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Monday, March 10, 2014

Mud, Cars and Chopping Wood

Did the title get your attention? Listen closely y'all, cause this week is one for the books.
Where do I even begin?
Monday night we were at an investigator's trailer by the sawmill, and the member that came with us got his car stuck in the mud and ice. We were sitting in the car after the lesson, watching him try to get his car out, but it wasn't going. We said a quick prayer, then went out and tried to help him. Finally we decided to push it and boom! It rolled back and he drove out like nothing had happened :) We thought we were invincible!
Then Tuesday happened.
We were trying to contact a referral on this place called Rosenbarger Hill. It's a dirt road that goes up a hill to a warehouse/shop place. We see this trailer but couldn't decide if it was the referral's place. Then I noticed a little dirt road right next to it that went back into the forest, so I told Hermana Lawrence, "Let's just go down there and see if it's back there. If not, we'll try this trailer."
And this is where we learn never to follow the advice of Hermana Porter.
We go down the dirt road, and it's all covered in melting snow, and we're thinking, "Wow! The mission gives us great cars to drive in! We can do anything!" We eventually got to a dead end about two minutes into the forest, and I got out to back up Hermana Lawrence...and then the car got stuck in mud. We thought, "No big deal. We just need to back up a little more to get traction." So we backed up....and get more stuck. Eventually I tell Hermana Lawrence, "Just back up all the way down the hill and try driving back up. I don't think this is all mud."

That's a lie if there ever was one! The entire hill was thick, Southern-Utah red mud, with puddles from all the snow melt. The tires on our car couldn't get any traction, so they just kept spinning. We called our District Leader, and he told us to find some boards and try shoving them under the tires. We found some, but we weren't strong enough to get them all the way under the tires. Eventually we made it to the bottom of the hill and couldn't get back up. We were on the phone with the Mission Car Adviser, and he told us to walk up the hill and look for help while he called a wrecker.
We walked up the warehouse to see if we could find anyone and we found two Mexicans (hallelujah!). They got in their truck and drove down to help us. They were getting ready to pull us out.... and then THEY got stuck! How. Embarrassing. They called their boss, and he was pretty upset with us. We took the blame, saying we didn't know, we weren't thinking. He told us he'd call a wrecker that he knew and to just stay there.

So the tow truck guy comes and starts laughing at us of course. Nice guy. Then he hooks up the other guys' truck and starts pulling them out.... and then the TOW TRUCK got stuck.

You can imagine what I looked like at this point.
The tow truck dug himself out eventually, and we all got out...after 3 1/2 hours. We got everything squared away, and the tow guy undercharged us for his service. Then we called the landowner, Ronnie, that night and apologized and told him we'd do anything to help fix what we did -- we'd dig holes if we had to. So he told us we could come chop wood with his 16 year old son Ryan on Saturday to make up for it. He said, "It'll be good for my son. He's not a bad kid, but I think it'll be good for him. He needs a little Jesus in his life."
So that's exactly what we did. 9:00 Saturday morning, chopped wood until 2:00. They had a log splitter there, so Hermana Lawrence used that while I learned how to use an axe. I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS SORE IN MY LIFE. I have arm muscles now though! And thigh muscles, and back muscles, and other muscles that I had no idea even existed. It was a fun day though. My sinuses got nice and infected from all the wood shavings. I looked like I was weeping the entire day. They bought us Wendy's for lunch and gave us our own working gloves. Then Ryan showed us around the shop. I got to sit in a Semi! I also chased a rooster and Hermana Lawrence fell in poop.
OH! Funniest thing of my life! Really quick: I told Hermana Lawrence that it's impossible to crack and egg by squeezing it with one hand, but that I can do it. She's been practicing for months and still hasn't been able to do it. Saturday, Ryan found a bunch of chicken eggs, so I taught him how to do it, but Hermana Lawrence still couldn't break it. After five minutes, she still couldn't get it, so she chucked it at a tree... and it bounced right off and onto the ground. I was DYING.
Anyway. I'm calling this the parable of mud:
Sometimes, you make bad decisions. You travel down paths deep into the forest in your nice white car, thinking you're fine, and then you get stuck in some pretty deep, nasty, sticky mud. Your car gets pretty messy, and no matter how hard you try to get out by yourself, you just can't quite do it. You pray and work and it still doesn't work. You need help from someone other than yourself. Humbled, you find help, and these merciful people pull you out. And then they continue to extend their mercy to you by undercharging you for the tow, paying you for chopping wood, buying you lunch. Eventually you make it to the car wash and wash all the mud off your car until it's a nice white car again.
It's just like that with repentance. Our Heavenly Father knows we're not perfect, and we're going to make mistakes that will humble us and require us to call out for help. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. He knew we'd make mistakes and become unclean. That is exactly why He died for us: so that we'd repent and come to Him to be made clean again. What was once covered in the thickest, messiest mud can be white, shiny and clean again. No matter what kind of mess we get ourselves into, there's always that cleansing Atonement that can make the situation better. We don't have to sit in the mud forever. Otherwise we'd never make it back to Heaven. I'm so grateful for the Atonement because I make mistakes every day. But because Jesus Christ died for us, we can repent and be made clean again and have the chance to make it back to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
God is in everything. What seemed like a simple act of obedience lead to lessons learned, friends made and testimonies strengthened.
Hermana Porter

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