The title is supposed to throw you off a little bit. Haha. But I have a good explanation for it! (also, this might be a little long cuz i'm trying to sum up two weeks. I wouldn't, but much has happened that calls for some gratitude remarks, especially since i've been such a downer the past month or so. SORRY ABOUT THAT! But sister limas is pretty much back to her normal self now :D).
"Oh Sister Limas, trust me...This hurts more than breaking up with somebody"
--Sister Lindly Fernandez, Oct 2013
Bahaha, yep that's my baby girl! She had said that when we found out Nancy wanted to go to the Terre Haute ward; thus we would have to drop her and give her to the Terre Haute sisters (but we all know she continued meeting with us :))
Anyway, I learned plenty o' things from Sister Fernandez, one of those things being comparing the mission to relationships. And I bring this up because WE GOT DUMPED ON FRIDAY! Oh my goodness, I felt like my heart dropped into my stomach and was being broken into a billion pieces! Lydian Johnson texted us and said we couldn't come over anymore because she was no longer interested and was going back to her church. Agh! Sister Linton, of course, says, "Sister Limas, GET OVER IT!" And obviously I say "I CAAAAAAN'T!" This is the 1st time I've ever had an investigator drop us, and I was so insanely sad about it! Oh yes, like Sister Fernandez, I can say it hurt. Why? Well, let me take you back to my highschool days for a sec.
If you knew me in highschool, then you know how shamelessly boy crazy me, Christine, and Simmin were. Like, so boy crazy that for our Writer's Craft finale project, we made a yearbook summing up the fabulous 4 yrs at MGCI...which included a "crush count" competitaion between the 3 of us of who liked more boys each school year (and I won twice -_____-"). Only Christo, Sims, and Ari! (hahaha i'm shaking my head at our ridiculousness right now). BUT despite the boy craziness, if you know me well enough, then you know I could go on pretty bad rants about relationships. Why would you set yourself up for hurting and heartbreak? Why would you start something that isn't going to last? Why would you get attached to someone if you're only planning it to be temporary? Why would you make yourself so vulnerable?
Why I thought those things? I have nooo clue. What I did know was I was capable of loving with my whole heart, but guarded it and was not willing to give it to just anybody. And here's the part that most people don't know: I avoided being vulnerable and getting hurt at all costs.
NOW...going back to mission relationships-- similar thoughts formed into my head when Lydia dropped us. It just confused my mind that we had clicked so well, we had a really great lesson with her, she had great potential, and then BAM, we're dropped like a hot potato. Then the negative side of me says "if you were your old self, you probably would have guarded your heart and backed away if you had a hunch this was going to go no where". But I've been reflecting on it and realized: I had faith it was going to work out! And I still do!! There was no hunch whatsoever that it wasn't going to work out!
When I first got out here, I thought I was able to love some of these strangers. But as I've grown the past 8 months, I've come to realize how guarded my heart still was back then. But over time, the bricks around my heart started to break away little by little. Why was there an imaginary wall in the first place? Because I didn't want to get hurt. I ddin't want to share something that was so special to me and have it rejected/trampled on by someone who I though wasn't ready for it. (Once again, I didn't realize any of this back then haha). But eventually I learned that NO WAY do I have the right to say whether someone was ready for the gospel or not. I was called to share it with EVERYBODY.
So, why do we make ourselves vulnerable? Because if you don't for anyrelationship, you can't LOVE the way God intends you to. Why do we set ourselves up for heartbreak? Because we know the person is worth it. And they really are because they are a Child of God! We've got the important and sacred duty of taking them by the hand and introducing them to their Saviour like they've never know Him before. And that's not just a job for the missionaries. It's a job that everyone baptized into the church has made a covenant to do. And not with just non-members, but everyone who needs to get to know their Saviour all over again. Why does it hurt? BEcause you know how much wonderful potential they have. When you love someone, you always want them to have the best, no? It's always hard to see someone you love not make the right choices. And with our investigators, they truly do become people you genuinely love. Like President Moore says, "you can't serve in a calling without falling in love with the people".
