Monday, June 24, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 6/24/2013: What is Life?

Many times in my life, I have had the opportunity to sit back and reflectively think "What is Life." Whether running into the same 4 people on 3 separate occasions on the same day at Disneyland or serving a mission in the hometown of one of your characters, that question starts becoming relevant. It becomes even more so when a week-- a mere 7 days-- has so much content. You might look at my journal entries and think "you must get up VERY early in the morning!" Well, I do. And this week was a 6:30am till 10:30pm Sunday through Saturday roller coaster.

First of all, I found out that I'm getting a little sister. In missionary terms, that means I'm going to be in a trio. This brings a lot of stress on my trainer-- who now has to train 2 missionaries at the same time. I also have begun to wonder how another human being is going to fit in our shoebox.

I was proposed to this week. I am not a fan of this person. We tracted into him and it got out that we were the Mormons. He said "oh man, I'm switching faiths, I want more than one wife!" It took every fiber of my moral stamina to control my optic nerves so that I would not roll my eyes. We corrected this misconception and tried to keep going, but he kept talking about polygamy and how he himself was looking for a wife. He stopped us--midsentence--and asks us "y'all have husbands?'
"Uh... no, I'm 19."
So he tries to ask us out on a date.
"No sir, we're on a mission for 18 months, we don't date."
"Okay, you off in 18 months?"
"... Yes."
"I'll give you a call then. Imma look you up. I'm lookin' for a wife, I'd love to have two wives!"
Notice-- he tried to ask us BOTH on a date.
We walked out of there quickly, only to find out that he was watching us walk up the street from his window.
Guys, that's not how you ask me out and that's certainly not how you propose to me.

Fortunately, the week was not a total downer. We met a sweet old lady named Joyce. She's everything I want to be when I'm 88. She's traveled the world over, her house is FULL of international art-- and she has a walnut Baldwin grand piano that she asked me to play. Oh my gosh, I could have been there for hours. It needed a little tune, but MAN. This is also one of those times that I have to turn to my mother in gratitude and chagrin for making me practice the piano so... thanks mom.

You guys, I killed a 3-inch cockroach this week. Yeah. Uh-huh. All while screaming for my daddy.

Sister Grimnes lost her scriptures and this week has been "helping" me lose some faith. It's really hard to work in a ward that hinders all the work that you do. So lemme give you some advice since I'm not here to complain-- when you see missionaries, do more than feed them. Give them addresses. Welcome the new people. Go with the missionaries to see the people they're teaching and leave them with your testimony. JUST DO IT. Don't hate us-- help us. Also, give us bottles of water, that's incredibly helpful.

It's helpful because we;re often out tracting in the middle of the day, out in the blazing hot sun, often with no rewards. So it's quite a miracle when we're able to perform one. We were tracting, and we knocked on the door of a sweet middle-aged woman. She invited us in and after talking, she stopped us.
"Wait-- y'all really from the church?"
"Yes ma'am."
She broke down crying. She opened up and told us that, just before we had knocked, she has been praying for something. Something that would take away the pains of loneliness and guilt.
"Y'all are a miracle, you know that, right? You answered my prayers."
We set up a return appointment with her and I believe that she will go far.

See, there's proof that God exists. We may have had a tempestuous, emotional and wrecking week but we held on and thanks to that, somebody now knows that there is a redeeming power that gives purpose to life, gives happiness, takes away all the pain... Why wouldn't anybody accept that?

According to the MASH game Sister Grimnes and I played last night, I'm going to own a house in California with my husband, Captain America, take care of one child and drive a purple jaguar to and from my job as a stage manager. Through this experience of obviously divine revelation, I realized something rather obvious: your life and what you do with it says more about you than anything ever could. It's so ridiculously obvious that I shouldn't even have to say it, but think about it. What are people going to say about you when you die?

We met some people who had their car doors open, blasting gospel music, and having a full on dance party. As Sister Grimnes says, "you GOTTA talk to people having that much fun, that's where all the stories come from!" We found out that they were dancing in memoriam of their sister who had just died. One of them shook his head and, smiling, said "we're just remembering the good times." his friend responded and said "YEAH! GOD TOLD US SO! YOU KNOW, HE SAID DON'T BE SAD, BE GLAD!" (yes, he shouted.)

