Hello all! I hope that you all had a wonderful week and are enjoying the summertime. All of the kids here are just getting out of school and are antsy to be out in the sun. Sister Mitchell and I, however, relish in the times where we get to be in air-conditioned environments... Just a little bit different of a situation :)
I can't believe how quickly this transfer is going - we're on week five of six already - which means that there's a possibility I could receive a transfer call June 30th. Just as a heads up. I kind of hope that I will stay here longer, though. I'd love to be here six months. But It's not really up to me....
Throughout the mission we have a goal of 60 baptisms during the month of June in a big push called "The Harvest." We have been building up to this month for the past several months, fasting and praying, sowing, planting, and teaching.... Now it's time to "harvest." Get it? Throughout the mission there is such drive and fire to contribute to this mission goal and such an incredible sense of unity, which is fantastic. The only problem with is that with all the successes we've seen comes equal amounts of adversity. In our specific area, Sister Mitchell and I are definitely experiencing our fair share of this success and adversity. We are teaching SO many people who have testimonies of the gospel, who know they need to be baptized, but who are struggling with one concern or another that they need to overcome. It requires a LOT of patience. They are so close.
We have run into quite a bit of sexual harassment type issues this week. Some of them are a little concerning, but most can be funny, actually. Don't worry, we're definitely doing all we can to be as safe as possible; but on Saturday we were teaching a thirty-something year old man, Madou, from Africa. I love Madou, he is really awesome and we're good friends with him. We were teaching him in a park by a busy street and this strange 17-year-old kid passed by and started hitting on me. He actually was quite aggressive and wouldn't go away no matter how politely I kept telling him otherwise. Ultimately Madou got involved and the two of them almost got into a fight. It was pretty intense. Sister Mitchell and I didn't quite know what to do. That kid was kind of an idiot, and once Madou stood up and the kid saw that Madous was a huge 6'6" man, I think a bit more sense came to his mind and he ended up leaving. It took Madou a little time to calm down and focus back on the Plan of Salvation, though. We were really glad that he was there for that episode, because that kid really wouldn't leave us alone.
We teach women and men for sure, but the majority of the people we're teaching who are progressing are men. And at first we thought that that was strange, but now we're starting to think that that may be great for our safety and protection.
We've been working with a less-active member of the church named Frank. Frank is awesome and he invited us to dinner this past week. Because it was just going to be the three of us at dinner, we'd have to eat outside. It started pouring rain when we headed down to go to our dinner appointment with Frank, and we weren't sure if he was going to cancel with us or not. Sure enough, when we got to Frank's house, he had set up a canopy over his picnic table in the back yard and had all the homemade food waiting for us. We ate in the POURING rain and we and our food got a little wet throughout the evening. We just couldn't help but laugh at all the weird situations that missionaries find themselves in, completely outside of normal life.
There is a wonderful, newly married couple in our ward, the Kays, who recently moved in. They needed help painting the whole interior of their house this week, so of course the missionaries were more than happy to help. We had a ton of fun, but I know for a fact I will never paint any bathroom I have orange. (Sorry Emma, I know that's your favorite color...).
One of the people we're teaching, Paul, is planning to be baptized on June 26th. I am SO excited for him. His wife is a member of the church and their long-term goal is to be sealed in the temple. It has been so incredible working with them. We played Farkle with them this week, which was great. Guess who won? :)
Paul is quitting smoking this week, and Tuesday is day one. We asked him what we could do to help him quit, and he said he needed us to be with him ALL Tuesday. That's a little impractical, but we said we could spend some time with him, for sure. So he decided that instead he'd need us to go running with him for many hours tomorrow. That's also a little impractical, but we said okay.
I think I must be losing my mind. He just wants to run all day so that he doesn't smoke instead. And I said that we'd do it with him.
Perhaps he just wants to kill off the missionaries so he doesn't need to get baptized.... Sister Mitchell and I will probably be dying on the side of the road while he runs circles around us. It'll be interesting for sure. If I don't email next week, it's most likely because I died running in the pursuit of Paul's baptism, okay? Keep that in mind.
There is much work to be done out here, and we are doing all that we can. We are definitely enjoying ourselves as well, which I think is crucial. After all, it doesn't do any good to testify of the joy of this gospel if we look like miserable missionaries. So don't worry, I am working hard, staying as safe as I can, and enjoying being an instrument of the Lord.