Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hey, who turned out the lights? Jesus es me luz [The Lord is my light]

Hey, who turned out the lights- an often repeated phrase from a silent library deep in space. If you don't understand the reference I'm making, I'm so, so sorry.

1. one of my favorite gospel themes that yes, I am going to focus on again.
    2. A symbol of understanding of God's plan.
    3. Something you see in the streets when the sun is out. It makes a big difference.
    4. Something they turn off along with the gas (heat) and water when you haven't paid your bills for 11 months. (You mean we were supposed to DO something with all those envelopes coming in?)

So much has happened this week that trying to wrap my brain around it and tell you everything would be nearly impossible. So for the sake of a coherent email, I'll focus on a few key points and highlights.

On Monday morning, during personal study, we lost power. It wasn't the 'too-many-appliances-running-at-once' kind of loss, as we found out at the switch breaker. A quick look at a LOT of unopened bills and a call to the office confirmed that the power wouldn't be coming back on for a while.
Fun songs when you're stuck in the dark:
- Hark all he nations, in Spanish (171) Second verse. "Vivíamos en oscuridad" [We were living in darkness]
- The Lord is my Light (Jesus Es Mi Luz)
- Brillan rayos de clemencia [“Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy”](also our mission song)

So we were grateful for Hermana Ingram's flashlights, bundled up, and waited, keeping in contact with the mission office.  Our light and power were restored on Tuesday night.  Living in darkness complicates things: We had to plan in the hallway to have light for nightly planning. We were limited on the food we could eat, wanting to keep it cold in the fridge. Studying had to be done in places with natural light. Cooking.... Didn't exist.

I'm sure you all see the spiritual parallel I'm going to make here now. Many people nowadays are living in spiritual darkness. It's unnecessarily complicated, often frustrating, and downright unnecessary. But sometimes it's all they can do, waiting for some outside source, some sympathetic soul to pay the bill, flip the switch.

Christ paid the power bill, and we were liberated from spiritual darkness. Missionaries try to help people realize this and turn on the lights in their individual lives.  So I'm grateful, in a different way than I've been before, for the gospel.

Lleida isn't gray anymore!!! Some wizard-of-Oz-worthy winds came and blew the clouds away (we found out that there are tumbleweeds in Spain) and the sun shone brightly several days in a row. But because the mission is a place of contrasts, there were also nights with dense fog. More weather metaphors, we set a baptismal fecha [date or appointment] with a sincere Muslim man who says he feels great peace when he reads the Book of Mormon and received a break-up text/ visit from Evelyn and her girls.  Hearts filled, hearts broken. Agency is tough sometimes. (I've mentioned before that my non-existent dating life didn't prepare me for the mission.... Mission's doing a pretty good job of preparing me for a future dating life...) ;)

The rest of the week was good, complicated by doctors appointments and analyses stuff (a blood test and breath thing for Hermana Ingram.  Apparently "air from my lungs" is medically significant [Dr Who reference]) and lots of fallad citas [failed appointments] but we kept chugging along. We had Stake Conference and Specialized Training (special missionary meeting President comes to) which meant a trip to Zaragoza for all of us. I learned a lot and especially liked the focus on becoming a consecrated missionary, though a lot of it felt like déjà vu and reminded me of my first Specialized Training (complete with flu shots). I wonder if they recycle topics yearly...

Our zone is one of the smallest in the mission, and although most of the Elders are unknown to me, I know and love all of the Hermanas. I saw and was able to talk to Hermana Manotas for the first time since we were companions. So much has happened, so much has changed since then, but that transfer - the trust of training her- changed me. As she stood and tearfully bore her testimony I had the profound impression that perhaps my greatest success as her trainer- perhaps my greatest success of my MISSION- was helping her stay in the field.  I've served in a couple of her old areas (Bilbao and now here in Lleida) and I know of the good she's done and the people's lives she's touched. And it's beautiful.

John 8:12 (again, but it's my favorite)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

-Hermana Een

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