Monday, March 17, 2014

Ich Bin Ein Texan.

So, Lantana is an interesting place. When they film a sequel to Stepford Wives, it'll be filmed here.

Things, while progressing, have been slow moving. Like molasses.... So Sister Christensen and I sat down and figured out how to make it move faster. So there was a lot of planning that went into this week. And a lot of... bureaucracy, I'm gonna say. Just trying to whittle down the ways we can do the work God has sent us here to do and build it up for the next missionary.

 But this week has done something to me. For a while there (you know, since May) I was "the Californian Missionary in Texas." I was a transplant that was brought in from over there and shoved into here. Functioning, but not really a part of the body. Not this week.

Every day, this whole week, I've woken up, done the day and gone to bed, feeling like this was where I belonged. Lantana, Double Oak, Bartonville, Argyle... Briana, Marta, Dakota, the Ward... it feels like my house. I know these people, I love these people, I know my area like I know Disneyland! And it has all come from spending and being spent here. It's not like I've been here for a forever, this is only my 3rd transfer here. It just feels like home.

The ocean will always have a place in my heart and I still love y'all too! but just letting you know, I'm different. When I first got here, people would ask "where'd you transplant from?" And that's because Texas wraps you up in a big hug and never lets go. I finally feel adopted into this big ol' state. I quote Ammon: "Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yeah perhaps until the day I die." (Alma 23:17) At some point in my life... I will probably move back to Texas. I really do like it that much.

And that's an awful lot like our purpose in life. We were born into mortality, into a carnal world. And we spend the entirety of our lives forsaking it. It's pretty flippin' hard to do, that's why Heavenly Father gave us so much time to do it. As happy as we think we will be doing what we want because we're young and #YOLO, you will never be as happy as God knows you could be if you would just listen. Follow the commandments-- are they really that hard? Considering what's being offered? Let's face it-- we were not meant to stay here. We're from someplace else. Like it or not, believe it or not, it's true. (go pray about it)

I have never felt more comforted or more at home than when I have been in church houses or temples. I have been in many of both but they are still my Father's house. That's where I belong, that's where YOU belong. Y'all better be there when I get there.

Have a great week!
Love, Sister Gunson

PS: I'll never have to give up the ocean -- Texas has one too.

Monday, March 10, 2014

We Got This

Well folks, it's that time again! Lantana did not dodge the transfer bullet, so on Wednesday, my brain (Heap) took off for Weatherford and I picked up Sister Christensen! Honestly, all I pray for when asking Heavenly Father favors concerning a new comp is that they'll be funny and she is. We've laughed a lot.

All laughters aside, this week was weird. This is only the second time I've been left behind in an area and for the first couple of days, despite having been here for 12 weeks, when we sat down to plan, my brain went "durrrrrrrr" which was a little awkward.

Saturday rolled around and I told Sister Christensen that I had no idea what to do. Truth be told, I had been feeling that way even before Heapy left. I didn't feel like we were progressing ENOUGH. I felt like the work should be moving faster. Bad missionary moment: I didn't listen to the spiritual promptings.... So we took some time to do some extended planning. We were able to chart out some stencils of the spiritual journeys we want our 'gators to take, complete with mini-goals and commitments to help them get to baptism. After that, we called our WML (ward mission leader) and set up an extra Ward Corollation for after church so that we could all figure out how to mobilize the troops of the Lantana-Day Saints. We have several plans that are currently not being acted upon... which is a little frustrating to the 3 of us. But after that extra meeting, if felt good to be on the same page as everyone.

This morning for personal study, I looked at everything we had to do. There's a TON of work to be done. It's a little intimidating. But for the first time in I don't know how long, I looked at the work before us and went "we got this."

Our Relief Society's motto (in Lantana) is "We Got This." And it felt so good to be able to say that about this companionship. We can only say that though because we're in a trio: Me, SIster Christensen and the Spirit. It all looks like a ton of work, but it's nothing Heavenly Father hasn't done before. I'm sure restoring the church was a pretty big work load, but He did it. And now we have 15 million members and an army of 80,000+ 19 year olds, Heaven-bent on changing the world. Yes, I changed the phrase Hell-bent to Heaven-bent because that's the only way any of us can do this thing.

For the first time in a while, I didn't balk at the task before. I'm just excited to do this thing.

We got this!!!! ;)
Lurbz, Sister Gunson

All Of Your Problems Would Go Away If You Just Listened To Me

Hannah is still in Double Oak, Texas.  She gets her new companion on Wednesday.  She is very sad to be without Sister Heap, but is looking forward to getting to know a new companion.  Her address is still as follows:
231 Oakview Drive
Double Oak, Texas 75077
First of all: There ain't no crazy like Texas weather crazy. We had 85 degree weather on Saturday.... and by Sunday it was ice rain. It's still bitterly cold today and I am miserable. #firstworldmissionaryproblems

So this week I had 2 contrasting teaching opportunities. Y'all remember my good friend Len who's a nit-picky doctrinal inquisitor. We teach him every week and every time we plan to do something... he skids off that plan like a super duty dodge on black ice. Fortunately, I have an answer for every man, but it's a little difficult to have a straightforward conversation with this dude. The problem, I think, is that he doesn't want to be taught. He thinks he's doing us a favor by "coaching" us. By now, it's turned into a High Priest's Group for Beginners scenarios. I just wanted to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ.... Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Enduring to the End, is this so difficult a concept?

It is when you make it one.

ON the other flipper, we went to go see a Less Active, whose non-member friend (and friend's family) have started living with her. There are 2 girls, one's 2, the other 8, (Larissa and Vanessa, respectively). The other day, someone had told Vanessa about the Mormons, that we're here to take everyone down to Hell with us (rude) and so when we came over, she was reasonably scared. Her grandmother and the LA convinced her to sit with us and while Sister Heap taught the adults, I pulled out cards and pamplets and as many pictures as I could find and taught them through that. I started with a picture of the SLC temple. I told them it was the Lord's house and they both ooh'd and aah'd at the "princess castle." I told them they were princessess because they were daughters of Heavenly Father and He's a king! Then I showed them the Book of Mormon pass-along card, which has a picture of Christ visiting the Americas. I told them that Christ loves everyone so much that He visited, not just the folks in Jerusalem, but in the Americas! Larissa (the 2 year old) would put up a picture of a card and say "what's that?" and I'd say "temple!" she'd do the same with the other one and this went on for a while. She quieted down and so I pointed to the picture of the temple and asked her "what's that?" and she put it in my face and excitedly whispered "temple!" Asides from the time we taught a member's daughter the 2nd of the 10 commandments by saying "don't believe in cows" this was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen on my mission. And so tender.

The grandma (again, non-member) asked us if we would teach Vanessa what the Book of Mormon is all about. Using the pictures in the front of the book, we taught the doctrines of the Book of Mormon. Throughout the "story time," Larissa would gasp at parts that were, I guess, cooler than others. Like Samuel the Lamanite and Nephi's family sailing across the ocean. By the end, they were our best friends!

SO basically, if we are to learn anything from this, it's that Christ knew what He was talking about when He asked us to be like children. I'd rather teach Nursery/Primary than Sunday School ANY DAY.

I like working with kids. What can I say? They bring the gospel to life. And they share their goldfishie crackers with me.

Have a great week!
Love, SIster Gunson