Hello friends and family of Sister Gunson,
Her letter this week was a bit disjointed and came in spurts spanning several emails because she was in a rush to go play volleyball. So I’ve cut and pasted and attempted to smooth it out some. And I have to say, as a returned missionary myself, I am SO happy she is out having fun on her preparation day! So I forgive her apparent contradictions and free use of slang and encourage you to do the same :)
Now, from Hannah:
Okay, so, I got boots today. And I was deciding between the red ones or some more conservative camel coloured ones. And I thought, “Which one would Mom agree with?" and I knew you would have agreed with the red ones. :)
'M GETTIN' TRANSFERRED TO LEWISVILLE!!!!
I don't have my address though..... Boo.
We’ve been working with Alvin since we got here. That was in May. That was at the very beginning of my training. Now, 12 weeks later, I watched him be baptized and confirmed, knowing full well that he was aware, ready, and excited to take this new step. He bore his testimony to our District Leader, Elder Weaver, and talked about how he felt like he was joining a new family. He's very lonely (he lives by himself) so you can imagine what it would mean to us to hear him say "I know I'll never be lonely with the Spirit."
I remember hearing Mom talk about one investigator she taught and how she saw his countenance literally change. Alvin is just like that. When we met him, he was skittish, didn't like church, didn't understand what we were saying, and there was a time when we thought we would have to stop meeting with him. But now, he's making my District Leader cry, affecting an entire ward with his spirit, and reminding me exactly what eternal life means to people who have never heard this message before. One of the things that'll stick with me till the day I die is the way he said "Celestial Kingdom... that's where we wanna go... And people will be able to learn in the Spirit World, right?" He looked like... a child. A child that, on the first day of school, looks up at his parent and asks "You'll be here to pick me up, right?"
We think that, perhaps, he's lost someone. Someone important to him that he can't wait to meet on the other side. Alvin is a darn good reason for me to be out here. I've never seen somebody smile as big as he did when he came out of the water. His face near split in half.
Well folks, the church is true. And there's nothin' y'all can do or say that'll make it not!
In companion studies this week, we've been talking about how physically working out is incredibly similar to spiritually working out. We like to think that we're personal spirit trainers for our investigators. Little do they realize, however, that we're in the process of training ourselves. Now.
So last week I mentioned that I thought I was a patient person. I realized I’m not. In fact, one of the most infuriating things I've had to deal with has been my lack of patience. I don't like waiting at stop signs or red lights, I hate long lines at Disneyland, and I get frustrated when I can't run a 3k in 10 minutes after only a week of training. Strengthening my faith and growing my testimony (and the ability to teach) is incredibly similar to working out in a gym in order to strengthen and grow my muscles. And my trainer (God, for those of you who might have been wondering) put me through the workout of my life this week.
First, you need resistance. You need to literally tear your muscles so that they can build back up. Then you need consistency, cuz you can't do 10 pushups one day and call it good for the week. You need discipline to do the hard things, diligence to get through discouragement, and then you can see results.
So. Everything kind of went wrong this week. We had lessons turn into fiascoes; we had people ask us questions like "do Mormons eat babies?" and the weather is steadily getting hotter and more humid. I had an investigator start ranting and raving about how awesome Twilight was too. I thought I had good self control back home when I didn't "accidentally" ram Priuses on the road with my big, red truck, but the fact that I kept my mouth shut during her tangent proves that God works mighty and unthinkable miracles.
The weirdest thing happened to me this week too. After 11 strong weeks of getting up, exercising, studying, planning, and then working from 11am - 9pm.... I got up on Thursday and was hit by a 13-foot wave of apathy. I didn't even know that could happen!! I was so confused and frustrated with myself and the things going on in my mind could only be described as a knock-down, drag-out steel cage death match between me and Satan. He wanted me to quit and I just couldn't.
It was also really hard because to finish my training, I had to check my progress on a little number chart. I went through it and felt like I sucked. I was like "this needs to be worked on...I'm not always doing this...I'm bad at this..." I looked at the chart and thought "man.... I suck." This was the same day that Monster Apathy hit me so I was... less than effective during our planning for the day. At lunch, feeling rather defeated, I sat down at my desk with this progress check and thought "Kay, well, if I suck, what then must I do?" So I went through the list and wrote down everything that needed to be improved upon. I've added this to my personal study every morning where I pick one and work on it every day. Monster Apathy has been held at bay, so I think it's working!
After a while of doing the same workouts, in order to get better, you gotta switch things up a bit. So I'm being transferred from Hurst South to a zone called Lewisville. I don't know my address yet, but as soon as I do, it'll be given and then I expect mass amounts of letters and care packages because I assume y'all love me. Or something.
I get your letters (from friends, family, home ward members) and I think about how great it would be to write novels of thank-you's and personal replies. But quite frankly, on my “day off” (which ends at 6pm) I'd rather be beating the elders into oblivion in sudden death matches of volleyball. I pray for you all by name at the end of the day and I send love and best wishes to you all. Please don't think I'd forgotten about you when I don't write you back. Y'all can see me in 15 months (who's counting?)
Be safe, love your neighbor, eat your vegetables, burn everything but Shakespeare.
Love, Sister Gunson
From Janet: Can anyone explain that last part to me? Burn everything but Shakespeare? Whaaaat?
Oh, and it took me a while because I’m slow on the uptake, but I finally figured out what her email title means. It’s like what one friend would say to another at the gym about someone’s muscles...only, not... Anyway, I’m sure you all got it.