Hello, hello! I've officially been on a mission for three weeks! But with so many new things, there's too much to tell. So, instead, I broke it down into the top 10 favorite lessons I've learned so far:
#1. Elders are everything.
Since my stay at the MTC, my love for the Elders has grown so much! I think I mentioned in my last letter, the Elders in my district were Elder Payne, Elder De Costa, and Elder Wickern. The last night at the MTC, these wonderful guys took us back to the classroom, sang us God Be With You Til We Meet Again, then gave each of the sisters a priesthood blessing. Never in my life have I been so disappointed to not be able to give someone a hug. It was SO SWEET. Since I've been out here, I've gained such a love and appreciation for the Elders, and how admirable it is that they keep themselves worthy to hold the Priesthood. They are great. (Cough, cough, ELDER LARSEN.)
#2. The most frightening thing you could be dressed as...is a missionary.
I honestly think I'm pretty approachable. I shower every morning, and I try to get nice and ready (some days I don't do my hair...). But I'm smiley, and I always wave at people when they see me. And they LOVE me. But as soon as I put my black tag on, I am terrifying. Today, a lady seriously sprinted down the street and away from us, and closed the doors and windows behind her, as soon as we made eye contact. YIKES.
#3. All you really need to live is strawberries, whipped cream, and Cadbury Eggs.
This one's pretty self-explanatory. But it's safe to say there are four very happy sisters living in our apartment.
#4. Poodle hair isn't bad hair.
So, with such a busy schedule, I've started trying to do my hair naturally curly. I figure I was called to preach the gospel, not to look pretty. And you know how I always say my curly hair looks like a poodle? WELL, guess what sister Cox said while we were walking! HEY. Your hair looks kind of like that dog. "POODLE." I'm learning to live with my hair though, and it'll be staying this way for the next 18 months.
#5. Persistence isn't always polite.
In our mission, when we meet someone on the street, or at their door, we have to get 3 no's before we move on. PERSISTENCE. Nephi was persistent when he went down to get the plates from Laban, because God commanded him, and he would not give up "until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us." Three cheers for Nephi! However, I've never considered until now, that his "not taking no for an answer" approach may have been a little uncomfortable (and ended in one of them dying). Maybe it wasn't quite as uncomfortable for him as it is for me, but I'm not as bold as Nephi. It's harder than I thought to walk that fine line of being polite and being persistent. I think I cross the line a little too often. But hey, I'm still learning.
6. I, Shaylie Rae Williams, am capable of running a mile.
Who knew? I sure didn't. But as it turns out, there's a little extra pressure to be able to run when you're outside with three other sisters, instead of on a treadmill in the basement...So as of yesterday, I can officially run a mile. Tell Gina Larsen I'll be running a 5k with her when I get home. :)
7. Old habits die hard.
It's hard to hold back my wonderful sense of humor, which consists mostly of Dan in Real Life and Juno quotes. Because once you take those away from me, all that's left is the super-awkward Shaylie humor, which makes most people feel...well, super-awkward. Luckily, the Camarillo 6th Ward is slowly learning to love Sister Williams, and her lame jokes.
8. Ten minutes of sleep DOES make a difference.
So, every day we wake up at 6:20, so we can be up and running by 6:30. On Sundays, though, we get to sleep in all the way until 6:30. Those ten minutes could be debated to be the happiest part of my week. I mean, not really...I do love my mission...but really, they're wonderful.
9. Positivity is key.
Sister Cox and I play the positivity game all day, every day. It's really pretty easy to play...you just say two positive things for every negative you say. In theory...we wouldn't be saying negatives to begin with. But SOMETIMES, it just happens. It usually goes something like this: "AH! I hate when stupid drivers cut you off!...BUT, his shoe size is probably bigger than ours, which automatically pushes the pedal farther down...and we are glad that he was blessed with the foot size he needed to get him to his destination a whole second before us." Sometimes, we have to stretch a little to find our positives. Be we laugh our heads off, and it keeps us upbeat all day!
10. MIRACLES HAPPEN.
Even though I haven't been in Camarillo for very long, I've seen so many miracles. I've been so amazed by the people I've met, and the strength I've seen in my investigators. It's like everyone has told me: The Lord is preparing people, that we will meet. We won't be the ones teaching them, but we can be the tools in the Lord's hands, so the spirit can teach them through us. It's pretty amazing to be a part of this work, and I'm so lucky to be a missionary at this time and place. I know that the Lord will provide a way for his children, and I'm just lucky to be able to see it happen!
I love it here. It's already been the happiest, most exciting, and probably the scariest thing I've done in my life. But it's the most rewarding work I could possibly be doing, and all is well. I love you all so much, and send all my love from here, in Camarillo. ♥
Love, Sister Shaylie Rae