Who else jumped out of his/her seat when President Monson announced the changes to the age requirements for missionaries?!?!?!?!?! We were watching in a room with 10 missionaries and you better believe we all had to shhh each other because we were all gasping and whispering and freaking out and we couldn't push pause on the projector so we were cutting into Prophet time for the people around us. Even after we quieted down, I don't remember the rest of what President Monson said. My minds was reeling. This is going to CHANGE EVERYTHING! I'm not joking. This is going to change the single adults and the marriages in this generation and the amount of missionaries both male and female who make it out on missions. This is going to change the church. In turn this is going to change the world! Seriously! I couldn't be more excited. I was tingling that whole first session of conference! To quote one of my favorite songs ever: If you want to make the world a better place, (take a look at yourself and) make that-- CHANGE!
Lainy, the girl who drives us around sometimes and killed that enormous spider, got her mission call this week to Salt Lake City. Haha. She was expecting Costa Rica. I'm happy she'll be in Utah though because I've been telling her that wherever she gets called to, I'll move there and repay her service to us and drive her places and take her investigators to church and stuff. With her call being in Utah, I actually can.
We had a really hard night the other night. We were leaving a lesson we had with a girl in the park and as we did, we passed three people sitting at a picnic table. We started talking to them and they were friendly at first but when they found out who we were they started laughing at us and saying how they didn't think we'd want anything to do with them because they were drug dealers. We testified of the way our lived had been changed because of Christ and promised them that their lives could change for the better and the happier, too, if they would come unto Him. At the mention of Christ they started mocking and demeaning Him. I hate confrontation, as you know, so usually when people are mean, I try to walk away without saying much and with maintaining a smile on my face. But when they started laughing and mocking the sacrifice Christ made when he performed the Atonement, I was frozen there. I was so mortified at what they were saying that I couldn't move. They could tell how those things hurt us when they said those things about Him because our demeanor changed. They said, "Oh no! We've made them mad, now!" and kept laughing. Sister M was silent which is unusual for her. I wanted to be silent, but I couldn't. I told them that what they had said and were implying about the Savior and His love for us had offended me because He means so much to me personally. The main guy said, "They sure must hate us now." I told them I didn't hate them, but that we wouldn't be staying to speak that way about Someone so important to us. I wished them the best and then we left. I know that this isn't a unique missionary experience. This happens everyday to missionaries all over the world. But it was still hard. President Woodbury gave us a thirty-day study packet about the Atonement about thirty days ago. I've learned much and have felt so much love from and for the Lord. To have people mock Him, who loves THEM so much, it made me shake. It made me so sad. That was Sister Mickelsen's first encounter like that and it was hard for her to recover for the rest of the night. I'm so sad for those three. I'm so sad that they would say those things. I hope so much that they repent. I would hate for them to have to stand before the judgment bar and have to watch that conversation played over and have them realize just what they had said and just Whom they had said those things about.
The next day, Maelyn finally told us what she thinks about us. Things were at their boiling point and we had tried to get her to talk to us but she wouldn't admit anything was bothering her, yet would complain and be distracting through every lesson. So, we told Adam we'd rather meet with him somewhere else and Maelyn freaked out and said we had to have the lesson there because she didn't want him meeting with us without her there because she doesn't trust what we teach him because we're encouraging him to move out. We ARE encouraging him to do that so that he can keep the Law of Chastity. (I don't know why we or Adam should be ashamed of thinking it's the right thing to do.) Sis M was on the phone with Adam when this happened and I was on the other side of the room and I could still hear her screaming and cussing in the background, demanding we come over. It was everything Sister M could do to get me to agree to go over there. I hate girl drama. I hate those conversations where girls have bottled stuff up forever and then scream and cry at each other for three hours. We went over though after I said a prayer and realized it would happen eventually and at least if we did it now, with as much of the Spirit as we could, then Adam wouldn't be stuck being the in between anymore. So, we went over and Sister M started bearing her testimony and Maelyn interrupted and she and Sister M had it out. I just sat there wishing I could leave. I was quiet until Maelyn told Sister M that she doesn't have a problem with me, just with Sister M because she thought Sister M was a liar and then started talking badly about the Church saying that the Church shouldn't send out missionaries that are liars. That's when I finally opened my mouth. Ugh. The visit ended with her giving us hugs and sending us home with a peanut butter roll she had originally intended to give to someone else. She and Sister M talked together and laughed and Adam and I talked about some of his gospel questions and then we left. We thought things had been smoothed over. We hadn't. She still won't meet with us or answer our phone calls. It's sad that because Adam is progressing, she has chosen to stop her progression.
We met with a recent convert from two months ago who has been reading anti and won't touch the Book of Mormon or enter our church building. After the week we've had, I didn't want to meet with her, but it was Sister M's last chance to see her so we did. There's so much sadness around people who reject Christ and His teachings. It's something I never want to have to deal with in my own life. It's just so dark and depressing.
Hurray for the fact that with the freedom to choose darkness we also have the ability to choose light!
