Hello everyone! Sister Harrison here. I arrived at the mission home on Wednesday, but they didn’t have my name tags yet, so I’m waiting for those. People are giving me a hard time about that and I’m trying to adjust to not using my first name.
I went with the Mission President and his wife to pick up the greenies at the airport at 10:30 that night. They told me to walk over where the group would be coming down the escalator and walk with them so I could get the full experience. We returned to the mission home and had dinner there. They told us the following day we would be able to sleep in on extra hour which was great for me!
The the next day, had all the greenies (new missionaries) line up across from these experienced missionaries and handed the trainers a folded piece of paper with who their companion would be for the next six weeks. On the count of three, they opened the paper and ran to us. It was unique. However, once I saw my trainer running toward me, I knew it was inspired. She hugged me and I just started crying. I was so overwhelmed and had been holding in a lot. If I’ve learned anything as a missionary so far, it’s to go with the flow.
The Jacobson’s are very humble and sweet and they’re all about “fun” which is good. However, there’s so much work to a mission that I didn’t expect. But before I get ahead of myself, let me introduce my companion/trainer.
My trainer’s name is Sister Roberts. She’s 5/11 and Sister Jacobson (the Mission President’s wife) told us “a tall blonde and brunette will make the dynamic duo” or something along those lines. Sister Roberts is very kind and humble, not to mention extremely patient. She’s from Provo Utah. She’s helped me become more spiritual and hopefully I’m teaching her in some way. We are serving in the Grand Rapids area which is the Anti-Mormon capital of the country. I laughed when I heard that because of course I’d get sent there.
When we arrived at the apartment, there was no couch. Only two desks and a lot of poster boards with names and symbols. There was also a huge binder that I didn’t understand. My companion tried to explain it all to me and I just cried in the shower that night because I was pathetic and didn’t want her to hear me. I made a goal though to be active and learn how to use the binder and the poster boards and Sister Roberts has been great with teaching me how to do that.
We have a set of Elders in our area. There’s a greenie like me named Elder Clark from Utah and he doesn’t say much. His trainer is Elder Gregory and he’s from California. He’s super funny and his facial expressions make every situation ten times better.
I don’t know how other missionaries do this in another language! Personal Study reminds me a lot of what we did at EFY. We also pray aloud A LOT. I’m definitely not used to that. The ward reminds me of the Flint ward in my Stake back home. The people are really nice and down to earth and there are a lot of converts. A few of women in the ward are struggling with what they phrase “gender inequality in the church.” my companion and I met with a less active lady and I told her I was a feminist. She was shocked. “How is that possible? The church is still stuck in the fifties.” “They’ve come a long way,” I responded. “They’re working really hard to keep up with the times and reaching out to the needs of members today.” “I can tell you’re not like most missionaries. You kinda do your own thing,” she grinned at me. “I like your style,” she pointed at my tulle skirt and rainbow top. “Jesus was a radical, walkin’ around in sandals and all. But he had one message, and that was love.” I was glad she realized that. “Don’t worry,” she began. “I still pray to Him-” she looked up at the ceiling, “-And Her.” My heart was warmed.
I didn’t know how much good I could see in people until my mission. We’ve had a dinner appointment everyday since I’ve been here. Door knocking is interesting. We met a Buddhist woman yesterday and she was pretty content with her self discovery though which seemed took time, so I asked her to tell me a little bit more about it. I always ask was people’s names are. It makes the conversation more personal. They seem to relax more when I ask about their beliefs. One lady told us all about this object in her doorway, but it represents the Jewish Commandments. It had a lot of really gorgeous stones on it.
So that was week one. I’m excited it’s my first P-Day (Preparation day), and look forward to hearing from you soon!