*Crystal owns a lot of black. I tease her about it. She teases me about being too colorful and mixing and matching patterns. As we left the house the other day, I burst out laughing because she was in ALL black and I was in ALL florescent colors. I love that Crystal.
As some of you might remember, when I was in the MTC [missionary training center], I had a rainbow umbrella. Everyone else had black. I stood out. And it was awesome.
I am now in Mexico. I still have a rainbow umbrella. I now stand out more than ever. And people ask a lot of questions like "Why are you different?"
I just wanted to follow up on the whole message of the umbrella e-mail [go here], and ask one and all, Are you being a rainbow umbrella?
Do you live your life in a way that your friends and those that know you would say that you are different, special, or out of the ordinary? Do you seek to blend in or stand out? Do you share your testimony with others or avoid bringing it up?
Something that I seemed to hear, read, and notice this week was a lot about being BRAVE. It takes a lot of courage to be a rainbow umbrella. Some people might stare and tell you you're weird. Some people might tell you that your a little crazy. Some people might ask you why you don't just go and buy a black umbrella like everyone else.
Embrace the rainbow in you. Let it show. Don't be ashamed if you believe in God and in Christ and don't be ashamed to let it show. Be brave. And be different.
Basically it was fabulous. I don't know what was better - sitting and listening to someone else teach the lesson for a change, or all the inspiration received. The two things that stuck out to me were (1) I DONT FEAR MAN and (2) that KINDNESS IS POWERFUL.
About the first point. It's something a lot of us face. We want others to like us, to approve of us, to follow up on Instagram and tell us our clothes are cool. There's nothing wrong with being likeable or popular, but what are you popular for? For being the nicest kid around, or for buying the right shoes?
That's something that I've struggled with on the mission. I forget that I'm not inviting the people to come unto me, I'm inviting them to come unto Christ. Because its HIM that can help them. Not me.
But I will be bold. I will talk with everyone. And will SHARE with everyone that Christ loves them and can change their lives. I will INVITE one and all to come unto Him and change their lives and their eternities. Yes that makes me a little (a lot) more vulnerable. Yes that leaves a lot more room to get hurt. But it all leaves a lot more room for success.
About the second point. Kindness really is power. I can be bold, but if I'm not kind no one will ever want to hear what I have to say. You can teach an investigator all the right stuff and at all the right times and with all the right doctrines, scriptures, and questions, but if you are not kind to them and if you don't show that you love them and care about them it never really gets you too far.
Be kind. But what does that even mean? Telling someone you think their hair is cool? Or helping a little old lady across the street? For me, kindness is channeling Christ. Doing as He would and being the kind of person He was. Not only in words but in actions and in thoughts.
I will follow the counsel of the prophets in these days and those of old. I will pray for my enemies. The lady who was mean must be having a really hard day, I tell myself. That person who said they would be there and didn't show up must have had a last minute situation come up. I pray for them. I love them. And not just with words. With my heart.
My heart sometimes gets a little bumped and bruised along the way, but you know what? Its worth it. Put yourself out there and be kind. Be brave enough to be kind. To not just those who are easy to love, but those who are really hard to love too.
We got together as a big activity of Elders and Hermanas to play soccer this morning. I was so excited to be finally playing an actual sport that I was WAY too hard and came home throwing up and feeling so hot I thought I might die. Heat exhaustion.
So apologies for any strange and uninteresting things that flowed out of my fingers this week. I still feel delirious. Love you all, and thanks a million for all the support and prayers. I feel them.
*We eat bugs now. "Just eating some bugs. Totally normal."