Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 5/28/13: Week of Fire

My first area is called "Hurst South" and it's BIG. Everyone here is real friendly though! They say things like "y'all be safe 'round here, kay?" and "watch out fo' yo'selves!" and "I was so worried when they said sisters were coming cuz I've lived here my whole life and I've had guns pulled on me.."

So, my trainer and I are pioneering a ghetto, scuze me, an area that hasn't seen sister missionaries because it's been too unsafe. Hm. But you know what? President Sagers wouldn't send us out here if we couldn't handle the gun shots at 1:30 am and proselyting to the drug dealers. We're just doin' that work only sisters can do!

But you meet a lot of crazy people doing this kind of talking-to-everyone-you-meet thing. Not just stereotypical black people (cuz they exist) but Muslims too! We were tracting the other day and ran into a very nice Muslim couple--that tried to convert us. They didn't let us get a word in edgewise and we ended up leaving with an English copy of the Qur'an. It's sitting on my desk at home. Of all the things I thought I would get on my mission, an invitation to go to mosque was not one...

I also managed to find the only native frenchmen in all of Texas! So me and my limited french got to try out some faith when I tried to bear my testimony in french. It went really well, actually, because I said what was most important: "Je sais le Livre de Mormon est vrai." And guess what? He's getting baptized!

Speaking of, it's been a "Week of Fire" for me and Sister Grimnes. We've taught 27 lessons, got 7 new investigators and we have 4 baptismal dates! I've extended one of those dates and I LOVE these people!! They have such a firm foundation on Christ that they're willing to do what He asks of them. I wish everybody was like that.

I just want to talk about faith really quick with y'all. I used to think that faith was manifested in the bringing about of awe-inspiring miracles. Like fire coming down from heaven and speaking languages you never heard of. But I've forgotten what faith can actually do. I thought that, as a missionary, I didn't have enough faith to be out here. But as I've decided to keep walking and keep serving and keep on... well, keeping on, I've realized that faith manifests itself (sometimes) in a person's ability to just.. do it. I don't know if I could suddenly speak Tagalog because my faith is so great and mighty but I do know that my faith is strong enough to haul myself out of bed every day and walk into the darker parts of this area. It's strong enough to allow me to be fearless when I walk up to people who are smoking or drinking. More often than not, they're the ones that'll listen.

Jesus administered to the sick and afflicted. There are some nicer areas where the homes are bigger and the air smells cleaner, but evidently, that's not where I'm supposed to be. Just pray for continued safety, and I'll be fine!

Keep on keepin' on!!
Sister Gunson

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 5/20/13: Respect the Piracy

My MTC district held a meeting a couple weeks ago. To discuss our Disney characters. yeah, y'all thought I wasn't being serious, but nope. Oops. The hardest part was the rule they made at the beginning: "You are not allowed to choose for yourself or fight/defend a choice." Now, keep in mind that we're discussing Disney CHARACTERS. Not princessess, not villains, ALL THE CHARACTERS EVER. So I started sweating like a sinner in church when they weren't leaning towards Rapunzel. Oh no... they leaned all the way to Hercules.

To Meg.

The Elders were in unanimous vote and the sisters couldn't think of anyone better. I can agree with that... mostly because I AM a damsel, I AM in distress, BUT I can handle this. Have a nice day.

So now I'm in Texas!! Did you guys know that Texas is flat? Also, everything is big. Really big. It's humid, it's hot, but breezy most days. And the air smells like wild freedom and southern hospitality. I. AM. IN. LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!!! Except for the humidity, I think that can die in a hole somewhere in the Mississippi. Also, I'm pretty sure I should marry a Texan, cuz I LOVE the homestyle manners. With the "yessir" and the "no m'am please thank you." Yeah, that's freaking awesome. Why doesn't California have that?! yes, they all say "y'all." I've heard some pretty thick accents and it's rubbing off on me. So I don't use the full "ing" and I measure distance in time and I say y'all frequently. But I think I was doing that a while ago. Guess I do it more now. And yes, I've had brisket already. And Bluebell ice cream, both of which will be the reason I need to sew elastic bands to the waists of my skirts. It's so good.... It's so good, my daughter's name is gonna be Bluebell.

I'm gonna talk for a second about my CTR ring... I've had it for maybe 2 and a half years now. I rarely take it off and because of such behavior, this ring is quite battered, scratched and beaten. It arrived smooth and slick, but now the only thing that remains the same is the CTR crest in the centre of the band. I do not want a newer ring in favor of a smoother finish because I think of thoser scratches like battle scars on my testimony. They don't make me weaker. And any girl with a good head will tell you that scars are hot anyways. They prove to me that I've seen war and lived to tell of it. If you're fixing to go fight Satan, you better come back with a couple of wounds or you didn't fight hard enough! I was just noticing that right now and I can't wait for more scratches! Scratches are proof that you're living! My favorite 6-year old once said to his tiger that "if your knees aren't grass-stained by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life." I think we should apply that to our testimonies. We'll assuredly be blessed for it.

