Well it has been a very interesting week and one I won’t forget. We have lots of meetings and splits so it’s definitely keeping us very busy. Having only one cycle with a companion goes very quick, and we’re always excited when we can get to have a normal day of work together. Because we are so busy it still doesn’t feel real that I’ll be leaving here soon. We’re going going going and trying to work hard to improve this area. It will be weird to just sit and relax for a minute when I’m back.
So this past week we went to Cauayan and had a really good zone conference all about the Restoration. It was fitting with Pioneer day this past week, and I loved the reminder of all that people were willing to do for the restoration of the gospel. I am so thankful to be a part of this sacred work. I now understand a bit better how our whole lives are dedicated to this. The hastening can’t move forward without the efforts of the members of the wards or branches, fulfilling callings, and sharing the gospel with others. So I’m excited and ready to do this in the next chapter of my life as well. This morning I was reading from Uchtdorf’s last conference talk from the Priesthood session – “Are you sleeping through the Restoration?” and it was awesome. I loved this quote from him- “There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all.” I’m thankful for these things I’m learning on my mission. I had no idea before how big of a role we all play in missionary work.
Yesterday I’m sitting in relief society listening to the lesson where we talked about Elder Holland’s last conference talk about the cost of discipleship. The teacher shares the story about the missionary sisters getting talked bad at and having food thrown at them, ha and I’m sitting there thinking- I’m pretty lucky, I’ve never had anything too bad happen to me like that on the mission. Well maybe Heavenly Father took note of that thought and went and said “Oh Sister Stabenow, we must have missed you.” Haha. Well it wasn’t that bad, no food was thrown or anything like that. I’ll be able to give you more details of it when I get home, but for now I’ll fill you in on a bit of what happened. We were looking for the house of a man we’d met a few weeks ago, since he said he had more questions for us and is usually available on Sundays. We met his sister, a woman in maybe her 40’s or 50’s and ask her where we can find the guy, and all of a sudden we’ve got this angry woman to deal with. We explained why we were there and that her brother had invited us to come teach him. She was staring me down with such a disgusted look on her face and was using the most condescending tone. To add on to it, we’ve now got a little audience of people watching this go down. I’m ready to walk away but my companion keeps her cool and keeps talking to her. Again though the lady is directing everything at me and is staring me down. She’s using pure English the whole time even with me responding in pure Tagalog. She says several mean things and then continues in her insulting and mocking tone to say “Do you understand?” over and over. I keep my smile on my face, but could feel my jaw clench as she tells us we should not come back or be working over in that area and that we should go out to the mountains to teach the ignorant people. That was definitely the first time in my life where I felt my blood boiling. I did my best to remain kind, ha and I could just keep hearing my mission president’s words of- “a kind word turneth away wrath” over and over in my mind. I was happy to have a companion there who was aware of how I was feeling. I’d respond to the lady respectfully and in pure Tagalog and I was doing so well to not say anything mean or react how she was probably hoping. We explained we were there for a good reason and so naturally doing the inviting that I do as a missionary I told her she’s welcome to join and listen if we go back and teach her brother another time. Again I’m doing this all in Tagalog, but unconsciously one English smart alec comment slips out when she responds to my invitation and says “No no no no no, because I already know EVERYTHING” to which I respond “Oh Really?” (but still in my happy nice voice). Haha oh man. I knew after that that it was time for me to keep quiet. It was an unforgettable experience. And even though it’s no fun to be treated badly, and especially with an audience watching, I’d gladly stand up and do it again. We may not be asked to do as the pioneers did and walk thousands of miles, or be willing to die and give up our lives for the restoration of the gospel, but we’re asked to LIVE for the gospel, and to do our part in this time- To take up our cross and follow Him, which I will forever be glad to do. I love you guys and thank you for your constant love and support that lifts and strengthens me. Hope you all have a great week!
- Sister Stabenow
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