Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unexpected Gifts (January 23, 2017)

Monday - After yet another district pday due to the amount of snow and ice still on the ground, we stayed at the church to wait for Jesus and the Stls so that he could have his baptismal interview. We did some phone tracting while we waited and had some pretty interesting conversations, we even taught a lesson over the phone! Once the STLs got there and everything was being worked out, we heard rumors of another ice storm that would trap us in the Dalles (yes I'm being dramatic, at this point that's really how I felt).

Tuesday - Exchanges! If there isn't something odd or out of the ordinary that happens during exchanges, it almost can't be a real one. We did some running around and service before splitting off to convert the world. While in a lesson with Jesus and the Omans, the storm that we were hoping was a rumor hit and the freezing rain began to come down and coat literally everything. We met and talked to a lot of really neat people. We were definitely guided to those who were searching and even though a lot of them fell through later in the week, the experiences we had were prime teaching and learning moments. We were doing so good, I hadn't gotten stuck all day long, even with all of the ice until the moment that we went to pick up the other sisters. Then we got super stuck. I laughed (somewhat hysterically because literally this is a regular thing) and Hna Torrez, the STL from Georgia, who had already been wide eyed at all the snow, was like, "What do we do???" She gets out of the car to try and back me, so I could rock back and forth and suddenly from the nearby trailer, a man runs out. She looks at him in desperation and says "I'm from Georgia!" (in Spanish). He grins and replies, "I'm from Mexico!" Then he wriggled under the car without gloves or anything and got us hooked up to his Jeep and pulled us out after a couple of tries.

Wednesday - So today was all around an up and down roller-coaster. We knocked on some doors (we walked a lot because there was a 2 inch layer of ice on everything) and they all had a similar answer - "You're seriously still out there doing missionary work???" One just looked at us in disbelief, another told us no thanks but please be careful and another gave us a packet of hot chocolate and and asked us to please not die on her driveway (which was crazy sketchy with the ice). C called us that night and told us that her power had been out for the last 10 hours and she was afraid that Kishkumen (the fish) was going to die and asked us to take him. I thought she was going to put him in a jar and have us babysit (which is super not kosher) but instead she gave us his whole tank. So now I will tell you the whole story.

Kishkumen Oliblish was originally Mary's fish and his name was Obama. Obama killed Hillary and Trump, her other two fish, and ate the snail she had gotten to replace them. So she was going to flush him down the toilet and as he is a creation of God, we had to save him! So then we had a fish. Flashback to a couple of weeks ago where I told the story of the horrible day of knocking and how we gifted the newly named fish to C and J. So then it comes back to the present where we go and rescue this fish. And so now we have a pet fish and like 5 takers that just need to actually take him. Again, I would like to bear my testimony that missionaries should not have pets because ain't no body got time for them.

That night we also were informed that Zone Conference would be cancelled. But just for the Dalles Zone. It made us cry a little bit and in a moment of weakness, I declared that we were going to knock the entire town of White Salmon, from 12-8 o'clock on Thursday, the day we were supposed to be in Yakima. And such was the insanity that inspired one of the best days we've ever had.

Thursday - The Zone Leaders called us, and I told them of our plan. So they offered a bet. Whoever talked to the least amount of people owed the other companionship smoothies. We accepted and creamed them. Just kidding. But it was one of the most fun days I have ever had on my mission so far. We were constantly searching for people, knocking on doors, offering service, it was seriously so much fun. We had some really awkward experiences, spiritual experiences and just plain awesome experiences. I have learned that if you can just distract someone long enough to show them that you are a human being and really care for their well-being, they will allow you to share a bit of your happiness with them. We found some new investigators and talked to a couple of people that had investigated in the past and were interested in learning a bit more. We lost really badly, but it completely renovated our entire companionship and how we do the work. We have no fear and our goals mean so much more now. AND the biggest blessing of it all came at the end of the day.
   Because we were constantly talking to people all day, we were able to not think about how we were missing Zone Conference. At the end of the day though, we were tired and a little bit bummed to have missed it even though we had done so much good. Then the Zone Leaders called again. First we admitted defeat and then they dropped the bomb. Are you ready?? Are you sure???
WE'RE GOING TO WENATCHEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR ZONE CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I might have started crying just a little bit. But it was the most amazing blessing that I could have ever imagined. And the phrase came to my mind, "You can have what you want, or you can have better."

Friday - Friday I almost killed an older couple. We came barreling down their driveway as they were coming up and they had to jump into a snowdrift and we missed them by a foot. I'm famous in the ward now because shortly after that I lost completely control and got wedged perpendicular in the driveway. Then John came to save us and almost t-boned us and the Kings had to jump back into the snowdrift. Needless to say, I will forever be known as the sister who almost killed the Kings. *sigh* Then that night we got stuck again. We're just actually always stuck and I destroyed Jesus's flashlight. He gave us each a half of it to remember it. It was a nice, heavy duty flashlight. And I destroyed it with the car. *double sigh* Martha had fun though. She was really glad she wasn't curled up on her couch in her pajamas and heated blanket and that instead she was tramping through 2 feet of slush and then barreling down the driveway to escape the grip of the snow. It was craisy.

Saturday was good.

Sunday - Twas a crazy day. I forgot to get gas and so we almost didn't make it home, we had church in White Salmon, banged on Jesus's door lots to try to get him to wake up and come to church to no avail, taught the funniest and most changed 10 year old I have ever met, talked to a couple of super sweet Baptists for about an hour and a half in Lyle (the man was named Timmy, reminded me of Timo), rushed up to dinner 30 miles away, had the gas light turn on, said lots of prayers, had tacos, visited the ZigZags which was an experience that will stay with me forever. She has really badly progressed dementia and there isn't much we can do to help. Poor Brother Zigzag has his hands full and so we ran up to their house to deliver dinner. Then I played the piano that can become a harpsicord and just played a bunch of hymns while Hna Hernandez danced with Sis Zigzag and it was such an incredibly tender experience. As we left, Brother Zigzag  quietly said "Thank you. Thank you so much." We returned to the Raths (codename) and had a really neat lesson where everyone bore their testimony of the Book of Mormon. Then we turned to Matt's gf, Taylor and asked her if she wanted to learn more and she accepted a Book of Mormon from the Raths and the first two pamphlets from us! We're meeting with her again on Wednesday.

I love this gospel so much and I am eternally grateful for the Atoning sacrifice of Christ that allows us to change and become something more. I truly have a testimony that it is not just through faith that we are saved but "through grace after all we can do." This doesn't downplay the Atonement and sacrifice that Christ made for us but it allows us to utilize it to "cut off the hand that offends us" so that we can soar to heights that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. I know that this church is the Restored church, I know that God loves us and I know that the Atonement is real.
I love you all so much and hope you all have a wonderful week! (hopefully a warmer one than the ones we have had lately)

Hna Baird

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