Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas in Pasadena (Bayley)

Well hello there everybody!
I have quite a lot to say today so I guess I should just dive right in.
Story numero uno (see - I'm practicing my Spanish, in hopes of my awkward Spanish door approaches becoming a wee bit less awkward)
So earlier this week Sister Boam and I were arriving home from a very long day of walking and knocking and more walking and more knocking, and we open our apartment door to see a little Christmas goodie bag on Sister Boam's desk.  As in, a little Christmas goodie bag that had not been there when we had left our apartment earlier that day, locking the door behind us.  We inspected it thoroughly, but there was no note at all, nor any trace of where this package came from.  Our reactions were as follows:

Sister Boam: oh how sweet of somebody to give us a Christmas present
Yeah, basically.

Seriously though.  There are exactly 2 other people who have keys to our apartment: the apartment people, and mission people.  So we first called up our fellow missionaries to see if they had received mysterious Christmas packages, to which they all said no.  Then we went around to visit a number of our neighbors (our apartment complex is home to 2 other sets of missionaries, as well as 2 of our investigators, several less actives, and our recent convert, Brian, so we had options) to discover that none of them had received little goodie bags.  So it wasn't the apartment, or the mission, so basically the only logical conclusion we've come to is that somebody broke into our apartment through a window to give us a gift of Doritos and Oreos and then escaped.  Yup.  We don't know how alarmed we should be about the whole thing, but since the Doritos, Oreos, and sodas all remain unopened, I think it's safe to say we're still a little concerned about someone trying to poison us - because seriously if there wasn't any poison-threat, those Oreos wouldn't last another second.
Except honestly it was probably some super nice person doing something super nice for the missionaries, and all my years of watching crime dramas have just made me paranoid and impossible to surprise due to the fact that whatever the situation I'm just going to think it's an assassination attempt.  True story.
Moving on.
Oh yeah - this week was CHRISTMAS!  Merry merry Christmas everyone, I hope your Christmas day was full of joy and delicious food.  Over here in THE mission, we had both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, so both days were spent eating excessive amounts of candy and other healthy things, and lounging around the church building.  Most of the other missionaries played volleyball, except I played chess.  Because that's just the way I roll.  Then actually on Christmas day we all went over to a members house, the Johnsons, where we were fed turkey and potatoes and all that goodness, and I spent hours playing Khet against an elder in our district - Khet is a board game that is basically chess with lasers, doesn't get much better than that.  So I guess you could say my Christmas was pretty wonderful, especially since I got to Skype my family home.  It was SO AMAZING to see them, especially to see my missionary brothers, the little punks. 
Pasadena is wonderful.  I love it here.  And honestly, one of my favorite things is our area names.  Basically, the area we cover has been split into little mini areas so like we can keep track of where everyone is and whatnot, and the northernmost part of our area is where all the plants are (like industry plants not tree plants) and so of course there's like hardly anyone who lives there, and so that particular area is called Mordor.  There's just something so wonderful about those days where we have people to see up there and we can say things like "we're off to Mordor" and actually mean it.  On those days I like to draw a little eye of Sauron in my planner, because I have problems.  The area where our apartment is is called the Shire, and for some reason the Shire is right next to Beverly Hills.  Don't ask.
But seriously, Pasadena is incredible.  We have seen so many miracles already, and have been truly blessed as we've gone out and worked.  One of our blessings is our new investigator, Hollis.  He is amazing.  He is 79 years old and was taught like 20 million (roughly) years ago by some elders, but then completely lost track of them, but now that he has found the missionaries again he just wants to be baptized.  I love him.  He has such an earnest desire to be baptized and to learn more.  Even though he was taught, he has forgotten most things, so pretty much everything we teach is new to him, and when we were teaching him about the Book of Mormon he looks at the copy we've given him and said "so this book is very, very important then."  Yes, yes it is.  Our lessons with him are always fun too, like yesterday during our lesson we were talking about families and he asked if Sister Boam and I had husbands, to which we responded that no, we weren't married, and he started telling us all about how God had commanded us to marry and multiply and replenish the earth and we were breaking one of God's commandments.  So that was nice.  And then of course he engaged our member who was with us in a lengthy discussion of Jesus's ethnicity, which is actually a conversation topic that comes up a lot down here.  He is set to  be baptized in January, and is really excited about it, and brings it up everytime we see him.  I love seeing the excitement people have about the gospel - like with the Book of Mormon.  Hollis is just so excited to read it, and seeing his excitement about finding this book he's never seen before, makes me realize how blessed I've been to have it my whole life - but also it makes me realize how much I have taken it for granted.
Another fun story.
Yesterday Sister Boam and I were out checking up on some people in an apartment complex, when all of the sudden out of nowhere this four year old girl appears and she is just hugging Sister Boam's legs and won't let go.  And there seriously isn't an adult in sight anywhere.  Sister Boam is all alarmed, and tried to like shake her off, but she wouldn't go.  Finally we just like start walking away and the girl just chases her down and won't let go of her.  At this point, I'm basically dying because it's the funniest thing ever, and finally Sister Boam gets down and is all "can I give you something?" and reaches into her bag to give the girl a picture of Jesus.  She gives it to the girl, who shakes her head and says "I don't want this" and then begins to root through Sister Boam's bag and pulls out her notebook and goes "I want this."  So Sister Boam tears out the pages of her notebook that like she has things written on, and then hands it over.  And that's the story of how my companion was robbed by a four year old, while I just stood by laughing because seriously how often does something like that happen?  And then as we went about checking up on people we were having to peer around corners and sometimes hide so as to avoid the little thief in her Disney princess jacket.  Missionaries lead weird lives.
And lastly, to end this on a somewhat spiritual note, I just want to tell you all how absotutely AMAZING this gospel is.  We have a recent convert here, Brian, who is so wonderful, and it is my favorite thing to hear him pray.  Because when he prays, it is so sincere - he really is speaking to his Father, and you can hear his love and his sincerity in the way that he prays, he'll say things like "well, that's all I have to say right now" and it is just so REAL.  It's an amazing reminder to me of how real this whole work is, how everything is.  We are children of God.  He loves and knows us, and especially around this time of the year I think we can all feel his love a little more acutely, because we are celebrating that greatest gift of all - our Savior Jesus Christ.  And it is amazing to see people come to know that, to develop that love and that relationship with their Heavenly Father.  What an amazing blessing I've been given to be out here and to witness and feel His love each and every day, not only for myself but for everyone around me.
Love you all, and Happy New Year!
Sister Bayley Enright

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