Thank you so very much for your emails mom and dad. They meant a lot. I am in Baton Rouge, Sis Walker and I just switched places. This has probably been the most trying week of my mission so far. I must have been getting to the edge of the refiners fire so I needed to be thrown back in. Wouldn't want to be too comfortable! :) God has too many things for me to learn in this short 18 months! So I'll start off with the biggest blessing of the week: my new companion. Her name is Hna. Carolan and she's from Minnesota and she's amazing! We are very similar and I can see already why we're together. She's just been out a transfer so I'm doing the second half of her training... Sis Carolan has been through a lot in her life and we've had a good time getting to know each other and building some trust. She's someone who I feel like I can lean on, which is a big blessing. She had a pretty big surgery done on her knee in the MTC, which means she was rarely in class and the Spanish side is really rough, but she's full of faith!! ...
Each of you shared very wise things with me. I believe that I will come to love everything about this area, and I believe that one day I'll know why I serve here. So I have that faith and right now I just want to work as hard as I can everyday so I don't regret it when I leave. I would hate to have a transfer in my mission where I maybe didn't give my all because I was still living in the dreams of my previous area. ... I've been pondering a lot how to be a powerful example. Not someone who says what needs to be done, but just does it in a good way that people respect, and will then follow. I feel like William's a good example of that. Anyway, that's what needs to happen. I honestly feel like that's one reason president put me here - our mission culture needs to be established.
Baton Rouge is gigantic. I'm confused all the time, it kind of just sprawls on forever. Also, I drive a minivan because we're the designated taxi service for the elders in our district. I'm the mom of BR! Hah! But really, it takes so many hours a week. We have to leave an hour and a half before church starts pick everyone up and get there. Hoping there's no traffic. Cuts down on proselyting/teaching time but I think I'll be learning how to serve in the way I'm asked, not the way I want. I've learned that there's a difference. Sometimes we have ideas in our heads about how we should serve, or what the best service is to do. But really, sometimes that's not the way that's needed. Sometimes, someone just needs to help all the elders get to church (and hope the mission gets allotted more cars soon :) It's a big lesson for me to learn, especially when it's different from my go-go way of doing missionary work.
President tried to work it so I could go sing yesterday in New Orleans but it didn't happen. Bummer deal. Let's just all go to an NBA game when I get home! President said something I thought Dad would appreciate: something about how when a dad disappoints a daughter he wants to go over the top to make it better. Haha, I thought that was thoughtful but I am where I am, and I'm here to serve the people in the way the Lord needs. But I won't say no to a P-Day in my good ol' Crescent city :)
I found out that Hermana Villanueva did pass away right after I left. Her funeral is today. It all happened so fast I didn't even have time to ask if I could go, which is fine. I was sad when I found out. Heartbroken for her family, but very happy that she's not in so much pain. She used to talk about that. Now she can live fully again, and be a missionary in the Spirit World. I know she's busy working, and I'm sure she's doing well.
I guess I've just felt really weak this week. I've learned a lot about prayer. Which was a goal I had when I started the mission, so I guess it's coming about! You know how when I was a kid and away from home I would get homesick? ... I would be fine, and then start crying. I learned that meant I was homesick. I haven't felt that on the mission yet for home but it's about the best way I can think to describe how I've been feeling for New Orleans and the people there. It's crazy.
We work here in a little branch and the people are, of course, amazing. We had 3 women in Relief Society. We meet for Sacrament in a RS room. I was asked to get up and give my testimony on Sunday. I was still nervous to talk in front of people in Spanish, but it went well! Better than how I did 5 months ago! It will be wonderful to get to know the people here more.
Sure love you each. Thank you so very much for your prayers. I can feel that strength coming to me. Otherwise I wouldn't have had the motivation to get up at 6:30 this week when I'm beat, physically and emotionally. It’s just one of the many extra ways that I feel strengthened beyond my capacity.
I love you each dearly!!