Right, so they've got a sorta-definitely-maybe unofficial mission conference on Friday, which is a headache and a half because Sister Paulsen's heroic planning skills are stuck in limbo. We would LOVE to schedule things on Friday (a whole day of finding is not what I call effective) if it's not happening, because there's little more bothersome than the mission calling to say "Conference Friday!", you cancel everything, then they call to say, "Actually, it's conference Thursday," you move stuff around with your very understanding investigators and regret that awesome DA you were looking forward to, and then they say, "Sorry! We will actually have the conference on Friday after all." Dad, should you fulfill all your dreams and become a mission president, please never do this. A house of God is a house of order, whether there's rain, snow, or tidal wave.
Anyways, highlights from this week:
-The Pedersens came to church! Sister Paulsen was beside herself. The three kids who were jumping all over the place when we first stopped by were SO reverent during sacrament meeting, and after Primary they all came up to us and announced that they learned how to pray. Miracles upon miracles.
-Baptism on Sunday, if Jacob lays off the fags. We had to tell him, "No smoking, or no baptism." He seems to respond to abruptness very well. Pray for him.
-We are singing in the stake Cantata, which is Lynn Lund's music about the Restoration. We're excited to invite our investigators to attend, and the fact that Sister Hamilton loaned us her keyboard makes mornings and nights very musical. I'm singing alto, but because I'm so loud, they've had me switch back and forth between alto and soprano to boost morale or something.
-Speaking of which, Sister Paulsen and I sang “Abide With Me” in sacrament meeting, and it was really fun. She has broken her voice box and had to have surgery, so it will be some years before her voice is back to normal. Apparently it's like when you come back from a football game and your voice is shot from shouting, except it's been like this for months. Her voice is a lot lower than the average girl's voice, and her singing range is more along the line of tenor, rather than alto (we're running out of low hymns to sing). I will be so sad when we get moved, because it's been good for me to sing parts with her and develop my range.
I've learned a lot this week about gratitude. We were speaking to a man this week, and my ears were practically falling off out of depression--you know when you have a friend who just lays on thick their many trials without any ray of sunshine or hope or acknowledgment that God is there? And it seems that they just splash and swim in the sludge of their despair until you're covered in it too and can't wait for a bath? Yeesh. It's been interesting to see the things that offend me as I serve out here--new things. Before, maybe I was affronted by poor moral choices or word of wisdom problems, but now I have complete faith in the Atonement to overcome and cleanse those things. Now the things that offend me more are gossip (particularly amongst members, who should know better), ingratitude, and wasting time. Now I'm not the greatest time-utiliser in the world, and I don't claim to be. But as I've immersed myself in the things that matter most for so long, I am offended when people say that they just don't have time for prayer or reading the scriptures or waking up on time to come to church. It makes me wonder whether these things most offend the Saviour, and I'm just barely learning it through being His representative. Perhaps he is teaching me to spend the time as He did, and lift those who really need His help, and not waste time with straining gnats.
God bless each of you, and I know that He is never far away :)