1) Did the bubble envelope make it to you yet? Is that what you wanted?
2) How was your meeting this past week? Was it a one meeting? Or mission wide meeting?
3) How is being a senior-companion? Do you have more responsibilities?
4) Can you tell us more about your new companion? It's Sister Henricksen, right?
5) How is your back? Will you please let me know what you did to it? What you are doing to help it? Did you get a blessing?
1. Not yet....So who knows when I'll get it. haha ah well.
2. The meeting was awesome! Oh my goodness. It was exactly what I needed. One thing it made me realize even more than the hinting I was feeling was that I was being WAY too prideful. We truly have inspired leaders called of God because they all said something that I needed to hear. I wish everyone could be a part of this mission just to hear the trainings given by my leaders. The trainings they give are truly marvelous. Here's a snippet of what I learned/heard:
- Pretty soon our mission will be part of another pilot program, which will link us as missionaries (and members? not sure) to organized service projects so that we can be working with community members on a larger scale. Our mission president mentioned justserve.org as part of the program, but that's about all I know. We're super excited though. It's gonna be sweet!
- Also, I didn't know this, but apparently two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have said that something big is going to be happening in Northern Illinois....we're paraphrasing here but hey, that sounds pretty dang exciting...They didn't say what but something special is coming. (And our mission president is going crazy trying to figure it out...haha) But, we may or may not be setting the goal to have 1000 baptisms in our mission in one year....which would be something special, that's for sure.
- The assistants brought out an actual sickle and an actual scythe to help all of us really understand what the scriptures refer to. Oh man. Crazy stuff. (I didn't realize how huge a scythe is...) Something they talked about was that each of us received a call letter that said "Come, follow me" and we each accepted it. We left our nets, just as the apostles of Christ did. Or at least we should have.
- Part of being humble is recognizing that you and your companion (for some readers, you and your spouse) are equals, one and the same. The only difference is your name tag.
- "We need to get out of the Lord's way so He can do His work through us."
- You can't "embark" (see D&C 4) with one foot on the boat and one foot on shore. You have to jump in with both feet!
- The Lord doesn't expect us to do everything perfectly the first time. He expects us to do our best, and whatever our best is, is an acceptable offering to the Lord. (2 Cor 8:12)
- Everything we do is all about "becoming". Just stay on course.
- "The Lord is perfectly mindful of what you need--and it may not be what you want."
- Every trial is an opportunity to triumph or to fall. But when you fall, you get back up and try again, until you triumph.
- "The celestial kingdom isn't reserved for the untried. It is reserved for the refined. And that refinement comes in the furnace of affliction."
- "It is impossible not to be better than you are today if you really want to be."
- Each of us needs to open our eyes to the possibility of what could be. If it's not you, then who? If it's not now, then when? If it's not here, then where? In fact, it is you; it is now; it is here!
- As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are all on the starting team. NO ONE sits on the bench.
That doesn't even begin to do the meeting justice, but that's what I felt I should share with you all. I know our leaders here in the Illinois Chicago West Mission have received a call from the Lord Jesus Christ to love and to serve and to teach and to learn, just as much as the leaders of Christ's Church have received their call. President Thomas S. Monson is in fact the Lord's chosen prophet on the earth today. He and his counselors and the twelve apostles hold the all the priesthood keys that have been restored to the earth today, which keys were brought back through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that all of this is true because the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, told me so. I know it, and I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it.
(It was a zone meeting, but remember at least in our mission, zone meetings are generally for two zones, the two zones in the one stake. So this meeting was for all the missionaries serving in the Rockford Stake.)
3. Well, it's certainly not bad. I admit at first I was pretty nervous but since the meeting on Thursday I haven't been scared or timid at all. Really it just means that I am to help my companion fulfill her purpose (and mine) but that's what all companions ought to do, no matter seniority. As far as I can tell, the biggest thing is that "successful missionary work and appropriate missionary conduct begin in the companionship under the leadership of the senior companion." (Missionary Handbook, p. 56) I think the reason is just because there is quite the difference in the amount of time we've been serving so I'm the "senior companion" because I have more experience, but in all reality we teach and help each other.
If I'm completely honest here, part of my problem has been that I've been treating my companion like a junior companion. And it should never be like that. Sure I may have "more experience" but that's a big fat lie. We all have different experiences, that's all. But we're here to help each other. And that was something that I really needed to learn from this meeting, and then exchanges solidified it. The natural woman in me has secretly been wanting to train for the past who knows how long, and it finally hit me this transfer that I am SO not ready to train. Because I would've been detrimental to any new missionary in the field. I would've babied her, so of course Heavenly Father isn't going to trust me with one of His prepared hermana missionaries. But now I don't want to want to train (or have any sort of leadership position for that matter) because I want to be content just to work 24/7 in my area with my people. I want to be like one of my companions, who was always seeking to do something more because she knew there was always something more we could do. To the very last day she wanted to work. And that's what I strive to be like.
