I HAVE A DAUGHTER!!! Her name is Hermana Banner and she is the cutest thing ever. Oh my goodness. We are already good friends, even in the short few days we've had together. She is SO driven and hard-working, and is learning so fast. She's already amazing at talking to people, and everyone just loves her. No one loves her more than I do though. :) It's been so cool this week to look back on my mission and realize the things that I've learned, and the person I've become. I've been thinking a lot about how I was when I was in her shoes, and wow I've come a long way!
1) What has been the most spiritual experience of your mission so far?
The most spiritual experience of my mission was probably one week when literally everything fell to pieces, and it brought me to my knees, completely distraught and broken, and I finally admitted to Heavenly Father that I was a mess, and the love and peace and comfort I felt was unreal. Also, getting to see the Bucios sealed a year ago was magnificent!
2) Have you ever wished you were called to a different mission since you’ve been in Louisiana?
Heck no! There has never been a doubt in my mind since I got here that I was supposed to be here. I love the people here. I love their sass. I love how devoted they are in their faith. I love the sunsets. I love all the water. I love the FOOD. I just love it all, and there is no place I'd rather be. This is home.
3) What has been the funniest thing you’ve seen on a doorstep while tracting? The scariest?
Funniest? Probably the guy who answered the door with no pants on. Thankfully, he had a long (ish) shirt on, but still. Who answers the door like that?! Scariest? People who have scary pit bulls that just circle you and sniff you. They may be nice pit bulls, but I'm still scared to death of them. But I've never really been that scared of anyone I've met while tracting.
4) What is the first movie you want to watch when you get home?
Ummm probably Princess and the Frog because I want to see how accurate it is now that I've been all over Louisiana.
5) If you could go back and change something from before your mission that would have helped you be better prepared, what would it be?
To be honest, I felt pretty prepared. Of course, I still had lots of room to grow, but between seminary, religion classes at BYU, and having an amazing family, I felt pretty okay.
6) What is the best food of any kind you’ve had on your mission?
Baleadas. And gumbo. Hands down. Oh, and crawfish. And jambalaya. And arepas.
7) What have you learned from the people of Louisiana?
That life goes on. The resilience here is unreal. Between hurricanes, shootings, floods, and all other kinds of craziness, the people still just keep on keepin' on. They have the strongest faith of anyone I've ever seen, that God really does have a plan and that He loves all of us. Also, I've learned how to love because of them. They open their hearts and homes to complete strangers, and it's amazing.
8) What have you learned about yourself as you’ve served the people in Louisiana?
That I just need to slow down a little! The culture in the west is so different from here. Out west we're used to having a packed tight schedule and we're exactly on time to everything and we're just busy busy busy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the people here will take time out of their day, without even thinking about it, to help someone out, or to visit someone who's lonely, or make a phone call to a random friend. They are true examples of what it means to "never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
Well obviously I could go on about each one of these forever, but that will just have to wait another month. I love my mission so much, in case you can't tell. I'm so grateful that it's not over yet!! I love you all dearly! I hope you have the best week ever!!