Lots of missionaries buy bikes, then just leave them at the mission office when they are in a car area. So we picked up a bike for each of us, plus two helmets and a lock. We got a ride back to our house, pouted for a while, then rode around.
I am slow.
The bike that was chosen for me was terrible. No shocks, no lights, bad brakes, and super old. So one of the elders in our district let me borrow his bike (because they still have a car). It is a really nice one. To make sure it wouldn't get stolen he wrapped it in black electrical tape and put stickers on it. It looks amazingly ghetto, completed with a hardcore lock.
On Thursday, we biked to the church. 5.6 miles, 40 minutes. We had some lessons and made it through some stressful situations. And for dinner we sat on the floor eating spicy Filipino chicken and rice, because our house was a mess with all of the stuff that used to be in our trunk thrown everywhere.
Friday morning, we took the train to the Salvation Army to do service, as usual. We locked our bikes at the station before getting on the train. When we got back, Hermana Hartley's bike was gone. Someone cut through her coil lock and took everything. Even her helmet. No one even uses helmets! It was a pretty depressing walk back home. We didn't accomplish anything the rest of the day. Emotional overload.
Saturday, we got a ride from a member to the mission office in search of a replacement bike for Hermana Hartley. We also took my first, terrible bike back. We returned and tried to start being misisonaries again. But they didn't give Hna Hartley a chance to test out her bike beforehand, so we discovered that it doesn't go past 2nd gear. Luckily the elders were nice enough to let her borrow another bike. Hers is also covered in tape, but they ran out of black so it is also red reflective and purple shiny.
SUNDAY WE HAD A BAPTISM!!! That was the biggest stress reliever ever. Part of the reason this week was so difficult was that we had to teach a few more lessons preparing him for baptism, type up a program, print a program, make sure the baptismal clothes fit, and basically just stress ourselves out. We had to cancel lessons with him and with some other people because they were too far away and it was too dark to go over. And that just feels awful.
But we did it. We made it through the week. And he texted us after the baptism saying that we are sensational. If only he had seen us the rest of the week, when we were struggling just to make it through the day or up a hill or back to our apartment looking defeated. It was worth it. Lots of prayer got us through.
One of the things that has really struck me on my mission is that this life is really a huge struggle between good and evil. Not just in a fantasy novel kind of way, but in a tears in the middle of the night and struggling to do the right thing and praying for strength kind of way. There is opposition in all things. When people are trying to make changes to improve their lives and draw closer to Christ, Satan works hard against them and the missionaries. From what I have heard, the week leading up to a baptism is always crazy hard. Nothing like this one though.
There is always hope. There is always Someone waiting to lift us up. Good always wins in the end and the finish line is not as impossible to reach as we may think it is. I know that there is a reason for all of the hard things we face. I know that I have grown a lot this week.
Today it is raining. Please pray for us. We appreciate prayers. Have a good week!
We got our bike taken away because the mission is downsizing on the number of cars here. It got shipped to Salt Lake to be resold. We don't know why ours was chosen, since our area is ridiculously huge. Whatever.
Tips for riding a bike.
If you have to wear a skirt, wear shorts under it.
Try to get a skirt that hits about your knees, because if it is too long it gets caught in the chain.
Buy a U lock, not a coil one.
Pray or sing. That is how you make it through.
Find the streets with less cars. Bike routes are also good.
to be continued soon, probably.