Friday, July 13, 2007

So we've had many tender souls bring us food to get through the crazy, busy pageant season. So much food that for a bit it was almost embarrasing. Then when we were already swamped with homemade goodness, a youth conference that was here had TONS of extra food and dropped it off. Most of it could be frozen or saved but they sent us like 100 lbs of lettuce!!! K, i can't really estimate lettuce poundage but it was amazing. The entire kitchen counter was stacked high with heads of romaine and at least of our fridges. What? So we ended up spending a good deal of our time the next two days trying to solve the dilemma of distributing or eating dozens upon dozens of bags of lettuce throughout Nauvoo. Yikers. AMAZING. Every time with thought it was all gone we'd open a fridge to get something and it'd just be a solid wall of lettuce. It's the little things that are the most entertaining!

So missionaries do this thing called "backing" where one of them stands behind the car and waves the other person back as they're reversing. Nevermind my personal views on how the dangers of backing the car into your companion exceed the dangers of backing into a bush...we are to do this EVERY time the car is reversed. Sometimes I think the real reason for this rule is simply to teach us obedience and humility. But so I'm getting so good at backing that the other day Sis F and I were walking up to the car and I started waving it back to let the van know that the coast was clear. That's right, the unoccupied van. Eesh. I AM turning into a robot. :)

So Sis F and I had to part ways. Sniff! But we've actually ended up serving together yesterday and today in exchanges just by way of circumstance. But yeah, it was a good companionship. I'll miss her sleep talking and watching her do things and feeling like i'm watching myself. :) My comp is Sis Thomas. She actually served in temple square for 3 mths before Nauvoo. She's from New Zealand so i'm having fun asking her Qs abt New Zealand culture. She said she's still not used to the food out here but don't worry, she loves rice krispy treats. I'm hoping to only talk to her and no one else when we're together so i'll pick up her accent. You think?

So Sis F's email about this is probably lots more entertaining but i'll just give you the run-down. Let's start by explaining: 18 girls+all their possessions+4 vans+3 houses+2 diff cities all within a 2-3 hour breaks at various times and all while staying with at least one other sister= mass chaos. Awesome! It was adventure to say the least getting everyone moved. Plus pageant chaos. Oh yeah, and 100 heads of Romaine. Anyway, so there was much key-losing and then van-losing and long story short three of us resorted to riding our bikes from our house to the VC. It was amazing. Typically when you do this you wear an extra long skirt and you clip it in the middle so as not to expose yourself. But there was no time for extra precautions. haha! so we just hopped on the bikes and busted a move down the hill. I had to essentially stay standing on my bike so i'd be desent. it was amazing! the wind blowing, the cornfields, the tour buses of visitors. anyway, i think i made it down safe from what i could tell. but it was definately a different experience.

So the pageant cast is amazing. They're such fabulous missionaries. They're random families from across the US that pay their way out her and give up at least 2.5 weeks of their summer to come perform. The small children running around in their old-school overalls make my heart leap with joy. They had a presentation for the cast members and one of the sisters told us about it. They'd challenged the cast to work on doing small acts of service for their family while they were here. So one of the pageant directors noticed one of these small acts adn took a pic of it. It was a precious little bro and sis and the bro was too small to reach the water ftn so the sis got down on all fours and let him climb up and drink. The man that got the pic said the little boy drank forever cause he was evidently very thirsty and the little sis just stayed there and didn't complain or say anything. Then a few minutes later he was thirsty again and they were back out there for another long drink. Precious!!! These great little families. Then they talked about how our purpose as missionaries (and pageant members) is to help others come unto Christ and that since He is the living water we need to do all we can to help others partake. Such a cool example these little kids. And they just walk up to the ppl in the audience before adn after the pageant and visit with them and invite them to learn more or to do missionary work with their friends. So cool.

One of the coolest pageant experiences i've had so far was one of the nights i was talking to one of the stellar volunteers who drives 2 hours out here to help with traffic directing and be in the bugs all night and then gets home at like 2 in the morning. I was talking to him about missionary work and if there were any of his friends who'd been on his mind. He started talking about his long-time friend who was an atheist and told me about a series of miracles in their friendship and how amazing this friend was and he just started crying about it and took a few cards to put his friend's name down (and other friends he's been thinking about) to have missionaries visit them and share with them the peace and joy this man knows and feels every day. He walked away saying, "now you've got me all fired up..." It was the most amazing thing. This sweet man with a mosquito net over his head adn dead bugs stuck in his sweat. I hadn't done anything but stand there while he talked. :) It's so cool how the Spirit touches people while they're here, esp at the pageant (Drakes can testify to that :) ) and how the Lord allows us to take part in these miracles that are happening. It's so cool to watch.

Also, one of the main cast members was talking to me after the show and it came up that he joined the church when he was 28. So i asked him how he heard about the church and he started telling me his amazing tale which ended up having a lot to do with an experience he had just when he needed it at a visitors center. So cool! It's different in a VC b/c you never really see the "end result" but I just have to have faith that if I'm doing everything i know to do that lives are being touched and people are being brought to Christ every day. :) Love it! (Despite the frequent awkward encounters that may come up, but hey, when you have like 100 conversations a day they're just not all gonna be smooth.) But the Lord strengthens us. I've felt this so, so much out here since you really just need to rely on that. He wants this work to go forth and so it will. Sometimes we have to feel stupid, awkward, rejected, or scared in the process but He will strengthen is. This goes for missionary work and any righteous endevour. we're all on missions of some sort but the most important part of everyone's life is coming closer to our Savior adn helping others to do the same. Praying to know what you really believe in and helping others to find the answers they're looking for too.Something I highly recommend for anyone who has questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is visiting tons of questions answered there. It's awesome. I love this gospel adn i love being here. love you all. :)Alrighty, love you all. Peace out. :)Sis Cartwrightp.s.COMMUNICATIONI'd still love people to send me their addresses so i can touch base. There are some people I have letters for but i can't send (Sheena, Ash-face Banks, Pinkals) b/c i don't have addresses. The best way to get me your address is to write ME a letter. :) Ok, i know, easier said than done. But I love you all and i'd love to hear how you're doing. Thanks for anyone who has been able to find the time. :) You guys are great!

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