This last week was pretty great. We had a chance to go to the Jacob Hamblin Home, a pioneer home/historic site that is run by senior couple missionaries.
The sisters’ visit to the Jacob Hamblin home.
We don’t give tours there, like we do at the Brigham Young Winter Home, so it was a blast to be able to take a field trip there during our early morning training meeting.
I love historic sites. Growing up around Nauvoo, Illinois, living in Gettysburg, PA, and taking countless trips to Salt Lake City (and Temple Square) instilled in me a great love for history and historic sites. I especially love church history. I am so blessed to have been able to live in places like those and gain an appreciation for the legacy of the incredible people long past. I love history. The tour at the Jacob Hamblin Home was early in the morning, and it’s been rainy here. It felt like being in Nauvoo again, so it was quite a treat.
Yesterday we went to church for the first time at the Samoan ward! That was such an overwhelming experience. The entire service is in Samoan (with a few English words and phrases thrown in, as is normal, I’m beginning to understand), so they gave me a Samoan hymnal from which to sing.
This is a culture of love, charity, acceptance, and comfort. It’s so cool. The meeting was full of an energy I don’t think I’ve ever felt before in my life. We sang the opening hymn, which in English is called, “Secret Prayer.” I couldn’t make it through even the first verse because the Spirit was so strong and I got really emotional. That’s pretty normal for me and my family, though. [The Johnsons, my ancestors, were notably emotional people.] But it was so good. I loved the – sorry to use this word again, but – energy that was present in the singing. So much feeling. So much raw and genuine devotion. I was blown away.
And so, there I was, choking back tears and being filled with joy and…I had been asked to give the opening prayer. In front of a whole congregation of Polynesians… Me, a short, Caucasian sister missionary. I hobbled up and tried to keep it together long enough to pray. I finished, tried to make sure I was smiling and walked back to my seat. Sister Leota told me that I had sounded scared. Great. At least she was honest! haha But I wasn’t really scared. Just so nervous and so overwhelmed and so happy. And she had to give the closing prayer, so we felt each other’s pain.
So, on a completely different note, I fixed our vaccum the other day! For those of you who don’t know, my dad has this strange affinity for vacuums. He likes to fix them. He’s good at it. He’s a strange, wonderful, talented, and amazing man. And apparently I am channeling that talent. Our vacuum had a little piece come loose and I fiddled with it for a moment and seemed to fix it! I’m not sure if it’s actually fixed, but I made it better! I thought of Dad and I was proud. It’s a little silly, but hey, it’s the little things!
Well, I’ll sign off. Lots to do! Places to go, people to teach! Lives to change! (Mostly my own.)
I am so grateful to be here. I love what I’m doing. Each and every bad day is made insignificant by the greater number of good days. Just as light dispels darkness, good overshadows and negates the bad. Optimism, my friends!
By the way, I’ve discovered a new favorite meal. It’s rice with fried eggs and sweet chili Thai pepper sauce. A little strange, but it’s fast and it’s good and when we have short lunch hours before we have to go to the Visitors’ Center for our shift, it works like a charm.
So, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day and a beautiful week.
Much love and rice and eggs and Thai pepper sauce,