Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DC Week 25!

Tuesday was so good! In short, I felt like I was in a scene from Inception. Not to make a non-missionary reference, but here’s why: 

So my day started early. Had to meet my companion (who was on exchanges) at a convenient halfway point between Olney and Bowie. So naturally, finding a rendezvous spot that worked for both of us in New Carrolton ended up being more of a hassle than it would have been to go all the way. Anyway, Sister Kaarma, (from Estonia—she came out a few weeks before me) and I made our trip out to meet them, and we all switched back in time for Sister Word and I to be back at the VC for shift at 8:50 in the morning.

Shift was good. I met a young man named Jobari from Iran. We cruised right through all trivial small-talk and dove deep from the beginning. He was there for a specific reason, there was no mistake about it. As I shared Joseph Smith’s account of the first vision in his own words, Jobari began to listen more intently with each line recited. I watched as his eyes grew wider and wider with understanding, and I could begin to see realization and recognition sweep over his face.

As if he had heard it somewhere before.

He then proceeded to confide in me a dream he had several months ago. A dream of this “vision”. The only difference, he said…was that he was the young boy… He said he has had many dreams in his life, but never felt such immense joy or elation from any other kind before. He knew this was personal revelation to him from God, but didn’t know what to do with it. Kind of neat to see the way God speaks to each of His children in ways they can understand and relate.
After just a short hour of talking, he wanted to begin meeting with missionaries. Felt so good to know I correctly played my small role, in God’s big plan for him.  

So the original plan was to be at the VC all day (Sister Word had trainer duties, so I was going to take another shift in the evening) which would have been fine. But then because of some medical complications with my sweet former companion, Sister Nakatsuka, I got to go on another exchange back to WHITE OAK!! Words couldn’t have described my joy to return to where I was “born”, despite the fact that it was just for one short evening. I felt like Heavenly Father was giving me a second chance to “fix something”.

So, Sister Bullock (a former White Oak “baby” herself) and I drove out to White Oak together, reminiscing about the many people we taught and loved there. We were never companions, but could very easily relate to each other’s joy. Well, we arrived at our old apartment, and Sister Bullock stayed with Sister Nakatsuka (who wasn’t feeling well) so I could go out with Sister Weber, (who is a brand new missionary), giving her the chance to finally have some time in her area this week.

We first went and checked on Marc Meredith, a recent convert within the last year. He is still doing so well, and was super excited to see us! We talked with him for a bit and encouraged him to look for ways he can continue to follow Christ. Afterwards, we had an awesome finding activity with the whole zone. We all met at the chapel to split off into different companionships, and go tract! The goal of the activity for the whole zone was to go “finding” only in White Oak. This was partly as a service to Sister Nakatsuka who had been in the hospital for the last week and not had the chance to do any work in her area with Sister Weber. My last “companion” of the night was Hermana Clement, who I happened to be roommates with last transfer! Yes, she’s in the Spanish program, and had never been tracting in English before. Well, actually, I hadn’t been tracting in forever either, so we were both a little rusty, but it was a great experience for the both of us!

So, for the fourth time in a 24-hr period, I went on exchanges yet again. And it was so awesome! (Are you beginning to follow my lame Inception reference now?)

We went everywhere, and even saw a hard-to-reach recent convert that some former missionaries had baptized. He should be coming to church this Sunday.

One of the houses we knocked seemed very familiar, and so did the man who answered. (I swear Sister Lawrence and I knocked his door back in February…) Anyway, He considered himself a very accomplished theologist and, a very rigid born-again Christian. As soon as he answered the door, he never gave us the time of day, but we listened. And listened. And smiled. And listened some more. Eventually, he migrated from behind the “safety” of his screen door, to opening the whole door, to stepping out onto his porch, to laughing with us. We talked until it was dark, and although I wanted to use the mosquito on his forehead as an excuse to smack him every time he degraded the church in some condescending way, we held strong and testified. That was all we could do. He seemed to appreciate our compassionate, patient demeanor, and may have even been somewhat confused at how two 21 year old girls could seemingly have as much religious understanding as him without any degrees, or tangible “diplomas”. We left on cordial terms, and certainly gave him something to chew on for some time…At least until he has another contact with the church. Made me wonder what would happen, if every missionary who ever knocked his door just shied away in timid succumb-ness. What then, would he think of this church? I was grateful God gave us the strength to withstand the blows we took, and yet still magnify our callings in that moment as representatives of Christ. Well of course He would! This is His work, right? Makes sense.

Anyway, it felt so good to just get out and street contact. To talk to as many people as we could in the short two and a half hour period of time that we had. This approach to missionary work is quickly becoming “old-fashioned” and considered useless and foolish by most missionaries, (or at least considered not as effective). The Lord is really hastening His work through modern means. We can feel it here in the DC North Mission, and as a Visitor Center Mission…that the Lord is moving along with the times. Personally, I love feeling physically exhausted from this work as opposed to mentally drained from staring at a computer screen for hours. However, it has been fun to try to find that balance here in this mission. Good thing is, I get both.

Well Sister Clement and I wrapped up our tracting adventures, and raced through the dumping rain, running and laughing and knocking as many doors as we could in our last few minutes, (all the while, doing a really bad job at trying to stay dry). Man we really must have looked like loony-bins dancing in (and tasting) the sweet, fat drops all around us. They pelted us like a shower head…but we didn’t care. We had the best message in the world, and we wanted to share it with the world.

So then, we reported back to the chapel, where the climb back up through my various companions began: From Hermana Clement, back to Sister Weber, back to the apartment where Sister Bullock was waiting to take me back to the VC where my own sweet companion  was waiting for me to go home to Olney. What a day, right?! You read it, I lived it!—and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Well, I think this beats my own record for longest email. Not that I was having a competition with myself or anything.         

Gotta run, family. 
Hey, guess what? I love you guys!

Hermana Graff
Omni 1:26

PS—I caught a frog yesterday. Do you know when the last time I caught a frog was? Me neither. 

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