Monday, February 9, 2015

The Craziest Week of My Whole Mission to Date

Wow I just need to take five seconds to try to breathe right now. I'm not even sure what just happened last week. But it felt like the longest and shortest week of my whole mission at the same time. 

Allow me to expound. 

Monday we had Pday, as you're all aware. We went on a lame tour of a potato chip factory and then went to chick-fil-a for lunch as a district. We managed to complete some shopping and cleaning before heading to Carlisle for my very first exchange as an STL. 
Tuesday I spent the day with Sister Amendola in Carlisle. Sleep over! It was so fun. She's such an awesome sister. We were able to do service at like a food pantry thing or whatever and then we taught a lesson later that day with a less active member. He was really struggling with why bad people get away with doing bad things to good people. So we talked a bit about that with him. 
Sister Amendola is a winner at being very healthy. She cooked me a fillet of fish and tossed a bed of spinach together with some broccoli and we enjoyed that meal together. I was so impressed with her cooking skills. She is lovely. We parted ways as good friends. I adore her.
Although I had a good time in Carlisle, I was happy to be back in Gettysburg with Sister Jones. When we got back from Carlisle, we had dinner with a member, went to a mutual activity, and had ward correlation for Gettysburg ward. It was... so funny. It just had been such a long day and we kept laughing at each other because Sister Jones was being distracting and making dumb faces! The elders kept asking if we were okay. Haha... it was a funny night. You had to be there ;) 
Wednesday was nice. We had district meeting with all of the elders. That was nice. We were able to see a couple people before going to dinner at our Bishop's house (the Bishop for Gettysburg ward). This was such a cool night for me. They had both us and the elders over for dinner and a family home evening. Dinner was delicious. We talked about life and our families and how the Book of Mormon has blessed our lives. The spirit was so strong. And it was a dinner conversation!? After dinner, we went into the living room and read a chapter out of the book of mormon together. We took turns reading verses and... it was just... it was just really cool to sit there on the floor of our bishops home with his family and the elders and to think "Some day, this will be my family having the missionaries over for dinner, reading out of the Book of Mormon." The spirit was crazy strong. Their home was seriously like a temple. It was so wonderful. It made such a powerful impression on  me. 
Being a missionary is seriously amazing because you get little bits and pieces of what you would like your family to be like just by spending so much time with the member families in your respective wards. It's something that I've been so grateful to see. I can just take different values and habits and traditions that I like from each family and integrate them into my future home. :) What a blessing that I get to see and learn so much from these faithful members. 
Thursday was a whirlwind. We Had to be in Chambersburg by 1 to meet up with the Zone Leaders to drive to Pittsburgh for MLC (mission leadership council). So we had studies in the morning and then got lunch really quickly on the way to our lesson with our investigators in Hanover. We had a member come out with us to teach and it went really well. We talked about baptism and keeping the Sabbath day holy. Brady talked about how he'd been keeping his committment to pray daily and how he'd gotten a call about possibly getting a new job that would allow him to have Sundays off so he can come to church! It was such a miracle. 
After our lesson, we hurried off to Chambersburg, hopped in the zone leaders car with all of our stuff and headed out for Pittsburgh. It was a long drive (about 4 hours) but we managed to make it. When we got there I had to go to the bathroom SOOO bad but we stopped at the lookout to see the view of Pitt at night. It was lovely.
But then I made the elders stop at this ghetto McDonalds and it was sketchy beyond belief. I love Pittsburgh. We strolled around downtown for a while. Everything was closed, but it was just cool to see the city. Then we got to meet up with Elder George (my old district leader) and his companion!! We all went to dinner at a super yummy pizza place. It was so fun!! 
We spent the night with the Pitt 3rd sisters and slept on their couches.
Friday was MLC. It is just this big meeting that all the STL's and Zone Leaders get together for with President Johnson and the AP's and we all talk about what's happening in the mission and how things can be better, and then we talk about what zone training is going to be on and when it's going to be. Then we eat lunch together... talk a little more... 
It was a really good meeting. Just super long. Also I kind of felt like I didn't belong there, really. Because here you've got all these super smart, awesome, experienced missionaries who know what they're doing and there there's sweet little Sister Bills who can't even say the opening prayer with out shaking... But President helped me feel better, and it was good to see two other missionaries there who came out at the same time as me - Elder Miller and Elder Garduno. So that made me feel a little bit better. :) 