As we were leaving, I told Sister Grimnes that they better be playing some AC/DC at my funeral. They better remember me for the good times. But you know what else they'll talk about at my funeral? They'll say "Every storm she came up against got its head bashed in" Goshdarnit, y'all will be talking about how I died with my boots on. This week was proof that Satan exists and focuses a whole lot of energy on God's missionaries. But if Satan exists... That means God exists. And God's not gonna stand around and shuffle his feet. This week was rough, but we're gonna kick this sucker.

Sister Gunson

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 6/10/13: Sheepies

Hey y'all.

My technical theatre teacher had a rather odd but funny joke. It goes like this:

What does a German Shepard say?


Get it? He's a german.... shepard. Yes, see? It's clever!

We're all considering part of Christ's flock, and unfortunately, this joke that is only hilarious to me is how I've been feeling this past week. But let's start with the good news!!

I'd like to give a quick shout out to some friends who got their mission call! My cousin, Madeliene Sherrat, goin' off to Salt lake City Temple and Ryan Martin who's headed for Ireland/Scotland! You guys are gonna love it, I'm so proud of you! Ah, my cup runneth over.

Harris (my french investigator) was baptized this week! It was a very small, simple ceremony. They say that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." of course, if that were entirely true, I don't think church would be 3 hours long, but I digress. His wife (who was already a member) couldn't contain her joy. When he came up out of the water, she was jumping up and down and clapping her hands. I don't think any of the members had ever seen that kind of reaction. But I definitely joined in. Oh, to feel that kind of happiness... Ammon fainted from such joy.

So, here's a funny story. It exemplifies how much faith and trust me and my companion have in our ZL's, but y'all have to promise me that you won't think I'm a dumb blonde after I tell it.

Somehow, we thought that our Zone Leaders sent us a text, reminding us that it was Daylight Savings Time, and to set our clocks forward. Clearly, that was sent in March when we actually HAD Daylight Savings. For whatever reason, my comp and I somehow forgot that we'd already had Daylight Savings. So we followed our ZL's instructions and dutifully set our clocks forward. We woke up at what we thought was now 6:30am... showered, studied, got dressed (not necessarily in that order...) and were out the door at a tody 9am to pick up the elders in our district to take them to a Zone Training we had that day. We rolled up to their apartment complex, ready for some learning, only to find out that we'd actually rolled up at 8:15 am...
It was only AFTER all of this did we realize that Daylight Savings was in March and had already happened. Elder Pali walks out, a white shirt and pants hastily thrown on and asked us what we were doing.
We still have no idea, Elder. We still have no idea.

When you go on your mission, you'll find that there have indeed been people that are prepared to hear the gospel. Take for instance, my new investigator Noezzi. He was a referral from the Spanish elders. We knocked on his door and... 5 mintues into the first lesson, after he was excitedly agreeing with everything we were teaching, we extended the baptismal invitation. The which he anxiously accepted!! He's such a solid investigator! Except he doesn't keep commitments.

Now we get to the part of the week where I head-desk repeatedly out of frustration and stress.

A lot of people down here are flaky. Like.... really flaky. Practically all of my appointments fell through this week because they were out or sleeping. There's one investigator in particular that has been meeting with missionaries since last November. They've set date after date after date to get baptized and yet he doesn't follow through with any of the commitments-- except for reading the Book of Mormon. Sister Grimnes and I had just about had enough of the wishy-washyness. So for this last appointment, I wore my boots.

Now, I love my boots because they make me feel like I can do anything. I used to have pants that fulfilled this, but Sister missionaries don't wear pants. If I'm putting my boots on, it means I'm preparing to go to war.

With this most recent lesson, Sister Grimnes pointed out the domino effect that the Book of Mormon has-- if it's true, the LDs church is true. We tried again to set a baptism date (goal, really, at this point) and he said "well... I don't think I've really made up my mind about it."

With as much love as I could muster, I asked him "Alvin, do you know what baptism can do for you?"

 "No, I really don't, I was already baptized, why do I need it again?"

"Alvin, do you believe that you can recieve a complete remission of sins? That means everything you've ever done wrong in the eyes of God will be forgotten."


"Do you believe that baptism entitles you to God's constant companionship, spirit, protection and guidance?"


"Do you believe that baptism in the LDS church is the only way you can be with our Father in Heaven once you've died?"


"Alvin, your mind is made up. You know it's true. Will you pray to know what date God wants you to be baptized?"

"... I will do that. I WILL do that, yes."

"Good. We're gonna bug ya about it, alright?"

"Yes, okay, yes, I will pray."

