So basically, I have learned a ton this weekend about the atonement. There is an Elder who is seriously one of my best friends, Elder Coleman. He has gained like 50 lbs + on his mission. In his interview with the mission President in January our mission President said "Elder Coleman, I am going to tell you something that I would never tell a Sister. you're fat, and you've gotten fatter on your mission." Elder Coleman is hilarious and took it super well ha ha he said "Alright, I'll take it like an Elder." President Mecham gave Elder Coleman a bunch of advice on losing weight and stuff. So, Elder Coleman gathered a bunch of people around him and said "Alright, whose with me to lose weight?" We all set goals and we had to call and check in with him as to what we were eating. In March he said "Sister Erbe, do you want to do the Spartan race?" I who had no idea what it was and said "Yeah, sure that would be super fun!" Basically he told me it was a 5 miles hike through mud. Except that it wasn't! It was the hardest physical thing anyone has ever done. Seriously, I just looked up pictures, I wish that I could find more ha ha, but I will send you some....don't judge! We ran the entire thing in button up shirts and the Elders did it in White shirts and ties. AAAHHH!!! I seriously can't believe that it happened. Let me tell you how it went. We got up at 4:00 in the morning. We met all the missionaries at the church at 5:15 that morning. Then we went to Bigfork (just a city pretty close by) and we registered and volunteered so we could race for like $14. We had to sign an insane waver that I already sent a picture of to everyone ha ha. So we get there and everyone get assigned to different places to volunteer. there was Sister Owens, Sister Austin, Sister Ayala and I and we were assigned to bag check. Which means that people bring us their stinky dirty bags and we had to haul them around. They probably weighed 50 lbs a piece. We were exhausted and we weren't even racing yet! We raced at 2:00 in the afternoon and in order to race we had to get over a 6 ft wall. Then we had to wait and just see what was going to happen since none of us knew what the heck to expect. We waited for the race to start and then it did.....it was like the longest 15 minutes of my life soo much anticipation. But, it was super cool because before the race even started we said a prayer, the missionaries all huddled up and prayed and when we looked up there was like 50 people who had made a circle around us and prayed with us. People with their beers came up and told us how much they loved and admired us and it was totally sweet! :) Also, lots of people took pictures of us all too. We started and we stayed together pretty good at first, but then others were faster than me, so they all got ahead. The first thing we had to do was to run through a massive like 4 foot deep puddle and then run up a giant hill. Elder Anthony and Elder Blackmon, and sister Austin stayed behind and stayed with me. We also picked up this lady who wasn't a member and she ran it with us. Elder Anthony is our zone leader and one of the best people I know, he ran the whole thing with a Book of Mormon in hand. :) We climbed up this giant ladder and then crawled across this stuff for like 50 ft. and then we had to jump over 3 more walls and run up a mile long hill. Then we had to carry a log up another hill, and then we had to pick between 2 hillls, one looked steeper and one wasn't as steep. We chose the steeper one since it would be faster. Then we had to climb down a cliff....On the very first rock I fell off. I landed on my side and just cried. I didn't want to do it anymore and I was so exhausted! Elder Anthony helped me up and looked at my cuts and then was like "I'll hold your hands, It'll be okay." So he held my hands and Elder Blackmon held my waist and then helped me down the whole thing. We made it to the next obstacle which was monkey bars and my arms were too short to reach them. So, Elder Anthony had me stand on his shoulders, but I was too tall so I was practically siting on his head. I said "Elder Anthony, I don't think this is approved!" He said "It's okay, I've got this!" ha ha. So he helped me again, and then climbed the monkey bars himself with a Book of Mormon in his mouth. We had to run down a hill, and then run through water, and then do military hurtles, and then lift a log up over our heads and then flip it around and put it down, then we ran down another hill, then we had to climb under 50 ft. of barbed wire. We got to the end and we got over a hay bale and there was more barbed wire, so we got to the end of that and climbed over a hay bale and there was more barbed wire. There was like 4 different sections of barbed wire. I had to figure out how to do this crazy side shuffle thing and it was insane! I was completely exhausted, but we weren't even done yet. We had to climb a rope (oh, and if you can't do it you have to do 30 burpies.) I couldn't do it, and so I was going to do burpies, but there was a guy who said "I'll climb the rope for you." So he did, and I didn't have to do it. I had to get over like a 10 ft wall, and It was easy getting up, but then I got a leg cramp at the top and fell off. A bunch of people grabbed my leg and helped work out the cramp and then had me keep going. We ran through another thing of water and I slipped on a rock and almost went under...oh, the water was freezing by the way. I didn't go all the way under I stayed up just enough. We had to then carry a 30 lb. Bag of sand up a hill and bring it back, then we had to throw a spear into a hay bale that they had dressed up like a spartan. I missed and had to do 30 burpies. Then we ran up another hill, and got to the last wall. I knew everyone was on the other side and the finish line was too. But the wall was like 25 ft. high. So the elders grabbed onto my ankles and helped me up and over it. We all stood in a line and ran towards the finish line where we had to jump over this like 3 ft. barricade of fire. But at the end it was so awesome! My companion had my medal for me and I ran to her and she put it on and I hugged her and I got water and powerade, and a banana and a protein bar. :) It was honestly one of the coolest things I have ever done! The entire race taught me about our Savior and about life itself. We read scriptures from Elder Anthony's book of Mormon and sang hymns the whole race. :) We were exhausted, but we had done it! The Sisters all cried, and the Elders cried a little too ha ha. We did a sisters group hug with the Elders around us not touching us. :P We are all soo much closer after going through that! I have massive bruises all over my whole body and I am so sore I can't even explain it in words, but it was one of the best things I have ever done honestly.
