Do you ever find yourself driving along the back roads to Dalry with windmills and sheep on either side and the speed limit is 50 mph even though it's never quite straight for more than 15 feet and it's not quite wide enough to accommodate traffic going both directions but manages to anyways and there is a fat line of cars behind you and there's nowhere to pull off so you have to go 50mph whether you want to or not regardless of the cars speeding by in the opposite direction so close you can tell what they had for breakfast by the smell of their breath?
Yeah? Because that's literally what a mission is! I'm 5 months into this wild ride ALREADY and I'm not even entirely unpacked yet! There are rolling hills and a sun in the sky peeking out to say hello for the first time in AGES (possibly for the first time this year, I don't recall) and silos and sheep and lil brooks dotting the blanket of green because Scotland is so unattached to the real world that it hasn't realized it's winter yet. There are people and places and scripture studies that take place next to a light therapy lamp and a big window from which I can see the very patch of grass that Alexander Nobel's nuclear laboratory once sat (the very same), there are buses full of new friends and ferries full of old friends off on their way to serve in Ireland. There are bowls of 5p (7 cent) creamy vegetable soup that you dump handfuls of popcorn in "because it tastes more exciting that way" and the same 5 EFY songs that are played over and over and over again. There are district councils and ward correlations and Sunday dinners with old ladies and tender moments with young children. There is all of this and more on my mission, and yet it's all passing by so fast I can hardly enjoy it! There's no place to pull over, there's no turning back, and there's no time to second guess a single decision. I wouldn't have it any other way.
BETTER ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS!!!!!
Fun story to start off with, this week we went to dinner with our jolly good friends the Kings, then went to chap (knock) some doors afterwards. Just as we folded our arms to say a prayer, I got a text from the mission president saying that more than half the apps have been deleted from several missionaries phones and we had to get it figured out ASAP. To rewind, about a week and a half into my mission, I was called to serve as a tech specialist for the SIM (Scotland/Ireland Mission), which pretty much just means I have to pretend like I'm Google when missionaries call with tech questions that I don't know the answer to either. I've gotten really good at guessing, and I'm grateful for the 6 years of 4H that taught me how to pretend like I know what I'm doing even when I don't!! It's been really fun!!
We jumped out of the car to chap four doors just so we could say we got SOME finding time in, then skirted over to the church where my phone was flooded with missionaries messaging me about the apocalypse while we tried to get it sorted!! My advise to all the missionaries was, "sit tight and don't worry, but pray for the nerds at church headquarters because they're probably having heart attacks right now."
Lo and behold, it was soon resolved and my phone was flooded yet again with missionaries praising me and saying "THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! YOU'RE A MIRACLE WORKER!!" to which I replied, "I literally didn't do a single thing, thank church headquarters!" which got me thinking real hard about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, because don't we sometimes attribute the cleansing affect of the atonement to other things and call it a miracle? Don't we sometimes claim that Ben and Jerry's, yoga, or even righteous things like Come, Follow Me are the answers to our problems? We say, "Come to church, read your scriptures, get on your knees and pray" as if those things themselves are the answers to our problems. In reality, we do those things because they enable us to access the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we give the credit where credit is due, it becomes all the more powerful! It becomes all the more REAL! It begins to WORK. Jesus Christ has asked us to beware of "vain repetitions." This doesn't just apply to prayers, it's ALL repetitive actions that we don't put our heart into. If there's no soul to your scripture study, it's no different than reading Harry Potter! Which, to be fair, is a wonderful cure for a great many things.
I've learned ever so many wonderful things this week that I want to share with you, but there simply isn't enough time in the day and I've already wasted too much of yours. I will leave it at this: I have learned this week that God will always answer our prayers. Sometimes we need to take off our prayer goggles and stop saying, "OK I've prayed and now I'm ready to receive my answer that will come in the form of __________!" Sometimes the answers aren't in the color or shape that we have already made up our mind that they'll be, but it would be heartbreaking if you missed out on the miracles and opportunities to serve and progress just because we were looking for an apple and God gave us the sweetest tasting orange in the world!
Eat your vegetables!
Love to you all,
Sister Allen xxx <--- (I don't know why scottish women end all their letters with that but they do)