Well this week was FLIPPING AWESOME
We went on exchanges this week; 2 fold! Which is fancy talk for two exchanges. I went on one with a member of the district and then our Zone-leaders did one with me and Elder Jensen. The first one was great. Elder Carter is his name, and for those who know Jarom Hess, he is like Jarom Hess' doppleganger. They are one and the same. They even have the same first name! So it's always a pleasure working with Elder Carter. I love him SO much. And we had an awesome time! He's going home this transfer, so I got to learn a lot from him and his struggles on a mission. We talked a lot about labels, and how unfair it is that we label people so swiftly and refuse to let them change in our eyes. I don't know if any of you have experienced it or seen that, but I see it way too much in myself, and then get frustrated when others don't let me change in their eyes! How silly and contradictory of me!
But we had a great opportunity to talk (way too late into the night, getting up at 6:30 the next day was a bear) about focusing on the good in others and looking for the ways they've improved and then letting them know that we notice those things! Very wise missionary.
We also taught the single most frustrating (well, IDK... it was frustrating, but maybe not #1) lesson of my mission. He wouldn't stop talking and when we would try to explain principles he was kind of demeaning and all like "Well, when you grow up you'll start to see that this isn't the most important thing" (Followed by rude, un-christlike voice in my head: WRONG! IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. PERIOD.) Or "Well, you guys are too young to understand the important things of life. And it doesn't help that you were sheltered your whole-life"
Legit I thought I was gonna bust a gasket. Like come on. I'll own up to somethings: I was sheltered! No way around it, I was raised in the shire and lived a relatively easy life with a family that loved me which is a lot more than many people here in California can say. But still... I'm not dumb. And even if I was, that's not the point of the lesson and there's no need to point it out!
Ugh. But besides that, it was a good exchange.
Then my second exchange was with Elder Kleinman. We came out together and he's pretty much my favorite human being on the face of the planet. Like, holy lovable. He's just an amazing zone-leader/missionary/friend. And literally, we've talked about how badly we've wanted to go on exchanges together for the 4 transfers I've been here now. Similar sense of humor, similar personalities and it was well worth the wait!
He lives in a house with another set of missionaries, one of which came out with us as well and we exchanged on our year mark day, so we burned a shirt each. I wrote 'the past' on mine and gave a long dumb speech about how with this burning, I burn THE PAST and how we're letting go of THE PAST And if anyone question's our authority to burn away THE PAST ... Well.... I... Then they.... Hm.... BURN THE PAST!!!!! Then THE PAST Blew away into the trees and almost caught the back yard on fire.
But I learned a lot from him. And we came up with the idea for tassle ties. Hard to explain over e-mail, but basically they're ties with tassles all along the sides, and they are going to be the biggest thing in fashion since pumps and purses.
Quick spiritual thought:
1) Please do not label people with anything bad. A.K.A. 'The missionary who came home early' 'The Girl who got pregnant in high school' 'The Guy who isn't going anywhere in life' etc. Rather, if you're going to give someone labels, give them positive ones! 'The guy who is just so loving' 'The really smart girl!' 'The guy who is a friend too anyone!' etc. It will make you and those around you happier.
2) If you feel you are labeled by those around you remember this quote by Dr. Seuss that has kept me going many times "Those who Mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind". They love you unconditionally, which means they don't just love you sometimes, or love just parts of you, or love you as long as you never ____.... But love all of you, no matter what, always.
3) Remember the Savior never sees us as who we were. He sees us as we are and as we can be. Allign your view with the Saviors (for yourself and others) and you'll find that EVERYONE you meet is worth a lot more than meets the eye.
I love you all! Church is true!