Most people do most things vertically.
We are not most people.
We spent many moments this week in the horizontal position, meaning we were on our stomachs on the ground for 72% of our planning sessions. You might ask, how does one end up with such a large percentage of horizontal positions? Well my friends, that comes from
a.) laughter and b.) exhaustion.
Which isn't really a bad combo.
We'll start expounding with the laughter of the week.
And by we, I mean I, because despite doing everything with my companion, I am writing this email alone and therefore should use the singular pronoun.
So yes. Sister Hansen and I laughed our heads off this week (figuratively--never fear, our heads are still intact) and we worked a lot better together as a pair than as a threesome. Sometimes I even felt like my smile was too big for my face. That is always a good feeling.
We met with a lot of less-active members this week (at the present, we have been working with more of those than investigators), one of whom is a lady from Nigeria named Glory. She'd cut off contact with the church after marrying someone of a different faith, but told us that she missed our church and wanted to come back some day. Her husband tried to be nice to us and gave us each huge bottles of maltz beer. Which is a non-alcoholic beer, so technically allowed. It also happens to be utterly displeasing to the taste. And by that I mean truly disgusting. But he was trying so hard to be nice to us and so we politely stomached as much as we could and left without offending anyone.
Here are some humorous demographics. Okay, just one demographic. If that's even the right word.
Sister Hansen is approximately 6" tall.
Our Chinese investigator Ting is approximately 4'9" (meaning she buys all of her clothing and shoes in the children section).
This week she had another urgent question for us, more specifically for Sister Hansen: "What is life like as a tall person?"
We came to find out that life is pretty similar for tall and short people.
Back to lessons.
We spent precious creative energy preparing a Family Home Evening lesson for Alisha and Sai, our favorite American-Fijian couple.We came up with this great idea of bringing a huge chocolate bar and talking about the church Christ set up when He was on the earth and how pieces were broken apart after His death and the death of His apostles and how the only way to restore His church was to re-melt the chocolate to restore what had been broken or lost.
I don't know how well I explained that, but it sounded good to us at the time.
Except we forgot to factor in two small children with enormously large appetites for chocolate. So we tried go a little faster than planned so that not all of the chocolate would be eaten before the lesson was over, but I think they understood our sweet metaphor.
Lesson learned though: chocolate does not make the best drawn-out object lesson.
And now for the exhaustion.
It rained every day (because apparently that's what it does here for the entire month of May) and we got off/on the wrong bus stops twice, which resulted in a lot of side-of-the-highway walking in the rain.
Which is possibly still part of the laughter I think.
It's good we've been able to laugh so much because both of us are a little tired after going for so long and a little overwhelmed by changes we know are happening in our homes but we can't prepare for.
We talked a lot this week about what it means to go home--that it's not the end, it's not a happily ever after, it's just a continuation of a lot of middle. I read something from President Uchtdorf this week that said, "Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all."
Being a missionary is not just for a day, a week, eighteen months, or two years. It is once and for all.
And so one of the lessons I'll be taking home...
#8. It's okay to talk to strangers. I was always terrified before my mission to make phone calls, to ask for help in stores, but as it turns out, it's not so bad and you get to meet so many new people and maybe make their day by a little cheerful conversation.
Live the dream this week.
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward