Monday, July 18, 2016

Are You the Sister Missionaries? (July 18, 2016)

 This week was really neat! We had exchanges, interviews with President and there are some new things that are going to be applied to the mission here, which I'm really excited about.

Monday was 7/11 and it was a blast! We got done with everything really soon and so I got to practice the piano and we played volleyball for a while. A member took us to get slurpees and we dropped them off by a couple of the elders who were sick and didn't get to do much for pday. We met some neat people as well. That night, we were walking home and came across a man crying on the bench. We walked by and my heart broke for this man who was clearly in an incredible amount of distress. We didn't stop because we thought he might need space but about three paces later we stopped dead. "We have to go back." As we were turning around, we see him quickly stand and call, "Wait are you the sister missionaries?" We quickly answered and asked if there was anything we could do to help. Turns out he was just stranded here. There was a job lined up for him that fell through and when he went to visit his sister, she apparently has moved and he doesn't have any food or money. We called our ward mission leader and got him addresses for food banks and then he said, "I used to be a Mormon you know." I ended up asking him what turned him away and we had a really in depth conversation about what made him leave. We eventually had to run home but he thanked us for talking to him and asked if he could meet up with us again as well to talk more. It makes me so sad to see those that know, that honestly truly know the truth, and let things blind them. He was such a neat individual who was so so loved by his Heavenly Father but that's the hard part. We can't make him do anything, we can't force him to come back.

Tuesday we had a similar experience. We We had a super awesome time with one of the YSA members who came out with us for a couple hours tracting mostly and then that night we were walking to visit a less active when a guy calls out to us, "Wait! Do you guys have any literature? You're missionaries right? Do you have anything I can read, I've been in a really low place for the last little while." I only had one English pamphlet left, and after giving it to him we talked for about an hour on the street. He has met with the missionaries before, he's been confused lately because he's searching for something but just can't find it. He likes the things that he's heard but he's also pushed away by it. He reminded me a lot of myself in a lot of different ways. Some of the things that he has struggled with and the different things that he is trying to decipher. It made me grateful once more for the gospel and the Atonement of Christ. Because of this gospel, I can find the answers to those questions. But again, I was reminded how critical agency is in this life. We have to choose it ourselves, we have to be able to open our hearts and our minds, turn our entire will over to Heavenly Father so that he can lead us, guide us, and shape us into what he knows we can become.

Wednesday we met a neat guy named Connor. He was pretty hippy but incredibly kind and listened to all that we had to say. We taught the Restoration, (a little brokenly because it was in English and I know it much better in Spanish) but he said we could send other missionaries over sometime.

Thursday we had interviews. President asked me to really focus on involving the members from the English wards in missionary work and on Friday, during exchanges, we began to put it into action. We stopped by some members, called the bishops of the other wards and got lists of people willing to help in the English wards as well. It's only the beginning but I'm so excited to see how this area is going to grow!

There are a couple of talks that I would really recommend.
"The Missionary Next Door"
"The Sarah Fulcher Case Study"

I love this opportunity to serve!
1 Nephi 9:6

Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

 After interviews! (yes my hair did change again. If you give Hermana Baird scissors..)​

  I dunno, we were early for church and everyone else was in classes..

 I guess it would look a little weird for anyone who passed by.

  She didn't tell me we were supposed to make faces..
 So we did it again ^.^

  ​One of our investigator friends has begun to work in the apple orchards. It's a constant cycle, cherry, apple, peach, pear, apple, cherry, etc. Although they have larger snakes that they put there to eat the rats, rattlesnakes are a common occurrence and he says they kill one or two a day at least. This particular one was 7 years old.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Learning Curve (July 11, 2016)

