It's transfers week!! I have an inner ear infection (it's been going on for a bit, I talked to Sister Wall this morning and she is getting some medicine today for me to pick up at the pharmacy). And Sister Ward is being transferred. It totally surprised us! Honestly, despite trying to keep the bigger perspective, we're pretty sad. I was starting to feel a tad of comfort working with her though, and the Lord seems to keep yanking me and yanking me out of any form of a "comfort zone." All for my good. We thought for sure I'd finish her training, but it looks like I'll be getting another sister from the MTC (we have three Spanish speaking sisters arriving). Because of this, we have a ton to do today, but I feel like it's been a year since I wrote you last, so much has happened! I wrote a good weekly letter to President, and because of time I thought I'd include some of that.
Here it is:
"Happy Transfers Week! From now on I will never be surprised during a transfers week. :) You really just never do know what the Lord has in store. Sister Ward and I, besides becoming really great friends and working well, felt that we had work left to do together, and were confident I'd finish training her. We feel that the work that we felt that we had left to do together must be sometime later in our missions. We sure hope we get that opportunity!
It was a great week. We genuinely enjoyed biking (most of the time :). I'm so grateful to have a companion who is a trooper! The night her bike broke we had just started biking to the church to teach English class. After trying to fix it, we quickly realized there wasn't anything we could do. So we just started walking as fast as we could with our bikes, singing most of the way. It would normally be in my nature to be a tad discouraged, but I didn't feel that at all. I think mostly because of Sis Ward's wonderful example. It was dark, and we were taking a back route to the church we hadn't taken before, so we didn't completely have our bearings. After arriving at the church, we weren't sure how far we'd walked, but figured it was a mile or two. Oh goodness! The next day when we biked that route, we found out just how far we had gone!! I couldn't believe it. It felt like we'd hardly had to walk any distance at all, but it turned out that it was quite a ways. It just goes to show that attitude really is everything. The Kenner ZL's gave us a ride home and after asking and hearing about our day, they were surprised about the things that had happened, and why we were still so happy. But that's life isn't it? We were happy because we're missionaries, because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ. And despite any difficulties, that knowledge can bring comfort to your heart and a smile to your face.
Another day, and I don't know how to say this without startling you at first, so don't worry. But I had a little… collision with a car. Ok, I was hit by a car. Sounds much more dramatic than it was, promise! There was a person who didn't stop at a light as we were crossing. She screeched to a stop quick as she could and so she didn't hit me hard. I just kind of fell onto the hood of her car but was totally fine. I tell you this because it was a miracle. There were angels protecting me, and quickening her reflexes. It would be hard to explain the position of us and the cars, and her, all through the text of this mail, but all I can say is I don't know how she stopped so quick. And my leg didn't hurt much at all later, and it probably should have. And off we went on our bikes. Other than having had a little scare, there wasn't a scratch on us. Another testimony that angels are here with us.
Another miracle this week: an appointment fell through one night. Well, everything fell through that day, we didn't teach one "official" lesson. But we had some finding we wanted to do in a neighborhood as a backup plan, and since it was still light out, that's where we went. We had some good experiences talking with people. We placed Book of Mormons. I am working so hard on opening my mouth! It is one of the hardest things for me - I really don't know why since I know this gospel is true and that I shouldn't fear the opinions of man. It's just a human weakness I struggle with I guess. Anyway, some people were interested, some were definitely not. It was starting to get dark and we had one Book of Mormon left that we wanted to give out. Hermana Ward said we weren't leaving till we placed it, another reason I love her! So we stopped on the corner that we were on, and said a prayer. We asked for guidance from the Spirit. We knew we had placed ourselves where we should be and that we were close to someone we needed to talk to. After consecrating that time, we started walking again. It was a pretty poor neighborhood and some of the apartment doors aren't traditionally placed. Walking by a building, I saw a dark brown door on the side of the building that was tucked back in behind this big bush. I looked back and almost kept walking when for some reason I stopped and said, "that one." We knocked on the door, and a woman answered (english speaking). We could feel her spirit was really strong. After talking for a minute, she said she was glad we were there and that she was having a rough day. Immediately I could tell that something was going on. To make a long story short, she had just gotten home from a funeral of a long time friend and boss. She isn't married and has no children, so she was alone. As we were able to listen to her, and testify of the truths of the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit was strong. She had tears in her eyes. Unfortunately we didn't have an English Book of Mormon, but we were able to talk a bit about it. Wanting to be able to do something for her, Hermana Ward asked if we could leave a prayer with her. The woman said she would love that. So Sister Ward said a prayer, and I haven't felt a stronger Spirit for awhile. We look forward to taking a Book of Mormon back, and referring her over to the English Elders.
It was a wonderful experience. When I felt that we should knock on that door, there was no huge impression. Honestly, I don't know why I said that door. But as Elder Bednar taught us, "be a good girl, be a good boy. Keep the commandments, honor your covenants, and don't worry if it's your thoughts, or the impressions of the Spirit." I love knowing that it was the Spirit working through me. There's no greater feeling! This is my biggest desire, to be a humble and effective instrument in the hands of the Lord. Sometimes it feels like I'm so far away from reaching this goal, so it was wonderful to have an experience where I felt some extra trust, and a confirmation that I am being the best I can be now, and am hopefully on my way to being the missionary the Lord wants me to be. I'm grateful that God knows each of His children individually, and answers their prayers."
Jose, Estefani, and Yerandi… I don't know. We've tried to see them. We saw Jose one day at the door and he said a whole bunch of fast cuban spanish I didn't understand. So, I have hope, but I really don't know. We didn't teach them any lessons this week. And it's kind of the same thing with all of the investigators we've found and the less actives we're working with. We've yet to have an investigator or less active at church yet. It'll look really positive, we'll talk to them Saturday night and then nothing. I don't feel like a less successful missionary or anything, I just feel this love that the Savior has for each one of these people. His arms are stretched out wide to them, and they aren't exercising their faith and acting. And they have their agency. We'll keep working and see what happens.
But, Mahala is doing great!!!!!!! She went to the temple this last week and did baptisms for the first time. Since she's not "my" recent convert anymore, I didn't get to go, but she told me about it. She now has a calling in Primary, and she wrote me a letter that was just precious. Maybe I'll bring it next week and share some of it with you. It'll melt your heart :)
... day after day I teach the basics of the gospel. Over and over. And while it might appear naive to the outside world, it really has forced me to focus on the basics. Easier to do on a mission than in real day life with very real problems, and yet there's a comforting thought to it, that when it comes down to it, all that other stuff doesn't matter. We can teach the basics to an investigator in 10-30 mins, and as missionaries and people we spend everyday studying them, and there's enough there to study to last my whole life. There's a complex simplicity to the doctrine of Christ. And I think it's a "complex simplicity" not a "simple complexity." :) Faith in the Lord, repentance, bautismo, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I think it's interesting.
The call you got was from Aura (from Mexico). She and her husband Eddie (from Cuba) are our neighbors. I have to go so I'll tell you next week about them. I've meant to for awhile. They are amazing people. Each night when we biked Eddie would make sure we were home safe, and often feed us. They're like another set of grandparents. They're catholic.… right now :) Even though you probably couldn't understand her well, she was just thrilled to have talked to you. They think what we're doing is amazing. they're so sad Sis ward is leaving, but they have plans to come to our weddings one day. :)
Well, folks, I've gotta go. I love you each. Have a wonderful week.