"Because when don't I take selfies with food?"
Hello and Happy Monday friends and family. I am coming to you with a message from after being a missionary for 52 weeks, basically a year. July 1, 2015 I entered the Provo MTC and began my service as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can say I have learned A LOT over these last 52 weeks about myself, about the Lord, and about New England. I decided wanted to highlight some of those for you this week before I go into what happened on week beautiful 52.
Things Sister Wright has learned in her 52 weeks of missionary service [in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission]:
-Missions are stressful (not that I didn't anticipate that but I can testify that the stress will never really go away, you just learned how to deal with it in its many changing forms. Stress is like a Pokemon in that way, but I digress).
-Whoopie Pies are the best dessert on the planet (especially in Bangor, Maine).
-Make friends with people with cats (or dogs if you're a dog person) so you can get an occasional cat/dog fix.
-Missionary service is a lot easier once you forget yourself and lose yourself in the work.
-Not everyone likes the MTC cafeteria food, no matter how long you worked there and enjoyed the leftovers.
-It's easier to lose yourself when you make the work fun.
-There are no such things as bad days on the mission, only really hard days.
-Never give up on people.
-Do not live below your privileges, you are a child of God so if you need help ask your Heavenly Father!
-No matter how badly you don't want to take a test/final/anything it's not comparable to being hit by a truck. Trust me, taking that test is a lot easier.
-Wear reflective gear at night.
-Don't always trust a guy that says the wife is home so it’s ok to allow you into his home.
-Don't question the fish head
-Always butter the waffle iron
-The best missionaries are members.
-You may think daily you know the Atonement but you are wrong, you will constantly be learning more about your relationship with Jesus Christ.
-There isn't anything Ben and Jerry's can't fix. Unless you're lactose intolerant. But they make almond based Ben and Jerry's now so you should be good there too.
-Try a funny accent around your companion. Make them laugh.
-"These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen." –Elder Holland
-In Christ's gospel we get points for trying!
-Don't look back longing for something that isn't there.
-References are ok in moderation.
-It's ok to make mistakes in teaching situations. Those mistakes have honestly been the greatest opportunities I and the person I have been teaching have to grow. And the spirit is the true converter anyway.
-Have courage and be kind, or as Elder Rasband says, “Be sweetly bold.”
-Make exercise time a game, especially when it's cold and gross outside.
-Never say you can't do anything because if you think that way you probably can't.
-There is an enabling power of the Atonement, not just a redemptive power. Both are great but realize that you have Jesus Christ to literally give you strength when you alone can't do more.
-You have individual skills/traits that the Lord needs YOU for. So use them!
-It's ok to say "All I have to do right now is" if you are facing a big task. Heavenly Father doesn't expect you to finish the big things perfectly and all at once. That's totally no fair.
-Being shotgunned out of an area is ok. 95% of the time it's not personal and not because you messed up.
-Trios aren't too bad.
-You can't get ready for the day in an hour. And get up at 6:30. And go to bed at 10:30.
-Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, from free Dunkin Donuts to your favorite "apostate" song playing somewhere in the background.
-We live at a time where there is a promise that we can live with our families forever.
-Heavenly Father loves you. Just know that.
This is by no means the end of my list, I want to keep learning! But I just want you all to know that these last weeks have really made me grow and to testify to you all the joy of missionary service. It's real. It's not easy and there have been a lot of things I haven't wanted to do but this is His work, what more can I ask for?
Moving on to this last week, we had a pretty good time. Honestly, we just did missionary stuff like finding. We have been walking a lot because, in President Stoker's words: "The sun is out, and so should you". So yeah, sun screen and bug spray for days. I actually think I may be tanning out a bit. I definitely have a tan line from my "no show" socks there's one blessing of the mission: "Getting tan when you normally don't".
Another blessing this last week was we have made it a goal this next 6 weeks to have at least 10 lessons with anyone (member or non-member) and we exceeded that with 12! What more, one of them was with an investigator we have been really trying hard to meet and we really stopped by to set up a return appointment and she initially said she was busy but then she was like "Wait, I have like 15-20 minutes, how long do you need for a message?" We were like "That long..." So we taught her like right there about the Restoration and she was way excited. We hopefully will see her tomorrow with a member so pray that works out!
We have been seeing a lot of less active members and one in particular reminds me of my dear friend Sister Archer from Manchester. I hope she enjoys my company as much as I enjoy hers. She is hilarious.
Our new District is pretty great and even though we lost some pretty hilarious elders we got some pretty awesome ones in return so can't complain much.
Saturday and Sunday we did the most walking because it's the end of the month so miles are a little scarce. But in the time walking we have handed out a Book of Mormon, talked to a sweet older lady about her family, passed someone walking their gecko, and just met a lot of pleasant people.
Overall, like I said, this week we really just missionaried. Tomorrow we get President Blair. I will miss the Stoker's so much but they have things they need to do in their lives. And the Blairs will be awesome, especially since they are visiting Saco Ward first to speak! So go team NHMM!
I love you all and I hope you noticed some positive changes in you the last 52 weeks. I know change is possible, it's really, and it's what we really need sometimes. I love and miss you all and have a wonderful first week of July. Next week will be Zone P-Day (yes, again) so the email may be a little sparse!
"Sister Ritchie and some of the 4th decorations"
"Our large rectangular festive tablecloth on our small round table"