Monday, April 4, 2016

MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR RIGHT UP THERE WITH CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Hola familia y amigos!
This week has felt like it's been forever! Somehow while you're out in
the mission, normally the days feel like eternities and the weeks feel
like seconds, but this week was full of so many things it seemed to
stretch out forever! Last preparation day we spent the day in the
Sagrada Familia, which was really cool to go see (and get in for free
because we're part of a religious group) but then there were all these
signs that said that it was a "temple". It made me miss the temple so
much! While the Sagrada is a beautiful building, there is just nothing
in the world to match the peace that you find in the true House of the
Lord, is there? On Tuesday we had Zone Enfoque which is always a great
experience, but this time we each took a turn looking into a mirror
and shouting, "I Fear No Man!" (This is a reference to Ricciardi's
letter, which I'll talk about later) Even President Dayton got in on
the action, because he was there with us. We duo-taught English class
on Wednesday with the other Hermanas in our District, which was fun
because we decided to teach and practice Directions by playing a
blind-folded game. That led to quite a few laughing fits as we helped
our poor little class learn to say "left" "right" and "ESTOP" as their
blindfolded friends tripped over chairs and ran into walls. They
learned very quickly that day. ;) Thursday was weekly planning, which
is one of my favorite times of the week because we get to evaluate and
set goals and it's such a good time to improve and make plans! Then we
had an intercambio that afternoon, and I got to be with Hermana
Francisco, the Hermana who just arrived here in the mission field
about 3 weeks ago. That was really fun because she is such a hard
worker and she already knows the ropes so well, but it was also
difficult because of the two of us, I have the most experience with
Spanish. And I DON'T have much experience with Spanish! We, together
with the influence of the Spirit, I'm sure, managed to herd 7 of their
Recent Converts/ Less-Actives/Future Missionaries to the Mission Home
for Family Home Evening with the Daytons! During our trip I earned the
nickname of "Mamacita" and they were my "Polletos" (Chicks) because I
kept counting them to make sure we were all still together. The family
home evening was fantastic, the people were so fun, and it ended up
being a fantastic experience! We continued intercambios through the
next day and Hermana Francisco and I managed to get our first new
together! It's strange to think that I'll be finished with my training
in just a few weeks and that's just going to be what life is like!
Hopefully I'll still have a companion who can speak Spanish well. ;)
Then on Saturday we had GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!! I LOVE GENERAL
CONFERENCE IT IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR RIGHT UP THERE WITH
CHRISTMAS!!!!! I love it I love it. With a bit of configuration we
managed to set up a room with conference in English for all of us
missionaries and a few of the English speaking African members of the
Ward. I loved all of the talks for different reasons, but can we just
talk about how beautiful the choir's rendition of Come Thou Fount
was?? We all got chills and might have shed a few tears during that
song. It's so interesting listening to conference as a missionary, the
words that come bring such a spirit of truth and happiness and
excitement to the room! We all hear things that we can use to help our
investigators, things that we need to apply in order to feel the
spirit in more abundance, and things that will help our wards grow in
unity and strength! And something else that I discovered this week is
something that has probably gone around through all missionaries for
always - it's called Ricciardi's Letter. Have you ever heard it? It
has absolutely changed my life, my attitude about missionary work,
investigators, companions, and this work in general! I love it so
much. I'll attach it to the email here, so you can all read it,
because it is AMAZING! Especially about Companions, because it's such
a unique and amazing perspective! I love it!!! Read it. Ok. I love you
all, I love this work, I love my Savior, I love the Prophet, I love
being a missionary!
Love,

-Hermana Larson

I Fear No Man 
Ricciardi had a saying that has stayed with me, and will stay with me throughout my life. He would say to me, “I fear no man!” He spent his whole mission proving that slogan. Every day like clockwork 10 minutes before departure to proselyte, he would look in the bathroom mirror, point to it, and say “I fear no man”. Then he would do it again with a different posture. I personally thought he was trying to make me laugh by doing it. You know… some inspirational thing for the new missionary. I soon learned he actually meant it. He was not kidding. 
His door approaches were not only unique, but astounding. He would knock on a door, and when the door was answered he would introduce us as “missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. As he would be giving his introduction he would quickly look into the house to try and find something somewhere that would indicate some commonality that he could address in order to build relationships of trust. 
One time, approximately the third or fourth day we had been together, a gentleman answered the door, looking really uptight about the fact that we were disturbing his quiet Saturday afternoon. During the opening dialogue Ricciardi glanced in the door and saw a beautiful painting on the wall. Suddenly, mid introduction, Ricciardi screamed out “oh what a beautiful painting!” pushed the door open (nearly sending the man through the wall) and walked right into the house. I stood on the doorstep in absolute horror, a witness to this unbelievable demonstration of bad manners. Ricciardi walked right into the living room, met the wife and kids, and admiring the television set they were transfixed by, commented “what a beautiful television, may we turn it off?” He hit the off switch. I was still on the porch, quite honestly waiting for the police to be called, or for him to get physically thrown out of the house. To my shock I heard his thick Italian accent call down the hall way “Oh Elder Humphrey, will you join us?” I could not believe it. 45 minutes later we concluded the first discussion with a prayer. I confronted him later that night about the fiasco I had witnessed earlier in the day, he said “Elder, I fear no man, and that includes you. I will do the Lord’s work with or without you. I prefer with, but that is up to you”. 

Ricciardi expounded further, and I want you to remember this because it is absolutely true. Ricciardi told me the following: “Elder Humphrey, what is bold today, will not be bold tomorrow”. He meant that what was uncomfortable for me to declare today, over time will become second nature, and not be seen as “rude”, but rather would be seen by others as “conviction”. He further stated that The Lord tells us in Alma 38:12 to be bold, but not overbearing. Ricciardi defined overbearance as “boldness without love”. When people know and feel your love, you can never be too bold!” he would say. I would not have admitted it at the time because I was still too young and frankly immature to know, but it did not take me long to learn that his words that night were absolutely true. 


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