Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Sick and Homesick

Some weeks are harder than others in the missionary world. This week was a hard one. Remember last week when I decided not to be sick? Well, I accidentally got sicker. I've developed a goose cough. You know. The ones that make everyone feel awkward. The ones that sound painful. The ones that make you stick out your tongue for some weird reason. The ones where people ask you afterward if you're ok and you're like, "I'm fine, I just coughed up a chainsaw. That's all." Yeah. It's fun. Needless to say, there aren't many people who want a goose-coughing missionary in their house. Sister Ford and I spent quite a bit of time at home this week. Being sick always makes me miss Mom. And then when I miss Mom I start missing the family. And now that family extends to Corbin so I've just done a lot of missing people this week. Sister Ford got a letter from home that worried her and made her really homesick, too. So, we've spent a lot of time feeling not so good. And to top it all off, all of our investigators regressed this week. One even yelled at us and told us to leave. When it rains, it pours.

Bro. Vonnahme's spinach dip
Luckily, there's the Vonnahme's. (Pronounced "von-uh-meez". It's German. There used to be an "n" on the end of the name and was pronounced "vone-ah-min" but now it's been Americanized.) Brother Vonnahme was raised Catholic and Sister Vonnahme was raised Methodist. They joined the church in their 20's and have been members for about 50 years now. They've always loved the missionaries and take them in and become family to them. They said that when they first joined the missionaries were like their siblings, after ten years or so the missionaries became like their own children and now the missionaries are like their grandchildren. And they really do just take you in like you're family. They call almost everyday to check on us and invite us over for chips and snacks all the time. If they're sick, the want the missionaries there. If they're depressed, they want the missionaries there. If they're happy, they want the missionaries there. Brother Vonnahme made this really good spinach dip on New Year's Eve that Sister Ford and I LOVED. He called us the other day and said that he'd made some more and we needed to come over and eat it. We did. Then the next day Sister Vonnahme made her famous carmel corn and needed us to come sample it. Haha. They're always looking for excuses to get us to come over. Sister Vonnahme is the one that I said reminds me of Martin Short as Jimminy Glick. Brother Vonnahme is knowledgeable and likes to curse and reminds me of Mermaid-man (Last week he asked me if I had any pointy cowboy boots. I said I didn't. He said I should get some cause they're handy. "You know the boots I'm talking about: they call them 'roid removers."). Sister Vonnahme loves to pray and loves to hug and I'm taller than her even when I'm sitting down. She calls the temple almost every night to put names on the prayer roll. The other day before we ate the carmel corn she wanted to say a prayer. She laughed, "You know me. I love to pray. Poor Heavenly Father. If I didn't pray all the time, he'd be so lonely."

Sis. Vonnahme on the couch

Haha. She's a doll. She always thanks us for being her friends. On Saturday night, I was really sick and we'd just been yelled at by an investigator and Sister Ford had gotten that disturbing letter from home and all of our other appointments cancelled on us and we had three hours till we had to be in but it was dark so we couldn't go tracting and we didn't know what to do. So, we called Brother Vonnahme and asked if he would give us blessings. He said he would so we went over. He gave some really simple, great blessings. He told me things that I hadn't been told yet about me before. It was really nice to have him to go to since both Sister Ford and I were really wishing our fathers could give us blessings. We spent the next hour talking with the Vonnahmes and getting encouragement and advice. It was a good pick-me-up. It's so wonderful how even when you're experiencing one of life's lows how Heavenly Father doesn't leave us completely alone. He's aware of us and He loves us and just because we're being chastened or refined doesn't mean that He doesn't care about us. It's just that sometimes this life isn't easy. A lot of times it isn't.

This week Elder Bruce D Porter and his wife came and spoke to the mission. It was a spiritual feast. All of the talks were wonderful. Sister Woodbury, President Woodbury, Sister Porter, Elder Porter. It was all very uplifting and insightful and inspiring. The main thing that I took from the day was that all of our faults have the potential and ability to be overcome through Christ and His Atonement. We need to not just go through the motions, but we need to become the people we have been commanded to be. Elder Porter said something that at first I thought might be a little extreme but the more I got to thinking about it, the more I was inclined to believe him. He said that faith in Christ is a billion times stronger than electricity. I think sometimes I tend to forget just how awesome and powerful God is. He's everything. I was reading in 3 Nephi today and Christ was telling the people that we don't really have any power over anything. Even our own heads. We can't will our hair to grow or to turn gray or to be curly or straight. We can't decide to grow a foot and then will it to happen. Only God has power over those things. And we need to trust Him. One thing I know for sure is that Heavenly Father loves each and every person that is living on this earth. He loves every person that has ever lived or that will ever live. And we all have the potential to make it back to him. It's up to us to decide if we will work with Christ to achieve it or not.

In 1 Nephi 8:30 it talks about the people that were striving to make it to the tree of life. It says, "...and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree." Why did they fall down? My belief is that they were exhausted. Something that bothers me sometimes is when people paint the vision of the tree of life and they make the path to the tree flat and easy to walk. What's the whole point of needing the rod of iron if it's easy? The only time I've ever seen an iron rod in a path while I've been hiking is if the path is so steep and treacherous that you NEED the rod to help you make it. You HAVE to hold on with both hands or you can't climb it. That's why the rod is there, in my opinion. Elder Holland told us in the April 2011 General Conference that the path of discipleship doesn't get easier. He refers to a knee-buckling pinnacle. The path to Eternal Life isn't easy. Once we've been baptized things don't get easier. So why is it worth it? In verses 10-12 of 1 Nephi 8 it says "And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." That's why it's worth it. Things don't have to get easier to get better. And things do get better with the Gospel in our lives. But we shouldn't ever expect for an easy road. Look at every prophet we've had in this dispensation. None of them had an easy road.

Anyways, I think I'm rambling. I'll stop.

Extra Blessings: Otie
Quote of the Week: "Besides the false doctrine & profanity, we had a pretty good sacrament meeting."

I love you all. I'm so grateful for your love and support. I'm too blessed. It's crazy. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

Me with the puzzle I did while I was sick.
Sister Ford lamed out and didn't help me because it was too hard.

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