Hello everyone! It's been an interesting week, that's for sure! Moments of joy, moments of sorrow, and then moments of joy caused by the realization that I was feeling that sorrow! This incredibly insightful conversation between Ron and Hermione just came to my mind: "A person can't feel all that at once... they'd explode!" "Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean everyone does!" Well, let me tell you, I've learned that I have the emotional range of one of those giant blue water drums we have stored in our garage! What are those for anyways? Are they actually filled with water? I never really thought about them before...
In other news, I bought myself The Testaments last week at the distribution center for 5US dollars! So that's what we'll be watching for the next few mealtimes at church! Happy birthday to me!
And another birthday surprise: Sister Fernelius and Sister Kelly made me chocolate chip pancakes!!!! They were amazing! And so are those sisters. Seriously, I love them to death. Speaking of death, Sister Kelly is actually "dying" in December, and we'll miss her so much! She has imparted so many words of wisdom, and has really helped me feel more comfortable being a baby. I love that woman.
T-shirt of the week: Brown. Huge. And it says, "Everything is make by me." Uhh, okay?
Sometimes it seems like people just take a dictionary, put it into a cannon, launch it, and then have a few five year olds run around, pick up the words, tape them together, and turn them into t-shirts. Seriously. Here's an example: "Eleven o'clock. Reception to the world or knowledge. I love to fun you are my heart too. See me." I think that might have been it. It's hard to remember the ones that don't make any sense.
So you know how I mentioned Waitrose last week and then didn't say anything else about it? Well, I apologize haha. So the other day, one of our investigators brought some crackers to our lesson and offered them to us. "These are Waitrose crackers," she said, "So you know they're good quality." So I took one, ate it, and thought it was delicious. Then I look over at Sister Taylor, and she was placing her half-eaten cracker in her lunch bag saying, "I'm full, but I'll save the rest for later!" And I figured maybe she had a stomach ache or something? So when offered, I took another... and another. And then when we got home, Sister Taylor said when she'd taken a bite of her cracker, a small herd of weevils poured out. (I don't think it's a 'herd' of weevils, but I can't think of anything better at the moment.) So yes. That was a nice experience haha. Oh well, I probably haven't eaten enough protein recently anyways.
Anyways, so Raven's baptism is definitely postponed, and one of our other investigators, Christy... well, we pretty much said goodbye to her a couple nights ago. She is such a sweet woman, and her life is super hard. Family, health, and work problems compound upon each other, and she just despairs. We've told her over and over again that she has the option. She can quit this job, she can come to church, she can be happy. She KNOWS this gospel makes her happy--she's said it herself over and over again. But she just chooses to not do the things that will bring her happiness. And we've done all we can. So we'll keep inviting her to things, we'll keep talking to her when she's really upset... But we can't be spending time teaching her when there are those out there who are ready to act on what we're inviting them to do. And as we were going home after meeting with her, I was so sad. And I realized that this sorrow wasn't originating from me. Just like the love I feel for Christy doesn't originate from me either. This love and sorrow is Christ's. I wanted so badly to help Christy. But our Savior wanted to help her infinity times more. He died to help her, that's how much he loves her. And it hurts me and hurts him to see her walk away from the only thing that can heal her: The Atonement of Christ.
But there were also times of rejoicing this week! On my birthday, one of our investigators, Teresa, called us out of the blue! We met her once, a month ago, and since then she's been too busy to schedule us. But she remembered my birthday! And she called and asked if we could celebrate together! So we met her at the church, and she brought a cake, a card, and the sweetest little wooden keychain of an angel with my name carved on the back of it. Wow. I was so incredibly touched. She is the sweetest thing. And while eating, we taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel, and she just sat there and nodded and smiled and was so agreeable! I mean, who knows if she believed a word we said haha, but she is definitely a light in my life, and made my birthday so very special.
And speaking of angels, I'll tell you about Sister Choih, who I've never actually met her in person, but I call her each week, listen to all of her problems, and then express how much we miss her and want to visit her. And she's always too busy (along with every person in all of Hong Kong!) but she always says to keep calling because our calls make her so happy. And this week she called me her angel. Wow, did that touch my heart. I feel so useless sometimes. Like I don't know what I'm doing. Awkward, as if I were some weird third arm coming out of someone's side, you know, like, "Gee, what do I do with this thing? I don't even have a sleeve to put it in!" (Does that make sense? Maybe not haha.) But one day I was feeling extra useless when this thought came to me: "Sister Cutler. Oh dear, silly Sister Cutler. Do you realize the effort that I put into convincing you to go on a mission? Do you understand how much effort it takes to teach you Cantonese and fly you halfway around the world? Do you realize the effort I invest in giving you the energy and conviction to wake up every morning and go out into a foreign country and smile and actually try to talk to people who may or may not understand you? I don't waste my time. I don't waste my breath. Why would I do all that and then just not use you? I use you every day, and sometimes you can realize it. But sometimes you don't need to know. Sometimes, you'll never know whose lives you touch. And that's faith. You staying here and pressing forward, trusting that I'll guide you. Just keep having faith, because I'm in charge and I need you to be who you are, where you are." I'm learning a lot about forgiving myself for my weaknesses. If the Lord needed my Cantonese to be perfect, it would be. I have no doubt. Read Jeremiah 1:1-6. I feel just like Jeremiah sometimes. But I know that it's not me doing the teaching anyways. It's the Spirit, and the Spirit speaks the language of the heart. And everyone is fluent.