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Starfish and Worms

April 16, 2014
Hi all!
 
Happy post-General Conference high day!  =)  I feel like since coming on a mission, I live for hearing talks and spiritual teaching more than I ever did.  I loved Conference!  My synthesis of a few different talks for my big takeaway is thus: We defend our faith and take up the joyful burden of discipleship because it is the only load that can generate the spiritual traction we need to move forward keeping our covenants and coming unto the Savior.  I especially like the phrases “joyful burden of discipleship” and “spiritual traction.” 
 
So, the week!  On Monday we took an adventure to the convent and the abbey over west of us.  We met a nun with a very cool backstory!  She’s from Argentina and was engaged but broke it off to come devote her life to the Lord.  I admire her dedication.  And I rejoice that serving the Lord with all my everything and having a family are not mutually exclusive endeavors in our blessed religion and faith.
 
On Tuesday we taught Karen!  Karen has been in potentials for a while and we finally had a full lesson with her–she loved it!  Things went really well and we set up a regular teaching schedule with her!  I haven’t had that since Candi dropped us.  It feels good.
 
Wednesday was Zone training!  John 9:1-11 as it relates to new missionaries.  We all come into the mission “blind” and we learn to see as we progress.  Elder Moss (my zone leader for my whole mission) said that he’s a “neighbor” for me in my mission because he was there when I was “born blind” down in Liberty and now he’s seen me grow up on the mission. 
 
I don’t remember which day it was, but one morning we went running (because running on country roads at dawn makes Sister Rackham’s whole day just 100% better!) and S. Michaelson kept stopping to pick up worms off the wet road and throw them back into the field.  It reminded me of that story with the little boy and the starfish and the old man who tells him that it won’t make a difference.  The boy picks up another starfish, throws it in the ocean, and replies, “it made a difference to that one.”  I feel like that little boy sometimes.  There are so many people who need the gospel!  Try all of the people ever.  And we work so hard and invite all the time and so few accept or progress.  At times, I feel like we’re not making a difference.  And then a less-active member of the branch calls and says that he thought about it and he will help us with our open house after all and I think to myself, “It made a difference to that one.”  So we keep on throwing the starfish and worms back because it does make a difference.  Elder Holland said something like, “True Christlike love…makes a difference.” in his talk and I cried for joy because the Lord knows my heart and my effort and I trust that in ways I can’t see or that have yet to be revealed, what I’m doing here is making and will make a difference. 
 
A family we were very excited to start teaching, the Hayes, I think I mentioned them last time, decided that they don’t want to learn about the gospel after all.  That was heartbreaking.  And it rained all that day.  Heavenly Father was sad, too.  But it got me thinking about hope!  My hope is a firm little bubble wrapped around me that binds me to my Savior.  Things happen, disappointments and rejections, that try to take a sledgehammer to my hope.  And it doesn’t work!  I am saddened by people’s poor choices, but my hope is unshakable.  My hope endures bruising and beating, but it is never popped or sliced or compromised. Impenetrable hope.  Boom. (As Elder Westhoff would say.)
 
So, random story–this old man (like 93 years old) named Ed threw corn at me.  It’s pretty much hilarious.  I think he meant it in a nice way, like we’re buddies or something, but he pulled kernels off an ear of corn and threw them at my face.  Old people can get away with anything.  I think I’m still kind of in shock that Ed threw corn at me–Sister Michaelson said the look on my face was priceless.  Oh Missouri.  😉
 
Hurrah for Israel, y’all!  Keep fighting the good fight and trusting our good Captain!  I love you all!
 
love,
Sister Rackham
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