A quick clarification regarding Hannah's abbreviations:
WML is the Ward Mission Leader--the member who is in charge of missionary work for that particular congregation.
AWML is the Assistant Ward Mission Leader
LA is a less active member of the church
PMG is Preach My Gospel, a study guide for missionaries and well, everyone. If you don't have one, I can give one to you. It's an awesome tool for understanding the scriptures and the doctrine of Christ.
Gator is an investigator.
And keep in mind that Hannah uses nicknames for the people she serves. I have no idea what M#3 means but some of the other nicknames give us glimpses into their personalities so I love it. :)
This week, man. We ran some spiritual marathons this week. You might see an over-arching theme in this email of people being jazzed and excited while we're there and somehow the novelty dissipates by Sunday......
1st Mile: FINALLY set a date with Murphy!!!! For August 2nd! Can he make it there?... yes, if he comes to church and keeps the commandments. Right now, for whatever reason, despite knowing the good from the evil, he's still hanging out with evil. It breaks my heart because I know we're gonna get a call from him later this week that's all "oh no this bad thing happened, Sisters, what do I do?" and I know-- he knows too, we've told him many times before-- that if he would just keep the commandments, he would receive blessings. I guess he will have to learn the lesson over and over and over and over and over and over and over again...
2nd Mile: We finally found our brick wall concerning our member missionary work. Our game plan as 4 missionaries is called "D&C 121." We have to a) reinforce their testimonies-- making sure everyone is studying hard-- b)love and encourage our ward members gently along and train them how to be good missionaries c) work with what we've got. I'm going to come back to that thought later. But I've been feeling that we really need to love and serve our members. So I've been praying fervently for opportunites.... and they found us!!! YAY!!! I love Heavenly Father's hand in all things. As we've been obedient, we've seen so many blessings!!
3rd and 4th Miles: I love teaching softer hearts. I love it when it's slightly easier.... We got 2 new gators this week, M#3 and Teddy. I love teaching them because they respect us and they go into our lessons not seeking to prove us wrong or stump us, they're not there because they feel forced into it, but because they're curious and genuinely interested. As we start explaining blessings and the why's we have a certain principle, their eyes light up. In M#3's case, she said "oh, my son needs this. I want him to have this." She recognized that we have what makes people strong and tough. **side note: has anybody taken a look at our history, I mean really looked at it? Our people are the toughest people around. We make some pretty hard-core people and launch them into society. The church is kind of awesome. End note**
5th Mile: Wonderful is back on the map! She's stabilized to the point where we can share more than just a scripture and a prayer!! YUSS. This week, we'll be setting her date and teaching her more and more! Meeting with her is always an adventure though... a couple of weeks ago, a murder attempt was made on her life and then a couple days ago, she told us that her husband was murdered and she had to clean it up and now she has insomnia.... I definitely used that as a segue to inviting her to church. Dude, she needs some calm. Come get some calm on Sunday. And she was all ready for it! We got her a ride!.... and then the ride fell through.... Technology can be just as much a pill as agency sometimes.
6th Mile: THE JOKER HAS A TESTIMONY. I REPEAT. THE JOKER HAS A TESTIMONY. The EKG has stopped flatlining and we are getting the smallest pulse imaginable, but dude, it's a pulse!!!! I was bouncing off the walls, telling everybody I could find! We're in the lesson and after reading a scripture, I say "so, what are you thinking?" He was silent for what felt like an hour (which makes me think that Ammon's description of King Lamoni's silence might've been an overstatement) and then said "I get it." we were like "wha...." and he says "I get the point of you guys coming over here. I recognize the spirit. Scriptures mean something to me, that's why I highlighted this! Some days, I get in my car and I'ma ctually happy. I think 'man, I could do anything!."
My jaw promptly fell to the floor. I wanted to jump up, shake him, shake his wife, shake my companion, and tell the whole world!!!
7th Mile: And I'm literally the only person in the whole ward missionary committee that cares. We brought it up to everyone we could see and the only person excited was Awesomesauce. Because... dude, she's made of awesomesauce, what do you expect. But our WML didn't even notice. The Assistant WML didn't notice....
8th Mile: all they could see was that none of our investigators were at church. So we sit down to Ward Coorellation and after our WML says his schpeel, our elders say "our gator came to church! and that's all we got!" he turns to me and says "kay, what about you?" I hand him a full front-half back progress record STUFFED with Investigators and LA's we've been teaching, explain our problems, our game plan to fix them and then excitedly share the highlights. Well, our WML, apparently having a bad day, took out his frustrations on member involvement, told me I was too involved, didn't care that the Joker has had his glimpses of light and truth, glances over the INCREDIBLE changes that have happened since I walked into this area and culminates his rant on me and all the problems I have yet to solve (which... let's face it, are his duty to solve) with this line: "your stewardship ends at 18 months... consider your time management."
Sliced open, gutted like a fish, nobody stood up for me (and we had more than just the set-apart missionaries in that room) the AWML quoted PMG at me in a kind of "I second what the WML says" kind of thing and I was 5 seconds away from going postal.
Sometimes, not gonna lie, I want to just break into Eminem rhymes whenever I see WML. The line "I can't tell you what it really is/I can only tell you what it feels like/and right now it's a steel knife in my windpipe" comes to mind. I have a really bad habit of not getting sad, but mad. So there's a lot of me flipping my hood up and glaring going on. But because I'm a missionary, I didn't get to do that.... I got to smile and say "okay, we'll work on that this week."
Okay, so, maybe we ran 8 miles this week. But that's fitting because I just mentioned Eminem in my above (apostate) paragraph. But this week was all about learning lessons and receiving blessun's. I just wish somebody could learn their lesson and receive those blessun's. Oh wait, the Joker did. Haha :)
ANYWAYS. Have a great week!
Love, Sister Gunson