I feel like a travelling missionary. In the past two weeks we've spent time on exchanges and meetings in Filmore, Price, St. George, and now tonight we're going to Richfield. It's fun doing road trips as a missionary :) Just hard to leave the area again and again. Sister Lasalosi is a great travelling companion - as well as my mint chocolate m&ms. I should probably use something else to keep me awake but they are just so divine. And thank goodness we have not hit any deer yet.... eek >.<
This week I've been thinking a lot about loving those we're teaching. Sometimes when we get home for the night I find myself sitting on the chair thinking about those we taught that day. Sometimes I will sit in awe thinking "Heavenly Father sure has prepared this one. I hope we don't mess it up." But sometimes I'm sitting there with a heavy heart thinking "What can we do? What's left to do? What needs to be done so that they see?"
We are teaching a family right now who are non-members except for the mom. The parents are both meth addicts. They have pictures in their home from a few years ago - beautiful family. But now you see their eyes half open, sores on their face, bones that should hide. The littlest girl is 7 and goes to church every Sunday and reads the Book of Mormon by herself. It really pains me to see her as the only one with a true desire. But I know this family needs saving. I can't stop thinking about them. Something needs to happen to bring them to their senses. It's painful for the whole town to see them go in this downward spiral.
I feel like throughout the week there are always moments that pain us and worry us of those whom we are working with and then other things that make us jump up for joy and cry tears of happiness. Honestly, I don't understand why I am so happy right now because I'm exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am so tired. But I feel so happy. I can hardly explain it.
Last week we had a really neat experience with a 20 yr old guy we began teaching. He has long blond hair, lots of tattoos and piercings. His name is Tage. We met him at his parents home in Manti as we were teaching the rest of the family and he was the only one that was really listening and participating. So we went with it and committed him to pray to know if what we taught was true. He invited us to his own home, only a few streets over, to learn more.
As we came in the door we started making conversation and I felt like asking him about his tattoo on his arm. It was of a rabbit in a straight jacket in agony trying to reach a carrot out of his reach. Interesting. As he explained what it meant we realized it had a lot deeper meaning. I asked him if he felt like sometimes he's that rabbit that can't reach the carrot. He said yes. It got really quiet and then Sister Lasalosi asked what he felt he couldn't reach in life. He responded that he didn't know what it was, he just felt like something was missing. And then Sister Lasalosi very beautifully compared this carrot to the gospel. I was thinking in my mind then if President Center walked in that moment he would probably wonder what in the world was going on. But at the end of her analogy he looked at her and said, "I really like that. That makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you for explaining it to me."
We went on to talk more about prayer since that was still a foreign concept to him. He was baptized at 8 but never went back to church after that. The spirit was so incredibly strong the whole lesson. It was one of those moments where you think, "Is this really me sitting here? Did he really just say what I think he did?" It was perfect. He began to really open up and said, "I feel like I've taken for granted what's been in front of my eyes this whole time. I don't know why I never listened to others around me telling me about the gospel. I'm glad I'm starting to see what everyone has been talking about." We knew that we had definitely felt the spirit that whole lesson but we wanted to see how he felt, so we asked him at the end. He only responded with one word but I don't think I will ever forget the answer he gave us. "Closer."
It's beautiful moments like those that make it all worth it.
I love you all and am continually feeling your prayers :) Thank you for your unfailing support.
Love, Sister Martin
A picture of Sister Nicholls, Sister Lipke and me at one of our meetings in St. George :)