So Lydia Johnson is one of the many heartbreak I'm going to get out here, I'm sure. But let me introduce you to some of the others I have come to love :)
- Richard Jamboretz: He's in his late 80s (i think). White hair, eye patch, and walks with a cane. He is the father of Steve Jamboretz (recent convert) and he's been over at their house a lot for the holidays watching the BYU channel and asking tons of questions about baptizing his wife who passed away 4 yrs ago. We met him for the first time on Saturday and I instantly fell in love with him. He's so old and cute and so funny. He calls me "Sissy" LOL. But while we were watching "Together Forever" it was just the two of us on the couch and he kept whispering to me and asking me questions. Sis Linton told me afterwards that she wanted to take a photo of the two of us cuz it was just so darn cute. AHAHAHA. Right after Lolo, he's probably the cutest old man I've ever seen. But he wasnts to learn more!!!!! We are going to set a baptism date with him at our next appointment :) Sis Jamboretz, 1 of 3 of my mission moms in the Glen Carbon ward, has been texting us and been giving us all the deets and ins for Richard. She is so great.
- Ginger Atwood: I talked about her before and how the Lord lead us to her...but I didn't realize how prepared she is!! She told us during our first official lesson that she had been praying to God for help to know what to do...and then we knocked at her door. OH THE MIRACLES! She's taken the discussions before in a different area but wasn't interested in joining. Now she wants to know for herself and make sure she's not joining cuz of her ex or step mom. I asked her, "Ok Ginger. What IF, and I will testify that it is, but what IF this was all true? What difference would that make for you?" She said, "well...I would stop going to my church and go to yours. But I would need a ride" Hahaha do my ears deceive me?! She had just said she had a problem about coming to our church cuz she needs to be with her family. OH MANNN. I love it. I'm always caught so off guard!
- Shirley Guffy: We had helped this lady move. She has a bunch of health and money issues and we were glad to do the service. Our leaders pretty much reprimended us for spending so much time helping her. WELL, she is currently our most progressing investigator now! She has a baptism date for the 15. She too has been so prepared. She has a lot of religious backgroud. But she loves to learn. So our lessons with her are pretty much just answering her questions about the pamphlets we have left her to read. She still has an issue about Joseph Smith, but she knows we are speaking truth...so she's just waiting for her own answers. Everytime we talk about something in the lesson, she'll be like "ok, i can relate that too..." and then will share an experience. Hey, that's the way she learns. I'll go with that! At least she's progressing!
- Sean, Alexis, and Laneea: This is a family that the Bryan family have been working on for some time. Sean is a single dad. Waaay nice. Looking for a church to join. Alexis is 21, has a disability so she is still in highschool. She is an instant best friend. I just clicked with her so faaast. Laneea is quiet and kept to herself. I'll break through to her, I guarantee. The family has been through a lot so we are super excited to continue teaching them!
- Elanore Cox: Elanore is Manuel's wife (ugh, i don't even know what happened to Manuel. We haven't seen him since we taught him while he was drunk -__-"). Anyway, Elanore is such a doll! SHE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY! Ahhhh! Tears of joy!! Oh man sacrament meeting and all the other classes were just SO GOOD and SO PERFECT for her. Gah, I love it! Elanore has this squeaky and raspy laugh...and it brought so much joy to my heart to hear her laughing through all our classes because she was actually having a good time. And everyone was so welcoming! Way to go Glen Carbon ward!! We've been pretty lucky that the investigators that DO come to church are in part-member families, so they are taken care of. But I just really appreciated that everyone was so open and welcoming to Elanore. She even made a comment during gospel principles! She said "I'm glad to know the God now is the same God with Moses, and Jesus, and the same one that appeared to Joseph Smith." I almost fell off my seat. SHE HAS A TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH SMITH!!!! Oh my goodness. Sister Linton and I were like yeeeeeuh that's our gatorrrr!!! After church she went to the bathroom and didnt come out for a while. I went in to check on her and she's like "sorry. I was praying". Oh my goodness, tears of flipping joy. I just looove her.
- Eli and John Duque: Ok my relationship with these two have pretty much become like "Ate time with Jared and Andrew" LOLOLOLOL. You know...like when I sternly talk to Jared and Andrew sometimes. The Duque bros are both in high school and can be stubborn, and sometimes obnoxious. But sometimes you gotta play it like a highschooler to get through them.
- The Meadows: Sis Meadows is one of my mission moms in this area. "You've been here more than twice? You're not a guest anymore. Get it yourself" BAHAHA love her. She has 3 kids and her husband is usually out of town for work. Her oldest, Chantal, is 27, less active, and is pregnant with twins...but she just makes my freaking life. Everytime we come over for dinner I just get a hoot out of her comments and stories bahaha. Oh man. But she is such a missionary and she doesn't even know it. When we ask who can we teach, she just starts listing nonmembers and less actives we can visit. Haha yeah she is pretty awesome.