After MLC, we got supplies for our zone from the mission office and then headed back out east. We stopped to fill up for gas and then Elder Guerrero realized that he couldn't find the SD card with ALL of his mission pictures. We looked for a while but couldn't find it. We knew we had to keep driving so we said a quick prayer that it would turn up, and kept on keeping on. We stopped at Chickfila for dinner and some people saw us praying over our food and came up to thank us. That was pretty cool :)
We got home from Pittsburgh around 11:30ish. It was a late night. 
Saturday we took an early Pday. The best pday of my life. We still had to wake up around 5:30 (extra early) because the Shearer family was coming over to take us to DC to do a session in the temple, so we were pretty tired. But it's not hard to wake up really quick when you're with the Shearer family. They're so funny. You feel right at home with them. 
We did the 9:00 session in DC. It was wonderful. I felt so spiritually fed. It was so lovely. The most incredible thing was as we were all praying for the missionaries and I realized, powerfully, that we receive SO many prayers every day all over the world. And that was so cool.
I cried like a baby. 
But yes. The temple was gorgeous. Wish I could say more but... you know how that goes ;) 
After being so spiritually fed, we managed to talk the Shearer's into stopping at Cafe Rio for lunch. It was literally the best thing ever. I haven't had that sweet ambrosia for over 7 months now. I never knew anything could taste so good. Tyler Shearer thought that it was decent and that Chipotle was better. I was so disappointed in him. ;) 
Then we headed back within mission boundaries. On the way back, we stopped by a llama farm and I thought I was in heaven. We hung out at the Shearer house and played pass the pigs and sang along to Tyler playing his guitar. Brother Shearer seriously reminds me so much of my dad it's hilarious. 
After hanging out with the Shearer's all day, we met up with the Clarksons for dinner and a lesson and Don and Teri's house (they're our investigators. They're awesome.) It was such a good lesson. I was just so spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically drained from the whole week that I broke down into tears half way through the lesson. It was embarrassing. I just wanted to help them understand the need for an apostasy but couldn't find the right words to say to help them. I kept thinking about how wonderful the temple was and how badly I wanted Don and Teri to feel of the wonderful spirit in the temple but I couldn't explain to them how important Joseph Smith is and how he truly IS a prophet. So I just started crying. Haha it was pathetic. 
So after that we went home to recuperate. It was such an excellent day for both Sister Jones and I, but also hard in a lot of ways. I guess you could say the same thing about our whole week, really. So we just needed to regroup a little bit.
So Sunday was awesome for that reason. Teri was able to come to church for ward conference and she got some great face time with our stake president. She was even able to help out a less active member who was struggling to feel that she had been forgiven. She bore powerful testimony of the atonement. It was a great experience. Being able to partake of the sacrament and to recommit to do better this week was spiritually charging. I felt so much better after sacrament meeting. Having just attended the temple, I felt like I got so much more out of each class that we attended. It was lovely. 
After church, we did some more regrouping - finally sitting down to really plan and set goals for the upcoming week. That helped both of us feel like we had our hats on again. It was much needed. We had dinner with the Burton's. Their home is so like a temple as well. We listened to mormon tabernacle choir and ate Pennsylvania Dutch food. It was really good. Then we played a game with the articles of faith to earn our dessert. We were laughing so hard. I had so much fun. Then we were able to come home and have some studies before going to bed. Right before we were finishing up for the evening and finally feeling like we had a handle on things, we got a call from President Johnson. 
Him and Sister Johnson are coming out east for Zone Training on Friday and "we're just wondering if Sister Jones and Sister Bills would like to come out to dinner with us and the Clarksons, and then hopefully we can work in your area with you for a little bit afterward?" 
President and Sister Johnson want to come see investigators and less actives with US?
What is this!?
So we had a mini panic attack before realizing that Friday night was our missionary activity. We're throwing a Family Feud game night with both the Gettysburg and Hanover wards. So we told them about that. 
Wanna know what President Johnson said? 
"Oh! That's fine! We'll just come to that with you then."

So now our mission president is coming to our missionary activity and we're kind of losing our minds again...

It's a beautiful ride. 

Hermana Bills