February 20, 2012
The ABCs of Missionary Work
A – Agency. I asked President last week in my president’s letter if I could take it away from my investigators. He didn’t reply. I think that’s a “yes”. Sometimes, I think it would be so easy if you could just force them to live the gospel for a while and see how much it would bless them, then give them their agency back and they’d use it a little bit better. Good idea, right?
B – Baking. Sister R does a lot of it. I take a nap during our lunch hour and when I wake up, there is usually something warm and delicious to eat. This is a great companionship.
C – Choir. Ward Choir. Yesterday, we walked in and the director said, “Sister Poulson, you’re going to teach them the alto part,” then left with my companion and the rest of the choir to work on their part (Bishop and the ward mission leader were there and authorized a temporary exchange). So, I picked up the piece of music I had never seen before and tried to teach it to a bunch of Latino singers. It was an adventure, to say the least. Anyone who has ever sung a Spanish translation of a hymn knows that there is a tendency to try to stuff 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 syllables into one single note. So, I decided to rewrite the music a little to make it a bit more singable. But then the 14 year old tenor started correcting me, throwing out all the music words he learned in his freshman band class. Thankfully, no one else there really knew about music though, so they just did what I told them. Stressful, but awesome.
D – Doors. I think California got a big discount on a mass order of metal screen doors. Every door has the same screen. And these screens are really hard to see through so when you knock on them, you don’t know if the real door is opened or closed, if the person is right there talking to you, or far away, and most importantly, you don’t know the nationality of the person answering. It’s quite the adventure.
E – English Class. So fun. I think the only reason people keep coming back is to teach me Spanish because they feel bad for me, but, hey, we’ll take it. The other day, we spent 20 minutes discussing the difference between “clothes”, “close” (to shut), “close” (near), and “closet”. Who knew English was so confusing?
F – Finding. We knocked into a man and his mother this week who were visiting their son/brother. The brother wasn’t home, but we taught the two of them. They had met with missionaries before but lost contact with them. The father/husband had recently died and read the Book of Mormon during his last months and it gave him a lot of comfort. They were really excited to meet missionaries again. We had a great lesson with them and then got their information to refer them to missionaries in the mission where they live. It is a miracle to be able to find people like this and help them, even if we don’t get to teach them or count them as “our” investigators. (See X).
G – Guatemalan Food. Our Guatemalan investigator and his member wife had us over for dinner this week and it was great. It brought back beautiful memories of food in Guatemala. I wish they’d feed us more.
H – Hiding. What people do from us. We have a referral that we’ve been trying to contact for the last several weeks and he never answers and is never home. The other day, we stopped by and were excited because the lights were on. We knocked a couple of times with no response, until suddenly the TV and lights went off. Very subtle.
I – Investigators. We had two at church this week! And we had a ton of less actives. It was the best day of church ever. I was so happy to see all the people we’ve been working so hard with finally making it to church!
J – Joy. That is what I feel almost every minute of my mission. I think my heart will explode sometimes if I get any happier. Yesterday was the best day of my mission and I was so happy, I didn’t know what to do with myself. (See X and W and S).
K – King. What the bishop looks like during ward council. A great and powerful king holding his court. It is awesome and funny. I hear this is what it is like in most Spanish wards.
L – Laws. Apparently, Intellectual Reserve is a little upset with our English class cards because they look like the Mormon.org ones. So, that’s fun. We’ll see what happens.
M – Milagros! Miracles! See them every day. It’s beautiful.
N – Names. In addition to Sangrona, Chipilona, and Dormilona, I am now also “Diablita” (little devil). We were teaching E and told her a story about how my hand caught on fire one time, and we asked her husband if he was listening (we were trying to get him to participate in the lesson but he insisted he was listening from the couch). He said, “Yes. Hermana Poulson is a diablita.”
O – Obispo. Bishop. He came to a lesson with us and finally got our investigator’s two baptized sons to come to church!!!!! (See W).
P – Pupusas. We found this awesome pupusaria near our house. I want to eat there all the time.
Q – Questions. Of the Soul. Answered by the Book of Mormon. People have these questions, they read the BOM, and they get answered! It’s like magic. But better. Because it’s the gospel.
R – ?
S – Surprises. For my half birthday/Valentine’s Day, Hna. R hid a bunch of sticky notes with nice things on them for me to find. She’s the best. Also, someone who is technically one of the elders’ investigators (who they’ve only taught once and we have taught four times because of dinner appointments, and we’ve been working with more. Long story…), called us to tell us that he accidently went to two church services in Riverside and had the best day and is loving the Book of Mormon and feels so happy. It was the happiest moment of my mission. He thanked us for coming on missions and being bold in helping him read the BOM and for changing people’s lives. He essentially bore his testimony to us and just talked about how happy he is and how much joy he feels from the gospel. One of those “My heart is about to burst” moments. Ahhh, it was the best. (See X).
T – True. The Church. The one and only. I am so grateful for it, more and more every day. It is beautiful. And Testaments. The movie. We’ve been watching it in parts the last few days to get inspiration for our Book of Mormon ward activity. It’s going to be great. I suggested a zip line through the jungle. My district vetoed that one. Don’t know why.
U – Uneducated. The kids in California. Sorry to say it. They have had at least five days off of school since they got back from Winter Break, and they are always getting out early. CA doesn’t have money to pay teachers so they just cancel school. All the time. It is so sad to see.
V – Vietnamese. The nationality of most of the people we see and talk to.
W – White Shirt. Bishop bought one of the boys a white shirt so he could come to church and pass the sacrament. Seeing him all dressed up and passing it yesterday made me so proud. It was like he was my own son. I wanted to cry. Also, Wreck. Emotional wreck. What I am on my mission.
X – eXito. Success. We’re not seeing it in baptisms, but we are in other ways. Even if we aren’t always the missionaries baptizing the people we see and work with, I think we are fulfilling our purpose of helping others come unto Christ. It is great and wonderful to see how people’s lives change from the gospel.
Y – Yogurt. Of the frozen variety. Too much of our diet comes from that. But I think it is needed for our sanity.
Z – Zone Activity. Just got word. It’s dodge ball. Again. Which is fun for about 10 minutes. Until I get sick of it and hide in the corner. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the game. I’m just really good at dodging.
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