This has been the fastest week of being a missionary so far! Other weeks seem to go on forever, but I can't believe it is already time to write home again!
Thank you so much for those of you who have written me! I LOVE getting letters (I totally understand in The Best Two Years now why they were so excited to get mail! :) ) And I have most especially benefited from the testimonies! They are so amazing, and I have thought about and shared many of them with members when they invite us to dinner (which is almost every night- this ward is so good at being involved in missionary work) So thank you thank you so much!
On Thursday Sister Lee and I got a surprise. Elder Edman, the site director at Kirtland, told us about having a special gathering at the John Johnson Farm with all the Sister missionaries in the Kirtland Zone and all the senior missionaries who work at sites on Monday. I thought that sounded like fun. He then informed us that we would be giving the tour.
I couldn't believe it! We had never given a tour in Hiram. In fact, we had never even been GIVEN a tour there! The senior missionaries take over the John Johnson farm in the winter since there aren't many visitors, so the sister missionaries can focus on proselyting in the area. So you better believe the next day (Friday) we MADE time to go get a tour at the Farm! We already had a full schedule, so I was so thankful when everything worked out so that we could have some time to go through the house and learn about the Johnsons. We studied from the John Johnson manual for a lot of our personal studies after that. As the time got closer, I was amazed at how I felt. Calm. Even the night before, when I knew I would be stepping into my doom the next morning, I didn't feel frazzled or like cramming. I had focused and studied every possible chance I had, and I felt like I had the assurance that the Holy Ghost would bring things to my rememberance.
And He did.
It was so neat. Don't get the wrong idea- it isn't like I am a professional tour guide, or know everything about the Johnsons now (far from it!) but it was so neat to see His hand so powerfully in my life at that moment. I was able to remember the general stories and facts in each room and give the information in a semi-confident manner. I have been with myself a long time. I am not any good at this sort of thing! And yet, I was able to not feel anxious and give the sisters and senior missionaries a decent tour. Amazing. And now Sister Lee and I are able to give a tour at the Farm! Haha, it was like having a crash course in Early Saint history, and we were able to learn it faster than if we hadn't been under pressure :)
Something that I have realized recently is how the Holy Ghost speaks to us so simply. During the New Missionary Training Meeting, as I would think about what was being said, I would think of little other random things that were somewhat related to what was being taught, but also a little different. One of the things impressed upon my mind was how the Lord's hand is in our life, and by looking out for them we can see them so much better. No one actually talked about that, but it was something I started thinking about. That lead me to think about you, Mom. Remember when you had the idea for each of us to have a journal, and we would come together as a family every night and just write three things we were grateful for, but we couldn't repeat any of them? I thought of that, and how after saying all the obvious answers (family, health, the ability to tease sisters, etc) I was stumped! That is when I would look out during the day for things to write in my journal, and I was able to see so many more things to be grateful for! It evenutally got to the point where I would write down trials that I was having, because I could see how it was the Lord's hand blessing me and how I was growing from it. It was so cool! I have shared this with some of the members during dinners, and they LOVE it! They think it is such a great idea, and I agree :) Thank you so much Mom! You were so good at helping us come closer to Him.
This week also marked my first lesson with children. We are teaching two boys whose parents recently joined the church ( they are 13 and 11 years old). They had a difficult time sitting still for the lesson because they were in a middle of a computer game when we came over and they couldn't wait to return to it :) It cracked me up! Before we were even done asking questions, they would shout out the answer and try to hurry us along. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought they were in physical pain to be sitting there listening to us! :) The other boy is eight, but he has down syndrome. He is so cute! He is non-vocal, so my companion and I are trying to figure out ways that we can make sure he is understanding and getting something out of the lessons.
Random thoughts: Senior missionaries are AWESOME! I can't wait to be a senior missionary in a few years. I love how missionaries around here are so good at saying what they think- if they think of a compliment, they just say it! Sometimes I think it and forget to tell them personally. It makes a difference to those people you compliment though! Referrals over the phone are HARD! Phones are not my friend. But it is nice to have an opportunity to completely depend on the Lord for something, because if it were completely up to me and my selfish self, phones would be UNinvented! Sister Lee is amazing- so considerate! I made her a comic about our first lesson together (it was a train wreck:) ) and she says it is her treasure. Isn't she cute?! She always says she is so lucky to have me, because it doesn't even seem like I am a greenie. That is super nice of her to consistently say, especially when she should be pulling her hair out in frustration because of how little I know :) I am learning a lot from her. Companionship prayer is awesome! Praying with someone definitely helps unity.
I love you all so much! Thank you for keeping the blog updated- I know you are all so busy, and yet you take the time to do this for me. Thank you!!
Sister Kimber Mahrt