Monday, July 28, 2014

Best Punishment Ever - Week 26

Dear family,

I just got back from doing service. So for the Fourth of July,
President Cooke gave everyone a full p day but told us we had to be
home by 10:30pm. Unfortunately, 2/3 of the mission was late. Sister
Lewis and I were 10 minutes late. President Cooke personally called
each companionship that was late the next morning to let us know we
will not be receiving tickets to the Nationals baseball game in
August. We were disappointed but we knew that we were wrong by being
late. A week later President Cooke send out a massive email telling
everyone that those who were late can earn their tickets back by
sacrificing 3 hours of our p day to do service. They divided us in two
groups and we were lucky enough to be the morning group. We went to
this really cool place that has free furniture and clothes for people
in poverty. They also help them get jobs and education and it's really
incredible. There were 50 missionaries in my group and we all went in
this huge place and helped. The local community donates old furniture
and clothes and linens which they bring in in big trucks and organize
and store down stairs and then upstairs is the "show floor" where lots
of furniture and toys and linens are on display and people come
through and put stickers on what furniture they want and arrange
transportation for it and then the volunteers load it. A group of
about 8 of us organized the furniture upstairs to look good. We put
together matching dining room sets and living room sets (about as
matching as we could get them). There were constantly people coming
through and picking out things. It was so much fun, I loved it. Best
punishment ever. I want to do this all the time.

After, four of us sisters went to a Jewish restaurant. I finally ate a
crab cake. It was good but I don't think I'll be buying another one
anytime soon.

We've been doing lots of youth tours at the Visitors Center this week.
The youth come in at 9am and stay at the vc until 7pm ish and do
baptisms at the temple and a vc tour. Sister Lewis and I are only on
shift Sundays after church but because there's been so many youth they
keep on calling us in which I love. I love doing youth tours and being
with the youth. They're so much fun and I feel like I'm making a
difference in their lives. Teenage years are so crucial and is when
they either lose or gain their testimony so I take it as an amazing
opportunity to have this time to spend with them and help them to feel
the spirit. At the end of the day, they are supposed to write down on
little cards what the Holy Ghost taught them that day and we give them
to the senior missionary women who type them up and send them to their
stake. I usually don't read them but one day I did and I was amazed at
their testimonies. These teens are awesome, I love love love love love
love doing youth tours. So fun! Especially since I'm only 19 and
they're 14-18 so we connect better.

Friday was a cool day. After dinner with a member, we walked to our
car and there was a man sitting on the porch of a building listening
to music. I said hi to him then got in the car. I got the feeling I
should talk to him but I felt awkward because I was already in the car
but then I started to think of how happy this could make him and if I
don't talk to him he might not get the chance to hear about it and I
started feeling so guilty until I felt sick and cracked and said out
loud to Sister Lewis, "ok what card should we give this man outside?"
I got out the car and gave hima Visitors Center card and then a minute
later Sister Lewis jumped out and gave him a Book of Mormon and it was
really cool. When we got back in he car Sister Lewis said she had been
feeling like we should talk to him and right when she was about to
mention it I had asked which card to give him. I love revelation from
God, especially when the both of us get it for the same thing. It
happens all the time.

Another example happened later that night. Our appointment cancelled
and we didn't know what to do because it was 7 and prime proselyting
time. We prayed and we both just felt like there was someone we needed
to see but we couldn't think who. Sister Lewis mentioned how we could
go to one part of our area and then I said, "Gisselle!" And then
Sister Lewis said, "Gisselle!" and then we both started saying it over
and over like a bad rendition of "Enchanted." So we went to
Gisselle's. Gisselle is 17 and loves the Book of Mormon but we haven't
been able to meet with her yet. We went over and she wasn't home but
her mom was so we asked her mom if we could teach her a lesson
instead. Her mom said yes and we taught her the restoration and gave
her a Book of Mormon and it went super well and we now have a return
appointment tomorrow! It was so cool. On the spot restoration lessons
always put me in a good mood, it's so fun to teach. We then went to
Whole Foods afterwards and got ice cream to celebrate our divine

On Saturday we went to a less active woman's apartment to teach her a
lesson. She let us inside her apartment and as we walked inside she
told us that something was there and to be careful not to scare it. I
didn't catch what that something was and assumed it was a cat. We went
into her living room and there, sitting on her windowsill above the
couch and looking out the window like a cat, was a huge iguana. It was
just roaming the house and would climb the sofas like a normal pet.
This lady was showing us some earrings she had made when I saw
something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked and there was a
bearded dragon scampering along the carpet. She has 3 bearded dragons,
an iguana, and a cat that just wander the house like common house pets
(her cat was normal of course, but it was soooo beautiful!). She let
us hold the bearded dragon and take pictures. When we started our
lesson I has a bearded dragon on my shoulder, the cat on the sofa, and
the iguana on the windowsill. I hope they felt the spirit.

Our investigators are doing pretty well. A couple not so good lessons
this week but they're making progress towards baptism which is good.
Some missions are physically draining and some are spiritually
draining. This one is spiritually draining. For missionaries, we live
a good life here with our cars and iPads. Even the K house isn't too
bad even though every floor has a different and distinct, weird smell.
We aren't out in the hot sun walking or biking and getting burned and
dirty all day, but it's hard being missionaries out in DC and the
surrounding areas. The people here are tough and hard hearted and
trying to find new people to teach is draining. But missionaries come
away from here knowing the doctrine extremely well and being able to
solidly defend ourselves and our beliefs and Christ's church. Every
mission is hard but some may be more physically or spiritually harder
than others but it's what that person needs and also who they need to
teach. I'm glad I'm here. I think it would for me be easier to be in
South America where there are hundreds of baptisms every week but I
needed to be here where it's harder to get baptisms because that is
how I'm growing. For other people, going to South America where they
get tons of baptisms but have to clear sting rays out of the muddy
water to do it is where they are growing the most. I'm glad I'm here.
I'm learning to deal with people in a whole new way and is really
preparing me for the future when I have a family and career.

Proverbs 3:11-12. God gives us trials and burdens to help us become
better. He loves us so he wants us to grow to our potential. None of
us would be the person we are today without our trials. I know I
definitely wouldn't be. Not all trials are caused by God, some are
caused by others, but we learn and grow so much from them. I hate
trails but I'm grateful for them because they have made me who I am.

Sister Black

P.S. The Nats game is this Saturday!!!!!!

Tracting with the temple in the background is the best.
Iguana and two of the bearded dragons.

Crab cake

Doing service I talked about in my last email.

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