On Monday we went hiking up in glacier. Holy cow I was not happy about it! I was exhausted and sore from the spartan race and we were hiking 7 miles through the snow and it was awful! I couldn't see the point, and didn't care to see the end. Also to top it all off the zone leaders put like 8 brain sized rocks in my bag! Well, they put it in everyones bags and then they had duplicates of all of our rocks and loaded them into Elder Lintons bag and he carried all of our load plus all of his. My bag probably weighed close to 20 lbs, and his bag weighed probably between 70 and 80 lbs. We hiked forever it seemed like and I didn't want to walk anymore. I kept saying "If I slip in this snow I won't get back up I swear." I was being stinky about the whole thing. But, I wasn't the only one. There were lots of tears shed. Somehow hiking up this trail was worse than the Spartan race for all of us! We got to the lake and took off our backpacks and ate lunch and then we laughed and talked and fed chipmunks and then we had a little devotional. There were some Sisters who couldn't walk through the marshy stuff that they wanted us to in order to get to our devotional spot, so I had a sister hold my bag and hers and I carried her. Seriously I have never had that much pain in my legs and in my feet and in my whole body but know that I was responsible to make sure that this Sister didn't hit that water. Man it was hard! But it made me love that Sister so much! When we got there we took a few minutes to think about what we had learned about the atonement, and then talk to our companions about what we had learned.
Basically this is what I learned over the whole weekend:
I learned that our Savior suffered for our physical pain. He really did, he knew what it felt like to have banged up my shoulder falling off of that rock. He also knew how heavy my feet felt and how exhausted I was. He knew how scared I got when I was super high in the air looking at the ground and still having to climb down the ladder on the other side. He knew how heavy that sandbag was. He knew how much it hurt to fall off the wall because of the excruciating pain in my leg. He knew how much I hated hiking through that snow, and He also knew how heavy that stupid backpack was! He knew it because he had to climb a giant hill to get to Gethsemane. I am sure after his muscle had been strained for that long he had tons of charlie horses. He was exhausted and He kept going. He was tried and had burdens placed upon him kind of like the zone leaders putting rocks in my backpack. He also knows that I don't feel good enough. Honestly I don't feel good enough at anything. I was scared to do the Spartan race because of my size. I don't feel incredibly capable of hardly anything....but, He knows that too. I wasn't carrying Elder Lintons backpack, I was just carrying my own, and I was struggling with it. Elder Linton loved us all so much more because he knew that he was carrying our burdens, the things that we are struggling with, and he knew that each of us was struggling with something. He knows everything, and he knows how to help me. He gave me tools so that I could help myself too. He gave me awesome friends, like Elder Anthony and Elder Blackmon, and Sister Austin, and Sister Jones, and sister Owens, and Sister Ayala, and Sister Christensen, and Elder Schlenker and Elder Coleman. He also gave us the Book of Mormon. :) It made us so happy to read from it the entire Spartan race. Also we have our families to help us and to help us to be happy. :) We are also give the knowledge that this life and this physical pain is only for right now. This life ends at some point and the pain we experience ends. And when it does, we are met with friends and medals and laughing and hugs and tears and beautiful scenery just like our hike. :) It is all possible through our Savior Jesus Christ.
lots of stuff to still learn, but I am thankful for the opportunities that I get to have out here on my mission. I am thankful that I get to represent my Savior and that I get to 'run' for him as a missionary! :) I love you all, and I hope that you have an awesome week! LOVES!
-Sister Malynne Erbe