The weeks go by so fast! But when I look back at what we did that I remember to write about, I think, “that was all this week?!” For me, the highlight of the week was zone conference. Rochester is like Duluth, far removed from other zones, so we have our zone conference by ourselves (the city zones usually have combined zone conferences). This was our last zone conference with President and Sister Forbes — they shared their final testimonies along with the other missionaries who will be concluding their missions at the end of the transfer. And it was our last time to see President and Sister Forbes. It’s kind of silly, but I was kind of on the verge of tears off and on throughout the conference, and I’m not sure if it was the spirit or just feelings about the Forbes leaving that were trying to leak out of my eyes. I love the Forbes. I think I’ve said this before, but they’re not at all what I was expecting in a mission president/mission president’s wife. They are really not intimidating. They’re super humble and kind of quirky. And you can tell they love the gospel and they love their missionaries. They know us. They know about us. President Forbes has often said that he thinks about each one of us every day. We love them and will miss them a lot. After zone conference ended, we were supposed to go outside and put some kind of grease on our bike racks to keep them from rusting, and of course President Forbes specified that the elders should help the sisters with this — he’s very chivalrous. I feel kind of bad about this, because I’m pretty sure my hand-me-down skirt is a lot more replaceable that the elder’s suits. In fact, as I was holding our bike rack, President came over with a container of grease and got down on the pavement and was greasing my bike rack. And soon Sister Forbes was right there, fretting that he was getting grease on his tie. “I like that one!” That was such a classic Forbes moment. I hear they have a pretty cool playhouse for the grandkids at their home in Colorado. They have been informed that they might look out one evening and find that a bunch of missionaries have come to visit and are staying in the playhouse.
Some other cool or notable things from this week:
Rongjing, a woman who was baptized about a year ago when she was here doing research at Mayo, was visiting this week from China! She is a gem. Super sweet, and in her one busy week–she was here to finish up some research–she helped joint teach several of the Chinese investigators we’re working with right now. And she bought us dinner. 🙂 She’s the kind of person who you just meet, and you feel like you want to keep in touch with for the rest of your life.
We also had a neat lesson with a girl we met at the post office a couple weeks ago. We just started talking with this girl, and she was super friendly and seemed eager to see us again, and we met with her and found out that she is going through a really hard time right now. It’s amazing how Heavenly Father knows where his children are, what they are going through, and somehow missionaries can come in contact with people in seemingly random situations and not have any idea of what that individual is going through.
Friday was a little stressful — we’d scheduled too many appointments in just too short of time!! We were already running late, and we were going to visit someone who had made it sound like she really didn’t have much time for us to visit her, so we’d only scheduled her for a half hour. I was worried, because she lives in a lock-out apartment, and although we’d made an appointment, I wasn’t quite sure how we’d get in. Somehow, as we rushed to the door, it was unlocked — HUGE tender mercy!! Sister Luk has tried unsuccessfully to get into that building many times before. I don’t think that door is ever just unlocked. But this time, it was! However, when we got to her apartment, we had a huge problem: she’d prepared this whole dinner for us, complete with candles on the table and instrumental music in the background . . . and we had no time! Not to mention we’d just eaten dinner! So we tried to eat and visit as quickly and politely as possible and leave as soon as we could without being totally rude . . . and we were SUPER late for our last appointment. That was a rough night.
Strangely, I was super sick yesterday. I don’t remember ever being too sick to go to church, but . . . well, I’ll spare you the details and just say we didn’t go to church, which felt super hypocritical after telling people all week that we’d see them at church. A couple ward members came over and gave a priesthood blessing. This ward is so awesome!! I am so impressed with how the ward members balance demanding schooling, training, or careers, family responsibilities, and callings — and still have time to feed the missionaries!! The priesthood holders who came to give the blessing are both med students, so I knew I was in especially good hands. 🙂 Sister Luk and I kind of have a running joke about one of the counselors in the bishopric — he’s a great guy, young father, in his residency, obviously very busy, and he seems to be asleep more often than not. Meetings, ward council . . . twice a month we go out and do visits with the bishopric, and this week it was confirmed that this counselor can in fact doze off while standing up! These are good people. We love our Rochester 5th ward. 🙂 Oh, I am feeling much better today — it must have just been a 24-hour thing.
Sister Luk and I had a movie night when we got home one evening this week — we popped popcorn and watched The Testaments on our mini DVD player! We’re really living it up! I hadn’t watched that movie in a while. It’s a good one. A thought that I had as I was watching it this time is that the message of the gospel is really all about change and cleansing. I heard someone recently talk about how, as a husband and father, you need to just take out the garbage — in other words, if there’s anything negative in what you’re thinking or feeling, just get rid of it and don’t dig it back up or bring it back in again. Even as the Savior was being nailed to the cross, he held no resentment for those who were wronging him. In the movie, the bloodied figure of Christ is replaced a few scenes later with a shining white Savior who has overcome all. He invites us to come unto him, to repent, to completely set aside those things that are tainting our souls and become “new creatures.” And he promises that we can be truly cleansed through his Atonement. It’s our choice, but he really can help us become something different, something better. We need to be willing to let go of the things holding us back, and let him heal and make us whole. I want to share my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ is truly our Redeemer, and that His promises are sure. Whatever choices we have made or whatever has been done to us that makes us feel scarred or unworthy can be fully erased–completely gone–through Christ’s Atonement. He is the source of strength, healing, and the remission of our sins. He is the way find peace in this life and ultimate eternal joy.