Monday, June 12, 2017

A Disciple of Christ, A Child of God

Week # 65

You know you've only been in an area for 3 weeks when you spend most of your exchange lost. I stayed in the area for exchanges with my Sister Trainer Leader and I realized that I do not know this area very well quite yet. Todo está bien though. I'll figure it out.

I think I'm going to keep it kind of short this week. Well, I'll try. 

Hermana Tanuvasa and I are doing awesome. She is already learning that it's totally fine if I start crying. Yesterday in church we had some powerful talks and I teared up a little bit. Our investigator leaned over and started frantically poking Hermana Tanu and said "She's crying!" Hermana Tanu smiled awkwardly and continued listening to the talks. She understands me. I'm touched. 

Finding new investigators. Missionaries are constantly looking for more people to teach even if we have lots that we are already teaching. We try to meet people and if they are interested, we ask for their contact info and set up a time to visit them. "OYMs" (when you approach and talk to someone new, "open your mouth") are often awkward at first. Sometimes we have to be clever. We walked up to a man this week and as we were talking he let us know that he liked to go fishing. Hermana Tanu pipes up "Hey we're fishers too! Fishers of men!. . . " We weren't able to get any contact info from this man . . . Some weeks are better than others.  :)

We did meet another cool family this week! The parents have met with Hermana Tanu before so we went back to visit them. When we were getting ready to leave, one of their sons walked out and started asking us questions. He wanted to know what made us want to serve missions. We talked for a while and he told us that he had actually been listening from his room while we were talking to his parents. He wants to learn more! We set up a return appointment with all three of them and a pizza and we are so excited to start teaching them.

Interviews! Every transfer we get to meet with our mission president and have a short interview. Well, they are supposed to be short. :) Interviews are never what I think that they are going to be. One thing that I can count on every time is that there is always an already half empty tissue box that President slowly pushes across the table about 5 minutes in. I love consistency. :) We talked aobut expectations and disappointments. I think the world, members and non-members alike, have expectations for missionaries. There is a way we are supposed to be. A way we are supposed to speak. A way our day is supposed to go. We have all of these expectations from ourselves, our companions, members. But it rarely goes the way we think. We will not measure up to unrealistic expectations so what do we become? A disappointment. At least in some eyes. What President and I talked about was how we need to make sure that we aren't the ones with the wrong expectations. And then after we personally have made that shift, that we stand up to those around us. "Stop being a doormat", in the words of President Tateoka. I've been a doormat earlier in my mission by believing that I wasn't measuring up. I've even let some people close to me "wipe" their feet on me. Some days I still have to remind myself to make that change. To stop thinking I'm a disappointment and to stop being a doormat.

Now am I saying lower your expectations? No, of course not. We should always be raising our expectations and pushing ourselves. God has very high expectations for all of His children. I think what sometimes needs to happen is that we need to make a little change in our expectations. A little shift in what we see as a missionary, a disciple of Christ, a child of God. A little shift in how we think we, and others, should be. God's expectations may be high, but they are perfect and very realistic. We can all measure up if we ask for His help. 

A quote I heard this week that has been running through my mind a lot is "God doesn't want us to try harder, He wants us to turn to Him sooner". That's what I'm learning, and re-learning. We get this thought that if we just try harder, wait longer, push through it, THEN we will "make it". Then we will be enough. If we just realize that the sooner we let go of our pride (because that is what it is) the sooner we will truly receive the blessings of humility.

Updates on our investigators. We are going to take a little more time teaching so they won't be being baptized next week, but we had some good lessons this week. Something really special is that as we have been reading in the Book of Mormon together every day, multiple times we have been able to use the same scriptures that we read earlier that day in our lessons. 

I think I'll end it here. I really do hope that everyone is doing well and is happy. If we aren't happy we are doing life wrong. That's doctrine. "Be of good cheer". It's a commandment. Hermana Tanu and I are trying to keep that commandment. It's working out. She never fails to make me laugh and has a special way of doing missionary work. "Sé dónde vive, no puede ocultar de nosotras"
Go put that in your google translate. It's a quote from my companion. I'm learning lots from her.

Les quiero, 

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Photos/videos: Exchanges with Sisters Hart and Tedrow! Why am I so short? Also I went to the dentist and they have a furry friend who comes to work every day apparently. Don't worry I made sure they washed their hands before they put their hands in my mouth. Also! The video is Jesus and Barbara! They are so cute. We taught them some English. Sorry for my hyena laugh. Also, my study desk with my DIY Oregon wall still in progress. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Scatter Sunshine - Be Not Weary in Well Doing

Week # 64

You know you are only a quarter Hispanic when the 100% Hispanics have no faith in your tortilla making abilities. They literally laughed while the little aubelita mumbled under her breath that I was ruining it. 

