You know how in Harry Potter, they freak out when someone mentions Voldemort by name? Well, that’s kind of similar to the word "ferragosto" for Italian missionaries. Remember how all Italians just go on vacation for the whole month of August? Same. No wonder the economy here struggles🙄 Well, you can still usually find a person or two who doesn't do this whole month-long vacation thing. However, that is not the case for ferragosto, a holiday that falls on August 15th, and basically everything is closed and it's a bigger deal than Christmas... so it's been an adventurous week leading up to the 'day which shall not be named' full of slowness but also some crazy miracles🎉
I'm just gonna put it out there that if anyone needs good dating advice, I'm a good person to call. You're probs thinking "but Smeds... you've been basically a nun for the last year and a half!" Well here's my theory. The mission is kinda like one giant dating game. You've got your potentials, who sometimes show lots of promise, but more often than not stop answering your calls after the first date, er, appointment. Then you've got your investigators, who you meet with more regularly and either start progressing towards the big commitment, or they breakup with you. Occasionally if you get desperate enough, you call up some of those ex-investigators just to see if anything has changed.
Well, Jelena (our bap date who dropped us out of nowhere a few weeks ago) has been a bit of a sly dog as of late😉 Background story- we'd tried calling and texting her since 'the breakup' to see what was up. She texted back once telling us it wasn't our fault ("it's not you- it's me" 🙄how typical) but we hadn't heard anything from her since. Well we miraculously ran into her at a bus stop a few days ago, and she was like "wow this is crazy, it must be God" and we were like "yep probably". Then she texted us this morning out of nowhere, and the 'flirting' began...
Her: so... I don't work at all this week...
Us: Nice! What are you gonna do?
Her: Oh... nothing...
Us: Well... you know... we happen to be free tomorrow... maybe we could meet up?
Her: OK! ...I mean... I guess I'm free...
SHE WANTS US BACK🤗 no one can resist Hurst and Smeds I guess🤷🏼♀️💁🏼 soooo yeah, we have a date with our ex tomorrow. Wish is luck 🤞🏼
Other than that, there's been the slowness that comes with ferragosto. That awesome moment when you only have like 6 total members/less actives to visit, and just a handful of investigators... and all of them but like one leave... but it's whatevs. We've done some service for our members and Anziani, went and helped at a baptism in Ravenna for my bud Anziani Gibb's investigator, and had interviews with Presidente!
Another cool thing! Since we had no one to meet with, we've been trying to use some of this excess time to plan some firesides and programs that are coming up. We decided to take a break and call through some old potentials. Well, 3 hours later and not a single person wanted to meet with us EXCEPT for this lady named Salina. She met the missionaries at an activity 4 years ago but never met with them again. Well, she agreed to meet with us and that's how we ended up doing a lesson in a sketchy bar last Friday lol. It was neat though, she said she's been looking for spiritual direction her whole life, and that she'd decided finally to pray and ask God to guide her to the answer. Well, the minute she finished praying, she got the call from us aaaand the rest is history. She's seriously super cool- a total miracle! We're seeing her again tomorrow❤️
We also had zone conference! My last one, which was weird and meant I had to give my dying testimony. Vomit. Whatevs, it was awesome to see so many past comps and mission friends, and we got a ton of awesome trainings! One awesome thing was when President Allen shared a talk from a couple years ago by Elder Anderson of the seventy.
"Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, 'How can I help you?' The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. 'I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,' he said. 'Tell me why you have come to the hospital.'
The old man then looked at him and said, 'Do you dance?' As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.
'No,' said the doctor, 'I don’t dance. Do you dance?' The old man nodded yes. Then the doctor asked, 'Could you teach me to dance?'
The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. 'I can teach you to dance,' he said, 'but you have to hear the music.'"
It makes me think back to the dance days❤️ during those long, long practices, we'd often go through parts of a routine without music, for the sake of correcting errors or clarifying steps. Those moments were never as enjoyable (for the dancer or for the viewer) as it was with the music. I also remember moments where we did run the full routine with music, and afterwards our coach would say something like, "Look Kaylee, you're just going through the motions. You're not listening to the music, and your heart isn't in it." Those moments were never as fulfilling as the times when the I felt so connected to the music that the movements just sort of happened! It happened naturally. This is so much like how the gospel works in our lives. Sometimes we're just doing the dance steps- we're keeping the commandments and simply going through the motions. We go to church because we have to, or serve out of obligation. And, like, yay for doing awesome things, but we kind of end up cheating ourselves out of the joy that comes with doing those things. Elder Anderson goes on to say:
"We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts."
Just like in an actual dance, the dance steps in gospel living require discipline, and that is both important and admirable. However, the joy in the dance, or the joy in living the gospel, comes only when we learn to hear the music.
1- Ferragosto lunch! 2-6 Last Zone Conference 7- Past comps-Orr & Carter 8&9-More Zone Conf. 10-12 The ‘dying’ sorelle 13-Anderson & I are piecing out✌🏼