For starters, I am glad to announce that I finally was able to clarify the correct way to spell "y'all". One would think that such a feat may not be entirely important for a missionary, but when you're using hick language, apostrophe placement makes such a difference :)
First and most importantly, I got to give a HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout out to the BEST Karis Jae I know :) And you'd be surprised how many Karis Jae's I know, I'm telling you. Back here in the south, people are naming their babies after my sister just left and right. Probably because she's got hair kind of like Taylor Swift. And by kind of, it really only does if it's curled and you kind of squint and tilt your head to the left. And, tada! T-swizzle, in my very own family. So proud.
This week was a crazy one, though I'm going to start it off with a question for all those who grew up reading the "Tin-Tin" books, and I truthfully don't know if that applies to anyone outside of the Lake family. So, puddles, clue in on this one - is the Captain Sidekick in those books named "Captain D"? I can't remember his actual name, but it became highly important this last week when we drove past a fast food seafood restaurant named "Captain D's" and I've been trying to rack my brain all week to see if he really does have the same name as the drunk crazy sailor sidekick off of Tin Tin. Help me out here puddles - yeah or nay? (answer: Captain Haddock - thanks for Brandt Demars!)
Fun Facts of the week:
1) For those who haven't guessed from the number of times I joke about the huge road kill problem down here in Tennessee, there are TONS of random cats and dogs running around here. Hna Smith and I ran into one such cat the other day while trying to find a referral in a trailer park. We started approaching the porch, and saw a really mangy looking cat licking himself in the middle of the steps. We kept walking towards it, hoping he would hop off the porch when we approached. I stepped on a little stick as we got closer which startled the cat, he whipped his head around at us:
Eyes. Of. Satan.
No kidding! I felt like my soul melted as this creepy cat fixed his slightly slanted yellow eyes at us. Both Hna Smith and I got freaked out by the devil cat and decided to try an entrance on the other side. Thankfully, there was another door, because there was no way I would have picked a fight with that devil cat. I already know who would have won, and it definitely wouldn't have been me, despite these sister missionary clomper shoes.
2) Summer has started in Tennessee, which means 2 things - a) the Magnolia trees are blooming!! I'll add pictures of that later - they're super pretty! b) Lightning bugs are coming out! Every night, around 6 or 7pm, nature cues the little creatures with their radioactive hineys, and it looks SO pretty! They're fun to walk among - though I have to admit, whenever they start glowing, I immediately have the song by Ray the Firefly off of Princess and the Frog pop into my head. This might sound funny to some of you, but I assure you, it's not. Mainly because the ONLY part of that song I remember is:
Going down the Bayou.
Going down the Bayou.
Going down the Bayou,
We're going alllll the way.
Imagine having that stuck in your head every night for about an hour.
Like I said, not funny.
3) Another side effect of summer rolling in: southern summer thunderstorms! Let me tell you, they are something else! I woke up on Saturday morning around 6 am, with our entire house rattling every time thunder boomed (and I mean BOOMED) across the morning sky, and the trees in our backyard were almost bent to the ground with all the wind blowing. It was pretty neat - I just stayed awake until 6:30 when we were scheduled to get up, and watched the storm. It's pretty amazing to me - the Lord works in a range of ways, from the soft still voice of the Holy Ghost, to the powerful storms after Christ's death. It's amazing to see. Truly, EVERYTHING denotes the power of our God.
4) I got my first round of chiggers! For those who don't know what chiggers are, consider yourself lucky. Think of bugs the size of needle heads. Then make them red. Then imagine them possessed with a devil, sprinkle some vinegar on top, and voila! Not pleasant. We finally talked to Sister Anderson who figured out what they were and gave me the cure - clear nail polish, painted on my leg. Yum. I would include a picture of the fun effect of chiggers, but decided not to for 2 reasons: 1) it's kind of nasty, and I don't want to freak anyone out, and 2) despite walking so much in the sun, I'd be afraid to even take a picture of my white legs for fear of blinding any one's retina who sees the picture.
Another few good events of the week: Frankie's baptism was on Saturday! For those who remember, she was a non-member wife of Juan Sanchez who we visited during our time in Winchester. When we taught Frankie the first lesson, we quickly realized that she was the one teaching us, and she practically set a baptismal date for herself before we left that night. I sure do love this lady, and was excited to be able to be at her baptism. She literally glowed :)
For the lack of time, I'm going to close off with a thought for the week: I've been thinking a lot about the Lord's timing, especially since both of the other visa waiters in my district received their visas and left this past week (though they were both to Denmark, so that really says nothing about my own visa. Don't worry :). I think of a couple scriptures on this topic:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens
Trust in the Lord at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us
Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.
We learn a couple things from the combination of these verses - there is a time to every purpose, which means a time it begins, and an time it ends - an allotted time to every purpose. Trials will end, and you will someday move to the next purpose. However, during each of these allotted times, we are commanded to trust in God. Each time is known, measured and given by God, and we need to always pour out our heart in prayer - meaning during the good times, and the bad :) Lastly, despite how powerless we may feel during some of these allotted times, if we continue and remain faithful in our prayers, the Lord will someday answer and fulfill our plea - but not until the acceptable time.
I remember and echo the powerful words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the Young Women broadcast - “No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love.”
And in the words of Elder Holland,“Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.”
I love you. The Lord loves you. And it will all work out :)
Hna Hillbillary Lake
P.S. Did I mention Happy Birthday to my Karis? Never hurts to say it twice :) And congrats to my Jay Jay for making ASB officer! Next step - President of the United States! :)
Me and my main village man, Whitten.
(Side note: he's not sitting in my lap - which is against the mission rules, for those wondering)