I am writing you from an elementary school library. One of the members of the ward is a librarian here and I feel so insanely privileged to be typing on a Mac as we speak. Oh how I have missed technology, even though I don't think about it.
There comes a time I think in everyone's life, when you begin to question that status of your brain---is Alzheimer's kicking in? I believe it may because as I am racking my brain for a hilarious story or vignette about my precious missionary service, I can't even remember what day it is. I forgot my companion's name and had to sneak a look at her tag. I may have even been surprised to see my curly hair. So I think we all have a good idea about how all-encompassing this malady is.
To remedy this, I have taken to writing EVERYTHING down. As in EVERYTHING. But I have found a flaw in my system--when the notes are no where to be found, you are lost. Literally.
Oh, one just came to mind. Remember that bus...that almost killed me? Definitely saw it yesterday and yelled at it with all the "quiet dignity" I could muster. Let's just say I don't think it would even dare to show it's face anymore.
The other day Sister Tupou (yes I looked at her tag again) were rushing from some service we were doing for a recent convert to our Missionary Coordinating Meeting. When we finally returned to our vehicle, showered, and looking far too haphazardly put together for Sister Missionaries, and on our drive (which all of the speed limits were maintained, btw), I realized that I had forgotten my nametag. "Urrrrghhhhh," I grimaced, in the most refined way. "Sista Bolleeguh," Sister Tupou laughed, "Not again!!" Perhaps this was not the first time that I have forgotten my name tag for this meeting. Haha. Thank goodness for long hair carefully placed over my left shoulder! As we walked to the home where the meeting would be held, I noticed that Sister Tupou's tag ended in an "r". Thinking that my eyes were playing tricks on me... I looked again. Ta daaaa!! Sister Tupou was wearing myyy name tag! In a situation eerily reversed, Sister Tupou grimaced and I laughed, and I reached over to retrieve MY tag. Yes this was a defining experience of the week. No it was not lame. Yes missionary service can make you readily juvenile. No I do not feel embarrassed sharing this message with y'all. Yes I say y'all like there is no tomorrow.
Needless to say, I am getting progressively loopier as I enter my fourth week of missionary service here in Fresno.
I am so grateful to be here on my mission. I know that sounds highly average, but, I am so surprised at the skills and lessons that I am not only learning to communicate through teaching, but that are changing the very nature of who Sister Bolliger is.
I realized the other day that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to let us suffer. I know that at first glance that can seem a bit off, but it really is so true. He loves us enough to let us go through trials, for it is through this process that we are able to grow the most. By putting all of our trust in the Lord, we are able to not be cut short by our own perceived limitations, but grow even stronger as we allow the Lord to test us and prove us more than we ever could have imagined. Through this process it is not easy--in fact it burns sometimes. But how else can we be cleansed and refined? How else can we exercise our spiritual muscles and strengthen them in exercising our faith? We are here on earth for those very experiences. We are here to be taken out of our comfort zone. We are here to fear God, not man. We are here to learn by experience and to essentially struggle.
With my health problems I have been able to learn that our Heavenly Father does answer our prayers, just not in the ways that we are always looking for. :) As I have prayed as fervently as I can to understand how my health problems are to teach me, I have been blessed to see glimmers of understanding at different times.
With my health problems I am randomly immobilized for any length of time, suffering in excruciating pain. But, what I have found, is that in every instance, I have been able to feel and see the outpouring of love from my companion, missionary leaders, ward members, and Heavenly Father that I would not have otherwise recognized. I am able to receive blessings from incredible priesthood holders that I would not have otherwise been humble enough to ask for. I am continually humbled, recognizing that this is truly a work directed by the Lord. I have felt that the promises that I have been given, that I will be made "whole" have been fulfilled--but not in the way I thought. I have not been relieved of my problems. I have not been absolved of pain. But I have been made whole through the others around me who give of themselves continually, who impart of their time, love, substance, and kindness which when combined with the imperfect, needing person that I am--makes a whole. I have been so blessed from these problems. I am praying more earnestly. I am being more honest. I feel my Heavenly Father's love for me more strongly as I allow myself to feel this love.
I have concluded that I will not pray for humility or patience again, because my prayers always seem to be answered in the most effective ways. Haha. :)
I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the members all over the world that realize that sharing the gospel is supposed to be uncomfortable and a bit scary--but that do it anyway. I am grateful for people that open their mouths and share of the good news of the gospel. Missionary work is not something that can be done effectively independent of all other church organizations and people. The Church is set up for missionary work and as such, is done best when members and organizations understand their role in assisting us in the work! We are only temporary (18 months or 2 years) missionaries in an area, but members get to be there permanently, understand the culture of the area, and have the relationships that best transition to gospel learning.
Phew! That was a random tangent.
Ready for another random thing?
Sister Tupou and I are the same height and shoe size. People are always startled when we stand up from sitting because we are both 5'9". Let's just say that the rest of the 21 sister missionaries in the California Fresno Mission are......SHORT LITTLE THINGS. I think the average height for the other sisters is around 5'2" or so. Yeah. A great difference. There are only four of us that are not snack sized. Haha. But really. The chances that I will be with someone who reaches my waist is very high.
I have also not been able to keep myself from correcting the incredible spelling mistakes that plague our mission handouts. Seriously. In fact, I am going to buy a dictionary today so that when I present the Mission President with page numbers and words that they could correct if they wanted to, I will be assured that I will be in the right.
Oh geez. That paragraph will probably warrant me a health attack soon. :)
Love you all!!!