If my email doesn't make sense this week, it might be because my zone did a Fear Factor activity and I had to drink a smoothie made of milk, peanut butter, chicken noodle soup, honey, a lemon, and strawberry jam. I wouldn't recommend it, but on the bright side, I won by finishing my red solo cup in 49 seconds, when both of the Elders that also had to make their own smoothie couldn't even finish. I feel pretty accomplished, but I am definitely paying for it too.
Serving in the Arizona Gilbert Mission is an interesting experience because it's biking down the street and having a car full of teenage girls almost throwing themselves out the car window to scream, "HI MISSIONARIES! WE LOVE YOU, MISSIONARIES!" Or it's trying to get a four year old to be reverent during a lesson, and her interpreting "reverent" is head-banging. Or it might even be a full grown lady full on running away from your companion screaming, "I'M CATHOLIC!" just because your companion said hi.
This week was actually a really funny and really good week. We had zone conference, which is always the best experience. I learned a lot, but it was also a nice reminder from my Heavenly Father that there are some things that I do pretty okay. My favorite part of zone conference is always when they set aside time for any of the missionaries to come share their testimony. I got up to share my testimony this time, and they always have to lower the microphone for me, which means that I always make some comment about being short. I've taken to telling people that I am taller than Elder Wilcox, one of the Assistants to the President that is easily over six feet tall, so I made a comment about not knowing why they always lower the mic for me because we all know that I am taller than him. I got a few laughs, and I shared my testimony about something I had learned. Well, I guess I was the last person to share my testimony because right after me, Elder Wilcox got up to close the meeting. President Wheeler decided to make a big show of raising the microphone back up for him--I think the microphone was taller than me by the time he finished. So congrats family, I am still your short, little Sister Sabey.
One thing they talked about at Zone Conference is working with members, which Sister Johnson and I have been doing with teaching our missionary lessons to the members in our area. Bishop Nabrotsky is also asking us to invite the members to invite others to do Family History (which was really inspired because then the General Authorities talked about that in General Conference as well), and Sister Johnson and I decided it would be good to make our lesson include a role-play for the members to practice inviting a friend to learn about their own family history. One of the first families we did it with is a family that is extremely shy, so we weren't sure how well it was going to work. We started with the mom, who is by far the shiest of the bunch, and she did great. That gave the dad and their son a little more confidence to do theirs. When we got to the son, I think he was so worried about what he would do, so Sister Johnson tried to help make it casual by saying she was just out skateboarding. Here is the conversation that followed:
Member: Can you do an ollie? (for those of you who don't know, like myself, that is a trick on a skateboard)
Sister Johnson: Yeah :)
Member: That's cool. Want to know what else is cool? FamilySearch.org. *ends role-play by pretending to back into a garage and close it*
Well then... Now I just really want that exact conversation to happen in real life. But it was over all a great lesson, and we are excited to see our members realizing that they can invite others and that it is not scary.
I have loved getting to work with the members in this area and really just grow to love them, but it's also fun to get to know how nuts the missionaries in my zone are as well. During our weekly planning session, the Zone Leaders brought a bunch of different kinds of peppers. One of the elders was bragging about how hot they were, and that led to this conversation as recorded by Sister Johnson because, Family, I'm still just weird:
Sister Johnson to Elder Matua: If you dare her to she will--
Elder Matua to Me: I dare you to eat that pepper--
Sister Sabey: *eats it* *is fine*
Elder Matua: I dare you to eat that pepper (hotter red)
Sister Sabey: *immediately eats pepper* *is fine* Should I try this stuff (crushed pepper that made Elder Geiselmayr cry)
Sister Johnson: No darling, no one is daring you to--
Elder Matua: I dare you
Sister Sabey: *shoved immediately into mouth* *is fine* *. . .* *starts crying and laughing*
Family, what I didn't mention earlier is that the third pepper I ate was some that one of the zone leaders' members gave them, and it was the hottest pepper that they had. It may have resulted in an emergency trip to get milk, and I only ate maybe enough crushed peppers to make a pile the size of a penny. And it still made my mouth go numb. Now, I partially brought this up because I thought Sister Johnson's record of the conversation is funny, but also, so you can better appreciate what happened to Elder Geiselmayr. Sister Johnson mentioned that the crushed pepper had made him cry, but Family, he did not just eat a penny worth. He poured probably about 1/4 cup straight into his mouth, started crying, sweating, and getting chills, until he was wearing my winter coat and holding hands with the other Elders to try to get warm. When Sister Scarlet and I went to get milk, we saw a firetruck going with it's lights on down the street, and we were actually worried that it might be going for Elder Geiselmayr. But worry not. Everyone lived, and it was definitely a great part of the week.
