How are y'all? Tennessee is honestly so beautiful this time of year, it's insane. Every tree is bursting with yellow, orange, or red. I love it so much.
This week we taught out in the boonies of our area. It was wild, because these towns are so small--only about 500-1000, and everyone knows each other. How is that possible? I don't know. And everyone is related. It blows my mind. They are such humble, good folks. We taught this one man, who was so sweet, but we learned that he didn't know how to read. It really shocked me. I didn't really realize that people in America couldn't read. My heart goes out to them. They crave the light that comes from the gospel. We definitely ran into some sad situations, and people who wanted us to pray for them. They just needed prayers, and had us write down all the names of their family members who are struggling with drugs or other illnesses.
It is weird to be looked at as such a source of light. It is interesting to run across people who truly trust you as a stranger and want your help. They say, "Can you say a prayer for us?" And you gather around, holding handing hands, and say a prayer for them and with them. It is a very humbling experience, because you are thinking, "who am I, to say this prayer for you. I don't really know what I am doing either." Ah, that's when you truly ask for the Spirit to help guide you. Heavenly Father really looks out and loves His children.
One of the fun tender mercies of the week was at the Ramierez home. They are recent converts, with lots of spunk. Me and Sister Ramierez are like soul mates. She makes me laugh so hard, and she eats it up, and tells more funny stories and I just die laughing. She doesn't quite have a filter, and so we are working on that with her. Last week, in a lesson, something came over me, and I just started singing the song I made up a few transfers ago, "Turn that frown upside down. Don't let Satan get ya down." (with lots of snaps) Apparently its catchy, and if you sing it at just the right moment, it sticks with people. So, sister Ramierez LOVED that song! She has three young boys, and they were all singing it. The other night she started telling this story, which got a little heated, and she started swearing, and I don't know what happened but I just started singing that song. It diffused the situation and we all just started laughing. I wish I could explain it, it was just one of those moments. That song was written by the Spirit, I think. ha ha.
Halloween was a fun holiday. I don't know what came over me, but I went all out to celebrate Halloween. More than usual, I would say. During the day, me and my comp wore matching orange skirts, with black tops, and then for our last dinner with a member of the night we dressed up as NERDS!! We were so pumped, and the member we were going to see, is so awesome, and cracks me up. She has this Detroit accent, and says, "YO FRAMP!" And she never changes her facial expressions, so me and my comp, were like, "This will shock her. She will LOVE this. We will definitely get her to smile at least." We ran up to the door and yelled, "Trick or Treat!" and by darn, she didn't even flinch, or give us a second thought, or say nothin about it. Golly, at least I had fun.
Oh, and it snowed! It snowed Halloween night, and everyone freaked out. The whole town shut down, all of our appointments cancelled and Halloween was postponed until Monday night. It was only two inches. That cracked me up. But the snow reminded me so much of Utah, and surprisingly made me a tinge homesick.
This area has taught me so much about patience, love and sincerity. You can get into this routine of missionary life, and missionary teaching so I am trying to get out of the habit of saying the right things , and rather say what I mean, and what the Spirit needs for that person. To constantly be teaching out of love, and sincerity. The best thing I've learned is that it's okay to be who you are while you teach. I don't know why, but we are all human and we compare ourselves to others. But when you really take a step back, you can see your potential, and just keep trying to rock who you are. We shouldn't put ourselves down because of our differences.
Be different. Be bold. Be you.
We can do all that while living the same gospel and still shed light around to those who need it.
I surely love this gospel. I love all that the Lord is teaching me.
Also, I gave a Book of Mormon to a Free Mason! It was wild. He said he'd read it if we memorized, in order, the books of the bible, so we are working on it. Too funny. Free masons are real, WHO KNEW. I thought it was an old wives tale, but they are all over out here.