- The Clements: Sis Clements is my other mission mom. She pretty much drives us everywhere and comes to all our teaching appointments. Her daughter Michaela hasn't had school due to the snow, so we've been taking her out with us. Oh man, she is clueless sometimes and ususally doesn't know what's going on. But then she'll open her mouth and make a comment and I just start dyinnnng. Oh she is just specail baahahaha.
- My district. Yeyeeee East St Louis! It's always such a party with them. Elder Dingman is my foster child so I just take so much joy watching him be his powerhouse missionary self. Elder Wadsworth is way sweet and I pretty much talk his ear off about the most random things. Elder Oskins is so so funny. He looks super shy, but when him and Elder Smith get at it, it is just HILARIOUSSS. Whitty comments, I tell ya. They just make me laugh so hard! Elder Smith is a way awesome district leader. His trainings are just so interesting and part of the time when he looks at me while he's trining i'm like oh nooooo, he's directing it at me. But he is a huge example of just trying to be everyone's best friend. A couple Mondays ago he was like, "oh sister limas my parents read your blog. They were like 'oh we read the blog of this sweet sister in your mission. we are friends with someone in Toronto who knows her! do you know who she is?' and i just said 'uh, yeah. She's in my district! I told you about her when we skyped!'" LOLOLOL oh man. So everytime we're together I'll randomly get, "sister limas do you know this person?" or "btw, my sister said this..." etc etc. And he wants to go to York. I told him it's like the Babylon of all schools, but I think he's going anyway HAHA. It's just so funny to hear so much about home from someone else XD
- Edwardsville Sisters: Sister Sabey is my mission "sibling" and i'm just uber happy I get to serve near her. They live like 10 mins away, so we get to chill with them for lunch when we want :) We were both trained by sister ash and so all the stories we say are about things we've experienced with her and it is just a laughing party. She just makes my life bahaha. Also, we had no hot water one day, so living so close to other sisters is pretty helpful.
- My companions: I have just been so uber lucky! I have learned so much from each of my companions. I still can't believe Julie Burnett pretty much introduced me to Sis Scott before we entered the MTC...and then we end up being companions. It was meant to be haha. It was only 2 weeks, but that chica is attached to my hip! Seriously best friends for life. She always reminds me there is a reason to smile. Sis Ash is pretty much the best trainer anyone could ask for. That's why she keeps getting called to train! Haha. She made me fix things when I needed to without sugar coating it. And i have super grateful for that cuz it's shaped the missionary I needed to be. She also taught me the importance of balancing hard work and fun. You're not doing it right if you're only doing one. Sister fernandez....best trainee i could ask for. She taught me how to study and as you've read above, she's taught me how to love. Actually...all my companions have. Because I'm different from them in so many different ways, I have been able to grow in ways that I couldn't on my own. Including on how to love and serve different people.
- Sister Linton: So we've had it rough the past couple months. And the past 2 weeks you could really start to feel a rift in our companionship because we weren't on the same page in purpose anymore. BUT, we've talked things out....(oh man, communication is SO KEY in a relationship! I have come to learn that too!), and now we're teaching in unity again and finding success. WOOOOW! The past few days have really been so good. And even though it doesn't show much in numbers, we know we worked hard. AAAAND we have some pretty good potentials! Yeyuh. We are also now in a "Open Your Mouth" Competition. She told me when we first got out here that she wasn't very good at talking to people. I'm not the best either, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And have fun while doing it :) Sometimes i will walk towards a person and she'll follow, but i'll keep my mouth shut to make her talk bahaha.
ANYWAY, back to my topic.
Sister Fernandez also taught me something else. She knows the both of us had put our whole hearts into the relationships we were in before coming out. Then she talked about a conscious and subconscious part of our hearts. This is what I've learned: We loved with what we thought was our whole heart. Like 3/4 of our heart was what we were conscious of and with that 3/4 we loved people the best we could. But the mission teaches you how to use that other 1/4; the part that you didn't know was NOT being used to love. The mission teaches you how to love because using that 1/4 of the heart you didn't know existed allows us to love strangers, people we have absolutely nothing in common with, people who reject us, etc. Why? Because that's what Christ wants us to do because that's how He loved. The profound thing that Sis Fernandez taught me was that if we've learned to love complete strangers with our actually WHOLE heart, the whole 4/4, then how much more deep will our love be for the people we already do love? Our family, friends, future family... The mission teaches us how to love those we already do with an even deeper love.
