Monday, May 11, 2015

Subway in Res

"¿Y para vos?"
I open my mouth, and out fall the words
"Bueno, y ¿qué vegetales vas a querer?"
I smile, open my mouth
to speak.
The beating half of my heart is X kilometers away in a 2-room cement house.
"Tomate. Pero aquellos que son bien rojos, ¿vio?"
I smile.
The menu's lit up and the tables are polished, so you can see every distinct neglected crumb.

I hope you enjoyed that poem about going to Subway. We were in Resistencia this week for Consejo--a monthly council where leaders go and talk about what's going on in their areas and zones. Presidente Franco likes to foster out-of-the-box thinking and I appreciated getting to know more about how he works with us. Problem solving. Good stuff.

This week we had a lesson with Mayra, and it was a highly anticipated event, so Yanina (recent RM who served in Mexico) wanted to come. We went by to pick her up so she could walk with us to Mayra's house. Yanina has a hyper-intelligent dog named Pirata. He opens the gate for us when we come over. I hadn't ever asked him about his religious convictions, but I think he's considering Mormonism, because he, too, accompanied us to the lesson. We had to push him away as we squeezed through Mayra's front door one by one. As we discussed the gospel, Pirata jumped into the house through an open window, which we promptly threw him back out of. We then shut all the windows, and he whimpered outside the door for the rest of the lesson.

I like his enthusiasm, and if that's a sign of how he's going to take his future ward responsibilities, I really think he's going to progress.

Another quick story: Yesterday Hermana Beecher and Hermana Alduenda knocked on a door. A man answered it, and they explained who they were and expressed that they would love to come in and talk to him and his family about the restored gospel. He hadn't said much up to this point, he had just nodded and kept a straight face. He had a toy phone in his hand. When they had finished talking and asked him what he thought, he looked down at the toy phone and said "No. I'm very busy. I need to take this call," gave his apologies and shut the door.

Well, I don't know what news to give you all other than HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY YESTERDAY to all you mothers. Happy Mother's Day especially to my own mother Carolyn Tolman, who is, was, and shall always be one of the most important people in my life. I sometimes feel like I'm slowly turning into my parents..Love you Mom and Dad!! Also Happy Mother's Day to my grandparents and aunts and lady cousins, especially those of you who I saw for 4.779 seconds yesterday on our Mother's Day Skype call! I saw you there, your luminous pixelated faces, and though I was too flustered and over-enthusiastic to say even 5 words to you, I love you all very much, and think of you often, all of you, and can't wait to catch up one day over some herbal tea and delicious homemade pie (that will probably be made by you, unless I've somehow learned how to make pie by then).

Yesterday as I talked to my immediate family over Skype, I found myself very happy, yet alarmingly out-of-control. I got very pretentious and didactic; I just opened my mouth and let all this ENTHUSIASM tumble freely into the microphone (siblings, on the next phone call I hope to treat you all more equally. I love being from a big family. But yikes there are 4 of you).
The reason I share this is because I shared one of my favorite scriptures with you, and I was trying to explain why. So I want to explain why.

Alma 22. In this chapter, Aaron is talking with Lamoni's father, a.k.a. the king. He tells the king about redemption through Christ and "the hopes of glory." The king is quite stricken; he begins to desire this: "What shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his spirit, that I may be filled with joy?" he asks. "I will give up all I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy."
Aaron explains that he does not have to give up his entire kingdom to come to know God. He says you've just got to "bow down before God, and call on his name...believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest."
And the king cries mightily.
He says "O God, if there is a God, and if thou art God, ...I will give away all my sins to know thee."
And God makes himself known to the king.

This is a scripture that I have read often since I discovered it, because I like it. And it taught me how to give my heart to God. I was out here in Formosa, emotionally suffering, the same way I would have suffered whether I was in school, working, trying to solve relationship problems, anything. I just felt generally dissatisfied. And I thought, man, I want to go home. But I knew I would be feeling this way no matter where I was. Even if I was at home I would just keep feeling this way at home.
Whatever we're in the middle of, ("too easy", "too hard", or anything in between) we seem to subject ourselves to a lot of internal suffering, as if the external suffering weren't enough. And then this scripture showed me how to stop it. So I prayed and told God I would give away all my other desires if he would grant me my desire to know him.
And I'm glad to say I've been getting to know him.
A couple months later, having turned back to that scripture often, you know what I've found? God wants me to have other desires. It's okay with him for me to have my personality and to stumble around all human-like. He just wants me to always hold those desires up against his desires, and make sure I'm not going to turn stumbling into internal suffering.
When my heart doesn't belong to him first, it gives other things great occasion to come in and confuse my heart.
When my heart is God's, I'm not immune from the daily chaos that happens (and do I really want to be immune from all that?). It is a good kind of immunity of the heart.
So, like Lamoni's father, I'm willing to forsake my kingdom (or all my material comfort and social relationships) and give up all my sins (or all the other things that compete for my heart, not just mistakes but also everything else I get attached to that take me away from God).
And I've found that once I do that, once I've made my will clear to him (that I want to know and do His will), he gives most of what I gave up back to me, because I'm here on earth to learn and grow and weather this chaos, and there are a lot of things he wants me to experience and enjoy. But within his bounds. Why within his bounds? Because he sees more than I do.

Loving my mission, loving Formosa,
Much love peace and general good vibes,
Hermana Tolman

This is "Cyber" where we do our emails every P-Day.

Arriving at Cyber

Walking to Cyber
Hermana Rodriguez

I love Hermana Rodriguez! We hope to be companions some day.

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