Guess what? I have been working on my southern accent!
On average, I introduce myself to around 45 new people a week, if not more, in the Portland Visitor Center. After telling them I am from Atlanta, Georgia, I almost always get the question:
"You don't sound like you have much of a southern accent?"....
So for my sanity and for the safety of all those I meet, I have been working on introducing myself like the true southerner I am: Haii...I'm from Lana, Georgia.
Something else I have been able to work on this week is my skills in the game of Rummikub...
Earlier last week, we stopped by this cute couple's house one evening to meet Rose, a nonmember, and Jack, a return missionary who comes to church periodically (names have been changed). When they answered the door, they asked us to come join them in their game of RUMMIKUB! :) We gladly accepted. Though I did not end up winning, we did leave their home "winning" in God's eyes. After the game, we got to know them a little more, and then asked Rose if she had ever been taught the lessons by missionaries. She said she'd had good discussions with them, but was never taught about the church. We asked her if she would be willing to take the lessons, and she said yes! I thoroughly believe that she said yes because we had FIRST taken time to establish a relationship with her and show her that we love and care for her. That is the real reason behind all of our actions/challenges/requests as missionaries: LOVE.
We were able to have a lesson a couple days later, and it went amazing! Rose asked a lot of questions and learned a lot. She wants to read the Book of Mormon everyday, even if she does not understand it, so she can feel of the power in it that we always talk about. We have another lesson with her next week!
From this experience, we can learn a few things!
1. Never turn down a game of Rummikub (even if you have never heard of it! #Sister Riley)
2. Before trying to share the gospel with someone, show them you LOVE them.
3. No matter how insignificant your efforts may seem to do good, to love others, and to share what you believe, God will always make your efforts count!
I want you to know that I LOVE you all and care about you, just like I care about Jack and Rose! Y'all have struggles and trials, but y'all also have the Lord. If you turn to Him I promise you that He will lift your burdens. :)
A couple days ago, I was blow-drying my hair at the dreadful hour of 6:30 am, and upon finishing, I pressed the cold air button to "set" my movie-star hairstyle. The next day, I turned on my blow-dryer to dry my dripping wet hair, but something just wasn't the same... only cold air came out, no matter what button I pressed! So much for the blow-DRYER... So, we decided to go through the huge ordeal of going out of our area to go to the store during the week! After calling our district leader, then zone leader, then the Assistants to the President, we scrambled to the store in between appointments to buy a new blow dryer! After sifting through 15 different types of cheap blow dryers, I finally decided on one that looked half-promising. I tried it out at the store (I didn't know this store let you do that but apparently they do) and it worked, but it had a lose button, so I snatched a different one and checked out, hoping for the best! The next day, I turned my NEW blow dryer on to find that it only blows warm air, not cold or hot...Only the Bergman family...The Bergman family is known for ALWAYS getting the one defective product on the shelf. So, after once again calling our district leader, then zone leader, then APs, we went BACK to the store the next day. I returned the "warm-dryer", tried out a couple other cheap choices, and chose an entirely new one. Hopefully this one lasts at least a week....
1. Don't buy a blow-dryer at a "discount" store.
2. Test the exact product you are going to buy!
3. ALWAYS keep your receipts.
4. Be Grateful for Return policies
Though I am super grateful to be able to return things I buy, a convenience I use all the time, I am MUCH more grateful for the LORD's return policy: Repentance!
I am SO glad that the Lord does not expect us to be perfect! This life is all about making choices, learning from our mistakes, and coming closer to Christ. Without repentance, we would all be stuck with SO many unneeded "purchases" like guilt, sadness, regret, anger, and despair. Our hearts would be full of regretful conversations, stupid choices, and destructive thoughts. However, Jesus Christ suffered for each of our hopeless moments, for our aches and pains, heart-aches, and loneliness. He understands disease. He knows how we feel when we sin, when we feel regret. He's overcome all of our physical, mental, and emotional challenges through his Atonement. Because of this, we are able to "return" anything to the Lord that keeps us from Him - whenever we want! Our opportunities to be forgiven and feel better never expire. I am SO grateful for this. It is a blessing to be able to use the Atonement in my life EVERY day!
I encourage you to call upon the Atonement daily. I also challenge you to meet one or two new people this week that you can impact in a positive way - whether it be through a smile, a friendly conversation, or a kind act of service!
I know your lives will be blessed as you try to do these things. I promise you that your burdens will be lifted, your heart will be lighter, your smile will be a little wider, your capacity to love will be much greater, and your life will be more joyful!
I hope y'all have a wonderful week!