I had a rough start to the week this week. There was a devotional and the dress code for those is “Sunday dress,” which means dresses or skirts for the ladies, and white shirts and ties, and often suits for the men. Except I forgot about the devotional until about 15 minutes beforehand, so we had a mad scramble to get there in time. After the meeting started, I was called up, impromptu, to share my testimony. Yikes. Well, I can’t do that in Spanish yet, so I did it in English. Having survived that, I sat down to listen to everyone else, including Mr Hot Stuff who did a great job with his testimony in Spanish.
The meeting proceeded forward and halfway through the first official speaker, I had the abrupt realization that I’d worn pants to the devotional. I wanted to turn into a bug and crawl under a chair. I could have gotten over this awkward mistake, but someone later semi-publicly called me out for it. I once again learned for myself the importance of understanding that, generally speaking, everyone is quite sufficiently aware of all their own shortcomings and probably don’t actually need other people to point them out – especially publicly. If there’s a need for a conversation about an issue, do it privately. You never know what information you may be missing.
I’m grateful I was able to to talk the whole embarrassing mess out with a good friend via video chat. She helped me find my sense of humor and strengthened and encouraged me in ways I desperately needed at the time.
After that, Mr Hot Stuff helped me be brave and go talk to the person whose opinion I was most concerned about and we got things straightened out quickly and with relatively little pain. Hallelujah! New goal: never show up to devotional in pants. I’ll have a fresh chance to get it right tomorrow night, lol.
There was some other difficult news this week that I won’t go into here, but now I understand even more why church leaders always encourage us to remember to pray for the missionaries. Those prayers are helpful and valued! Also, I’m grateful that the Provo temple has a way to go online and submit names for the temple prayer roll. I don’t know if others also have that, but I’m glad to know that one has it.
Lately as I read the scriptures, I keep noticing how many people God has sent on missions that they didn’t want to go on (Jonah), don’t feel qualified for (Moses), or both (Jeremiah). I don’t imagine Alma, in the Book of Mormon, was super excited to quit the job of Chief Judge, so he could go on a mission road trip to call his people to repent either. I really hope these observations on my part are just God’s way of reminding me that we’re not alone in facing hard things on a mission, and not a sign of future mission trauma. (I’m laughing as I say this – mostly.)
To be clear, this mission is not all hard things. We went on an boat-island-beach excursion this weekend with other missionary couples and had a great time getting to know each other better. And I was so glad to get back to our place to shower and sleep.
On the excursion, one of the things we did besides hang out on a beautiful white sand beach was a small hike to a cave that had a reservoir of beautiful blue water the evening before our ocean adventure. I really enjoyed this and the awareness that the physical exertion part of it was much easier for me than it would have been a year ago. I’m so happy with my health progress!
I’m not really a sit-on-the-beach-in-the-sun kind of person so I hung out in the shade and did a little watercolor experimentation. It was fun and I’m glad Mr Hot Stuff got a little photo of it before I wrecked it.
On the way back from the island, our boat stopped in a bay full of starfish. Lots of people got in the water and even held the starfish. I was so done with sun and sea water by then that I stayed on the boat and chatted with another missionary who had also decided to be done. It was a nice chance to get more acquainted with her. Mr Hot Stuff had a great time in the bay with others in our group.
I still feel a lot of uncertainty about what this mission is going to look like for my part, but I love the reminder that came during my Old Testament study this week. Jeremiah 29:11-13. I love these verses in nearly every version of the Bible I’ve read.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
I know I can trust God to have a good plan for us (me) here. I need to hold on to that and not let that dastardly devil plant seeds of doubt in my heart and mind.
Have a blessed week! My invitation this week is that you take a few minutes and talk to God. He doesn’t much care how you say things as long as it comes from the heart. He understands in ways no one else can what you are going through.
(Edit to correct cave names.)