So, first of all, happy Valentines Day to you all! A few days late. I actually hardly even noticed the holiday since it really isn't that big of a deal on your mission, but I did take a minute to celebrate February 15 - the one year anniversary of my receiving my mission call. How insane it is to look back and realize a whole year has gone by since I was called to be a missionary. It's 1000% not okay how quickly time is flying.
Anyways. Let's not think about that.
One of the highlights of this week was, when Sister Crump and I got to go to the temple to help out with baptisms. Our mission president has recently released a policy that missionaries are allowed to go with recent converts to the temple if it is within 90 days of the person's baptism, thus encouraging missionaries and recent converts alike to get that person to the temple. And so we got to go! With Pasadena's recent convert, Brian, who was baptized just a little bit before I got here. He's from Scotland, is a retired pilot who still goes flying all the time because why not, and is truly awesome. And it was so amazing to get to go to the temple with him and see him there for the first time. One of the best parts of the whole trip, however, was when another recent convert in our ward, Brother Barnes, revolutionized the baptismal process by, instead of leaning back to the baptized, squatting all the way under the water. More efficient, perhaps, but also a lot harder to watch and not laugh. So funny.
In less spiritually uplifting news, our water has been on and off sporadically this whole week, which means our toilet is either not flushing or making Moaning-Myrtle's-haunted-
bathroom noises, which is fine. Sometimes it drowns out the noise of cats fighting that makes it really difficult to fall asleep at night. You'd think those cats, who like to fight and scream and yowl right outside my window, would've either killed each other or resolved their differences by now, but apparently not. Have I mentioned how many cats there are here? Seriously, they're everywhere. Cats and chihuahuas. They run this town.
The biggest thing about this week was our zone conference though, which was actually on Valentines Day now that I think of it - tricksy mission leaders keeping any missionaries from getting trunky for Valentines Day. But it was seriously an incredible conference. It was with President and Sister Aidukaitis of the 70, who came and spoke to us on lengthening our stride and widening our vision as missionaries. President Aidukaitis is basically Doofenschmurtz (I'm pretty sure that's spelled wrong) from Phineas and Ferb, at least he looks and sounds just like him, and he's hilarious. It's funny how serious you'd think all General Authorities are, and then you meet them and they're just like normal people, except that wherever they go it's like the spirit is so concentrated you can't breathe. But like at one point we were talking about reasons why missionaries hesitate to invite people to be baptized and this one missionary was talking about distractions that happen during lessons and President Aidukaitis goes "oooohhh yes, the Holy Ghost *hates* children!" with a dead straight face, and we all just cracked up. So funny.
They also shared some truly incredible counsel, some of which I think applies to everyone, missionary and non-missionary alike, so I want to share it with you. And that is to live and plan your life by FAITH. One of the things missionaries do a lot of is set goals - not just personal goals like "be more charitable" or "be more patient" but actual numbers goals - like goals for how many lessons we're going to teach and how many people we're going to find and whatnot. And one of the goals we set is for how many baptisms we are going to have each week. And in discussing the importance of our goals, not only having them but having the faith to make them a reality, President Aidukaitis went along our row of missionaries and asked each companionship what their goal for baptisms was this coming week. And since most of us didn't have any we were planning on, most of us said "0." When we'd finished, President Aidukaitis looked at us all and asked if we believed God was able to do all things. Yes, of course we believe that. Do we believe in his promise that "the field is white already to harvest"? Of course we do - we believe God keeps his promises. Do we believe God can guide us to those who are prepared to receive the gospel? To those who are in need of it? Yes, of course he can. Can He even perform such miracles as finding people who are so ready to get baptized like that week? Of course! He's God, right? We believe he can do ALL THINGS. And then he looked at each of us in turn and asked "but why would he give such a miracle to you if your goal is 0?" So yeah. All of us basically looked at our toes or pretended to be taking really in depth notes - but it was powerful.
Now of course, in normal life, you guys don't sit down every night and set goals for how many people you are going to baptize (missionaries are weird, it's okay) but I think it is safe to say that we all set goals of some kind - but are those goals just coincidences we're hoping will occur, or are they actual realities that we have FAITH can actually happen, so long as we have faith in God and then we go out and do all we can to make that goal a reality? I think that principle of faith is something powerful and applicable to each and every one of us. God can do all things, which means all things can be done so long as we trust in him.
I love you all! Choose the right, make french toast, and enjoy sleeping in on the weekends.
Sister Bayley Enright
P.S. I just remembered that I totally did celebrate Valentines Day! Sort of. Our ward had a ward Valentines Day activity that we didn't know if we missionaries were supposed to go to but we figured we could go just for like our dinner appointment (since there was going to be free food and missionaries never turn that down, that's just against all mission rules) and when we showed up it turned out that it was a Valentines Dance so the gym was all dark and the music was really loud and all the missionaries just ate our cookies and sandwiches out awkwardly in the hallway before leaving. Yup, the awkward moments never cease.