Now that I've finished telling your how crazy weird missionaries are, I did have some incredible experiences that helped my testimony grow. This week, we went to go read the Book of Mormon again with Nicole, and she always likes to tell us what she learned just to recap and make sure she understood correctly. She never ceases to amaze me because her comprehension is incredible. Most people will read a verse and have no idea what it just said (which make sense if you aren't used to reading that style of writing), but Nicole is just so ready to search and to find out, and when it doesn't make sense to her, she will go back and reread to make sure she understood right. This week, she straight up explained to us how the Great Apostasy happened just from the chapter she read in the Book of Mormon. She just loves the Book of Mormon so much and I love getting to teach her. Thank you for your prayers in her behalf!
This week I also learned the power of a testimony. In Alma 4, Alma is getting to give up the judgement seat so that he can go teach. About this, it says, "Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah. And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." Bearing pure testimony is hard for me because I can't seem to get rid of my element of pride that just wants to be right. But true to Alma's experience, that is the ONLY thing that can soften hearts. Sister Johnson and I were tracting one day this week, and it was later afternoon, and I didn't much want to be out tracting. But we went anyway. We knocked door after door and no one was answering. Eventually, a man named Patrick opened the door. He was kind of an intimidating guy for a person that's only 5 ft. 3 in., but we started talking to him. He told us we were talking to the wrong person and began to tell us (in somewhat colorful language) that "he didn't believe in God or the devil or all that crap because there is no evidence" and then challenged us to show him evidence. Unfortunately, I didn't follow Alma's example because I tried to pull something about the Law of Entropy, which states that order cannot come from chaos and that there must be something actively acting on something else for order to remain, which could be evidence that there is a God. Guess how well it worked? It didn't.
We eventually left and went on to the next door. I was thinking about what had happened and realizing that I could have done so much better when I realized something: I had been beyond stupid. I had forgotten to best evidence that we have that there is a God, that Jesus is the Christ, and that they are involved in our lives today--The Book of Mormon. I was kicking myself for it and I just knew that I could not keep knocking doors without trying to make things right with Patrick. I asked Sister Johnson to go back with me, and she was not about that and told me it would probably make him angrier. But I knew that I needed to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with him, if for nothing else, to know that I had actually done my job, and promised that all I would do is bear my testimony. Reluctantly she agreed, and we went back. I think Patrick was more than a little surprised to see us on his doorstep again, but he decided to let us in. I told him I had been incredibly dumb because I had forgotten to give him the best evidence we have, and told him about the Book of Mormon. Patrick was unimpressed. He told us that it was just a book and not evidence, but somehow, I just found the words to say to continue to bear my testimony that it does lead us to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know it was the Holy Ghost helping me just like we are promised in Doctrine and Covenants 11:21. And true to it, Patrick started listening and opening up. Suddenly, he wasn't so accusatory but sincerely wanting to know why God would take away someone he loved if He were truly there. And the words that he needed to hear came. There is no way the Spirit of the Lord was not in Patrick's house that day. Eventually, he told us that he wouldn't make any promises, but maybe he would read the Book of Mormon. He admitted that he was thinking after we had left the first time that he had "scared the crap" out of us, and told me, "For lack of a better way to say it, it took balls to come back." I know that it was God helping me in that situation as I promised to do nothing but bear my testimony. Not to be right, not to make a point, but to testify that Jesus is the Christ.
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know that no matter what we are going through, the answers are there if we will listen to the One who has those answers. He is reaching out to us every day and wanting us to come unto Him. I'm grateful for these experiences that will bless me the rest of my life, and Family, I just love you all so much.
1001 N Burk Street
We borrowed the swing because the members didn't answer their door
This is what it looks like when we show up on your door
Elder Geiselmayr post Pepper Experience
It was nasty, but I won.