So last Monday was crazy. After I emailed you, we went to the Petroglyphs again to show Sister Brown what they were. She heard some coyotes in the distance and decided it would be funny to howl back to them. They definitely responded and so Sister Brown and the coyotes had a conversation back and forth for a good amount of time. As we continued on our hike, the howling started getting close and closer….almost like they were trying to find her! At one point it got so close that she got scarred and started to run. Sister Lamb and I weren’t too afraid, and so Sister Brown stopped running, looked at us and said it wasn’t funny. Apparently, she thought we had gotten the Elders in on it and that they were the ones howling at her. It took us a long time to explain that it really WASN’T a prank at all. Sister Brown is so much fun.
After the Coyote experience, we went on with preparation day as usual but Sister Brown had to have a mini orientation to the mission with President Anderson. That was pretty fun…except for the fact that we were running late because I lost the keys and had to find them before we could go. Phew!
Okay, so we had the craziest tracting experience but you have to promise not to worry about it, because we’re not going to be stupid about this. We were knocking doors in this one neighborhood….and we met a Muslim man. He was very nice, and said that he agrees with a lot of what the Book of Mormon says, and feels that both the Mormons and the Muslims get a bad reputation in the American media. He wanted a Book of Mormon, so we gave him one. Then he told us not to get scarred or anything, but that he trusted us and proceeded to tell us that he was from Iraq and used to be the scientific director for Saddam Hussein. We didn’t really know how to respond to that.
We were visiting with a sister who served her mission in Mexico, and she stressed that on your mission, you feel closer to the Spirit and our Heavenly Father than you do at any other point in your life and that it only comes once, so enjoy it. That has really stuck with me this week. I really do want to feel that way about my mission. And I think it’s a matter of taking the time to recognize it. I think everyone takes different things away from their mission. But for me, I have cherished the time I’ve had to study each morning. I went from merely tolerating the scriptures to loving them. I really hope that I’ll finish the standard works by the time I get home. I feel like I have grown so much.
Along these same lines, I had an experience yesterday that made me realize how I really do feel about this calling. Sister Brown got sick on Saturday afternoon, so we stayed in the apartment the whole time, and this morning is our fist day back outside. But one of our investigators really needed her home dedicated, and so our Ward Mission Leader and his wife offered to go on splits with me so that it could get done. This was the first time I’ve ever been without a full time missionary as a companion since I’ve been on my mission. And it was weird going on this split. The main thing I noticed was that Sister Lamb and I had been in the apartment pretty much just relaxing and chatting and trying to keep ourselves entertained while Sister Brown was sick. Our routine was off its regular schedule, so to a cretin extent I felt like I was back to my old self again. Then around 6:00 last night I went to go get dressed as a missionary. As I put on my tag (which I hadn’t been wearing for about a day and a half) it really struck me that I was in fact a missionary and how powerful that calling really is. I wish I could express what I felt, but I can’t quite put it into words. And the experience wasn’t life changing by any means. But I think there was a stark difference in how I looked at myself putting the tag back on after having it off and being relaxed for so long. You don’t really notice the difference while you’re in the daily grind.
We did dress up as the Triple Combination for Halloween. It was quite a hit. Hopefully, you've seen the pictures by now.
This area continues to be amazing. We’re excited for our baptism this weekend. We are teaching some very special people right now. Great people who have strong spirits… I can feel it when I teach them. I can’t wait to find more of them! This is missionary heaven. The mission is exploding right now. We’ve had to raise our baptism goal for the year two times now because we keep reaching what the goal was. I hope the whole world is having this kind of success, because it feels like everything is just speeding up. President Anderson said this mission has never baptized this many people since the mission was reorganized and boundaries were changed (Think that was when it used to be the Arizona Holbrook mission.) I love being here and I love BOTH of my sweet companions. I’m glad I have the opportunity to be a missionary.
Thanks for everything! I love you tons!