so.. there have been some things on my mind lately. will you allow me a ramble minute?
okay. I’m takin’ it. I don’t actually care if you give me permission or not. I don’t know what exactly is about to come out, but it’s typin’ time!
yesterday marked the day that I have been home exactly 9 months from my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
that.. is weird.
half of the length of a sister missionary’s mission.. gone. bam! 2009 = fastest year of my life.
but I inadvertently celebrated it in the best possible way I could have hoped for. ready?….. story time!
a few months ago a new girl got hired on at work.. named Kat. she’s from party town Chico, CA and.. to get cliché on you.. has basically done it all. she is our resident drug expert because she knows everything about that lifestyle and what comes with it. it’s quite handy when you work at a substance abuse facility to have a sassy walking/talking drug encyclopedia. anyway, she is awesome.. but when I met her initially, she would have been one of the last people I would have expected to be receptive to anything church-related. and, you guessed it, I got owned in my perception. when will I learn that the least likely types are a surprise waiting to happen? they’ve seen the difference in the lack of happiness on the flip side. they can feel the light of the truth.
so anyway, it’s common knowledge at work that I’m a good little returned sister missionary who stays active in the church because.. it just is. well, unbeknownst to me, Kat had apparently been observing a a few of us who work here at our little crisis line who are active in the church. she told me that we were the reason she realized that Mormons could be normal people, as we are all so completely different, yet successfully live the same set of Gospel Principles within the realms of our own lives.
and then… she meets a guy– a returned missionary guy. guy is not currently active in the church, but she has curiosity. she and guy happen to be driving down a road in Clinton, UT while she is asking him questions.. and guess who they happen to see walking on the sidewalk? oh my… could it be?… the Elders?
yes it was. (my my my. what a coincidence!) guy pulls over and says, “ask them.” they say hello, make introductions, she finds out one of them is a convert to the church from California who also used to be Catholic and her interest is heightened even further.. she relates to him. they testify about the truth of the Gospel message and give her their number. a week later she calls them completely of her own accord, unbeknownst to guy, and sets up an appointment. when she tells me she met missionaries and has an appointment set up with them, I almost fall off my chair. I have that feeling where the corners of your mouth feel like they’re being reeled in by fishing lines on both sides, and they’re determined to smile whether you want them to or not.
Kat begins to ask me questions almost every shift we work together, and my little heart smiles every time I feel like I’m teaching the missionary lessons again. the Gospel is food for the soul of the teacher even more than it is for the soul of the student. it re-ignites the missionary flame inside of me, when the mission had felt like a dream that passed a long time ago.
when Kat tells me for sure that she has decided to get baptized on the 19th of September, I almost kick over the printer in my excitement. (but I don’t. stop looking at me like that.) she and guy stop dating, but this changes nothing for her because she knows this is true. and then I get humbled again when she tells me about baptismal program plans and asks me to speak on the Holy Ghost.
September 19th comes and I fight awful traffic to arrive 15 minutes late to the baptism. fortunately the man speaking about baptism decided to speak for about half an hour, so I make it. the service is sooo special. when her ex-Catholic missionary friend baptizes her, I feel overwhelmed in that moment with how sincere this covenant really is for her. she’s doing this for real, for the right reasons, and she has been changed. time for my talk.. it flows just like it’s supposed to when the Spirit is there to guide words. I remember what missionary fire feels like. this is what it’s all about: watching your brothers and sisters taste true happiness and then never want to let it go. she is already prepping her sister to meet the missionaries when she moves here in a month or two.
so Kat’s a Mormon.. and I couldn’t be happier for her!
what a beautifully stark contrast this experience has been to the other things that get thrown at me in my life, especially related to dating lately. it’s a good thing Heavenly Father keeps me grounded. He must love me or something.