I don’t even know what to say in this email. I wish I could adequately explain everything that happened this week, but I know it’s just not gonna happen. We’re a little short on time today due to it being Zone Pday. I think we’re grilling & playing with water balloons & Tye-dyeing shirts & playing my new favorite sport of basketball. That’s a lot to fit in 3 hours. I hope the zone leaders know what they’re doing. Sometimes elders aren’t very good at planning events….but that’s okay! We all have different strengths.
I guess probably the most exciting thing that’s happened is we somehow found the two sketchiest neighborhoods in all of Mandarin & tracked both of them. Let me explain this to you though, so you can understand with me why it’s so weird. Mandarin is like to Jacksonville, what Taylorsville or Murray is to Salt Lake City. So, you know. Very suburby. Middle class, to upper middle class with some random lower class apartments/housing. Very average American. So we’re driving past this strip mall towards the street we had set our “Golden Hour” for. (Golden Hour is an hour that our mission spends everyday knocking on doors & finding people to teach.) it’s a street we’d never been to before…we just saw it on our map. & my beloved Sister Pasko, back when she was living in my apartment when she first came out, had labeled it “Outer Darkness”. So naturally, we were like, “yeah! Let’s go there! Sounds fun!” ANYWAY. so we’re driving in this south salt lake-esque strip mall place and the GPS says to turn, so we turn & suddenly we’re In the land of backwoods Georgia, like what just happened. There were some trailers that had been there since probably the early 1800’s (don’t worry, I don’t over exaggerate) that had basically been eaten by this Floridian swamp & looked like it came straight out of the walking dead. And yes, there were people still living there.
So we knocked the neighborhood.
We met one assumed (but very nice) illegal drug addict, we talked about the Book of Mormon & Joseph Smith with a pure bred baptist man for about a half hour, & we had a photoshoot with an old abandoned church & cemetery. So. Hour well spent? Totally.
We have plans to go back this week. We only knocked on the tip of the iceberg.
We had interviews with President this week. He said he’s proud of me & the work I’m doing. He really liked how thoroughly Sister Clemens & I plan. He showed off our planner to the district, which was funny. He asked me if I will be well enough to train next transfer, so we’ll see about that.
We’ve been working with a lot of people who haven’t come to church in some time & are trying to help them feel more comfortable with the idea. One of the ladies was a professional voice coach back in the day & is helping Sister Clemens & I with a song we’re singing in sacrament at the end of the month. She said she would come see it!
So yeah. That’s what’s going on here. We had two friends at church on Sunday & another baptism! We have an elder that’s from China serving in the ward & he & his companion have been teaching this old Chinese lady for a couple months now & she finally got permission from her husband to be baptized! She was crying the whole day, and said, “when I moved from China a year ago, I did not know anything about the bible or about God. But I have learned, and this is my new life, and I am so lucky!” It was the sweetest thing ever. She’s so great. The gospel blesses & changes people, my friends.
Being on a mission is the weirdest thing I think anyone can ever do. It feel like I was just home yesterday but at the same time, it feels like I’ve never not been a missionary. I feel like the same person I was, but look back at my past bad decisions & know I could never make them now. So I guess maybe I’m not the same person? Or I am. I’m just a changed person. Because people are allowed to become & grow & do whatever the heck they want. Ya feel me? There’s too many worldy things & ideas & views telling us that we need to look act be a certain way & that once we’re someone, we’re that person & that’s that. You’ve made it.
I think that’s crap, man. If there’s anything I’ve learned about the Gospel of my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, it’s that He promotes, inspires, & enables change. We should never be the same person we were yesterday. Even if today i am worse than i was yesterday at cleaning up after myself, maybe I’m way better at laughing & being a friend. Our spirits are liquid. We must allow it to stay that way. We can’t box it in & freeze it to fit a certain shape. That’s squashing every hope of everything we were supposed to become.