So I'll be honest with you - I don't know how I feel about being 21. I guess it actually won't really change anything, since everybody already thinks I'm old. For instance, our first district meeting this transfer, our new District Leader, Elder Kleinman, is talking to me and asks "so does it bother you when everyone asks if the age change affected you?" and I kind of looked at him confused and he goes "you know, like you're out here because of the age change?" and I was like "um, the age change did affect me" and he just sort of sits there for a minute and then was like "wait, how old are you?" So yeah. Pretty much everybody here thinks I'm like 42, so I guess being 21 really is no big deal.
But anyways. On to more important matters.
I have four stories for you all today.
Story #1: Rhoda
So last Hour of Power (so not this past Thursday, but the Thursday before that) we knocked on this lady's door and were all like "Hi. Missionaries. Book of Mormon. Please?" (that's not verbatim, but you get the idea) and she told us to come back, so Monday night we go over there, Book of Mormon in hand, armed and ready to teach her all about the Restoration. At the conclusion of our appointment, we asked her if she'd pray to know if it was true. She looks at us and goes "well I already know it's true. It just makes sense." And we just sort of sat there for a minute and stared at her, wondering if this was real life, and then I asked her to be baptized and she agreed. It was truly incredible. Probably the most powerful first lesson I've ever been at, hands down. She then asked us to come back on Wednesday, and after our second lesson all about the Plan of Salvation, she told us that she's really seen God working in her life since she met us. We asked her what she meant by that, and she told us that she has been wanting and trying to stop smoking for a long time, but just hasn't been able to do it. But then the Monday after she met with us, she was out shopping and got to talking to this man who's had all these horrible health complications due to smoking and that listening to him just really made her want to re-commit to stop smoking. So she decides "okay, I'll buy just one last pack and this is IT." So pack in hand, she goes home, only to realize that she really has no urge to smoke anymore. None. Even with her brother smoking next to her, she just doesn't want a cigarette. But, she reasons, she just bought one last pack so might as well have this one last pack and then she is DONE. So she goes to get this pack only to find that it has completely vanished - gone. But she's told herself that she's just going to have one last pack, so she goes to the store again and buys a second last pack, gets home, goes to get a cigarette, only to find that this pack too has completely vanished. Gone. At this point, she told us, she realized that God must just really not want her to smoke, and she doesn't even want to even more, so she is done. Yup. She pretty much taught herself the Word of Wisdom lesson. That, my friends, was a miracle. She came to church on Sunday as well, and if all goes according to plan will be baptized in just a few weeks. MIRACLES, people. They're everywhere.
Story #2: The Power Outage
So earlier this week, we were at the home of our investigator, Barbara, this old lady who lives by herself, reading out of the Book of Mormon together when all of the sudden the power goes out. So we get up to try and find some light, but despite the approximate four million candles in the house, Barbara doesn't appear to own any matches. So after like 30 minutes of looking around for matches, I remember that we have a member who lives just down the street, and we tell Barbara to wait and we'll go run and get a flashlight or matches from him or something. So we grab our Books of Mormon and out we go, and we get to where our car is parked (in the parking lot of the apartment place where Duncan lives) and see two people with flashlights walking around our car and looking into it and being generally sketchy. "What are y'all doing?" Sister Johnson yells, and we walk over to our car where the man proceeds to tell us that we are parked on private property and the police have been called and they're going to tow our car. At this point I saw the rest of my mission flash before my eyes, and also I may have suddenly developed an ulcer. I do that to myself a lot. So the guy said we better get our keys and get our car out of here, and he and his buddy go back into the apartment place. And at this point Sister Johnson tells me that she left the keys back at Barbara's house. And that was when fainted. Not really. But if this had been a movie and I the fainting type, this would've been where I fainted. Instead I just sort of had a mini panic attack and we sprinted back to Barbara's and grabbed the keys. Note: sprinting in flats is HARD. But we did it. And we got the keys, and we moved the car, and Sister Johnson turns to me and goes "they were totally going to break into our car." And I was like *unintelligent mumble* and we get back to Barbara's, where we park the car, and ta-da! The power comes back on. And I stand 100% convinced that that power outage was a blessing from God, a way of sending us back to our car so it wouldn't get broken into or stolen. I had Nutella in the car, after all. That just couldn't happen.
Story #3: Preston's blessing
So Preston is this guy we've been teaching who is pretty much my favorite. This week we taught him the Word of Wisdom, and in reading through the pamphlet we came across the suggestion for "get a priesthood blessing" for help and he asked what that was and so we explained it to him and he asked if he could get one - he's been going through a lot of hard things, and just wants to be baptized but can't get Sundays off work, and you can't be baptized if you're not coming to church. So we arrange with some of our elders for them to come with us to his appointment the next day and to give him a priesthood blessing, and let me tell you, that blessing was like the most incredible thing ever. It was so powerful, and at the end of it Preston was tearing up and thanked the elders so much and told us afterwards that he had never felt that way before, and that he knew that blessing had come from God, and that it was all true. It was one of the most incredible spiritual experiences I've ever witnessed - hands down. Priesthood blessings are real, guys. Preston told us he "felt it in his heart."
Story #4: the Primary Program.
Yesterday was the Lake Charles primary program. Always my favorite sacrament meeting. This particular primary program should've counted as a member present lesson if you ask me - they pretty much taught the whole first lesson out of Preach My Gospel except much cuter and with more songs. Fact: primary is magical. True story. But anyways, the highlights from this particular primary program were the little boy in the front row who waved literally NONSTOP the entire meeting (seriously) and also the little boy who ended his brief little blurb on the creation with "my favorite thing that Jesus created...is dinosaurs." Yup. Best sacrament meeting ever.
And now, without any attempt at a graceful transition, since it *is* my 21st birthday, and since I'm obsessed with lists, I wanted to share 21 things I've shared on my mission so far. So here goes.
1. Miracles are real. Obviously.
2. Mission calls are inspired.
3. It's entirely possible to live off peanut butter and tortillas. Not ideal, perhaps. But possible.
4. We can't really do for others as Christ would do, until we love others as Christ does.
5. Listening and following the Spirit doesn't always mean pausing your life to listen and follow, but to live you life in such a way that he is guiding your every step.
6. Any awkward situation can be de-awkwardized by bringing brownies.
7. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the truest most correct and perfect book on earth.
8. Gym shorts are a tender mercy of the Lord.
9. Everything tastes better either on rice or deep fried. Or both.
10. Having faith to move mountains isn't so much about believing that we can move mountains as it is about trusting God, with whom all things are possible, and who could easily move a mountain through you.
11. Yogurt lids make great plates.
12. If you live in the south but have no interest whatsoever in football...don't tell anyone that. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
13. You can't look classy riding a cruiser bike in a skirt and helmet. You just can't.
14. People are amazing.
15. Crunch berries work as a fruit serving.
16. Priesthood power is real. Obviously.
17. Primary songs are the best.
18. God ALWAYS answers prayers. ALWAYS.
19. Everybody everywhere should read "Our Search for Happiness."
20. Sticky notes are among man's greatest inventions, next to the postal service and deodorant.
21. The greatest work we can do here on earth is help others find that path that will take them home to their Heavenly Father. Whether in full time missionary work, member missionary work, temple work, parenthood, whatever work we may be involved in - the work of the kingdom of God on earth is the most important, the most difficult, and the most rewarding.
I love you all. Thank you for your birthday wishes, for your prayers, and most especially for your work and help in aiding the Lord's work.
Sister Bayley Enright