I don't know if you all have heard on the news or anything, but it's been really hot out here. It's been in the 103-104 area all week. They actually had a "bad air advisery" one day because the air was so hot and with the humidity I guess it was bad for people to be outside. I've had a hard time breathing this week because of it. I have to admit that the heat is welcome to me, though. It doesn't feel like summer if I can't feel my skin smolder a little when I get into my hot car and turn on the AC and get blasted by even more heat. Poor Sister Hunt. That sad cornhusker. Mom sent this to me and it basically perfectly describes our companionship to a tee (I'm the one on the left):
Haha. But in all seriousness, the weather is taking its toll on the people here.They're all in danger of losing their crops. The corn is starting to wilt and all the grass is dead. Dead grass isn't new to me, but it does look weird on my green Indiana home I'm used to. People on the streets when we've been talking to them have been asking us why God isn't giving us any rain, like we're privy to that information. We did finally have a severe thunder storm last night. We were out on a country road miles from shelter when it started hailing with lightning and wind. The hail on the windshield and top of the car sounded like someone was trying to shatter glass with a bat. It was pretty crazy. We ended up at the Vonnahmes' and waited out the remainder of the storm with them.
Speaking of the Vonnahmes, they had a scary week health-wise. Three hospital visits and some follow-up tests scheduled for next week. They're both sick and they're both so worried about their spouse that the stress is making both conditions worse. It's a mess. They missed church, a ward party and a temple trip this week. Sister Vonnahme cried about all three. At one point she said in between her tears, "What did we do to deserve this, Marv?" He said, "We lived too long." Then he turned to me and said, "Whatever you do, don't grow old." Which reminds me of last week's quote. We were talking about cremation and I said that's what I'd prefer and he said I was crazy. He said he didn't care if the buzzards got him, he just didn't want to burn because he figured where he ends up after he dies, he'll see enough of that anyways (he's joking. He's a saint and will end up in heaven). Then he pointed to his skinny, little leg that's extra small because he had polio when he was a baby and said, "That's about all my right leg is worth: one good buzzard poop."
This week we had Zone Conference and it was amazing as usual. 4 out of the 5 of us missionaries from my MTC district were there and we all caught up and took a picture together. It was fun. We had a really spiritual training by our Zone Leaders on using the Book of Mormon in our teaching. But, to start off the training Elder Smith wanted an awesome quote by Richard G Scott about scriptures being packets of light to be read. He calmly and sweetly asked a missionary on the front row, "Would you read this quote by Richard G Squat?" He immediately got red and tried to correct himself, but we had all lost it. I couldn't stop giggling for five minutes. I don't know if it was how sincere and spiritual he was trying to be when he said it that made it so funny or what, but I haven't been able to get over it all week. My missionary vision skews my humor so I don't know if that's funny to normal people or just to missionaries, but I had to share it. Richard G Squat.
After Zone Conference we went tracting and were led, definitely by the Spirit, to a home that's hidden from view on maps and from the road. We were headed somewhere else when we got the impression to pull off of the side of the road and knock the house we saw there. Behind the house (where no one answered) was a tiny trail that led to a hidden house behind some trees. We had to hike up a gravel hill to get to the house and Sister Hunt didn't want to because she hadn't worn good shoes and she had to go to the bathroom. But, she was willing to be coaxed into going and it was awesome. We met a pregnant woman with two other little kids who took a Book of Mormon and said we could come back in a couple days. We made our way back down the hill on a spiritual high, excited and grateful that the Spirit had so obviously taken us out of our way to find her. Two minutes into walking down the hill (it was a big hill) we heard someone calling to us. We turned around and it was her husband. He walked down the hill towards us and when he got to us he said, "No offense, but we're straight Christians. I don't want anything to do with the Mormons and I don't even want this book in my house." He handed the book back and walked back up the hill. This isn't the first time we've been rejected. Not by a long shot. And this isn't the first time that we've essentially been told that we're not really Christian. But for some reason I had to fight back tears the rest of the walk back to the car.
I think it must have been because we'd just come from Zone Conference and I've been in a point in the Book of Mormon right now where I can't put it down. I can't get enough of it. And I feel closer to Christ through that book than any other book I study from. I don't know what it was. But later that night when I actually let myself really think about what he said, I couldn't hold the tears back anymore. It's just so, so sad. It's so sad how these people love Christ so much and are so devoted to what they know and love about him that they won't even look at or permit more light and truth to even sit in their homes. We had three people actually give us back Book of Mormons this week. That guy did it before we could leave and the other two did it on our return appointments. I've never had people do that before on my mission. I've been a year out and people have never been so afraid/appalled by the Book of Mormon that they can't even keep it in their house. It makes me wonder if some preachers around here are stressing anti-Mormon preachings right now. It's "smart" on Satan's part to try and get people to reject the Book of Mormon because that's where testimony of the Restored Gospel stems from. If he can get them to get rid of the books, no one will ever read them. If they never read the book, they'll never find the fulness of the gospel. It's a lot to go up against. Thankfully, I'm in the war chapters right now in Alma. I've pretty much decided to name one of my sons Moroni someday and I'll probably use Teancum as a middle name. They fought tirelessly for what they knew was right. They wouldn't yield. They were bold because of their faith and their acknowledgment of their need for the Savior.
Well, the computer kicked me off and I lost most of my time I needed to write so this is the end of my letter this week. I don't want it to be a downer. I'm grateful that I get to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon. And I'm grateful that I know that it is true.
Extra Blessings: Sister Clemons, Sister Noakes, Dad and Paige
Quote of the Week: "It wouldn't be the first time I was wrong today: I thought Gay Barbara Douglass would prefer to go by Barbara."
I love you all. I'll try and write more by hand this week. The Church is TRUE! Share it!