Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Whistle While We Work

To all who read this:

Mail me, NOT email me, your favorite talk from General Conference! I'd like to have a physical copy of your favorite talk. I'm a poor missionary and it's 10 cents a page, which adds up fast. Feel free to make notes on it about why you like it or whatever. I love reading talks!

[side note: I've included the correct address at the end of this post.]

Last Wednesday, my companion Hermana Sorensen got a phonecall that her visa came through. She was waiting here in Oregon for about 3 months for her visa to come through so she can go to the Mendoza, Argentina mission. When the phonecall ended, I was initially so excited for her, but within 30 seconds we were each in tears.

She leaves the 22nd of October. I'm so incredibly SAD to see her go, but am grateful for the 3 weeks heads up we received, instead of the normal 3 or 4 days notice. We are definitely making the most of it. The week before I left, my mom told me that on the mission I would make friendships that'd last long beyond the 18 months. Whether she likes it or not, Hermana Sorensen will not see the last of me!

Anyway, this week, we met up with Gloria. I can't remember if I talked to you guys about Gloria, but here it goes:
First day we met her, on September 4th. She is an elderly old lady, of Mexican decent but speaks 100% English and ZERO Spanish. She was working in her pumpkin garden. We just went up casually and talked for about 15 minutes or so. Then we brought up the church and how we'd love to help her out in her garden sometime and share a message with her. She agreed! We were pumped. Told us to come by two days later.

Two days later, the 6th. We stopped by and she wasn't home at the time she said she would be. We were kinda bummed but we tried the next day!

Next day. She answered the door, but stood far away. "I thought you guys were going to come yesterday, not today!" And we told her we stopped by and everything, and she said, "Well. I'm busy. I'll have to see you guys later." And said goodbye to us in a rush. We were totally bummed and got the vibe she just was not interested. But we kept her in mind and made note to come back again.

Next few weeks: We worked our butt off with the Spanish branch. We met up with a lotta Spanish investigators and members and cut back on the English work to get everything ready for the fireside we were having. Gloria entered our minds, but we decided to try the week after the fireside.

Week after the fireside: We stopped by to see Gloria. She welcomed us back with open arms, and was SO excited to see us! We were shocked. We talked for a little bit and realized her entire left side doesn't move, she had a stroke 17 years ago and her entire left side doesn't function. She told us: "It was time to harvest all the vegetables and pumpkins and everything, and I was getting so overwhelmed that I thought of you two. I waited outside a lot just hoping you guys would pass by my garden again...." Our hearts just BROKE.. she harvested all her veggies all by herself, in the rain. We were so sorry, and offered our services with anything else. She gladly accepted our offer of having the Young Men in the ward work on trimming her trees and stuff. We then more-formally introduced the Book of Mormon and bore our testimonies about it. It was a short 10 minute lesson or so, but Gloria told us how much she loved to read and promised us she'd read it! She gave us pumpkin bread and zuccini bread and invited us back next week for us to talk about the Church.

Week later: we came back, having plans to teach her the first lesson. But we had a nagging impression to talk about the ressurection and second coming first, to talk about how our bodies will be perfect after we die. We knew Gloria struggled with her frail, disabled body. So, we did just that. She was so intrigued. "I just knew it would all be okay. I didn't know what it was exactly, but I just knew something like that would happen! I did!" We proceeded by teaching her the 1st lesson and bits and pieces of the second lesson. We committed her to pray and read, and the first thing she said was, "you had me hooked by the first thing you said. Everything you've talked about so far makes sense to me. So, of course I will!"

I think of every instance we had with Gloria, and every step of the way the Spirit was whispering to us what we should do. ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT. Sometimes, it is scary. Sometimes, it doesn't make sense. Sometimes, you are not even sure it's the Spirit or your own brain. It doesn't matter, LISTEN TO IT! You never know what can happen.

Along with listening to the Spirit, constantly seek for opportunites to serve. How many member missionary talks were there this weekend? 3? 4?! Always ask yourself, AND your friends, "is there someone I/you know that can benefit from learning more about Jesus Christ?"

We ate dinner at a member's house (the Andersons) Wednesday night, and after sharing a message, we almost forgot to ask but did: "Is there anyone you know of that could benefit from meeting a couple of sister missionaries?!" And they said, "Well...actually. Our next door neighbor, who is spanish-speaking, has been dealing with a lot lately. Her daughter has cancer and is in the hospital, and they are either always working or always at the hospital. They got a notice from the city last week about having to powerwash the graffiti off their fence, and they are struggling to find the time, and they will get a fine if they don't."

Ohhh you just KNOW we jumped on that bad-boy like Gollum jumped on Frodo...minus the finger biting. We got some powerwashers and manpower and got straight to it! Pictures attached, no it's the not the finished product.

The family was so incredibly grateful I almost cried. Service is bliss.

Anyway, follow the Spirit and be brave. Sometimes we are too scared/distracted to share the gospel, that we choose not to save those people instead.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Blanchard

CTR = Choose the right!
Anything send to Stephanie should now be sent to:
Oregon Salem Mission
Hermana Blanchard
700 Deborah Rd. Suite 260
Newberg, OR 97132

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