You know you have an awesome companion when you wake up to streamers and "Happy Birthday" written on the mirror.
Emailing is so hard. We go through the week working and teaching. We feel so many emotions. Happy when we have a good lesson, sad when we find out that someone decides to stop meeting with us, frustrated when we try to help someone and they refuse it, tired when . . . well, always, stressed when . . . well again, always, etc. It's interesting to get to the end of another week and email about it. It's so hard, but at the same time, such a blessing. It's really becoming more clear to me how our Heavenly Father feels. Happy when He sees us progressing, sad when he is there wanting to help and we don't accept it. The feeling that I have felt the most in my time as a missionary though is love (getting all cheesy on y'all). Really though. Through all the stress, happy, frustrated, tired and sad feelings, I am overwhelmed each week as I look back and realize how much love I felt this week.
It's weird being a missionary. We do things that normal people don't. We walk around after dark, we are always wearing skirts, we give out our number to every person we can (that's a habit that I should probably break when I return home), we get excited to walk into someone's house with complete trust when we really just met them and they could be an axe murderer, and we jam out to MoTab. If I wasn't wearing a name tag, then I would probably make people feel pretty uncomfortable (and I'm sure we do even with the name tag).
But why do we do all these weird things? Because we love. Because we are loved. I feel that I have said this multiple times in past emails, but it always impresses me that the first principle of the Gospel that we teach is that God is our loving Heavenly Father.
So this is how I felt love this week.
We had Zone Conference this week. It is always so inspired. We talked a lot about finding new people to teach and being successful as missionaries. Something that I really liked is that Sister Tateoka really stressed that we don't have to ask President Tateoka at the end of our missions if we have been successful. We can know that every night through prayer.
This week I hit a few check points. On Thursday I completed one year of being a missionary and on Saturday I completed 21 years of living. Thank you everyone who emailed me and sent me gifts and letters. It means so much to me and I feel so much love and support. At zone conference all of the missionaries sang Happy Birthday, but the thing is that it was 4 Elders' birthday and then me. We took a picture and it's just super awkward. All of the Elders grouped together and I stood by myself while everyone laughed.
My birthday was the best though! We got to go to the temple with an investigator and she even invited a friend to come with her. I love the temple so much and love the Spirit that you can feel. We are planning on doing another temple trip this next Saturday with J. He is doing awesome. He hit some bumps in the road this week, but he is still progressing. We gave him a Book of Mormon on Saturday and when we came by on Monday he had read multiple chapters and could tell us the whole story of Lehi's family. That was one of those moments when we felt excited and happy this week. On my birthday we showed up for a lesson and there were the 3 chairs and table as normal, with a little pizza. He is so sweet. He is so excited to go to the temple this weekend and to watch General Conference.
We experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed this week in a lesson with some young investigators. They are all high energy and there are 4 of them, sometimes 5. They all started asking questions really quickly. We were finally able to calm them down by reassuring them "yes, you will probably be able to eat burritos in Heaven, yes, we will have clothes and they may or may not be sparkly, no you don't get all of the money and chips in the world if you are the last person alive, and yes you can live in South American and still be saved at the last day".
We experienced the norm of Oregon's crazy weather this. We left the apartment on Friday and it was sunny and not a rain cloud in sight. I didn't bring a rain jacket or wear boots. We went to dinner and then walked outside. It was a downpour. Worse than normal. We still went to our appointment and when I looked in a mirror later I realized why they probably didn't let us come inside. I was soaked to the bone and I looked like a mop. I think my shoes are still drying out.
I think that's about it for today, but gold star to anyone who counts how many commas I used in this email. I didn't realize how many until I was proof reading my email. Also the world as I knew it came crashing down this week when I learned that burritos aren't from Mexico. They apparently are an American "Mexican" food. Burrito means little donkey in Spanish.
Pictures include: Temple trip, a birthday photo with my Mission President and his wife, a birthday picture with the blossoms, and the last one we are laughing because the very drunk man taking the picture said "Woah! Look who's at the end of a rainbow!!"
|Hermanas Dickson and Jensen|
|Birthday Temple Trip with friends|
|President and Sister Tateoka|
|Zone birthdays - missionary gap between the elders and the Hermana|
|Family "Feliz Cumpleanos" Birthday Banner|
|Happy Birthday package.|
|"Woah! Look who's at the end of the rainbow"|