This week has been interesting. Monday was really neat, although we didn't do much anything other than email and shop before proselyting, we got to see a lot of really awesome people. We stopped by an old potential and found a new investigator entirely! Her name is Lucy and is really sweet. We shared a bit of the Restoration and talked about the Book of Mormon. When she saw the book, she got this excited look and we could tell she really really wanted it. She works crazy hours and so she couldn't meet the rest of this week, but asked it we could find a ride for her to church. We ended up running into her again on Tuesday, again looking for the old potential (they live in the same house) and we had an incredibly touching lesson. She has been through so much. She has lost everything she has but has always been drawn to the LDS church. My heart hurt for her and we felt so much love for her. We stopped by her house on Saturday night to see if she could make it and Celia answered the door. We asked for Lucy and she told us that she didn't know who that was, sorry but we could come back another day to have a lesson. We dropped by again on Sunday before coordination and told Daniel, our potential, to tell her someone will be by at 1:45. She called us at 2 to make sure that she could still get a ride and our awesome ward mission leader picked her up. I love Lucy. I have been able to feel the Savior's love for that dear, sweet woman and it pains me to see how much she has been suffering. At church she was silently weeping, especially as we talked about how families can be together forever. She brought her Book of Mormon and was reading the Gospel Doctrine manual intently in class. She's in a really hard spot right now and the second counselor asked what they could do to help. It was a humbling experience, to see how willing the members of the church were to do anything they could to help this woman who we had just barely found. She loved church and found a family there. I love our members so much and the unconditional love that they immediately surrounded her with. Late Sunday night we got a call from her. She asked us if there was any way that we could find her someplace to stay for the night, because Celia had kicked her out. We told her to call us in 10 minutes (she has a Mexico number and so we can't call her) and hurriedly called our ward mission leader. He was quiet for a moment and then told us he would make some calls. I felt horrible because earlier, when we were asked what the ward could do to help I had briefly mentioned that eventually she may need somewhere else to stay  because we didn't know what was going on where she was living now. And then it happened that very same night.

I understand now why missions are sometimes hard. Not because of physical things that occur, at least not for me in this point and time in my mission. But because of the spiritual and emotional pain that you go through, when you love the people with all of your heart and see them suffer. It is the best and the worst, to learn to love the people, to become their family and then be powerless. But that's the beauty of this gospel, to watch the Atonement of Christ heal the hearts and the souls of those whose souls have been trodden on by the world. This is the true church, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been given to us for the welfare of not only us but our families and those that we come to love so dearly.

We've had some really awesome lessons with people that aren't necessarily our investigators but are wonderful nonetheless. At the museum, we have been talking to the director. He's been attempting to embark on a spiritual journey to find the truth, to understand the whole reason for it all. We had a really neat lesson in his office (doors open of course) where we gave him the Book of Mormon and told him about the spiritual journeys that we have been on. He was really touched by it and asked us to come back. We met with Carmen y Tomas this week as well, we had dinner with them even and got to meet her mom. We didn't get to have a lesson per se, but we shared our testimonies of Christ, how we have personally been changed by His Atonement. I tend to feel a little bit small next to Hna Dungan often because she is so much older and has so much life experience under her belt. But I learned that simple testimonies can be just as powerful because they are something that everyone can find.

Transfers were a little crazy, my new companion is Hermana Marble and she is about to go home! It's definitely a new experience for me to have gone from a missionary much older than me in years and young in the mission, to young in years and old in the mission. We've had a lot of fun though, with a healthy amount of stress but it's so worth it.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. There are so many things that happen that are impossible to explain to anyone without every other participant. It is something so special and truly a treasure. During planning this week I had a little bit of a panicky moment. I have gotten out of training and am now supposed to take over the area. And we have no investigators. Which means it was a long time of going through the area book and finding every possible potential we could imagine to visit next week. I'm learning a lot about myself. At one point I started laughing/crying because who the heck thought I could do this. And my companion answered, "Heavenly Father." Of course that just made me worse because it is so humbling to be put in a situation that is a little bit bigger than you are and realize that it's because Heavenly Father trusts you with it.

I love this church and I love being a missionary.

Les quiero!

Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission