Friday, August 3, 2012

The Boomerang Debt Effect - Monday July 23

You know how they say that you can never have one up on Heavenly Father? It's true. No matter how many times you try to repay Him or give Him something, He just takes it and boomerangs it right back at you but with 10 times the blessings that you sent to Him. It's crazy. My debt to Him just gets bigger and bigger. But it's a good debt. It's the only good debt there is. Every time Heavenly Father allows me to have a "trial" it's so that He can show me how much I'm loved. It's counter intuitive to my human mind. But for some reason it's a Godly law or something. My trials are for blessings? What? Seriously though, they are. That's why we call God an "Awesome" God: He inspires awe.

I'm sure most of you or perhaps all of you know by now that I get to stay here for my surgery. I don't have to come home yet. Three months as a healthy missionary seems insignificant to some, but to me, it means a lot. And the Lord knew that. And He's merciful enough to move things around to let me have those three months. And my mom gets to come out and be with me! I know it's horrible timing for all that's going on back home and I'm really sorry to my siblings who needed Mom to be there with them right now. I'm sorry that I'm stealing her away. Thank you for letting me have her. I know it's an inconvenience. But I'm really, really grateful that she's coming. I had my CT scan on Friday and my wonderful Doctor, Venkata Vasu Kakarlapudi, was still having a hard time putting into words how "severe" my sinuses are. I saw the pictures. It looks bad. He said it looks like my septum has actually eroded because of how bad my sinuses are. He gave me a pamphlet on the surgery and it listed 10 symptoms that indicate someone might need the surgery. It said that if you have one or more of the symptoms than you should talk to your doctor about it. I scored an A+ with 10/10. I'm way excited because he says that my headaches will stop and I'll be able to sleep and I'll be able to breathe and I'll get my sense of smell back permanently and my sense of taste will improve. It's going to be awesome (see paragraph 1 for explanation of "awesome").

So, the surgery is on Wednesday. Mom flies into Louisville sometime Tuesday! She's staying for a week! My recovery is supposed to take about 10 days but I'm supposed to be able to get up and do stuff after 7. Sister Hunt is going back to a trio in Charlestown while I'm with Mom. I know Mom's here to help me recover, but I have two goals while she's here that I have to achieve or I'll be disappointed: she HAS to meet the Vonnahmes and she HAS to meet Brother Winslow. Everyone else she can meet when we come back after my mission to visit. But it would be a tragedy if she got out of Indiana without meeting those three gems.

This week has been an up and down week, but it's been full of the Spirit. Elder Munns of the Seventy and his wife visited the mission. Whenever a general authority visits we get to drive into Louisville and listen to them speak. It's fun because the group is usually more missionaries than a regular zone conference. Zone Conference is usually two zones which is about 50-60 missionaries. Visiting authorities is usually done in groups of 4 zones. That's anywhere from 100-120 missionaries. You get to see a lot of friends. All five of us missionaries from my MTC district were there. Three of them are training new missionaries right now and I think the other one is a leader in some way. It's crazy that we're all the older ones in the mission now. It's fun to see them and talk to them and see the growth that has happened since March of last year. 

The meeting was a spiritual feast and even though I was exhausted from so little sleep, I left there feeling rejuevinated and excited to be a missionary. Sister Woodbury talked about how when we feel like the odds are against us, if we could have the veil lifted we'd see angels around us helping us fight our battles with us. "If God be for us, who can prevail against us?" (JST Romans 8:31) Then President Woodbury talked about Nephi when he was commanded to build a ship. His brothers told him he couldn't do it but Nephi was like, "If God commanded me to turn the ocean into dry land, I could do it because He commanded me to do it. If I could do that, why can't I do something as simple as building a ship?" Sister Munns talked about a lot of great things but my favorite thing she shared was a story about two buckets that are used to get water from a well. One complains to the other and says, "No matter how many times I come up full, I always go back down empty!" The other bucket says, "It's different for me: No matter how many times I go down empty, I always come up full." I really liked that. She also shared a quote from Joseph B Wirthlin that went something like this, "When you love the Lord, obedience ceases to be a burden." 

Elder Munns spoke about how to be successful as a missionary. All you have to do is cut out distractions to the Spirit, work really hard, and love the people. I'm excited to implement all of those things once I'm healthy again. After the meeting, President and the Assistants gave me a blessing. This was the day before my CT scan and I was on pins and needles, nervous about the results. The blessing told me that the Lord was going to allow me to stay on my mission till November! It was wonderful! What a blessing. I only had to wait another 24 hours to find out, but the Lord was willing to relieve my stress and worry and not make me wait any longer to know. Awesome!

Last week we picked up a new investigator after being led by the Spirit to him. It was really cool to see that if you'll turn things over to the Lord, He knows a lot more what to do that we have any idea of. We got out a map of our county and prayed to know where to go tracting. After the prayer we felt like a certain area on the map was where we needed to focus. We wrote down five or six street names that we felt good about and prayed again to know which one we needed to go to first. We felt strongly about one street. We drove a half hour through the forest of Mt. Carmel and found this street. There was ONE house on this street. That's it. Just one at the very end. We walked up to knock on the door and the man was outside. We didn't even have to knock. We talked to the man there for a bit and left knowing that the Lord had definitely sent us to him for a reason. He didn't say we could teach him, but I know a seed was planted. On our way back we felt prompted to stop at a trailer on another one of the streets that we had written on that list. We did and when we went up to the door we thought we shouldn't knock it for some reason. Off to the side of the trailer was a garage. We walked over there and there was a man welding a car he's getting ready for the demolition derby that's coming up in a couple weeks. I felt sheepish stopping him from welding because he had a mask on and stuff, but we did. He talked to us for a half hour till we had to leave to make an appointment. He said he wanted us to come back to talk to his family next week. Two contacts, no doors knocked, out in the middle of nowhere. That's what relying on the Lord can do for you. 

This week we went back to the welder's and his girlfriend had left because she didn't want to talk to us. But he has a daughter that's 22 that sat in on the lesson. As soon as we got into their place, a storm passed overhead. The power flickered off and on once and everyone froze. Then we kept talking. A couple minutes later it happened again. John's daughter went and lit some candles in case it happened again. John looked at us and said, "That's two times. If it happens a third time, the power don't come back on." Gulp. Great. We're going to be stuck in the dark in a storm that I can't drive in with a man and his daughter on the first lesson with an angry girlfriend off somewhere waiting to be told the coast is clear to come back home. Thankfully the power didn't go out again. We finished the lesson and they said we could come back sometime but they don't know when because that's the first time in forever that they've both gotten off work early. Neither of them were supposed to be home that day at that time. I have a feeling they WERE supposed to be home that day at that time. It was pretty neat. I'm hoping we'll get permission to go watch John in the derby. He reminds me of my Kentucky people because he only has one tooth on top and a couple on the bottom.

We've seen Sandra a couple times the last two weeks as well. I love her. I love her so much. We watched the restoration movie with her and Sister Hunt said she could tell Sandra felt the Spirit. I was over on the other side of the room keeping her sons distracted so that she could watch the movie in peace. Sandra is so lost and confused and wants things to get better so badly. But it's hard to change when there's a risk that things will get worse. With the Lord they won't get worse. I know that. But she needs to know that. I don't blame her for being scared. She needs to move out from her boyfriend's house but if she does she won't have anywhere to go and she'll be leaving the only person that has ever told her she's worth anything. But he's not good for her. And he's not good for their sons. It's a hard situation. I asked her at our last lesson, "If God Himself was to tell you what to do, would you have the faith to do it?" She started crying and said, "Yes. Even if He told me I had to leave." We invited her to start praying every day in the morning and at night time. The Lord will talk to her. And the Lord knows what's best for her. I hope that we can teach her and help her enough to help her recognize the Spirit and improve her life in whichever way the Lord knows it will improve. She's so special. And it's incredibly humbling to have someone pray and thank Heavenly Father for sending you to her. It's that boomerang debt thing again. She's grateful for me but I pray every day thanking Heavenly Father for her. No matter what I do, I'm always thanking Him for something else. It's amazing.

