It's been a crazy week! I'm assigned to the Kingman Arizona area right now, which is fantastic because the people here are wonderful! Many of them have incredible and sometimes scary backgrounds. My companion, Sister Loveless, is also from Washington and she's been out for 6 months. My area covers two wards so I get to go to 5 hours of church each week. One starts at 9:00 and the other starts at 11:00. Both wards had summer parties on Saturday so Sister Loveless and I got to go meet a ton of people!
Before I was transferred in, one of the bishopric members asked Sister Loveless if she thought I would be okay with bearing my testimony in sacrament meeting (she said yes, of course). She told me about it when I got in and I was fine with it. However, on Saturday at the ward party when I met the bishopric members of the ward that meets at 11:00, they asked me if I was ready to give my talk in sacrament meeting. They had actually planned on me taking a lot of time, so there were only two other speakers...and one was a youth speaker. Needless to say, that was quite a shock to realize I had to write a 20 minute talk on the Atonement in fewer than 24 hours when we had no time whatsoever for me to prepare a talk, so I planned to write it the night before but we ended up staying up waaay too late. I had to write my talk during the Sacrament meeting of the first ward. All went well! It was just alarming to hear that I was supposed to speak at church without even a day to prepare.
The bishop of our other ward invited us over for lunch and they gave me a greenie lunch! It was pretty funny. They went all out--green plate, cup, utensils; green pasta, green sauce, green grapes, salad, limeade, and lime sherbet. I've never heard of it before, but apparently it's a fun tradition that they have in this mission (and possibly others).
On Saturday we had an awesome experience. After the last ward barbecue, we were street contacting and met a lot of interesting people. Before we left, we stopped by the park where we had the barbecue so I could get some water. None of the water fountains worked, but we heard someone playing the harmonica and stopped by to meet him. The guy's name was Jesse and he had a bicycle packed with everything he needed as he traveled around the country. He was waiting for a ride at 1:00 in the morning to take him to California. He had a ton of cool stories that he was happy to tell us about and we could have talked with him forever, but we needed to head to our next appointment and we were already 30 minutes late (everyone in Kingman talks forever. Being on time is one of the most difficult things to accomplish here, especially when we have dinner with members). We got to the appointment, which was a referral from the other missionaries in our zone. It was for a 15 year old boy and his parents didn't know about his plans to meet with us, so they weren't too excited to see us that night. We rescheduled and decided to head home, since it was almost 9:00. However, Sister Loveless felt like we should go back to Jesse and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. When we talked with him before, we were able to talk about religion and I felt prompted to give him a copy, but I didn't have one and Sister Loveless and I did the whole raise your eyebrows at each other to ask a question thing and I found out that she didn't have one either. Anyway, we decided to go back since our plans fell through so we could give him a copy of the Book of Mormon to read. He was still there and he told us that while we were gone, he was thinking about what he could have given us. He decided he would give us a harmonica because I had told him the first time we talked that hearing him play made me want to learn how to play the harmonica. He explained how we could learn how to play it and we were able to give him the Book of Mormon. He was really happy about it! I'm disappointed that he doesn't have any contact information, because it would be awesome to hear about his travels. At the end, he said he was really impressed with us because we approached him in a dark, sketchy park and we're two females. He knew that we must really care about the message we share because no one else would dare come up to him and try to get to know him.
Long story short, we gave a vagrant a copy of the Book of Mormon and he gave us a harmonica. The Spirit was SO strong after that! It was amazing. We ended up getting back really late and my time to prepare my talk was gone, but it was worth it! Everything worked out perfectly in the end. I know that when plans fall through, it's because Heavenly Father is guiding us to someone else who has been prepared to hear our message of the true gospel.
I am always amazed at how you can read a passage in the Book of Mormon and get something different out of it every time. I encourage you all to search the scriptures with a question in mind and pray about it and I promise your question will be answered!
Have a wonderful week!