Monday, May 8, 2017

"Desperately Listening"

Week # 60

You know you should probably watch out as a missionary when one of your members gets told "voy a pegar a tus mormonas!"

On the very "bright" side of things this week, we had quite a bit of sun. Yay for Vitamin D! A nice refresher for a St. Georgian. The constant clouds and rain have kept me soggy and very very white. I don't look "Quarterican" at all anymore. I honestly feel like I've never been whiter in my life, though my mom will probably tell me differently. "Every girl is Snow White in Oregon" according to the man we do service with every week at the cemetery.

We had zone conference this week which consists of trainings on missionary work; how we can improve our teaching, finding and all around missionarying. I always love meeting with President Tateoka. Each interaction, whether is be a zone conference, interview, phone call or him following the Spirit to come and give me a blessing. I always receive a confirmation of the power of the Priesthood and that he is a Spirit-led man. Zone conferences are also fun because we get to see other missionaries that we have served with in the past. The group of sister missionaries has shrunk so much recently. In just 5 months we went from 10 sisters in the zone to only 4. We are a dying breed, especially the Hermanas. Areas have been closed or replaced by Elders. This zone conference we met with another zone as well asn they have 6 sisters so we didn't feel too small though they've lost sisters as well recently.

This week I experienced a major flash back. One year ago, I entered the mission field. On my first weekend in the field, we had a Mother's Day dinner with the Forest Grove branch. Well, this weekend we had one in Woodburn. Lots of music and we even ate carne asada like last year. The differences were that I actually spoke and understood the members and the food wasn't two hours late. :)

Hermana Karren and I wore our brand new shirts from a member who just got back from Mexico and we felt like Celebrities. Hortencia came to the party! And all of the members were fellow shipping and inviting her to things. It made me so proud of our little branch. We sang and even the Elders sang! Pictures and videos will be included!

Service this week included a machete and an ax. That's not an exercise that I was expecting to do as a sister missionary. Our hands and arms were so sore. Every time I shook hands with an Elder at Zone Conference, I whimpered a bit.

Today for Pday we walked Front Street and I ate Elote and agua de fresas. Found a Mexican dress . . . did not buy it because it is $50 and I'm a missionary.

We had an awesome visit with a member in the branch this weekend. She is progressing so well. She has gone from rarely reading and praying to reading and praying every night. The best part is that she is recognizing the blessings! She got a raise this week and told us that she knew that it was because of the commandments that she is keeping. We read 3rd Nephi 11 with her and it was a lesson where everyone was edified. 

Tender mercy of the week? We walked up to a house, had a 2 minute conversation and walked away with cake. The missionary life though. It turned into the Elders' tender mercy as well because we saw them 30 seconds later and left them with cake.

I read a little in my first journal this week. The journal through the MTC and my first couple of months in the field. I found a lot of differences in myself then and now. My first lesson was a man named Angel. Hermana Coca and I got lost driving to our area because neither of us had a GPS. We pulled off to the side of the road to talk to some construction workers. We met Angel. At first it was going great because. . . we we talking in English :) then my sweet companion asked if he spoke Spanish. . . I understood very little and walked back to the car in a daze. The weeks and even months following that day I was trying so hard to listen. I would try to pick out words, but even key words like familias, profeta, and escrituras that I learned in the MTC didn't help me understand very much. I was disappointed in myself after every lesson and at the end of every night.

This week we did a lot of listening. We met two new women and made plans for their lessons. We ended up listening because that is what they needed. Someone to listen to their heartaches, to their questions, to their testimonies. It is such a different experience than a year ago. A year ago I was desperately listening to understand the words. This week I found myself desperately listening to understand the people. Desperately listening to the Spirit to know what we should share. There is such a difference when you listen to understand the people, not just the words. It made me think and evaluate myself.

How desperately do I listen to the Spirit? And not just in times of strife. We should be "desperately listening" at all times.

Les quiero,

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Cinco de Mayo Companions

Service in the cemetery. That tongue of concentration. So her. 

Tender mercy cake

Hermana in the hacienda

Two zones of sisters:
Williams, Poole, Barnes, ..., ..., Stockett, Call, Warburton, Karren, Dickson

Zone Conference

Feasting on Front Street Elote:
Sister Williams, Hermanas Dickson and Karren

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