Monday, January 13, 2014

In Which we are Cooler than Jedis (Bayley)

So to start everything off, let's briefly go over the way a misson is organized (for reasons that will soon become apparent).  So each missionary is in a companionship with another missionary.  In a certain area, there are like 3 to 5 companionships that make up a district.  And then like 4 or so districts make up a zone.  Capiche?  (is that how you spell that?)  Anyways, here in Pasadena, my district is the only English speaking district in our zone - the others are all Spanish speaking.  Every so often, each missionary switches places with other companionships - an exchange - for like 24 hours, in order for the missionary to learn from their mission leaders and gain experience and whatnot.  Since we are the only English speaking district, when we go on exchanges with our zone, we go to Spanish speaking areas.  Yes indeed.  Which means this last weekend I had my first opportunity to work in Spanishland, as they call it.  Which of course was quite the adventure since I, uh, don't speak Spanish.  Here's how the majority of our appointments went.  Hermana Seely would teach the entire time, since, you know, she can speak Spanish, and I would sit there and smile and offer sticky notes when Hermana Seely needed them, and maybe hold up a picture and smile some more and then there was always a moment in every single appointment where the person being taught would gesture to me and Hermana Seely would look at me and say "no hablo espanol" (or something along those lines) and then she and all the Spanish speakers would all smile sympathetically and nod and say "ahhhhhh" for a long time.  It was grand.  But it's okay, because you know what else happens in Spanishland?  PEOPLE JUST GIVE YOU FOOD LIKE ALL THE TIME.  Seriously.  We'd knock on the door and they wouldn't be interested at all but then would give us a bag of pupusas and wish us well.  It was unreal.  And it was handy, because then at appointments I could just eat and pretend that I wasn't talking not because I didn't speak any Spanish, but because my mouth was full of tortilla.  The amazing thing, though, was that even though I couldn't communicate at all, I could still sort of understand what was being said - and I don't mean that by "I could pick out the occasional Spanish word, thanks Rosetta Stone" but I could understand the conversation.  Why?  Because the gospel is exactly the same no matter what language you're speaking.  True story.  Could I understand word for word what was being said?  No.  But could I understand that they were talking about how you feel the Holy Ghost when reading the Book of Mormon?  Yes.  Because this gospel is amazingly true, and it transcends any language barrier.  That was truly an amazing opportunity for me to see the power of the Spirit in that way.
Anyways, let's talk about how amazing faith is.  Really and truly.  I've gained a much deeper understanding of faith on my misson than I ever had before.  I think before my mission people would say something like "faith can move mountains" and I would imagine someone moving mountains in a Jedi-esque fashion with a hooded robe and outstretched arms.  I thought faith was like the force, and if you just squeeze your eyes together really hard like Luke Skywalker does you could just move it like with your mind or something.  Wrong.  What I've learned on my misson is that we have no power whatsoever to move mountains - not even Luke Skywalker (except let's switch to Obi-Wan as my Jedi example here because let's face it nobody likes Luke).  But God does - he has ALL power, right?  And so that's where faith comes in.  It isn't our power at all, but it is our complete and utter trust is God and in his power to do all things.  When we have faith, we don't Obi-Wan ourselves an answer to a prayer, we just know and trust God so completely that we hear and recognize every answer to prayer we know He gives us.  Pretty amazing, huh?  And this last week, Sister Boam and I had a truly awesome experience with faith.  Our day was basically over, it was like 8:30, and our appointment had just fallen through so we were heading back to our car (which was parked in a park parking lot) (which was the parking lot where people parked their cars to go to the park which had a parking lot) (seriously Sister Enright, get it together) and there was a woman in the parking lot with her little VW beetle which had obviously broken down.  So we went up to her and asked if she needed help and she said she didn't know her car just wouldn't start and she'd called her husband but he was a long way away and she didn't know what to do.  By the way she spoke Spanish.  Reminder: I don't speak Spanish.  Also, I don't know a thing about cars other than you hit the brake and they stop and you hit the gas and they go.  So we start talking to her in fragmented English/Spanish and we talk about her and her family and of course we start talking about our church and all that (because we're missionaries, remember) and we get her address and stuff to send the hermanas over (since they conveniently speak Spanish) and finally we ask her if we can pray with her.  So we pray that her car will work so she can get home, and then after we finish she thanks us and we talk a little bit more before finally she thinks it's been long enough to try it again, so she puts her key in the ignition and...her car starts.  And she starts jumping up and down and clapping and praising God in really fast Spanish and basically it was a miracle.  And as she drove away and we got in our car, I realized the power of faith.  Do Sister Boam and I have the force like Obi-Wan to make a car start?  No.  Did this woman?  No.  But could God start a broken car if he wanted to?  Of course he could.  And as long as we understand that, and firmly believe that, that is where faith can work miracles.
Whelp.  I love you all.  Thanks for everything you do.  Including praying for the missionaries - ESPECIALLY praying for the missionaries.  You're all my favorite.
Sister Enright

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