This week we watched the Testaments with Phoebe and she cried and knows that Christ came to the Americas. That movie is so powerful. It has been the turning point for so many people's conversions, including Adam and Otis.
Speaking of Adam and Otis-- Oh my goodness! So, we all know how much I love Otie and I'm on course to feeling that way about Adam. Well, last week Adam went down to his mom's house for the weekend which is in East Bernstadt which is where Otis lives and the stars aligned and all my dreams minus one came true! Otis cooked him some meat and opened his house for the Corbins Sisters and Adam to come over and hang out on the farm and have a lesson! The only thing that could have made it a fulfillment of ALL my dreams minus nothing is if I had been able to be there, too. Otis and Adam hit it off! They're like peas in a pod. Sister Earl called me and told all about it and so did Adam. I guess Otis found out he was going to be there and started making food the day before so that they'd have a good meal when they all came over. Otis has two German Shepherds that are very protective and wary of newcomers so they wouldn't let Adam come in the house right off (which is funny because Adam has 7 German Shepherds of his own. I know, they're MFEO.) so Otie took him on a tour of the property and showed him the horses and the chickens and the pig and the pond and while they were walking around I guess they both got to talking about acorns (No, I can't adequately describe what a conversation about acorns entails. I've had them with both individually with Adam and Otis though so I'm sure they were able to talk for a good while about them... again... MFEO). Then they connected over the time they've both spent in the service and about flying airplanes (Otis was in the Air Force and Adam flies airplanes). MFEO. Then they started talking about the church. Adam's biggest struggles right now have to do with all of the people in his life, besides Mormons, telling him NOT to join the Mormons and dealing him out pretty heavy consequences if he does. Otis's family wasn't thrilled about him joining the church, either so I think it was good for Adam to get advice and encouragement from someone who has actually been through it. Then they talked about the Book of Mormon and Otis told him how he had been against it at first (just like Adam was) but that his whole life has expanded and gotten better because of it. Then they ate and chatted some more. Then they went out to Otie's garden and picked some hot peppers that Adam brought back to us and then they made plans to ride horses together sometime and possibly go shooting. Ahh! I wish I could have been there! But I'm so glad they met. Adam came back and said he really liked Otis and told Sister Mickelsen, "Mickelsen! You have to meet Otis! But when you do you're gonna want to stick close to me so I can interpret for you. Nelson can understand hillbilly but you'll be lost." Haha. I don't know why Adam thinks that he's any easier to understand than Otis is. Haha. I love them both. I can't wait to watch the replay of that day in Heaven someday!
Adam is doing well. He's having trouble quitting smoking so we're going to have to move his baptism date, but he came to 4 out of the 5 conference sessions this weekend! He was the only non-member there! He showed up at the church at noon on Saturday and stayed there with us till the priesthood session ended at 10 that night. We don't live in the same city as our church building so none of us could go home between sessions. It was a LONG day even for nerdy missionaries who think Conference is better than Christmas. And Adam stayed the whole day and asked questions the whole time. He really liked the talk by Echo Hawk to the Lamanites because we always tell him he's a Lamanite. He also really liked President Uchtdorf's talk during priesthood session about airplanes (Adam flies planes, remember). He then came to the next first session yesterday and was rocked by Holland's talk. He's still looking for a testimony of Joseph Smith, but he agrees that President Monson is a prophet so it will come soon.
I hope everybody loved Conference. I did. I cried for about five minutes after that man's solo with the Choir to "Does the Journey Seem Long?" Elder Hales is looking better, isn't he! And I thought it was cool to be able to go to Priesthood Session. It was my first time. I sort of like Relief Society's better... but it was still neat. I'm guessing that has something to do with the fact that RS session is for me while priesthood session isn't as much for me. I was grateful I went though not only because we were able to be there with Adam but because Elder Christofferson spoke in that session and he's my favorite. I'm still SO EXCITED about the amazing announcement about missionary changes. Goodness. I know it's not my choice, it's yours, but if you are eligible and able to serve a mission, DO IT! It will change your life. You will never regret serving a mission.
I can't describe the gratitude I feel for the Savior and what He has done for me. I don't think I'll ever feel like I've done enough with His name and with the calling He has allowed me this last year and a half in being a representative of Him. Yet I am honored that He has allowed me and continues to allow me to be one of His missionaries. I'm grateful to know that without opposition, we could never appreciate all that we've been given and that we would never be able to grow. Without agency and opposition, we could never have the joy that comes from choosing the right and choosing out of our own will. I'm grateful that despite trials and evil that there is still righteousness and victory through Christ. I love watching people choose Christ and seeing the change that comes into their lives and into them personally. I've been able to see miracles in my life but the greatest miracle I've ever seen is the miracle of forgiveness and change that comes through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sister Mickelsen is being transferred tomorrow. I have no idea who is coming here to Berea. I always think I have an idea, but I never do. I'll tell you all about her next week. Cross your fingers that I get Sister Ford!
Extra Blessings: Sister Ford, Otis, Judy
Link of the Wee(n)k: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-lowers-age-requirement-for-missionary-service
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