Monday, May 19, 2014

A List of Good Things that I will Remember About this Week...

Tara asked me, Mom, to start posting her weekly email on her blog again.  They won’t always be the same as before – lessons or thoughtful reflections, but I am sure that you will enjoy hearing from her.  (I made a list of the things that I would remember from my trip to New Orleans for an IRA Conference.  I mentioned that I didn’t “love it” meaning I didn’t love New Orleans.  This was her reply…)

So, "List Form" today, huh?...My week was interesting. I mean, I didn't "love it"... but it was still good. Here's a list of good things I will remember about this week...

1.) We had an awesome lesson with a new investigator. M____. 

Story time:  M____ is the husband of one of the sisters in the ward. She is the first councilor in the Relief Society Presidency. (This is a second marriage for her.) Now, M____ grew up in New Jersey and lived there for most of his life. He went to Ruckers University and became a successful businessman. He grew up in a conservative Jewish home but didn't really practice a Jewish lifestyle when he became an adult. He lived with women on and off and had a lot of money. However, he wasn't really satisfied with his life, he knew something was missing. When it became frustrating and he began to feel hopeless he turned to alcohol. Years passed and he fell into the life of an addict. He couldn't go a day without liquor... And he nearly drank himself to death. 

M____ decided that there had to be something more out there, a better life than what he had made for himself. He quit his job and got help to recover from his addiction to alcohol. He began attending different religious services with friends to gain a better relationship with God.

In the process of making this lifestyle change he met a beautiful Mexican woman who happened to be a Mormon. He hardly knew what a Mormon was... other than that she didn't drink. And that was FINE with him.

After some time dating he learned more about her faith and he admired her for how dedicated she was to her religion. He didn't really have interest in joining the church at the time, but he knew there was something very special about this woman. They were married here in the Brentwood chapel by the bishop of the Brentwood ward. 

And here... several years later.... He's ready to learn "just what it is that makes his beautiful wife so special".

SO.... this was the second lesson we've had with M____ and it was truly amazing. He had a spiritual confirmation about Jesus Christ and his divine role as the Savior of the world. Since he grew up Jewish he never really considered the role that Jesus plays in each of our lives. He was able to better understand the power of the atonement and what that means for him SPECIFICALLY. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever taught on my mission. 

He's praying about getting baptized in June. We'll see how things play out, but man, I feel so blessed to know him!

2.) I ate this.....

Fried beetles?

Just kidding. Black rice. I'd never seen it before! you?

3.) We re-did the bulletin board for our ward and everyone said, "Looks like Brentwood got Sisters..." Haha... Wish I had a before and after picture but let's just say it was looking SAD when we got here. Poor Elders. They have their strengths. Haha.

4.) We painted about 40 planter Boxes in West Islip.... I don't think they realized there would only be 6 of us. Haha. It took FOREVER... but they bought us pizza afterward, so it was all worth it.  This lady named "B___" was in charge of it... a TRUE New Yorker, Feminist, Liberal, Business Owner, Animal Rights Activist, Vegetarian... The works. Haha. We had some great conversations, Ohhhh B___. We love ya.

5.) EVERYTHING IS GREEN! It took a while for it all to grow in, but the trees are looking happy and leafy. It's nice to be in on the island for this season. There's GRASS! REAL grass! The city doesn't have grass. Like, literally none. The parks don't even have grass more than half the time. Just asphalt and concrete.

6.) Finally, ate dinner at the F______ house... A HILARIOUS family in our ward that we've been wanting to meet with for FOREVER. We played Ping-Pong and croquette and had steak. Boo-yeah. And guess what... I rocked croquette and... I'll  have to work on Ping-Pong. I'm pretty much crap at that. Haha.

7.) I had a bit of a break down about going home. It FINALLY hit me that I'm going home in about 13 weeks. That's just not right! It flew by too fast! I honestly don't know where the time went. 

And Satan sure works on you HARD when you're getting ready to finish up. He works double time on missionaries already... but he really wants you to feel cruddy when you're on the home stretch. Every time something awful happened he said, "wow... good thing you're still a rotten missionary and don't have time to improve." And every time something great happened he said, "Well, enjoy it now because you're DONE. Won't be seein' this anymore sucka!" 

What a jerk!

But I feel better now. :) I've got less time than I've ever had, yet I have more time then I'll ever have again. It's all about perspective.

8.) Had one of these!!!! First time in more than a year! I LOVE you Jamba. There ARE perks to your companion visiting a doctor in Manhattan!

Well, that's a wrap. Hopefully there will be more good news next week! 

Lately I've been learning about perseverance and what it TRULY means to endure. I'll let you know what I've discovered as I study it up this week!

I love you and I get excited everyday when I get to open a new count down quote from you!  (The Count Down Quote is something that I did for Tara.  I collected memes, quotes, thoughts, etc.  It started April 20th, Easter and will go until August 20th, her 18 month mark and possible release date.  She has an envelope to open everyday with one of the memes, thoughts, quotes… that I collected for her.  It is our “thoughtful” countdown to the end of her mission.  She and her companion, Sister Porter, call it there daily dose of Jill.)

Life is great, so enjoy it!

Love, Tara

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