him..." "Okay... Wait. Jon your husband, or Jon your son?" "Jon my husband, he's right over there." Yeah thanks. Like I didn't pick him out the second I walked in the room. And you want me to go talk to Jon Schmidt?!? Okay!!!
So I go ask Jon my missionary-totally-acceptable-reason-to-be-talking-to-Jon-Schmidt question and he responded that he thinks it'll be okay... he just has to check his travel itinerary. Right. Famous musician. Travels the world. No big deal.
Then I kinda got absorbed in the conversation at the table. He was talking with a guy that I will refer to as "computer guy." Here is what happened.
Jon Schmidt: (to computer guy) You're only 28??
Computer guy: Yeah...
Jon Schmidt: But you're too smart to be 28! How'd you get so smart?
Computer guy: I'm not that smart....
Computer guy: I'm not that smart....
Me: So what are you smart with?
Computer guy: I work with computers...
Jon Schmidt: This guy is like a genius!
Computer guy: I'm knowledgeable. Not smart.
Me: Hey! I know how that is! I'm studying chemistry... people always tell me how smart I am, but the more I learn, the more I learn how much I don't know!
Jon Schmidt: Hey, chemistry. That's impressive. I studied really hard and could only pull C's. You must be smart too.
Computer guy: But see, I'd probably pull C's in music.
Jon Schmidt. Okay... true.
Me: See... I'm just REALLY good at following directions. I can play music... as long as I HAVE music.
Jon Schmidt: You play the piano??
Me: Yeah actually, I teach it too!
Jon Schmidt: Right on! (then he fist-bumped me.)
Brother Fisher (our Ward Mission Leader for that ward who is AWESOME): She said that she's better than you Jon!
Jon Schmidt: I believe it. I'm waiting for my lessons.
Me: Pretty much. I played in your ward a few weeks ago. Sorry you missed it.
Jon Schmidt: Aww man!
Brother Fisher: Yeah. She got up to the pulpit and said, "This is for YOU Jon Schmidt! Jon Schmidt?? He don't know JACK Schmidt!!!" (That trash talk Brother Fisher put in my mouth still makes me roll with laughter. :)
Jon Schmidt: Hey! That was a good one! I always knew I couldn't name my son Jack...
Me: Yeah. I'm actually trying desperately to learn one of your songs right now, so I'm not as awesome as you... yet.
Jon Schmidt: Well thank you for that! Which one are you working on?
Me: From the Christmas book - "Good King Wenceslaus"
Jon Schmidt: Ah yeah...
Me: I sometimes have to cheat and listen to the cd to make sure that I have the rhythm right...
Jon Schmidt: Well thank you for playing our music!! (He says that so sincerely!)
Me: Thank you for writing it! I especially appreciate the "do this for small hands" comments.
Jon Schmidt: How small? (Then he held up his hand so we could compare hand sizes. His is TWICE as big as mine!) Woahhhh!!! Can you even reach an octave??
Me: Yeah! I can reach a 9th! (I'm proud of my small hands. :)
Jon Schmidt: Impressive.
Me: What can you reach?
Jon Schmidt: Oh... I think like a 13th or something...
Me: What?? So when they put 12ths and such in hymns, people can actually play those??
Jon Schmidt: Yep! I can hit them.
And then we had to stop talking to watch the fun lipsync. Which was really SO FUN. Though when the Relief Society did a goofy song that used rubber chickens dressed up in Christmas costumes, and the Elders quorum laid upside down on the edge of the stage and wore a goofy costume that had eyes on their chins and a little puppet costume on their heads, I really couldn't help turning around and saying, "Mormons are SO WEIRD sometimes!!" But they're my people! I love my people. :)
Okay, last thing. Last night was the Christmas Broadcast from the leadership of our church. It was all so incredible, but Elder D. Todd Christofferson shared a wonderful message about how Christ descended below all things so that He could rise above them. Doesn't it make sense then that we should descend below SOME things so that we could gain experience? So that we would know how to succor each other? So that we could rise above? It was exactly what I needed to hear. I am truly doing much better this week. Life has all sorts of ups and downs, but the downs make the ups that much sweeter. And the downs make it so that we can help others. I was able to do that this week, and I am truly oh so grateful for all that I have endured just to be able to be the strength that someone else needed.
There is a song that is on one of our cd's that really resonates with me. It's called "We all need saving" By Jon McLaughlin. The version we have is sung by Vocal Point - a LDS a capella group. And it's incredible. :) My companion and I sing it all the time!