Monday, August 31, 2015

Waiting for the Purple Journal

Oh man, rough week. ROOOOOUGH week. But hey, suddenly it's p-day again and life is good. But, oh man. OH MAN. Sometimes you gotta have a rough one to know the good, and week four left me way stronger than it found me. 

Alright, onto the email! I felt like I needed an intro, a little warning about this week. It ended so well- maybe the best Sunday thus far. So, let's all keep that in mind as we chat. Not the happiest of happy times, but opposition in all things is the real deal and I endured. Plus, I got so much mail this week, because of all you faithful readers are so lovely and treat me too well. I feel like Heavenly Father was just collecting up all the mail for it to pour down this week, which was so lovely. Thank you for rocking my world and being the best fam and friends a missionary could ask for! 

Okay, let us begin. Monday was good times, normal p-day shenanigans. Sis Finlinson and I went on an epic Journal Hunt (2k15) with no success, but we did wander around all the cute little stores in downtown Beulah and found little adorable gems- good times. We (finally!) went to the Thueson's for dinner, the home of our beloved Branch President and his sweet wife. They are such a sweet little family. We did family home evening with them and they feed us these huge steaks. We talked about family and school and missions and disappointment, and I found out that Pres Thueson served in the Nebraska Ohama mission. It was so cool to talk to him about that and our crazy similar reactions to opening our calls. I felt significantly less like a weenie after talking to him. I left their home feeling so grateful that the Lord brought their family here- and brought me here. I need some fancy bread for all this cheese- the mission is turning me into quite the cornball. 
Thuesons and I looking adorable

Tuesday was, from a journal excerpt, "not our most successful day". I think when you have a pretty lazy p-day, ending with a too long dinner and no time after to do any actual missionary work; the week feels the post p-day burn. It took us a couple days to bounce back. We first met with Sister Stillson, our favorite 94-year-old woman around. She's adorable and wants to have us over for dinner one of these days. I just love her and love that she loves us. 
My sweet Sister Stillson 

We headed to the Rices next, who were just baptized in February. They moved to Beulah just a few weeks ago, and they have this crazy little puppy named Jake. We talked with them about the after baptism discussions and getting them to the temple...and the family as a whole seemed a little lukewarm about the whole thing. Maybe it was just an off day all around, but no fire of recent conversion. I just don't know, ya know?

We tracted between that meeting and our dinner, during which we met Dennis and Humbraldo (maybe not his name- we aren't quite sure...). We taught Humbraldo a brief Restoration, starting with the First Vision- it was crazy. We show him the picture of Joseph Smith and say the lines, and he tells us that he believes it all. Like, 100% belief on the porch of his house. It was pretty incredible. He gave us his cell phone number because he works crazy hours, but he wants us to stop by whenever we're in the neighborhood. Such a surreal experience. He's so ready for the gospel. We have an appointment scheduled with him this week, and we're bringing some Roundy's to seal the deal. It's going to be so good! 

We drove to Hazen after all that craziness, where we went to the Wielands for dinner. Ahh, the Wielands. Simply the greatest family, with such contagious convert fire. We invited them to our lesson with Kevin Kady (tracting during the storm story, remember?) on Friday, which they were super excited about. I just adore them. I am so grateful that they take such good care of us. When we pulled up, Bro Wieland opened their front door and waved from the screen- he's just a sweetheart. My heart is so full of Wieland love. They're right up there with the Roundys, really. Maybe even tied for first with the Roundys. They're simply the greatest.

Our last stop before heading back was the Lee's. Oh man, how I love the Lees! I love that you can see him comprehending the gospel and wanting to know more. We talked to him about the life of Joseph Smith and early church history. We answered his questions about prophets and missions...which slowly turned into questions about women and the priesthood. Sis Lee suggested we talk about the 12 keys of the priesthood next time, but we think we're going to focus in on Christ and His importance. We're planning on teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting him to be baptized, so we'll see how that goes. 

And on to Wednesday! We weekly planned to prep for our specialized training on Thursday, and, as we all know too well, weekly planning day is rough, rough, rough. It was disheartening to say the least, and an all day ordeal. AHH, such a necessary evil. If only weekly planning wasn't a thing. Our first outing of the day was to dinner (seriously, so much planning) at the Nottingham's. They just moved into Beulah last week, and they are the coolest family. They love Amazon and therefore love Seattle, so we had a good time chatting. Their four year old son, Josh, is quite the lady's man. While we shared a message, he went in for the hand hold and I'm still recovering from that kind of physical contact. Such a sly dog, that little Joshua. As we left, he let us know that he loves us, because he loves all beautiful women. I might just abandon this whole mission thing and take him up on the marriage proposals he gave to me. 

We ended up tracting for the duration of our evening, in the midst of which our Assistants to the President casually called us up. Before the mish life, I didn't understand the weight of statement. We, as two normal missionaries, can't even contact the Assistants without getting permission from our district leader and our zone leaders- we have to utilize the phone tree to get clearance to call them. We were freaking out, justifiably, but they just wanted to chat and talk about Beulah. So, we're not in dire circumstances and President Hess isn't coming down on us. Crisis averted, for sure.

