The theme of this week was sick. Elder Connolly and I both got this bad cold and couldn't shake it. We still did our best though!
We had a lady call us out of the blue, a less active woman, and she asked when we would be coming by again. Neither of us had met her before, and the other Elders had no idea who she was, so we scheduled an appointment with her and got biking.
There aren't really any sidewalks or shoulders on the streets in South Carolina, so we do a lot of biking on the white line next to the road, and a lot of praying. haha The worst thing is when you look behind you, and there is a whole line of cars because the guy in front refuses to pass you, so we have to move even farther off the road so they feel comfortable passing, and everyone gives us mean looks. We always just say "We promise not to hit you if you promise not to hit us!" they never hear us though, probably because we don't really say it out loud.
Anyway, we biked about 2 or 3 miles away from our apartment to this trailer park. It was pretty run down, dogs were barking from inside and it smelled like smoke. This week was very hectic and stressful, so this was just another thing I was waiting to be stressful and hard, and when we went in it was very humble, there were Chihuahua’s running. No place to sit, so I took a place on the coffee table and Elder Connolly found a stool somewhere. We said a prayer with this nice lady, and talked with her about her life and the church. We ended up having a wonderful lesson, and it was the highlight of my whole week. Sometimes, I think God gives you super hard weeks so that when you are able to find something that really brings the spirit in, it helps you stay humble, and that is exactly what happened. We talked about the blessings that come to us from going to church and partaking of the sacrament weekly.
We shared some scriptures out of Moroni 6 with her, and in the middle of that, we heard a really loud noise coming from another room, so I paused while a cat climbed out of the wall, and she said "at least it wasn't a rat" and went back to listening.
Hah! It was just what I needed. It was just enough of the right kind of crazy chaos to help me remember those times back in Hopkins, in some of the filthiest places I had ever been, having the best time of my life. It helped me to remember my purpose. Maybe we weren’t completely comfortable, but it isn’t about us. She's coming to church this Sunday, and we get to go back and teach her again. That is what this is all about, and I am just thrilled to be able to do this work, no matter how hard it is.
Summerville has been very different than what I am used to, but I love it. It is so flat (Which makes biking so easy) and there is Spanish moss and regular moss on pretty much every tree. Sooo pretty. I find myself biking, not looking where I am going, just staring off into the trees that seem to just go on forever. It is amazing to me that there can be a full neighborhood, and a city with an endless forest right next to it. I just want to take off running into it and get lost :) It's so cool.
Anyway, that's my week.
-Elder Joel 'Sunshine' Barker