Happy Birthday Dad!!! How was your birthday? I am sorry I didn't wish you a happy birthday last week :( I was thinking of it-I really was!- but then I started typing up my feelings on Grandpa and I completely forgot by the end of the email. I hope your birthday went well though. I love you!
I have been thinking about my last email all week, and I really hope that I didn't sound like a calloused sicko that doesn't really care if her Grandpa passes away. I really was sad. And I know things would have been a lot harder without distractions, without being 1000 miles away, and without being there for his death and funeral. Most of all I have been worried about you guys and how you have been doing. Has it been difficult? Is everyone OK? How are you, Dad? It is really difficult not being able to talk to everyone in person about it :( I hope you are all doing OK.
We had a baptism this week! It is for Kevinna. She has been taking the lessons from the missionaries since November, and this girl has caused me so much grief! :) I don't know if I have already told you much about her, but she referred her cousin, Audrie, to us a few weeks back and they are so funny together! They signed up to make us dinner on Thursday night (three days before Kevinna's baptism) and Sister Hatch and I were stoked for some authentic Indian Tacos! (she is native american) so we show up to Audrie's, and I take one look at Kevinna and almost have a seizure. She had about five new pairs of earrings in her ears, and a nice new lip ring!
My little missionary heart almost gave out on me!
I was freaking out on the inside, especially because I had my doubts earlier about her being ready, and now, WHAM!
Indian tacos were great, but I left her house with a lot of uncertainty. As soon as we got in the car, Sister Hatch and I just looked at each other before we started screaming (Sister Hatch has got me in this weird habit of doing a little fake scream thing when we feel uncomfortable, when we are anxious, tracting... pretty much any missionary moment warrants this weird scream thing). That night I was praying so hard to know if we needed to postpone the baptism. I did NOT want her being baptized if it wasn't a covenant she was ready for! Postponing a baptism is a big deal- we had done so much to make this baptism perfect so that a bunch of people were invited and it was a time when the 'power of godliness' could be manifest (D&C 84:20-21). Baptisms are supposed to be a time when the spirit is very strong, so all the missionaries in the zone are strongly encouraged to bring their investigators so the investigators can feel the spirit. All the preparations were almost complete, but I was ready to drop it all if I felt at all like this was wrong.
That night during planning, Sister Hatch and I talked about it for a LONG time, and Sister Hatch finally said, "You know, there isn't much we can do about it right now. We just need to go into her lesson tomorrow with faith, knowing that He will let us know if it is wrong or if it is right." That made me feel better. And then after planning she offered the sweetest, specific prayer and the spirit was definitely there. I felt myself instantly calm, and I was OK. The anxiety came back a little in the morning, because I didn't know exactly how we were going to bring up the fact that she needed to take out her rings or her baptismal date could be affected. But we went in and everything was perfect! She had had a difficult night, and for most of the time we just listened. Then we found an opportunity to give her service. By the time we brought up the standards, it wasn't scary to be bold because it felt right. And her reaction was incredible- she was so humble about it! She felt so bad that she had done what she did. She had just been ignorant, and wished she hadn't gotten all the piercings. When we left a little later, I felt so good. I wished I hadn't worried so much, because Heavenly Father really does answer prayers and will provide a way. I wish I didn't have to learn that the hard way all the time :)
At her baptism, my favorite part was when I looked up at her and her family in the front row during the musical number. They were all teary-eyed and hugging each other, the spirit was definitely there. I had this vision pop in my head of them all in the temple, dressed in white, being sealed to one another. Such a sweet feeling! Wow, I love missionary work!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how much a mission is like a little mini life. I have had a hard time sometimes, because I hear the testimonies of those at the end of their missions, who look back and she how much they have grown and how much they have learned. I can't wait for that! I can't wait to be at the end, to look back and feel like I have done everything to my best ability, and be able to see you all again and move on with my life. It is hard to stay in the moment and enjoy all the contacting and phone calls (still trying to find joy in those...), just enjoying every single day I have out here. Because this is really hard! Dad, you were totally right- a mission is hard! I have no idea how 19 year old boys get out here and do this, because it is seriously more tough than I could have imagined. But isn't that true in our lives too? Before we came to Earth we were excited for the potential to become more like our Heavenly Father, and we couldn't wait! But then once you get to Earth, it gets a little tedious at times, and you just can't wait until we can be at the Savior's feet, to see Heavenly Father again, and to have that celetial life. Doesn't celestial life sound so incredible?! I can't wait! But enduring this life is how we get there, and I think finding joy in our everyday lives is what is going to make celestial life so enjoyable. And how do we find joy in this life? Oh, through the Atonement. His plan is incredible! So perfect.
Mom, have you ever tried sleeping with ear plugs? They are great! Sister Hatch sounds like a banshee when she sleeps, so the first night we were together she gave me ear plugs as a perk to the new companionship. They are really great! Some nights I don't need them, but other nights when I am awake for awhile because I can't stop thinking, I just pop those puppies in and the complete silence is actually soothing once you get used to it. Oh, and I used some Echinacia (sp?) when I started to feel sick, and voila! Sickness gone. That stuff works :) It seems like everyone has been getting sick out here, so I am so thankful my health has been great.
Father! How have you been? Are you still liking the job? I am glad I can trust you with your opinion and your insights- that has been something I have really relied on in my life. You are such a good example to me! It has been fun to think of what you were like as a missionary. How did you keep your mind focused only on your mission, and not on your family or life after the mission?!
Ray, I can't thank you enough for the music you burned me. It has been great to have some of those hymns. Sister Hatch and I have two favorite songs- Nearer My God to Thee and Praise to the Man. I think they are by Inside Out...? By some a cappella group, anyway. We play those songs and just BELT them OUT! It is so fun :) We started singing at the top of our lungs one time after an appt, and quickly remembered we had a member we were driving home from the lesson in our back seat O.o Whoops! So we pretended like we totally meant to be serenading her and just song louder. That poor, scarred individual... she will never be the same. But it has been a ton of fun, and even a source of feeling more united and easing tension, so thank you so much for spending your time doing that for me :) I never know how I am going to repay you, because you are always serving! You need to knock that off so I can catch up!
Megger and Lex, I am waiting to hear about tennis! How is it going? Megger, how was prom?!?! I want a picture!!!! You can't leave me out on this- I want the details girl! And Lexer, how is the art going? Do you have any pictures of the recent pictures you made? I want to see them! I heard your picture of Mr. Downey (what is that guy's name...?) won a prize of some sort. What happened?!
Brooke, I got your message from the ward letter that was sent. You are SO CHEEKY! "We are having a lot of fun without you' Where do you get this stuff from anyway?! You need to stop spending so much of your time with Mom- mom is too much of a tease ;)
Fam, life is good, and I am so glad I get to live with you all forever, because life without you is not so fun. I guess I have to learn appreciation somehow, right? :) Love you all!
Sister Kimber Mahrt