I'll get to that in a minute.
But first of all, let me explain something to you: miles. As a missionary with a car, we are given a certain number of miles we're allowed to use each month. As such, we have to budget our miles, since sometimes we have to go to like zone meetings and whatnot that are approximately all-of-our-miles far away. So pretty much we try to ride bikes or walk as much as we can, and only drive when we must, in order to save miles. Since we have such a huge area here in Lake Charles, we get 1350 miles a month, or approximately 45 miles a day, which may seem like a lot, but really it isn't. With our investigators so far spread out, we can honestly bike all day and then drive to one appointment and back and still use 30 miles a day. So we have to be careful. So, keeping that in mind, this last Monday - our p-day - we as a district had decided to go down to the Gulf. Since miles are precious, I asked the elders how far the Gulf was, to which they responded about 30 miles. We're pretty good about budgeting our miles, so we had some saved up, and figured yeah, we could totally do that. So Monday came and off we went down the Gulf, which was much more like 60 miles away than 30. Yes indeed. Which was why, after arriving home, 125 miles down the drain, we had to go to the church and get some priesthood ice cream, because ice cream is one of the only three proven methods of helping lower my stress level (the others being Dove chocolate and intensive lap swimming). But anyways, 125 miles aside, our day at the Gulf was a lot of fun. We had a missionary beach party, which essentially means that we parked the car on the beach and blasted "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" while drinking fruit soda, eating sandwiches, and staring wistfully out at the ocean. And then also poking at dead jellyfish. Just because.
Anyways, the whole companion-throwing-the-keys away thing.
So last week, Sister Johnson and I had just gotten home after a long day and were tallying up our miles for the day, and then Sister Johnson - who had been driving - took a bag of trash we had to go toss it in the dumpster by our apartment. A few minutes later, I hear: "Um, sister? I threw the keys away."
"I threw the keys in the dumpster."
"You threw the keys in the dumpster?"
"Well, I was throwing the trash away, and the keys were in my hand, and I threw the trash in, and accidentally I threw the keys too."
Keep in mind that this is a BIG dumpster, not some little trashcan, but a DUMPSTER. And it's like 9pm. And it's dark. So I ask Sister Johnson if she can like see the keys at all, and where she threw the trash, and she said that the keys were probably at the back of the dumpster. "I have a flashlight." she said. "I'll go get it."
"Where's your flashlight?" I asked.
"In the apartment." she said.
And then I just sort of looked at her for a minute.
"Oh, right." she said finally. "We'd need the keys."
So to make a long story short, we went and knocked on our neighbor's door, who was asleep and didn't answer (fact: everybody here goes to bed at like 8 and wakes up at like 12) and so Sister Johnson says she has her camera with her, and there's a flash on it, and maybe if she takes pictures of the inside of the dumpster she'll see where the keys are.
And you're not gonna believe it, but that actually worked.
She found the keys, we fished them out, and the whole thing ended up not being nearly as bad as it could've been.
This past week we were on exchanges, and I was here in Lake Charles with our Sister Training Leader, Sister Kulu, who is pretty much the bomb. Love her. Anyways, we went to go teach this guy, Duncan, and his friend, Sean, was there. Now, Sean is a really nice guy, but he spent the whole lesson kind of rocking back and forth in his chair. And then he interrupts and goes, "um, excuse me, I don't mean to cut you off, but you know what really aggravates me? When you're walking, and people just keep saying 'hi' to you. I don't understand why people do that! I'm walking! I don't want people to be talking to me, they just interrupt my thinking. Why do they gotta do that? Say hi? I just don't understand! It makes me so angry!" Yup. As missionaries, we must aggravate so many people because we just say 'hi' to everybody all the time. Haha.
Sister Kulu and I also went and saw our investigator Mary, who is living in a rest home while her hip heals. Her roommate, Nell, is like the cutest little old lady who is a little senile but just at the point where it's funny - like she laughs all the time. Non- stop. No joke. And she likes to push Mary around in her wheelchair (can't you just see them? These two little old ladies, menaces of the nursing home). Anyways, Mary was telling us about how the nurses have to keep a close eye on their room cause they're troublemakers. For example, apparently they're not allowed to have curling irons in their room, but Mary always likes to look really nice and always does her hair and everything, so in the morning she gets her curling iron out and she and Nell booby trap the door to their room so that if a nurse starts to come in, they have a hard time doing so, giving Mary enough time to unplug and hide the curling iron. Yup. Nursing home lawbreakers.
And now, allow me to share with you a little epiphany I had this week.
This week, appointment after appointment after appointment fell through, usually when we had members with us, which made it especially horrible as we're standing on the doorstep forever. And we seriously did so much to make everything work out every day, and then it just didn't, because that's life for you. But then I was reading in Matthew one morning during personal study (we are doing a mission wide reading of the New Testament, now that we all finished the Book of Mormon) and I read Matthew 14:17-18, which is the story of Christ feeding the five thousand. I was especially struck by how he looks around at the huge crowd, and asks what food there is, to which they say "we have but five loaves, and two fishes." In other words - we've only got a little bit. It's just not gonna cut it. But then Christ says, "Bring them hither to me." So they gave him all they had, and somehow, miraculously, all five thousand were fed. Now, could the five loaves and two fishes have made it anywhere if they just handed them out? Nope. Maybe like ten people would've been fed, but not five thousand. But when they gave it ALL to Christ, he made it work. Five loaves and two fishes is just a little, all we have to offer is just a little, and if we try and do things on our own it's just not gonna cut it. It's not gonna feed the five thousand. But when we give it all, as little as it may be, to Christ, he can make it so much more, and everyone is fed. So yeah. Pretty remarkable.
I love you all. Thank you all for your prayers, for your support, and for your love. It means so much to me.
Sister Bayley Enright