Our investigators don't come to church, most of them don't read the Book of Mormon, they don't really keep appointments. But I had one investigator who made it all the way to baptism so far. I'm just gonna have to wear my boots every day.

Gotta love Texas's "little flock."

Love, Sister Gunson

P.S. Please send snail mail to Sister Gunson - she loves you and all, but her email time is limited. Plus, tangible paper letters are awesome! Here is her current address:
Sister Hannah Gunson
1008 Willow Dr. #301
Fort Worth, TX  76120
Have a great week! -Lacey

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mission Log, Stardate 6/3/2013: We's God's Kids

This week, a horde of missionaries descended like locusts to some Tornado destruction sites in Granbury. It was.... well, it was a mixed bag. It's awful to see so much destruction. Bumpers and doors in trees, trailer parks completely leveled, barely a foundation still standing... Having to dig through dirt piles and find photos... It's an experience. But the camaraderie was excellent. You're always in good company whenever you find yourself working with the servants of God. Word of advice: ask the missionaries. They can help. But seriously, you guys, Mormons get it done.

This week has been rougher than the others... mostly because this is the week all our investigators decided to skip their baptismal dates to go stay with cousins that accidentally shot themselves, not keep their commitments and appointments, or decide that the "Holy Spirit isn't leading them towards the Mormon church." It's been real frustrating, but some good has come out of the wreckage!

For starters, my french investigator is getting baptized this week!!!!! WE'RE SO EXCITED FOR HIM! I've never seen somebody get so into the gospel and just accept it. His name is Harris, and he absolutely devours the gospel. Every lesson he's always "no, no questions, keep going!" We talked to him about the Word of Wisdom earlier this week and told him to give up tea. He walks into his kitchen, brings out one of his boxes and asks "can I drink this?" I looked at it, saw that it wasn't herbal, and said "'fraid not, Harris." He said "ok" and tosses it out. As if it wasn't even a question or struggle. Can all my investigators be like this? Probably not. If a mission was that easy, they'd call it... something else. They definitely wouldn't be calling it mission, that's for sure.

So, with all our appointments falling through, what do we do? We CONTACT. And we TRACT. We knock on doors till our knuckles are bruised! And sometimes we meet cool people. Sometimes we get the doors slammed on our faces. I haven't heard a gun slide yet but... well, I'm honestly more concerned for the hidden shanks.

Fortunately, we found a pretty cool dude yesterday. His name is David and he was one of the best contacts I've had so far. We taught him the first lesson and he was all " That's right! That's right! That's what's up!" He got so excited for our return appointment that he said "I'm gonna go tell my wife right now! I'll see ya tomorrow!" One of the reasons I loved contacting him so much was because his neighbor came down in the middle of the lessons (we were teaching him outside) and was like "David! Who's they? They's yo' neighbors?" and he goes "Naw, man, these is God's Kids!" It's so nice to be recognized as who I truly am.

Speaking of who we are.... We contacted into this guy named JR. He attempted to tell us what we believed in and who we were. He said "You're scared. Why you stumblin' on yo' words? You's scared!" My companion and I kept saying "No, we're not afraid of anything." Then he switched subjects and told us that we didn't believe in Christ. Again, we told him, "No, we believe in Jesus Christ!" I said "JR, I wear His name right next to mine every day. I know he died for me, knows me by name, knows YOU by name, and knows what we've gone through and what we will go through. I believe in Christ."

It was rather infuriating because he was trying to take my identity away. He was trying to tell me who I was and denying who I really am. Not just my calling as a missionary, not just my personality, not just my likes and dislikes and opinions and memories. But I know my eternal spirit. I know who I am now, who I was then and what I can become. Tell me something, world, why would change or deny who you are when what you are is a child of God?

Needless to say, we got out of there FAST. The spirit wasn't there, he wasn't going to learn, and we had to say a prayer to get the spirit back. There was a whole lot of sadness as I thought "forgive them. They really don't understand. They really don't know."

To not know who you are must be the saddest thing in the world. If a tornado leveled our apartment, I wouldn't care as long as I had my photos and my journal and my scriptures. Knowing who you are and then BEING who you are is the first thing we teach out here. And when it boils down to it... I think it's the only thing that matters. Because everything else just domino effects. If God is real, then He would love us as His children, which means He would send a living prophet, which means the Book of Mormon is true which means the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true which means you should be in church this Sunday.

Know ye not, am I right?

Love, Sister Gunson