This week was filled with service. We were able to help out with a huge community outreach event. We worked at a little boutique where women and girls could come and pick out a free outfit and some jewelry. We got to use our Spanish and it was really fun. They split us up because we were the only ones who spoke Spanish so I got to be with Sister Judd for a few hours while my companion went and talked to people as they arrived. 

It was a really big and special event to be a part of. People could come and get free doctor visits, dentist, eye care, hair cuts and even showers is that was what they needed. Later that day we helped a member finish a service project for hospital patients. She is making little pillows that strap to seat belts so if patients recently had surgery, the seat belt doesn't hurt them. I loved working around so many people who find so many ways to serve. It doesn't have to be something big to serve.

Last week we sang with a family the hymn "Scatter Sunshine". We were able to talk to the kids about service and how when we love people and serve them it is like we are giving them a little piece of sunshine. Others around us have been serving us as well. We have wonderful members here who welcome us into their homes and give us dinner. Yesterday a member brought us dinner because we weren't feeling well. We also have the other Sister missionaries that serve around us. I've personally had a couple of rough days this week and on day we came home to our door decorated with hearts, notes and pictures of Christ. It helped so much and I don't think those sisters know how it helped. One of the notes had a scripture on it that says "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing". I've thought about that scripture a lot and went back and re-read it in my studies. Don't be weary. Now, does that mean that I am a horrible missionary because I seem to always be tired? At first that is how I interpreted it because we are "well doing", but some days I'm tired enough that members can tell and offer their couches to help me out. What I have learned from that scripture is that we shouldn't get sick of serving others. If we stop serving out of our hearts, then we are losing out on the blessings of service. Without the "love" part of the service, it just becomes work and not very fun work I might add. So yes, it's actually GOOD to be tired if that means that you have been working hard. So get out there and do some "well doing"!

We got to do some planting as well this week as service. Being a sister missionary I really have realized that you can do a lot of things in skirts and there is a reason that we have washers and dryers. We got to plant tomatoes with some members and my hands smelled like home for a few hours. I got right in and started pulling up the weeds and the member said "Hermana, have you done this before?" and I thought of the days when my dad would successfully get us out in the mornings to pull weeds before it got too hot. Sorry for complaining so much Dad. I actually enjoyed it for a little bit.

We met a cute little couple this week on the street. They were walking away from a yard sale and proudly showed us their findings before we started talking about what we were really doing that day, being missionaries (also can I just say that you can literally relate the gospel to any conversation topic even Fransisca's recent find of a practically new Victoria's Secret bag). They were so cute and very willing to let us come visit them. They told us that their son is currently visiting with missionaries, but in English so they are excited that we speak Spanish. The only awkward part was that the little old man shook my hand and then slowly pulled me in to hug him. Oh the struggle of being a missionary. I feel like I will forever feel guilty about hugging a guy even after I get home. :)

I've learned a lot about listening in my studies this week. There is so much we can learn from the people around us if we simply listen to them. People are willing to open up and share their feelings and struggles if we show them that we care enough to listen. I'm also constantly learning the importance of listening to the Spirit. I was driving the other day. Looked right, then left, then right and started pulling out onto the street and heard a distinct thought "look again". So I did, just soon enough to see a car that neither of us saw whip out. It's a good thing we are missionaries and God looks out for us, or I think I would have already gotten into multiple accidents this past year.

We visited the woman that is working towards getting baptized. "I" is really struggling. She has a lot of hard things happening in her life and when we asked if we could do anything to help her she jokingly said , well can you help me get rid of the headache that I have? We were able to testify of the power of a Priesthood blessing to both help her feel calm and relieve pain. I love being able to tell people of the wonderful opportunity we have to receive blessings. 

We also visited "C" this week. Another woman who is preparing to be baptized. We began teaching her about the Plan of Salvación, but didn't finish it for some reason. I heard myself ending the lesson and inviting her to come to church with us. It was weird, but we really hope that she starts coming to church and can't wait to visit her again. She is a sweet little old lady who is so receptive and has so many questions. 

My companion shared a bit of her culture this week. She made spushi! It has a different name, but I have always called it spushi! It is actually called spam musubi. I call it spushi because it looks like sushi, but it is spam. It's actually really good. We also went to Young Women's this week and Hermana Tanuvasa taught us how to dance "siva samoa". I won't include the video of my attempt because my companion's response to watching me was, " . . . I've seen worse . . ." I guess I'll come home as good dancer as I came out as.

Another notable fact from this week is that I successfully made it 5 days without make up and no one ran away screaming. 

Another weekly email done. I hope you all are seeing the blessings in your lives, because even when there are trials, they are always there. 

Les quiero, 

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Here are some pictures from Pday today. We went to an aviation museum. Service pictures! Also yes, he put his hand in front of my face on purpose both times. Also this is how they make tortillas for real here. The one on the tortilla stove is mine. :)