Now. 2 weeks ago, an elder in my district said something in response to my quick and fierce answer to his question: "Sister Gunson, are you a ninja or a pirate?" According to Jane Austen... piracy is my only option, so I was thankful for his positive response. He said "Sister, I respect your piracy. In fact, I knew you were a pirate before you said it because you love life and you do what you want. You wouldn't be here if you didn't want to do this."

Folks, this elder is 100% undeniably right.

I want you all to know that I want to be out here. My desires to serve God and do this work is a giant fire and the fire to do God's will can't possibly go out. Even in the midst of hurricances. Because God continually feeds it. As I walk out my door, expecting many doors to be slammed in my face, I do it now with a heartful of song because there's simply nothing else I'd rather be doing.

If you don't know this by know, if I don't want to do something... I won't do it. Conversely, if I am so deeply rooted in my desires to do something, good luck getting me to quit. I almost dare you to try. You'll walk away disappointed. See y'all in 18 months!

Love, Sister Gunson

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sister Gunson has arrived in Texas!

Sister Gunson has officially arrived in Texas! Look at how cute she is!
Here's her current address:
Sister Hannah Gunson
1008 Willow Drive #301
Fort Worth, Texas

Have an awesome day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 5/8/13: Get Your Shine On

It's no surprise that I'm titling an email with a phrase from a not-hymn song. At least, not to my district. We have a daily thought on our whit eboard and yesterday, when everyone was having a hard time, I wrote "Carry on my wayward son, there'll be peace when you are done." I kind of feel bad for bringing "Babylon into Zion" so I made a deal with one of the elders in my district that I can hum any song if I can find a corrolating scripture. So far, I've got "Below My Feet" (Alma 29:1), "Get Your Shine On" (Matthew 5:16), "Carry On My Wayward Son" (2 Timothy 4:7-8), "She's A Lady" (Proverbs 31:10), and "Stayin' Alive" (Psalms 23:4). It's now a personal challenge, so send me songs that I know and I'll make 'em spiritual. I do this to keep me awake when I start slipping.

I leave for Texas on the 14th, and boy oh boy, do I need the 14th to get here NOW. I need HEAT. I froze to death every night until a sister trainer told me I could get more blankets. I sleep with four blankets now. While wearing my sweatshirt. The things I have to do.... But I'm also genuinely excited to get out into the field and start my work!!

The funniest thing about being in the MTC us how strangely familiar it is. It's a BYU campus, so it smells like the HFAC and Heritage Halls and I want to go back to Theatre Camp... I feel like I should be dancing all day, but I love the work more. Benjamin Landart said "the greatest decision I ever made in my life was to give up something I dearly loved to the God I loved even more." So I don't REALLY miss dancing... Not really.

So all the n00bs came in today. I can't believe I've already been here a week!! But here's the thing about the MTC.... You walk in all "YAY!" (and in my case, that was.... rather literal) and then Satan comes over the second day and ultimate punches you in the stomach. Cuz guys, the MTC is HARD. Satan takes advantage of that! I've been leaning on my guns this whole week, reminding myself why I'm out here. They really throw you into the deep end and I've been treading water. I watched these newbies walk in, eyes big as dinner plates, and said sarcastically "aw, they're so happy!... Their souls will be crushed by tomorrow." I was quickly reprimanded by my Zone Leader, and then I had to sing an uplifting hymn. This kind of thing happens everyday. I can testify to you as a witness of God that your soul WILL remain intact-- IF you follow Jacob's counsel in Jacob 3:1. Not only will you remain intact, but you will become stronger. You will be able to lift heavier burdens, even the ones around you. My companion and I got hit really hard at the beginning of the week, but because of that, we were able to cheer up our district when they got hit.

I struggled, you guys. Like, I definitely thought about coming home. 'Till I realized that it just wasn't an option. Obviously, God wouldn't have called me out here for 3 days. I've got work to do, and when that happens, you pull your big-girl pants on and start working harder. You study harder. You pray so much harder than you ever have in your life. I had no idea the MTC was this hard, but the way I see it... Eternal Damnation is a little harder than a couple of weeks of 9 hour blocks of class.

The struggling, however, has taught me many things. Specifically, I've re-learned how to pray. After listening to some investigators pray, I decided to start saying my prayers in that kind of mindset. Because we teach these investigators to get to know God by truly pouring out their souls, I feel like their prayers have meant more than mine. Mormons get so used to their slang and their patterns that they forget to actually FEEL. At least, that was how it was in my case. So I've started praying with the intent to know God, and it has made ALL the difference!! I'm actually talking to God instead of a ceiling. I'm a little ashamed to admit that the only times I've poured out my heart and soul have been when I was struggling. That's.... no bueno.

I miss y'all. So very dearly. And I love your letters! Like I said, I leave May 14th, so soon, you should send letters to the Texas address. I love you guys. The church is true, Jesus Christ lives, and that makes the work worth doing. I'm gettin' my shine on and ENJOYING THE WORK!
Love, Sister Gunson