Thursday was specialized training day in Bismarck, which was all about obedience. It wasn't like, my absolute favorite way to spend a day, and I left feeling a little defeated. But hey, we went to Targetttt (said in a cute tune, of course) after the meeting and life was good again. I got cute cards to ease my sorrow and we had some extra time to just rejoice in the fact that Target exists in North Dakota. I love Target. I love Target almost as much as I love the Roundys and the Wielands. Almost. We also had a quick detour at Barnes and Noble to righteously search for the journal of my dreams we couldn't find on Monday, and we were successful! Even in these rough weeks, where nothing seems to be going quite right, and no one seems to be listening...and the APs call unexpectedly...there is some beautiful purple journal waiting for you. And sometimes, if you hadn't had those few hard days, you would've never recognized the miracle of the purple journal and the Lord directing your path in order to find such that purple journal. Okay, it's not a perfect metaphor, but you get the idea. The purple journal is just so beautiful, and I get to use it for the first time tonight! Yahoo!

The purple journal of our week was our Kevin Kady lesson on Friday. We had a pretty great Friday morning, complete with the morning routine and regular tracting breaks. We met Kevin Bills (bringing the Kevin teaching count up to 3), a less active from Idaho that we are meeting with this week. Score! After that, we met the Wielands at our apartment and drove together to Kevin Kady's magical lesson. He is the investigator of my dreams. He is the reason we had such a rough week. Kevin Kady. And also, perhaps the greatest name of all human existence. I was immediately so grateful that we brought the Wielands, who just connected with him on every level. It was pure inspiration to bring them. About halfway through, I was 100% sure that he wasn't going to invite us back. But, sure enough, despite my crazed doubts, we're coming back this week! Yahoo! After we said the closing prayer, he wanted us to see his chickens! If that doesn't make us BFFs, I honestly don't know what would. We've bonded over his chickens (picture included, dontcha know) and he totally knows the church is true. Good things are going to happen with that man, I can just feel it!
 Kevin Kady's chickens (aren't they so pretty?)

After that beautiful lesson with our dear Kevin Kady, we ran to Humbraldo's with a Spanish Book of Mormon. We scheduled an appointment for this week and I'm super excited! It's going to be great! 

We headed to the Lee's after for dinner, where we laid down the law and it was awkward. We were blunt but our hopes for a baptismal date were dashed- he is content and comfortable. No date. But, we did try to address why he doesn't come to all three hours of church, and he retreated too fast. The walls came up and excuses were made. We have some theories, but no straight answers. We'll figure out how to move forward, but for now it kind of feels like we've hit a brick wall. We shall see, we shall see.

Saturday was SO GOOD. So good. We've made a tradition of Halliday Day Saturdays, where we drive up to Halliday and spend the day there (the name kind of gives it away, but whatever). It's a joyous time. We met with the Cooks first, recent converts who are inactive. They are super sweet, but we think there's some branch influence in their lack of church attendance. They haven't been in almost two years, and it's upsetting. Sis Cook made us cookies and they have the cutest dogs, and I already just adore them. They never got the new member lessons, and I think that's a contributing factor to their falling away. They have a real desire to come to church again and get to the temple, but they felt like they didn't matter after their baptism. It was just sad, and I'm so grateful that we went out and visited with them. We're coming back next Halliday day and going to get things started up again.

We ran to the Reidheads and the Youngs after that and shared quick messages with their families before meeting with Faye, who I just adore. She's this spunky 60 year old with tattoo sleeves and a totally marked up Book of Mormon. So many incredible investigators out here, I tell you what! She is just ready, and she 100% committed herself to come to church! It's outta control. We have to ponder who to bring to lessons, but it'll come. Oh man, that Faye. We talked about baptism and she let us know that she has to be totally ready to live the gospel before she'll pick a date. She gave us PowerAde and muffins as we left, such a sweetheart. As she handed us the muffins, she said, “Good for your bowels and good for a snack!” What a hoot! She's just the coolest.

We dined with the Towes and the Lees, eating Navajo tacos and laughing lots. It was such a good end to such a good day. Sis Lee's baby sister came and did a little Mary Kay demo after dinner. It was fun- especially watching Sis Towe try to figure out what to do. That lady is just another one of my faves. We got home and planned and called it a day. It was so nice to have such a good day after a couple bummer ones. Halliday day is always just the greatest.

Us after Mary Kay changed our lives (not actually though, lol)    
Sunday was another successful day- and Faye came to all three hours of church! She soaked up every second of it and took so many notes, and my heart was full. Bro Lee left after sacrament, but I couldn't even be disappointed. He doesn't have that burning desire to know right now, and that's okay. We'll continue to meet with their family, but seeing Faye at church reminded me of what this should be like. You can't force someone to want to know if the gospel is true- that desire has to work in them. Faye hugged us about three times before leaving, telling us mid hug that she would drop off enchiladas at our place next time she's in Beulah and that she can't wait for Saturday! Such an unexpected miracle that Faye has been! After our first meeting, I wasn't too sure what to think, but she has been so prepared and is so ready to receive the gospel. Great things are going to happen with my fave Faye, I can just feel it!

Sister Finlinson lounging after a good Sunday
So, even though it was little rough going, this week was incredible. Kevin Kady! Faye! The greatest members around! Your lovely mail pouring into my hungry mailbox! It's too easy to be happy here in Beulah, and I feel so grateful to be here. The gospel is true and the Atonement is real! I am incredibly thankful for a gospel that allows me to bounce back from a rough week and become better through my experiences. Missions are tough, but the joy outweighs all the hard times. 

I love you all so much!


Sister Robinson

Sister Finlinson and her first cherry dipped cone (my new fave)    

A random water tower picture

Our favorite horse of Hazen (we call him Dawntreader, naturally)