The temple trip was this week, on wednesday. We got stuck in traffic on the way down, so we were pretty much the last missionaries there. We were lucky we got home in time. It was still an awesome experience though. I guess it was because I was more prepared this time and had been pondering on it more. This time it was incredible and I feel like I've learned a lot and gained a lot of spiritual strength. The House of the Lord truly is a house of learning, and I love to be there.
Otherwise it's been kind of a wacky week. We had exchanges with our zone leaders on Monday, which doesn't happen very often anymore. They wanted to though, so we did. We found a few awesome people. For other missionaries. I mean, I'm always glad to help people receive the Gospel, but I do wish they were in our ward boundaries sometimes. One of them was a Latino who was busy working on something. We gave him a one of the temple cards and said that our message helps strengthen families, and he told us "We need that." He knew immediately that he wanted the blessings for his family that the Gospel can bring, so we sent his information off to the missionaries in his area. I'm glad that we did our little part, and that the missionary I was with listened to the Spirit (we don't normally bug people who are working too much.)
On Sunday we had a lesson with a real interesting part-member family in our area. The lesson itself was good, but what was really great was that the husband's mother was there, and she's been a faithful member for a long time. She's had some really cool experiences recently, too. She moved out to El Paso to take care of her ailing mother, and told the Bishop there what her talents were and that she was willing to work, at least so that she wouldn't be bored. She has a PhD in Sociology and worked as a Psychologist for a long time, which was exactly what the stake there needed and was looking for. She was an answer to prayer. Later on, after being part of the program, they wanted to find someone to help military families who struggle with having a spouse out on deployment after deployment. She was once again uniquely suited for the job, having been the wife of a soldier when she was raising her family in that very same town. All her life she'd had experiences and opportunities that prepared her to be able to help and serve in that very way, and was willing to go wherever the Lord wanted her to go. I understand a little more what it means to be a "polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty."
I got a bunch of letters from primary kids and their teacher from my home ward! Normally I wouldn't include that in the email, but I wanted to share something someone had wrote: "I've heard about some of your converts, and I bet you're on such a spiritual high!" I thought for a second about what information gets from me to most people, that maybe it's a little bit like facebook- all just the best bits of life and not a lot of the bad. But really, on a mission, it's only the best bits that matter. Troubles and trials aren't there to be complained about, they're there to be learned from. So yes! I'm on a "spiritual high", one could say, ever growing and learning.
I also heard of an experience of some other missionaries that provoked a lot of thought. I wasn't there, but I've seen a lot of similar things. They started talking to a man outside his house, and when they mentioned that the Gospel can bring happiness, he interrupted and said, pointing at the corvette in his driveway, "THAT is my happiness." We get caught up so much in things! I say we because I am not exempt from it. I'm really glad I have the parents I have, because I learned a lot of really valuable things that have helped me focus on what's important. Having the cleanest, most well-decorated, or biggest house aren't the most important (although cleanliness and nice decor they are great!), neither is having lots of recognition for your work (but working hard is important!) nor doing what you've always thought you wanted to do (whatever thou art, act well thy part!). Life is about doing the right thing, about following Christ and having joy with our families. I know I don't have a perfect knowledge of this all yet, but hopefully in the coming week I'll be able to help the Spirit touch someone's heart so that they can know at least the little that I have felt.
Thanks for being great friends and family!