Purpose in Numbers

By | 4:05 PM
we had Zone conference last week.
the zone leaders got up and announced that we were going to set a mission record for the number of lessons we could teach in the coming week, and then they hinted at us that it wasn't actually against the rules to even for-go a prep day to do it.  

for a missionary who is already having a hard time with love and letting the spirit guide a lesson and trying NOT to worry so much about the numbers... this zone wide goal felt quite devastating and not at all cool.  
and of course, I have a companion right now who is on the down hill of her mission and has found herself in the "I want my mission to be amazing and I want to be the best" rut.  
so, basically, I'm nervous about this coming week.  but I am confident that I can suck it up and make myself get numbers and lessons.  it's just hard to keep your mind on the people and what they are saying when you're so focused on getting out so you can keep getting numbers.  

for example:
Monday (yesterday)  we took a shorter prep day and went to visit a lady in a nursing home.  her name is Roberta, and she is active at heart and soul, but she just can't come to church due to her health.  she is sharing a room with another lady, Winnona, who was baptized a few years ago and has been condemned and bashed enough by her family and friends that she has fallen away. she will not read the book of mormon, I've been told she can't.  I guess her family has threatened to stop helping her pay for that nursing home if she continues with the church.  our ward mission leader tells me he thinks she still has a testimony, but she is now afraid to go too far with it because of the threats her family has made.  
so, last week was rough lesson wise... we needed 20 and we were at 12.  sister Burt was starting to feel desperate and I was just "whatever" about it all because we had a good lesson with a member family and we had helped another lady clean up her home.  I felt productive!  but I guess it doesn't matter unless a number is attached!  anyway.... (can you tell I'm a little bitter about it all today?)  we went to visit Roberta because she is always up for a scripture and a prayer and she is nice to visit with.  
so, we go in and usually Roberta is in her wheel chair and we will roll her to a different room so we can have a lesson and read the book of mormon without upsetting Winnona, but on this day poor Roberta had fallen and was confined to her bed..... and if we were going to have a lesson from the book of mormon it would mean kicking Winnona out of her own room.  

well... here is how it all went down: 
we all talk, super nice, about the weather and valentines day and good food and nonsense.
it gets quiet and kinda awkward. 
sister Burt pulls out her scriptures....
Winnona jumps up and says "well, I'll just step out for a bit then..." super nice, very polite.... 
Winnona starts to walk away and I just panic!  
"no!"  I say, "thats not okay!  this is your room, if you're not comfortable with the scriptures, WE need to leave, not you!"  
sister Burt stares at me like I'm the devil or something.  
Winnona stares at me like I'm crazy.
Roberta stares at me like I'm dumb.
I start to feel kinda ridiculous.
Winnona sits down, we ask if we can at least leave a prayer of comfort with them and they both agree. 
sister Burt is rather frustrated with me.... we needed the number.  
I feel rather dumb.

the next day... Monday... yesterday, the day of the short prep day.  
we had made an appointment to come back when Roberta would be in her chair so we could leave and not kick Winnona out.  
we get to their room, and Roberta is still stuck in her bed.  
what are we going to do?  we seriously need this number so we can be the "best zone in the OTM"  
Winnona starts to leave.... she knows we are going to read.
I look at sister Burt and her face tells me to be quiet. 
but I just can't do it!  
I ask "would you stay if we read out of the bible?"  
everyone is quiet for two seconds and then Winnona laughs!  "well, for sure!"  
wow.... that's all it would take?  
so we all sit down TOGETHER, comfortably and happily.
but... the issue is we didn't plan for anything out of the bible.
"Winnona, what I your favorite bible story?"  
"Daniel in the lions den"  
yay!  we read in Daniel chapter 6... we bear our testimony.  Winnona bears her testimony. Roberta bears her testimony.  
Winnona suddenly starts to talk. she wants us to know all about her father who beat on her when she was little and her mother who tried for so long to love and help her.  she told us about the day her mother passed away and she felt so alone and abandoned.  she told us about her family, and how sad she was no one ever visited her.  she told us about how Roberta helped her feel loved and helped her come into the church and how sad she was that she just couldn't be a part of it anymore.  she talked about how much she just wanted a hug.  
well... let me tell you that woman had me in tears! 
when the talk was over and we were about to leave Winnona asked me why I didn't let her just leave the other day.  I blushed bright red and told her I just couldn't stand letting her feel like she didn't belong in there with us.  I could feel my eyes watering when I said it... (I'm crying quite a bit lately!)  and Winnona brushed away some of her own small tears and nodded her head and told me "you just have a tender heart, don't you?"  well... i just asked her if I could give her a hug.  that weak old woman sure gave me the biggest hug!  

if it hadn't been for the Zone leaders and their desire for the biggest number, we never would have shortened our prep time and we never would have spent that time with those women.  if it hadn't been for sister Burt and her desire to teach people and to get an official lesson, I never would have suggested the bible.
each person played a strong part in making everything happen. Winnona needed the bible and scriptures (she is illiterate and can't read them herself) she needed to hear those words out of Daniel that day and she needed that lesson.  if it hadn't been for the push for numbers, it never would have pushed me to open that bible for her.  
the numbers have their place, I know they do.  I just pray that as this week moves on and as we strive to get number after number that it will be as powerful an experience as that lesson at the nursing home.  

tracting last week...
we found a small trail that leads under a bridge with a tiny foot of rocks.  I'm surprised we didn't fall in the water and get soaked!  
and then the perfectly timed picture when snow fell off a tree and got me good!  

(I am so thankful for the members in Owasso!  sister Stapely gave me her coat!) 

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