H IS BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know, I should probably be a little more enthusiastic, but wow did this week wear me out! In a good way of course, but I am just bushed. (Sister L says that sometimes, and it sounds so funny in a British accent, so I tend to say it that way now. She still thinks my accent is weird, but I think I'm making progress.) Anyways, H is just the sweetest thing, and the muscles in my face were so tired from smiling but I couldn't stop it all day. She asked me to speak at her baptism, and it was such a special experience. I can't remember anything I said, but I probably looked like a jack-o-lantern I was smiling so wide. Anyhow, I was sitting next to her during the next talk, and she put her hand on her chest, leaned over, and whispered, "I feel it. I feel the Holy Ghost." And it just made me want to cry. And when she came out of the water, completely clean, she just looked so happy. What a huge blessing, being able to start over, turn a new page through baptism.
I love H so much, and I just know that we'll be friends forever! She's like a little girl in so many ways, so giggly and silly and random, and we just have the best time. She introduced us to her friend A last week, and we taught both of them every day leading up to the baptism. The first time we met A, she was really shy, but she opened up and is so fun and crazy and we love her. They both read the Book of Mormon every day and love talking about it with us. It's amazing how serving a mission teaches you to see people differently, and to love them and hurt for them when they hurt and cheer for them when they succeed. I know that Heavenly Father is a perfect example of that, and he gives us opportunities to learn to be like that for ourselves, for which I am so so grateful.
Sister L had one of her less graceful moments this week while we were out running. I'm just facing forward, jogging, and one minute she's there and the next she's gone! I looked all around on my eye-level, but then checked the ground and there she was! She was thinking so hard that she just fell over! The first thing that popped into my head was the line what's-his-name says in the Prisoner of Azkaban: "Wha choo fall over for?" (No, but seriously, what's his name? All I'm thinking is Oliver Wood, but I know it's not him, it's the guy on the bus. Wow, I'm so embarrassed.) But she seemed a little out of it, so I figured I'd better save the joke for a better, more alert audience. So for the rest of the week all of the people at church were telling her off for being so clumsy haha, but I find her clumsiness endearing.
So here's an experience I never imagined happening here in the mission: teaching about prophets and Joseph Smith to a forty-something year old Pentacostal man from the middle-of-nowhere Missouri. But it's true, it happened, and it was the most interesting lesson I'd ever taught. I don't really know how else to describe it but that. He asked a lot of really deep questions and it showed that he was really thinking about our lesson, and I loved that. He returned home just a few days afterwards, but he said he'd try to find out if it were true, and I really believe him.
Today Elder and Sister S, two of the senior missionaries here, treated all of us missionaries to a buffet in the Venetian hotel/casino, and WOW was it the classiest thing I've ever been to! As we were eating, I said, "The only buffet I've ever been to before is the Golden Corral!" And Sister S laughed and laughed, and then I remembered that I'd also been to Shoneys, but I didn't think that would be worth mentioning, considering Golden Corral was laugh-worthy. The food at the Venetian was beautiful, just about everything a sister could want... except for an ice cream bar. Yeah. So I guess Golden Corral wins after all! Boo yah! But seriously, we were so grateful to the S-s, and we showed it by eating WAY TOO MUCH food. I'm kind of used to it now though, although I made the rookie mistake of not wearing a skirt with an elastic band. Yeah, I know right. Really embarrassing.
We had a few activities last weekend, so I sent out a mass text to a lot of people that we'd contacted last month (oh how I love having a cell phone! How did missionary work ever get done without them?), and we got this as one of the responses: "Sorry I was slept before just now come to work and then u saw message from u! Thanks for invite to me! I will try to my best come there! Thank you for remember to me! Any way happy mother day to you and your all friends!" I read it out loud and we both thought, "Who was the adorable Filippina who sent that?" But then we checked the number and turns out it was from a thirty-something year old Indian man who we'd taught about a month ago haha. I guess their texting languages sound super similar! But we laughed and laughed, it was just the funniest moment.
I've been thinking a lot about the principle of sacrifice, and how interesting it really is. How it's only by losing our lives that we can find them, how we can only receive everything once we give everything. What we give to others is what we truly keep. The more love we give, the more we have--wow, have I felt that on my mission. I know that the times I am the happiest are the times when I'm completely focused on another person. The times when I think about myself and what I want and how I want things to go, that's the time when I feel the least satisfied with my situation. We need others to reach that highest level of happiness--we can't do it by ourselves. I love this line from Edwin Markham: "There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone, All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own." There's a plan, and all of our individual lives intertwine so beautifully, create the most beautiful masterpiece, that NO WAY JOSE that it could all be coincidence. I know that's the truth!
Anyways, thank you all so much for your letters and support and prayers! I can't believe it's May already--time flies when you're in Macau!