4. Yes, Hermana Henricksen. (For everyone's information, Hermana and Sister are synonymous, so there's no need to correct yourself by saying Hermana if you say Sister the first time....you might be surprised by how many people do that. But they're literally the same exact title, so it really doesn't matter....) Anyway. Well, Hermana Henricksen is from Salt Lake City, UT. She went to East High, and was involved in choir and theatre. Between graduation and a mission she worked at Seagull Book. She has two older brothers and three younger sisters. She speaks ASL too, and her first experience with Spanish was in the CCM. She's a really hard worker and applies what she learns SUPER quickly. She is very desirous to be able to teach the Gospel well in Spanish and is willing to do what it takes to improve. She and I are pretty similar, but one glaring difference is that she is very open minded. I suspect I will learn a bit of that this transfer (with any luck, at least...) She's also 5 foot 10 inches, so she's almost half a foot taller than me, which makes switching off who drives every day a bit more exciting. She previously served in Rockford, in the Spanish branch up there (which is where Hermana LaBonte went). She killed her first mom, and her second mom is now Hermana LaBonte's companion (and she's going to kill her now.) I told Hermana Henricksen that my mission for this transfer is to squash her gringa accent. (:
5. My back is fine... Man, I thought I explained what happened. So rewind a few months to May or so. One night, we were praying. I was kneeling on the ground but bent at the waist so my nose was basically touching my knees. When we finished praying, I couldn't sit up because of the pain in my back. It was like something had locked or been tightened and I couldn't move without hurting. Somehow I managed to lay on the ground for the next half hour while the three of us (mostly my two companions) finished planning for the next day. I then somehow made it to the bedroom but couldn't breathe well so we called Sister Fenn and she said it was probably just a strained muscle, so I took some Ibuprofen and put some rice in a sock, stuck it in the microwave and then laid on that while I fell asleep. The next morning I was okay, just a bit more stiff than usual. Eventually the pain subsided until it was back to the regular tightness that I always wake up with and just deal with it. Then, last weekend, I laid on the bed, perpendicular, with my upper body hanging off the bed. Keep in mind, I used to do this all the time in order to stretch out my abdomen because that helped when I had air bubbles (or something) in my chest. The blood rushed to my head a lot faster than normal, so I tried to sit up. But again, I couldn't even move because of the pain. I did make it up so I was level for the most part but then couldn't get myself up any more than that. Hermana Henricksen had to pull me up by my arms and I practically crawled along the wall to the bathroom. Then we decided to call Sister Griffin. She suspected it was pleurisy (?) which she and President sometimes get after having a cold. But I definitely hadn't had a cold and it was definitely brought on by that stretch. Anyway, I took some Ibuprofen and laid down for an hour or so. Eventually I could move enough that we just got to work.
And then this last week, we were talking on the phone to one of our leaders after planning and I was bent over with my hands on my knees so I could talk into the phone on the table, and afterwards, when I tried to stand up straight, my back was locked or whatever again. This time it wasn't as bad but it made it a bit difficult to get ready for bed. There wasn't any time to take Ibuprofen but I did in the morning and it was all okay later.
Anyway. I have literally no idea what's going on in my back because I've heard different a diagnosis each time from someone different (slipped disc, strained/pulled muscle, pleurisy) but it doesn't inhibit me from doing anything if I just lay down for a bit, take some drugs, and put some heat on it. It's not bad enough that I'm incapacitated so I just don't worry about it. Just please don't freak out, okay Mom? I'm fine. We can look into it when I get home in March if you really want to. And I suppose if you felt the desire you could take my description of what happens and how it feels to someone who could diagnose me through email. haha that'd be funny. Anyway. It's alright. I've survived this long and I'm not about to let some weird back problem stop me. Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered and poisoned for goodness sake! I can handle a little back pain. (:
Well, considering those were all pretty long answers to your questions, I don't have a ton to report this week. However, we did do more service this week than I think I've done the whole rest of my mission. It was awesome! We got to help out on Saturday with the ice cream social that the museum put on, and we met a lady who was taught by elders quite some time ago. That was random. You literally never know who you'll meet that has had some association with the Church and the Gospel. But it was a lot of fun. After that we went to the carnival part of the festival and picked up trash for a while. haha I'm pretty sure someone told us, sort of under their breath, as they walked by, "You're going places." And I thought to myself, "Why yes we are! To the celestial kingdom in fact!" Now, maybe that seems a bit presumptuous, but it's the honest truth. I know I've made covenants, or promises, with God by His authority which was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and I am doing everything I can to be true to those covenants. I know I am on the path that leads to eternal life and I don't plan on falling off of it anytime between now and my inevitable death. And I know that I won't stray from it after this life, either. (Alma 34:34) I know the Gospel is true and was restored by Jesus Christ Himself, through His chosen Prophet. That same authority has been passed down from prophet to prophet and is now held by Thomas S. Monson. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am so happy to be His full-time servant for 18 months of this mortal life (Alma 29:9). I plan to do everything I possibly can to serve Him to the best of my ability for however many years I walk this fallen earth, and for the eternities to come. I know He lives, and He guides this work through His chosen servants. "When you get on your knees and beg for His help, look to His servants." I know that if you follow the prophet, you'll get where he's going.
Con Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
For all my mathematically inclined friends, if every companionship of missionaries in the church baptized just one person every month, 510,882 people would join the fold of God in one year. (this number is based on the statistical report from April 2015 General Conference.) We have 87 companionships in our mission. One baptism per month per companionship is totally plausible. Therefore, 1000 baptisms in a year is entirely achievable.
1. me and Neena. She just had 7 puppies five weeks ago.
If I could adopt a dog, I would seriously consider her.
2. One of Neena's puppies. Look at those puppy eyes.... (One of the
recent converts in our branch is a foster mom for dogs.)
recent converts in our branch is a foster mom for dogs.)
3. Driving back to Rochelle from Elgin and found this guy. Man, he's so cool.
4. He was telling me a secret..... (;