I can't believe that we're already in the last week of June. It's insane. This Sunday it's possible that transfer calls will come, so if any of you are intending on sending mail to me on Sunday or Monday (and I'm sure you all are), please wait until next week (I should have P-day on Tuesday next week because of another dumb holiday on Monday...) so I can let you know if I am staying or if I am going, to let you know where to send post. Gracias :)
So this week was extremely strange, but I'm beginning to feel that way about all our weeks, so maybe strange is in fact normal, and normal would be strange. Thus is the life of a missionary.
So in our area and in the Elders' area we decided FINALLY to start a program to help us in our finding. We are running a "Stop Smoking Workshop" on Saturday mornings. So in preparation for that, Sister Mitchell and I spent time this week making fliers and developing a new program based off the current "Stop Smoking Workshop" manual we currently have. It took a lot of time and I was antsy to get outside and get off the computer. Much different than life before a mission, I might add. We also needed to put up the fliers we had made in as many busy places as we possibly could. As designated driver, I think that I had a LOT more fun with this than Sister Mitchell did, except for the fact that she was able to use the staple gun, and I was not.
[Editor's note: Mallory has a colorful history with staple guns, which is also interwoven with her colorful history in emergency rooms. So having Sister Mitchell in charge of the weapon is probably a wise decision.]
This mostly consisted of me driving around busy streets and pulling to the side every time I would see a wooden pole and Sister Mitchell would run out and staple the dang poster and run back before all of Toronto finished honking at me. My favorite moments were when I'd make her get out at red lights and she'd have to rush to hang them up and jump back in the car before it started moving again (...or sometimes while it was moving). We had a ton of fun with that.
It was also Jane's birthday this week, so we made her a cake (and by "we" I mean Sister Mitchell did the cake-making, while I contributed the fancy animal-print candles)! We went to her birthday bash on Friday as well and ate a ton more Filipino food. Sister Mitchell stayed away from the squid heads this time, and neither of us came home puking that night. Quite a success, I believe.
We taught Immanuel again this week, for the first time in a few weeks. We both had to gather up strength and patience before we went there to teach him and his roommates, but apparently I didn't gather enough patience from on high. In the heat of the discussion I lost my temper a bit (something to do with our ability to represent the church, etc.). We are actually pretty good friends though, and he knew that I have a bit of a temper sometimes.... So when he noticed this was one such occasion he wisely said "Hutchings, I can see you're losing your temper with me, so let's talk about something else. I don't like this." Thank heavens for that. As missionaries we have the ability to be guided by the Lord in all of our work, but definitely we also have imperfections that get in the way of His work. I was a perfect example of that on this day.
Would you like to know what breaks my heart? Good, honest, truth-seeking people who are targeted by the Adversary at every turn in their attempts to come to Christ. It is even more difficult when the missionaries are expected to have all the answers. Because in many cases we don't. We can't help but carry the burdens of those we teach as we try to help them with their problems, but in reality there is little we can do except lead them to the source, and teach them to rely on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
It gets really hard when Satan throws curve balls that none of us expects. For example, currently we are trying to help an alcoholic begin following the Word of Wisdom and cut back dramatically on his drinking (then we'll conquer smoking etc.). We're also trying to provide hope and comfort to a marriage under the stresses of dishonesty and infidelity when both in the marital companionship are people we know and love (while still working on baptism). We're also working with a woman who wants to be baptized and has been attending church for five years, but because of her living situation she cannot.
As we were teaching one of our investigators, Madou, we talked a little about all the stuff that we try to help people with and he laughed and said "I didn't know you guys were family and social services workers too!" It's true - emotional struggles for those we teach are almost always on our minds in addition to teaching and finding more people to teach. But when I think deeply about it, it is a blessing to be able to love and care about people so much that their burdens become our own, and we strive to do all we can to help them feel peace.
Personal note: last week I think that you were kind of joking, Dad, when you said that if I was overwhelmed with so many people to teach, when all else fails "just make a poster." But that really made me laugh because I was so far ahead of you. I have an entire WALL in our apartment covered in info about our investigators and the other people we are teaching. I attached a picture for proof :)
It's getting so hot and humid-- It reminds me of Florida! We finally got A/C in our building so I pretty much feel like royalty. I'm having all these really strange bites/sores show up on my legs (in particular my knees), which has been on-going for about two weeks now. I think I am diseased.
[Editor's note: Mallory also has a colorful history of thinking she is diseased.]
Luckily all my skirts cover my knees so no one knows they're being taught by a diseased missionary. Maybe that's the best blessing of obedience: not scaring people away.
Did any of you watch the Work of Salvation broadcast last night/afternoon from the First Presidency and the Twelve? Well, apparently we're going to be getting technological devices and be able to access email, facebook and other websites on a daily basis to aid us in our teaching. Hallelujah, it's about time. My dream would be to be the technological genius of the Canada Toronto mission.
[Editor's note: Yes, she also has a colorful history with the "technological genius" thing.]
I think they could make that a missionary assignment just for me. I could monitor technological uses and repair all the devices that are broken. I need to share my talents, right? Pretty sure Christ taught that exact thing. So basically we just wait until the First Presidency decides that it's time for our mission to implement these devices and greater technological availabilities in our mission via President Scott. I'll let you know when that blessed day comes. It will be so nice in teaching to be able to whip out a nice Mormon Message or a clip of a video to explain a principle much better. Ah, there's great beauty in modern-day revelation.
Sorry about that rant, clearly that made me happy :)
So next week I shall carry great tidings of news whether I shall in reality be in Etobicoke South for another transfer, and if Sister Mitchell is still my companion, or if there is a different place I am to be sent. Like I said earlier, our P-day will probably be moved to Tuesday. So you should probably expect that.... I kind of hope I stay here at least one more transfer - that would be six months in my first area. But I love it here, so I'd take it!
I love you all very much, I hope that everything is going well for you all! I love hearing from you, so thank you for all the lovin' you mail my way.