And I can attest to that.
- Mom & Dad: Between me and Laura, we all know Laura's the one who misses home the most when we are away for conferences and stuff. And I don't normally admit I miss home, but I do. As much as I'm enjoying holding myself accountable for being responsible for myself out here, I do miss listening to parental advice. I still don't like being nagged (hahahaha) BUT I miss receiving council from you both. And I realized how much love you both have for me, Laura, and Arielle. And if I've gained gratitude for anything, a lot of it would be having you two as my parents. I'm grateful for you teaching me everything I need to know. Also, there's nothing like being sick physically and really missing your mom and dad to take care of you. My companion tried, but it wasn't the same :P
- Arielle: After Laura gets married, it's just gonna be you and me. Everytime i read your emails I can't help but feel uber proud of you for all the stuff you're doing. Keep it up! And choose something you and I can do together after the wedding. I'm taking you on a sister date XD
- Laura: No matter how many companions/partners in crime I get out here, you're always going to be my #1. Like I said before coming out, if we were mission companions we would just own it! Haha! And I loved how deprived we sounded when we finally talked to each other on the phone/skype bahahaha. Best friends for like and eternity, yo!
- Sara: Thanks for being my bestie. I ennjoy the fact that even though we've been away from each other for so long, we still chat like I'm gonna see you tomorrow HAHA! Like, thank you for still coming to me with rants. It makes me fele like I'm still fulfilling my job as your best friend haah. And I love the fact that even though I'm a missionary, I can still tell you boy stories and joke around about guys who try to hit on me here. HAHAHA. No but seriously, thanks for always being there for me and looking out for me :)
- Nick: Oh, my relationship with you is a special one. I mean, no one else has ever heard so much ridiculousness come out of my mouth and still accept me as a friend. Afterall that IS how we became friends ;) (stomach flu & sara's bathroom bahaa). Oh man. I'm super stoked that you're going to officially be my brother. This is my best friend/sister we are talking about. And I can get pretty strict and protective about who get to take care of my sister's heart. I'm glad it's you and I wouldn't have it any other way :) I've never seen my sister so happy (or mushy gushy) in my life! Haha! I guess I can share her with you... (LOL kidding! Sweep her off her feet ;))
- Holly: Thank you for teaching me to be better through your example. I don't know anyone who is as good at listening with love as you are. You are going to rock it so hard out in Mexico. Listening, and then speaking as the Spirit directs is definitely one of your spiritual gifts. I can't imagine how much more that's going to magnify as you serve the Lord. Im proud of you, Egg!
- Stan: Thank you for teaching my heart how to be vulnerable; for allowing me to learn how to tear down the wall that guarded it :) You're pretty special...I guess ;P Thanks for helping me prep to be out here and for sticking by my side no matter how tough things got before coming out. You're always telling me how much of an example/motivation I am, but I want you to know you are likewise. No matter how much I rant, or feel exhausted, or don't know if I can handle the challenge, you always know EXACTLY what to say to put things back into perspective. Always :)
- Autumn: Even though we haven't been close for as long as I think we have, you have definitely made your way into a big part of my life. I know you always got my back and I hope you know I've always got yours. I am also so ridiculously proud of you and everything that you're doing. Way to be Autumn! You are such a huge example!
I always say my life is so far from perfect. But it gets pretty darn close because I've been lucky enough to have you all be such a big part of it. I just love you all. And the above comments seem like they are just words on the screen. But I DO mean it with all my heart. I promised I would come home better, and I'll prove it in action at home when the time comes. & Sister Limas doesn't break promises :)
NOW ENOUGH OF MY SAPPY-NESS!!!