On Friday when I saw Dr. Kakarlapudi he told me all of the things I would need to do for my surgery. He said I'd need to stop certain medicines two weeks before surgery and start others the week before surgery and in my head I'm thinking, "Two weeks?!?!?! I have to wait TWO MORE WEEKS!?!?!?!" At the end of his instructions and telling me all the risks involved with the surgery he said, "Any questions for me?" "My only question is: when is the soonest we can schedule the surgery? I'm desperate." He said, "I know you are. I know you're miserable. That's why I'm rearranging my schedule for Wednesday and I want to do the surgery then. That will give you five days on the pre-operation medicine and that will be enough." 

Oh, Venkata Vasu Kakarlapudi! I could kiss you if it wasn't inappropriate on so many levels! It took all that I had not to hug him. I don't know if anyone has ever been so excited to have a surgery! He immediately sent me to get my blood taken at the hospital because your blood has to be taken at the very latest five days before your surgery. So, I head over there and wait when I get in with the phlebotomist I ask her to just start with my hand. No one can ever get the stick in either of my arms and they always dig around in there saying, "I can feel the vein. It's right there. It's just so slippery!" all while they're digging around in my arm and I want to yell, "That's my body and that hurts me!" They usually end up in the hand anyways and even though it hurts more there, it hurts less to just skip straight to the hand. So, I ask the lady to go to the hand. In a true phlebotomist's prideful fashion she goes, "Well, just let me feel around first in your arm." She then goes, "Where do you usually get your blood drawn? Because I do this all day every day. I'll get the stick on the first try. And I'll get it in your arm. And when we're done I'm going to give you my business card so that you can always come back to me. You're not leaving here without my card. I'll take care of you. Don't worry." 

So, I sit there and don't say anything and just wait. She can't find a vein she wants to try on my right arm so she moves to my left. She finally finds one and says again, "I'll take care of you, don't worry." So, she sticks the needle in and... nothing. No red liquid in the tube. So, she pulls the needle almost all the way back out and goes back in in a different direction. Still no red liquid. So she digs. And she digs. And she says she can feel it but it keeps slipping. And she digs some more. I'm telling you I've never been dug on this much in all my times I've had my blood drawn. She finally got perpendicular to the angle she first went in on and I thought I was going to slap her. She still didn't get any blood. So, she pulls it back and goes straight down like she's aiming to stick the needle through the bottom of my elbow and finally, there's some blood. I just sat there. She goes, "Well, your veins are very deep. And people don't like to dig because they don't want to hurt you. But I told you I'd get it on the first stick and I don't give up." ... Obviously. And I have the bruise to prove it. So she takes the four vials and tapes a cotton ball to my arm to stop the bleeding. She doesn't make any more eye contact with me and is suddenly very preoccupied and says, "Have a nice day." And dismisses me. What about the business card? I thought she was going to take care of me? I thought she does this all day every day? I thought I wasn't leaving her office without her name and contact info so I could repeat that lovely needle experience over and over and over again. Hmm. I guess she changed her mind. Oh well.
But, I don't really care. If I have a bruise, I have a bruise. I'm having surgery on Wednesday! And my mom is flying into my dear Kentucky tomorrow! And we're staying in beautiful Indiana together! And I have a doctor with a name that's really fun to say over and over again! Venkata Vasu Kakarlapudi! Things are good! No, things are great! And wonderful! And Awesome!
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your patience with me. I know it's not even comical anymore. It's just like, "Oh. Another thing is wrong with Sister Nelson. Let me know when things get good again." Well, they will soon. They are now. But soon you won't have to hear about my medical dramas. You'll get back to hearing about the wonderful people that the Lord is allowing me to meet here in Kentuckiana. (Have I ever told you that's what they call the part of Indiana where I live because it's so close to Kentucky? It's even the name of my mission district I'm in, Kentuckiana!) I love you all. I love the Lord. I love the gospel. Come on, Mom! Brother Winslow's ready and waiting to give you a big Welcome-to-Salem hug and kiss! And maybe even a free ride on the back of his tractor! He's driving, of course!

Extra Blessings: Otis, Camillio Estevez, Dad
Quote of the Week: "It sounds like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang played by a drunk!"

The Church is TRUE! Share it!


Sis Nelson

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