Sunday, March 10, 2013
Great Expectations- January 30, 2013
dearest family wu an!
sorry i didn't email on monday but it has been a crazy couple of days so hang on to your wienerschnitzel and tranja and i will unveil the exciting events in the life of this missionary that happened in the blink of an eye.
last week after i emailed you we found out some big news. president bishop called sister t and told her she would be training one of the incoming missionaries which meant i was getting kicked out of our wonderful area!!!!! i was totally devastated. i loved that place so much and had been really happy there...sister t and i had also been through a lot together and seen much success. she and i have become great friends and now the news that we were to be severed from one another was almost too much to bear! zhou mama's baptism was scheduled for saturday....but i had to leave friday morning so the new trainee could come in.
president bishop said i could stay with the sisters in a nearby area who go to the same chapel as us but then on THURSDAY our zone leaders called to give us some more details and informed me that i would actually be going to stay with the sisters in an area an hour away which meant i wouldn't get to see zhou mama get baptized. i was pretty sad....we've been working so hard with her and i feel a very special connection to her. before i left she and her daughter (a new member of a little over a week :) ) gave me a card and a gift. the gift was inside a burlap bag which zhou meimei had painted hello kitty pictures on when she was little. inside all wrapped up in newspaper was an old glass bottle with a little model ship inside. it was one of the most precious gifts i've ever received and it was gut wrenching to say goodbye to them. i was also terrified because i wondered why i would go all the way to this other area unless president bishop was going to ask me to go senior companion there......the sister there who is senior companion had already been there for 6 months so it seemed like a big possibility. also in march we're getting 2 huge waves of new missionaries so there's a terrifyingly high chance that i could potentially train one of them. i left my area with all these worries pressing down on me. when i said goodbye to sister t at the mission home i felt exactly like mr. rochester when he tells jane that if she leaves the bond he feels between them will snap "and I would bleed. inwardly." it was so hard. she taught me so much about being me and made every day just exquisite.
i biked over to my new (temporary) area with sister b and sister r....with a huge backpack on my back and another enormous bag of crap on my handle bars and one of them took my 3rd bag (i swear i tried to pack light). the journey was pretty arduous and i was panting like a dog the whole way but sister b and r are both used to that area so they went all lance armstrong on me and i just biked as hard as i could till i thought my thighs would explode from the pressure. we had a very interesting few days together in which i almost did not cease praying. i was pretty convinced this was going to be my new area.....an enormous span of city....covering two wards that meet on the 19th floor of an office building. i tried really hard to start memorizing street names and the layout of the city, as well as investigators/recent converts/less actives and all their situations.
when i got there the 3 of us fasted because the sisters had been struggling to find new investigators. about 20 minutes after we had started the fast we had some pretty major miracles including a member giving us a referral (kind of rare and so precious).
my heart was heavy and sick with worry...how could i possibly do this? how could I be the senior companion in a place like this? sister r put me greatly at ease with her zestyness and her pure genuineness. she reminds me so much of a combination of aunt liz and my friend davi (too good to be TRUE! but really....). the longer i was there the more i felt at ease. i felt like my chinese was sharper and stronger, i was able to connect to the people we met with and remember important things. i felt safe and strong and i just prayed to Heavenly Father and said "if this is what you really want, i'll do it. but i cannot do it without you. please help me to be brave." every scripture i read in personal study was a great healing comfort to me and every lesson made me feel empowered and invigorated. on saturday afternoon they had their own baptism....a really special girl whose english name is "sponge" (after the one and only spongebob squarepants!) in her 20 minute testimony (extremely moving and just....beautiful) she said the biggest blessing of baptism was change. we can change our hearts and change who we are. she was so grateful. i thought of my dear zhou mama in taiping getting ready for her own baptism a few hours later. i'm so happy i could help her a little on her journey and i'm so proud of her i could just fly.
i learned a lot from these two sisters and before we knew it, it was saturday night. we were pretty anxious/excited as we waited for the phone call from the district leader to tell us about the new move call assignments. when he finally called the 3 of us were huddled around one cell phone with it on speaker phone. "do you want to know about sister mack first? or sister b?" he asked. we all said my name cause well duh we knew i was staying, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he said "sister mack is going to D with sister l!!!!" WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?! YES! it's TRUE!!!!!!!! the very same sister l i went on exchanges with only a few weeks ago!!!!! i was so flooded with relief i dashed all around and finally collapsed on the floor/couch. it was way too much excitement.
i got to call sister t that night and i asked her about zhou mama's baptism. she said it was beautiful and that right before she went into the font she gave sister t a big hug and then looked right into her eyes and said "thank you." when she told me i sighed very wistfully and dramatically put my hand over my heart....it was a bit of a silly reaction but it was exactly perfect for how i felt. i'm so happy.....so so happy. this is what it's all about. and i even sort of feel like it's kind of cool that i had to leave before i saw the next step in her conversion......like i just went out as quietly as i went in....hardly anyone noticed and those who did will forget in a few weeks. ninja missionary work is the best. you just glide from place to place making as much honey as you can (like livi talked about when she quoted elder ballard) and then you flitter away to the next field of flowers. that was a terrible metaphor....i really wanted to combine them but i'm so out of time! yikes.
so now here i am in D, a perfect combination of city and country. our area is pretty big i think (i don't quite know yet...i've only been here for like less than 3 days) but one minute you’re dodging through traffic and the next you're surrounded by sprawling fields of flowers, wheat, vegetables.....all under the span of a sweeping blue sky. it's divine.
i've been thinking about what i could learn from my experiences the past few days.....i loved what i read earlier this week in 2 nephi 4:34 "o Lord, i have trusted in thee, and i will trust in thee forever." i don't know exactly why things have happened the way they did...but i trust God had some things to teach me. one was to meet sister r (a dearly kindred spirit: speaker of spanish and appreciator of homemade salsa), one was to remind myself about being a honey bee ninja missionary....and one was to trust God's power and to learn to cheerfully submit to His will in all things even if it feels impossible....and then to know He hears my prayers and understands my concerns....and so He sent me to D to be with Sister L. She's a pretty little thing, my new companion. she is gentle and patient and extremely kind. we are getting along quite swimmingly and although the area feels a bit rough (i think i'm just still adjusting) i feel so full of hope and even if i don't see big results i can just feel the changes that are going to take place in me.....i'm going to stretch a lot here. i'm going to work harder than i ever have before and just.....live deep in this work....sucking the marrow out of life as i go (dead poet's society!!!!)
this week we didn't have regular p day cause our zone got to go to the temple in taipei. oh by the way, did i mention that elder BODEN C IS IN MY ZONE!?!??!?!!! and i will be seeing him on a REGULAR BASIS?!?!?!!!!!!! i was thrilled when i found out. it was so incredible to be at the temple with him today. i went in with a few concerns and questions weighing down on my mind but seeing boden there just helped me feel the spirit. he is an incredible missionary. i prayed and prayed to have a spiritual experience at the temple and when the session was almost over i just felt overwhelmed with pure joy. i just know everything is going to be alright. i felt so connected to my family in the present and in generations past and future. the best of all is God with us, my friends. today He was in my heart and it burned like a fire. it burned so good. i feel full of hope and just ready to press forward...full speed ahead! we also watched a movie on the bus today about pioneers....17 miracles. i felt very inspired and i just thought...i want faith like that. i want to sacrifice like that. so here we go :)
i'll keep going and you keep doing your thang and on monday i'll write again with more stories from the chronicles of coco in D....this place has magic in it :)
i love you all dearly. thank you for the emails.....i will try to respond to them next week when we have a bit more time.
love love love