This wouldn't be My Lovely Chaos if I didn't delight you with my jumble of things:
*So we have a teaching pool of 16 and it is pretty over-whelming. We've mastered teaching the Restoration with the pamphlets, but then I got stuck with teaching the Plan of Salvation with the pamphlets. Bro Donaldson said it would be the hardest. Man, I always though POS was the easiest. But there's so much to it. And i have my version, Stan's version, and Jayman's version of the visuals; there is the NEG/POS chart that Elder Corkin and Elder Nelson used to teach Bryan way back when; and then there's trying to relate it all to the Atonement. So i've been begging pretty hard for help on how to deal with it. THE LORD ANSWERS PRAYERS! We've taught like 4 POS lessons already and they have gone so well. All taught differently, but all focused ONLY on the Atonement :) whewww
* I hit 8 months last week! usually we go and do something special, but we didn't. Sis Linton kinda volun-told sis clements to go on splits with me because she wasn't feeling well. I was a little peeved cuz I didn't get any sleep the night before and wasn't feeling too well either, but I wanted to work. And she wanted to sleep and get better. Le sigh. So I was bummed. BUT we taught 4 lessons that day and they all went SO WELL. And one new investigator too! Gah! YAY! Best 8 month celebration everrr! And I also got a letter from Nathan Lim and Jason Parker that day. Tops it all off (Y)
* New Year's eve was a blast. Sis Clements let us invite the elders in our district over. It was just way fun and relaxing, and we pulled a bunch of pranks on each other hahaha. It made me miss chilling with the YSA real bad.
* I HAVE A CHALLENGE FOR YOU! General Conference is in 12 weeks :) There are 39 talks. Read 3 a week (4 on the last week) and apply what you learn each week. I've been trying to do that with my studies. OH MAN, PROPHETIC COUNCIL IS JUST SOOOO GOOD! Love the Priesthood session!
* Our mission goal for this year is 521 BAPTISMS! In 2012 we overshot by 7, and for 2013 we were under by 7. But this year is a whopping 521!!! But we are supposed to focus on finding "the one". WOOO. So stoked!
* Speaking of mission goals...2014 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS! I wasn't going to come up with a list...but I caved. I'm going to be out here most of 2014, so I made my goals for the mission, and then my goals for after November 18th ahaha. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? Hit me up and tell me!
* We've been sharing the Mormon Message: Look Not Behind Thee for our member lessons. Ugh, that video is SOOOO GOOD. We've watched it so many times already and every single time something new sticks out. Sis Linton said something way interesting: Sometimes we'll accept the challenge, but then we'll hit a bump on the road and are tempted to go back. But that isn't putting trust in the Lord. It just reminded my of that Greek Mythology story of the guy who wanted to get his wife from the underworld. Hades/Pluto says he can take her BUT only if he doesn't look behind him. He just had to trust that she was following him. And right before he reached the surface, he caved and looked behind him and POOF his wife went back down to the underworld. Look forward and MOVE forward with Faith. LOVE IT. Take the past, learn from it, leave the bad, take what was good, bring it with you and pay it forward.
* We've been jamming to our Christian music in the car and I just love this one song called Stronger: "Hey, heard you were up all night, thinking about how your world ain't right, and you're wondering if thing will ever get better. You're asking why is it always raining on you, when all you want is just a little good news instead of standing there stuck out in the weather. Dont hang your head, it's gonna end, God's right there. even when it's hard to see Him I promise you that He still cares. When the waves are taken you under, hold on just a little bit longer, He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger. The pain ain't gonna last forever, things can always get better. Believe me, it's gonna you stronger." OH I JUST ATTEST TO ALL OF THAT.
* Health wise I'm good. Still get migraines and can't sleep, but at least i'm well enough to work. And i gained a whopping THREE POUNDS. Bahaha. At least i'm getting somewhere.
* This week I randomly started singing one of the songs from Land Before Time 3 (the one about the bullies/no water): "If we can bring them home, show them they're not alone, that they're just kids--kids like us". And it hit me so hard how MORMON that is! Like that's what we're here to do!!! We bring Heavenly Father's children back home no matter who they are because we are all HIS KIDS.
"We are here to prepare the world for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. That makes us very special. Live up to it." AMEN TO THAT! Neglect not the gift that is in thee. Help people know there is a way to return back home.
Sorry if this is way long!
I haven't been able to check ANY emails (both last week and today) SO SO SORRY ABOUT THAT! But i'll reply next week. Promise! Just know that I have skimmed through some and they have made me cry. I was just super touched. Oh and BTW next Monday is a holiday, so i will be emailing next Tuesday! Talk to you then!!
Have a wonderful week!
Love you loads!
Mucho Love from
Sister Limas :)
Me and Elder Smith! Or some of you may know him as Logan. Get at me if you know him!
Sis Linton and I. Paused the jamming for a photo :P
Our district on New Year's Eve :)