So.. Before I forget I'm going to warn you that next week P-day is on Wednesday and not Monday. Again. Guess why? It's another Monday holiday in Canada-land. Want to know which one (I actually know this time:))? It's THANKSGIVING! Canadian Thanksgiving. Apparently it comes in October over here, so I'll be lucky enough to participate in those joyous festivities next weekend, whatever they may be.
Remember how I said the elders came into our turf last week? Well because we now have more missionaries close by, we coincidentally have the opportunity to do more things with missionaries. Last P-day we had an activity in our gym where we played a game called "chair soccer." And I learned that having elders nearby maybe isn't the best thing for Sister Hutchings. I'm WAY too competitive. We forgot our P-day clothes and ended up playing basketball and soccer in our skirts and barefoot. [Editor's note: just the sisters wore skirts, not the elders.] I DEFINITELY gave all the elders a run for their money and ended up getting these huge bloodblisters on the bottom of each of my big toes that covered the whole surface area of them. But, of course, I couldn't forfeit the game when I discovered them, as it was just getting good! So we played for about ten more minutes and I was just pulling out my really impressive moves when all of a sudden the bigger blister popped and I was standing in a pool of blood. It was disgusting, but kind of cool too. So we had to take a time out and clean up.... Then we continued our game of course. Don't tell the elders, but I was SO sore the next day I could hardly walk. Sister Noker was making fun of me ALLLL day long saying that my competitive nature got the best of me.... She's probably right but.... I am a Hutchings after all...:)
So this week we went on another exchange with our Sister Training Leaders. They love us, that's why we go on exchanges with them so often. [Editor's note: Mallory has always had an admirable ability to see everything that happens as a direct confirmation of how much everyone loves them, which can be a very useful quality on a mission.] Do you know who my new STL is? SISTER ARKSEY!! So she pulled the divine strings and made it possible to be my companion again for a blessed 24 hours. It was glorious. We had way too much fun. We definitely stayed up way too late just chit-chatting and catching up. Also marveling about doctrinal things we'd learned since our last parting. Yeah, we're big nerds. But it was so great. There truly is a bond forged in the service of the Lord with one another that is not like anything else. I will be forever grateful for all those whom the Lord has let me come to know and love whilst in His service.
Were you able to watch General Conference? If not, (or if you do not know what it is) go watch it: www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2013/. It was incredible. I am so grateful that we have prophets on the earth today who guide us and give us counsel from our Lord.
This week I was able to experience one of the more spiritual experiences of my mission. There is a woman named Lorraine who was baptized over twenty years ago and since has left the church because of various reasons of difficulty and addiction that bound her. She hit rock bottom a couple months ago, and then she remembered that the happiest time of her life had been the three years of her activity in the church, where she felt the peace and love of her Heavenly Father despite her challenges. She prayed desperately for a way to be reconnected with Him and with His church again. Last week she was shopping at Walmart when she saw the elders buying a shower curtain for their new apartment and immediately approached them and asked them to help her. She lives very near to us so we went to meet with her. She quickly opened up and told us the story of her life, which was full of challenge and heartache. It was extremely heavy and Sister Arksey and I were filled immediately with compassion. She looked at us with tears in her eyes and pleaded, "I don't even remember how to pray, where to begin in the scriptures, or even if I'm worth saving to God, for all the choices I've made. But I know in order to ever feel peace again in my life, I need Him. Please, teach me what I need to do in order to be all that He needs me to be again." Wow. We looked at each other and honestly didn't even know where to begin. I am so grateful for the spirit of the Lord. Without that, we would have no means to guide anybody towards salvation through Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the mercy of our Savior and Redeemer who will take EVERY person back into His arms, lovingly and without judgement, who willingly seek his forgiveness.
I love this work. I love the Lord.
I also love chair soccer, but not quite in the same way :)
Please stay safe, know that I love you with all my heart. Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. I heard that the U.S. Government "shut down" or something like that... Don't worry, I'll only be out of the country for 9 more months, then I'll be back to fix everything. Just tell everyone to relax until then, okay?
The photos are as follows:
1. Happy Fall! The leaves are beautiful in Ye Olde Countryside
2. Starksy and Hutch. Classic.