Monday, February 2, 2015

One Year - Week 53

Dear family,

These weeks fly by. I can't believe yet another week has passed and
that it's FEBRUARY. I never thought I'd get to this point in my
mission that it's February again. I've been living in the DC metro
area for almost a year and it's been over a year now since I hugged my
cats and pet my family.

Tuesday was grand. Sort of. 3 of our 4 appointments cancelled so that
was fun. Not. We taught Lucy over Skype and she is still golden. We
talked about the priesthood and authority and she really loved the
concept of authority. Especially because it's true. On shift at the VC
I called Dee and talked to her for a while. She's been going through a
lot of tough stuff so I think it did her some good to talk. I love her
so much. I love her I love her I love her. We went to a lesson with a
referrals and his catholic mom answered the door and gave us back the
Book of Mormon. Ouch. Then we tracted for a bit which is always an
adventure. It's funny how many people angrily say, "We're Christian!"
Really? We couldn't tell. I'm sure Jesus angrily slammed the door in
people's faces as well when they were trying to teach others about
their beliefs. Most Christians today have sadly forgotten what it
means to be Christian and followers of Jesus. Quite a few mormons have
forgotten as well. But that doesn't mean that all Christians or that
being Christian is bad, it just means that those of us who are
Christian and recognize the problem need to improve beginning with

Wednesday we had a couple cool lessons. We had a lesson with a guy
named Leon which went really well. Some missionaries contacted him at
a metro station over the summer. He's a cool guy. That night we
stopped by a less active member's house, his name is Dave. He has a
strong testimony and is such a humble guy. He has two German Shepards
that don't even bark when you come to the door. He just has a few
issues to work through which we are going to help him with.

Thursday..... was the 29th. And my year mark of entering the MTC. It
was a very strange day. But a good one. The MTC doesn't seem like it
was that far away. I now enjoy reading my first journal every night to
see what I was doing a year ago. I'm almost done writing in my third
journal so by the time I go home I will have four for you all to flip
through. They don't contain every detail but it will be fun to read
through and relive my mission. Anyway, Thursday. That morning we were
on shift at the VC and did some chats for a couple hours.
We went to Panda Express for dinner that night since I always get
Panda for my birthday. After dinner we went to the VC and watched Meet
the Mormons with two recent converts, Dave, and one of our ward
missionaries. It was interesting watching the part when the missionary
was hugging his family goodbye and knowing that that was a year ago
for me. At least they were all crying. I'm pretty sure I was the only
one that cried. I hope you all miss me now haha. Our next appointment
cancelled so we tracted a few doors before going home. At home we had
cheesecake and ice cream to celebrate my year mark and also because I
didn't really celebrate my birthday so this kind of made up for it. It
was delightful.

Friday morning we went to the temple as sister missionaries. I haven't
been to the temple since November, I haven't done it in English since
October, and I haven't done it with all the sisters since August so it
was great. That night we taught Collin whose parents were less active
and came back to church a couple years ago and his three siblings were
all baptized then but he was the only one who wasn't. He's now on
board and he's awesome.

Saturday we were on shift that night and were able to commit a lot of
members to bring back nonmember friends to the VC. We started a new
system where they write down their name and stake and ward and then
their friends name and then we send it to their bishop and Ward
mission leader to follow up with them instead of us doing it so they
are more accountable. Hopefully it all goes well.

Sunday we had church and Collin was the only investigator that came
which was frustrating. That night we checked on a couple people,
taught a member family with 4 cute little daughters that reminded me
of our family, and then we taught a part member family. The dad is
less active but really wants his daughters to learn and so we taught a
bit of the restoration and he was totally on board and was pulling out
the Book of Mormons for them. Cool family.

Also, it's super cold here. I am not enjoying that. The temperature
isn't horrible and it has been colder in Utah but the humidity and
wind make it dreadful. The humidity makes it really sink into your
skin and then for some reason DC is just a windy place. Every time we
go outside we are blasted with icy wind. No Bueno.

Funny stories of the week: Sister Busath and I were singing in the
halls of our apartment as we were leaving and a woman legitimately
thought we were drunk... That's awkward. On Saturday night, Sister
Sundwall called a member to set up a time to visit. She was talking as
it was ringing and the person answered without her realizing so she
was going on about how someone likes his beer. She realized then that
someone was on the other line and said hello and was trying to talk
but kept on laughing so she passed the phone to me but then I burst
out laughing and couldn't say anything. I then handed it off to Sister
Mateaki who maturely set up an appointment while Sister Sundwall,
Sister Busath, and I ran into the kitchen and laughed. Then on Sunday
during gospel principles we have a few people who make really weird
comments and are a bit off. One guy kept on making the strangest
comments and at one point he motioned to me and called me "Sister
Shannon Black" and then ten seconds later came back to me and called
me "Sister Celeste Black". The teacher and all of the rest of us were
biting our lips not to laugh. It was funnier than it sounds.

Well that is it. This has been an amazing year. It has been so hard
and challenging but extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I am so so so
so grateful that I decided to serve a mission. This is the most
incredible and life changing thing I have ever done. I still have time
left so I am going to continue to work hard. Thank you all for your
love and support, it means a lot to me.

"Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will
praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and
the rock of my salvation.

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I
will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is
he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that
putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

"Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my
God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my
voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my
righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my
rock and mine everlasting God. Amen"(2 Nephi 4:30, 34-35).

Love, Sister Black

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