I never know where to start these things. I don't want to say something trite to start it off. Something typical and predicted like, "What a week!" but I also don't want to just jump in and start talking without saying hello or something.
Otis was all set for baptism on this last Saturday but his sister passed away on Tuesday morning. Her funeral ended up being the day that his baptism was scheduled for. It's so frustrating trying to get him to baptism. Satan is working so incredibly hard on him. He's going to do so much for the Lord and his children here in Corbin. UGH! SATAN! Otie's been really sad this week (obviously). This is his third sibling in 5 months to pass away. There's people here that I meet and I just don't know how they handle everything that life throws at them. Charlene is one of those people. She just has one horrible, traumatic event after another and she's not asking for trouble or looking for it. Satan just won't let her breathe. Ugh. I don't know how they keep going. Otis will be ok, but for now he's very sad. We don't want to rush the baptism too much because he's still grieving but we don't want to wait too long. We'll see. We did have a good time with Otis on Monday night before everything went bad. we ate fried turkey and that stuff was GOOD. Then we went fishing at sundown. Last week I told you I was going to catch three fish. I didn't. BUT, I caught a fish that was bigger than three bluegills combined which is what I've been catching the last two times. I caught a huge catfish. When he bit my hook I had to rearrange and put the pole between my legs and use both my hands to try and reel him in. Sister Clemons caught one and Autumn caught one and I caught one. Otie would have if he had had another pole. (Don't worry, MY fish was the biggest: about 28 inches and 6 pound). We threw them back once we caught them and I'm glad we did because I've only eaten one catfish here so far that didn't taste like mud. Mine definitely would have.
Willard talked to Mom on the phone on Tuesday and basically is set on us adopting him into the family. He said that Mom and I sound just alike and he could hardly believe that he was talking to her and not me. He loves our family and hasn't even met you all yet. He didn't end up getting his teeth fixed this week and I'm secretly happy about that because I like his smile the way it is even if he doesn't.
Grubb committed to baptism on the first lesson. We haven't told anyone though because he wants to make sure he can quit chewing before he tells everyone the date. But we have it set for December 17th if he is able to quit within this week. He's so awesome. He sits in Gospel Principles and listens so intently and nods his head and agrees with everything. After we taught him the first lesson on the Restoration I called him later that night for something and then asked him what he thought about the lesson. He said he didn't know how to explain it but all of the things we told him were things that seemed like he had already known before deep down. He knew he hadn't ever heard those things before but when we taught them to him he felt like he already knew and agreed with it all. That's the same way Bob, the truck driver is. It's been so easy for him to accept that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I asked him to pray to know if he is and he said he would but that he didn't need to pray because he already believed he was a prophet. I just hope we can get him on a schedule where he won't be driving his truck every Sunday so he can come to church and then get baptized. We also met a new guy this week who had a stroke, like Willard, and is in a wheelchair (named Logan) and he told us that he can't believe that the media says we're not Christians. We gave him a Book of Mormon when we tracted into him and when we met with him for our first lesson he was already at the end of Mosiah. He said that he'd been praying for God to send him some people to teach him and be his friends because he's so lonely and then the Lord sent us to him. He's awesome. We're going to commit him to baptism on our next lesson. Oh, also, Grubb was talking about gospel music this week and said his favorite gospel group is the Crabb Family and I was like, "I'm related to them!" He looked at me all funny, "Well! I knew there was a reason I liked you!" Grubb fell off a horse this week and we're pretty sure he broke some ribs but he won't go to the doctor. He's in a lot of pain. But he still came to church yesterday and did his best to sit still even though sitting is incredibly uncomfortable for him right now. He's great. I'm so astounded that the man that I met on the 4th of July who's first words to me were rude and dismissive is now getting baptized. The Spirit is so wonderful. Changes of heart are so wonderful. These hillbillies are so wonderful. But seriously, heads up, if I don't call on Christmas it's probably because Grubb and Sherry have kidnapped me. Don't worry. I'll be well fed in my captivity.
Something that we've started doing with people who are struggling lately is when they tell us they can't come to church or they can't put down their cigarettes or whatever it is we tell them that Satan is trying to stop them from coming to Christ and if they'll do what Christ asks them to do it will be like round-house kicking Satan in the face. Sometimes he jabs back at us, he can nip at our heels but we can crush his head with our kicks to the face. It helps to think of that imagery for me. Especially when he's just had a tiny victory. Instead of sitting down and crying, just kick him in the face! Grubb's doing that. Willard's doing that. Sherry's doing that. We all can do that. He doesn't have as much power as he thinks he does. He only has the power that we allow him to have.
I love being a missionary. It's such a privilege. I don't know why, but it upsets me when people say that I've sacrificed to be here. It's not a sacrifice. Nothing about it is a sacrifice. It's just a bunch of blessings. It's an honor and an opportunity to be on a mission. All it is out here is blessings. I can't think of anything that is a sacrifice to be here. It's like looking for work and finding an ad in the paper saying, "Looking for people willing to find joy and fulfillment. All are welcome. Call if interested." How can someone say it's a sacrifice to feel the Spirit, to be able to focus fully on the gospel and to watch happiness come into the lives of the people around you and to yourself? It's not a sacrifice. And it's not hard work. It's constant work. It's constantly trying to live worthy of your privilege. But it's not hard work. You study and you prepare because you love the word and because you love the people. But it's not your study or your preparation that converts. It's the Spirit. You don't have to have the Bible memorized to convert someone. All you have to do is love them. When you love them they'll recognize that. Love is a gift of the Spirit. If they feel your love they feel the Spirit. Once they feel the Spirit, they're ready and open for the messages He has for them. It's really very simple. It's very easy. It's so uplifting to have my whole job be to love those around me. A mission is all about love. It's not a sacrifice. It's a chance to feel God's love for you and for His children. Everyone should serve a mission.
Extra Blessings: Paige & Grandpa Rex & Grandma Bonnie
Word of the Week: Tore up. If something is broken it's tore up. The washer is tore up. Grubbs back is tore up. Satan's about to get tore up: Kick to the face!
I love you all and I'm sorry that these keep getting shorter and shorter but time seems to be going quicker and quicker out here. Time doesn't move in a straight line; it spirals. The older I get the farther in the spiral I get and the less amount of time it takes to make a revolution. Years, months, weeks, days. They're all getting faster. I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving. I can't believe it's already Christmastime. I love you all and I'll be thinking about you this week and though I'll be missing you, I'll be here with family, too. Love yuns!
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