Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 19: in which I eat enough food to keep the entire Hooper family happy for days, and in which I learn just a little more about patience

Hello everyone! It's November! The start of a MONTH OF MIRACLES. Sister Taylor and I were setting monthly goals last week, and we both got very quiet and were pondering what we wanted to happen this month. And we had a feeling that this month is going to be special. We're not quite sure why, but we both just know that we're going to be seeing miracles, and not just the usual the-bus-shows-up-right-when-we-need-it miracle, or even the I-can't-believe-God-helped-us-eat-this-much-food miracle. This month is going to be different. It will be miracle month. So we decided to write down daily miracles during each evening planning session, and we're going to make a big, beautiful poster of them to put on our wall. I'm so excited to see what will happen, because it's gonna be HUGE!

Our first miracle in progress is Raven, probably the sweetest, most adorably Christlike girl I've ever met. She's planning to get baptized later this month, and we are so excited! Her family isn't too thrilled with the idea, but she doesn't want to let that stop her from doing what she knows is right. Her older sister asked her the other day why she doesn't just take her time, and wait awhile before baptism; don't rush into anything. And Raven told her, "I've waited long enough already! Why put off what's right?" I told her that I loved her cardigan (a light, pastel yellow, and super warm), and then she went all the way to Mong Kok to pick one up for me! And she showed up to our next lesson and, with the sweetest little grin on her face, pulled it out with a flourish haha. It was such a surprise! And such a good deal too, under $5US. I think I might have to get another one sometime.

T-shirt of the week: Black with bold, white print, worn by the female version of a sumo wrestler: "Belle of the Brawl." I believed it.

So the week before last, Sister Taylor had a really bad virus, and I forced her to stay home to rest (which was a struggle--that girl does not keep still!). And that Sunday we'd had a member invite us over for dinner, the same member who fed us pig's feet. This woman is the most generous, loving person you'll ever meet. A little too generous sometimes. Her table is COVERED with food, and she expects it to be eaten. All of it. So I was really concerned for Sister Taylor's stomach. And that afternoon we were just considering calling to reschedule (we hesitated because we really didn't want to offend her) when she called us and, very apologetically, cancelled. It was a miracle of epic proportions, and we were overjoyed. But the miracles don't stop there! She rescheduled for this past Sunday, which just happened to be fast Sunday. Perfect! So we loosened our belts and prepared to fill every nook and cranny. Every time we've eaten with this sister so far, we've had to clear the table, and on this day, it just wasn't happening. My stomach must have shrunk because of the lack of food or something, but either way it wasn't going to happen. As I'm on the verge of tears (drama queen alert!), she just gets up and clears the table. Out of nowhere. It was incredible! And then she comes out with a couple persimmons which I was able to eat easily. It really was a miracle. And then the biggest miracle: she sent us home with a BEAUTIFUL bar of Swiss chocolate with almonds. Worth it. I thought a lot about Drew and Clayton during this meal, and prayed my heart out that God would help me eat as much as Drew (or Clayton) could eat. And I also thought about Jesse and all of his companions, and wished that I could just take that meal and Apparate it to Sierra Leone. They'd probably really appreciate it! But each mission comes with its own trials, and each mission is custom-made to fit the missionary's strengths and weaknesses. I'm so excited for the day when the Hooper missionaries are reunited! Hilarious stories will abound. Tears and laughter. It'll be like when Paul got to meet up with Titus and Apollo, or when Alma and the brothers of Mosiah ran into each other in the wilderness. And I CAN'T WAIT!

I've had to learn a lot about patience this week, especially patience with myself. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because I'm not learning as quickly as I want to. But as I was studying the New Testament, I realized that Jesus Christ understands that feeling too! He came to this earth as a child, and learned line upon line, precept upon precept, grace by grace, just like I am right now. I was thinking about that last part: "Grace by grace." A grace note is the smallest little note you can play-- it's practically non-existent! But it's so incredible important, because it completely changes the feel of the song. It adds beauty, emotion. Sometimes it's a nice little surprise, breaking up the monotony of an otherwise calm piece. These little steps that I'm taking, grace by grace, are seemingly insignificant, but they're actually essential to my growth as a person and a missionary and a future mother, wife, teacher, and whatever else I may become! I'm so excited by all these little steps, because I know that each one is taking me (and everyone I'm teaching, meeting, working with) one step closer to our Heavenly Father! It's true! All of it! And I'm blessed to play a tiny, tiny role in the biggest, most important work of all! I love it, love the people of Hong Kong, love you all, and love the Lord!

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