Well my cover is blown. I received word last night that one of our dear friends in Winfield has found this blog. I knew it was bound to happen eventually. Although, I must say, if it had to be someone, I am glad it was this one. This is my ode to you, dear K. 😉
I’m sure some of you have heard of the chemical spill that has affected the water in five counties in West Virginia. The chemical is "4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or crude MHCM" as one of the members informed me. I have no idea what it means or what it is, but I do know that it smells like licorice and tastes like water.
No… I haven’t really tasted it. But it does smell like licorice! We are being well-taken care of by the members here, so don’t worry about us. Many members in the area use a different company that does not draw from the river, and the church here has an amazing and immediate network of support that makes me love it all over again.
This situation has taught me an interesting lesson, though. So many people here are in dire straits because we have been instructed not to touch or consume the water, even with a purifier. The stores ran out of purified drinking water within an hour of the news, and now water is being shipped in and kept behind a government fence and being handed out by household. Essentially, the government has been placed in charge of the water supply of those affected and is rationing it to us. It’s amusing when you don’t stop to think about it. But what learned is that for many years we have been instructed to have a supply of food and water. Somehow I’ve only ever heard about the food part, and haven’t even thought about the water. Thinking about it now, I can’t even picture how to have a year’s supply of water… where would you hold that much? Well, I’ve seen a few people out here who draw theirs from a well, and one man told me about building his house with a cistern system that stores in an underground tank. He said he studied the weather patterns in the area and based his system on the amount of rain they received to be sure he would never run out of water.
THE THINGS YOU LEARN ON YOUR MISSION!!
Seriously, I can’t even begin to describe the number of life-lessons I have received and experienced out here. If it were for that alone, I would be eternally grateful to have been called to West Virginia. But the experiences on top of that–the people, the culture, the companions, the leaders… God truly knows His children. I was born to serve in West Virginia.
Speaking of, we had an amazing mission conference this past week, where we were blessed to spend 2 hours at the feet of Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the First Quorum of the Seventy. You’ll probably remember him from his talk in the October General Conference on exclamation points! He shared with us his experience taking part in the assigning of 321 missionaries with Elder Quentin L. Cook. He shared how it was a process, learning to receive the revelation necessary to assign. He said that in the beginning, he just watched, not knowing what to do. When Elder Cook asked him "are you getting this?" he started reading through the information on the screen. After selecting the wrong mission a few times, he started looking into their faces. Then, one popped up that he knew from his home stake. Elder Cook asked him "do you want to take this one?" Elder Nielsen looked into his eyes, and felt the love that he had gained for the young man through the process leading up to the submission of his papers. He pointed to the map, "There." he said, and he knew he was right.
I reflected on that experience, and learned anew that as we go out to find the Lord’s sheep, the Father’s children, and to teach them the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have to do it with the eyes of the Lord and of the Father. We have to look at every person and feel the way that that They feel about them. We have to open our hearts and ask to be filled with Charity, the pure love of Christ. Only then can we receive the revelation we need to teach them in the way THEY need to be taught, to reach them in the way THEY need to be reached. It’s difficult for me to fully put into words what I learned that day, but it was a special, little, spiritual epistle, just for me.
I love my mission. I love being a missionary. I love everything about missionary work. I know whom I serve. I love my Savior… I love my Father in Heaven…
I love all of you, who offer so much support to me, to my family, to my fellow missionaries, and to this marvelous work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, for your prayers and your love and everything that you do. May God bless you in all that you do.