Another great week in the YSA! Mom, to be totally honest like you were asking, with the YSA, it's been a hard change. It's been really difficult to learn my role here, in that I'm not whitewashing or training. Luckily, I do get to drive!! #tender_mercies :) Yeah, I love whitewashing, and I love training. Because when you go into a new ward, you can just completely revamp whatever they're past experience with missionaries have been. You can set the tone completely for yourself, you can get to know everyone for yourself, and work with ward leaders in a fresh way. Training presents the same idea. You either know more, and so can help, or you're in it together, and you have the experience I was just talking about.
Not whitewashing is so hard.
Sis 'Alatini is great, but it's hard for me to rely on someone else and what they know about the ward. I feel like all relationships I make here already have a tinge of the old, and nothing is really connecting with me, which is not how I feel in a whitewash. The ward already knows the missionaries, and good or bad, that's what I'm fighting. (Luckily, it's good here). Plus, we share the ward with the zone leaders. And there's something distinct about elders. People see them as "the missionaries" first, then they see the sisters. And that's fine, that's how I was. Elders are just iconic. But, it makes it hard when you share a ward, because I feel like it's making it harder for me and Sis 'Alatini to gain ward trust. Does that even make any sense? I don't know. Probably not actually, logically, but that's how it feels. Luckily, I love these elders! One of them was my MTC District leader, and I served around the other one before.
So, I guess to answer your question in the longest way possible, I feel like I don't know my role in the YSA ward yet. I'm not sure how to move forward, since I'm not whitewashing. Plus, it's a student ward. Which is a whole different beast than a family ward. I don't really get fed very often, maybe once a week, to answer your question. It's hard because in a family wards, you gain trust of the adults by letting them hear you teach, which means being in their homes, and letting them see you at service projects, or serving them. For the youth, you just have to show up to their activities, and show that you're not much older than them, that you're fun, and their friends would like you. But in YSA? It's an awkward mix of both. They need to see you at all the activities and stuff, to prove you're fun, but they also need to hear you teach, cause most of them are RMs, and they know what it feels like to have a spiritual lesson. But, the catch is, most of them can't have you over in their home, because they all have roommates. So, it's kinda a catch 22. But, I think I'm starting to figure it out.
It's a bit exhausting. But, on the bright side, I LOVE the YSA! They're super fun, and it's kind of a crazy difference from my old areas. Plus, we get to go to institute Tuesday and Thursday, which is super amazing, and we have a fun FHE every week, which is great to invite investigators to. They're all super nice, and wish they could do more for us. But let's be real, they're more broke than we are, lol. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster week, but overall, it's been great. I really love the new challenges, and the new opportunities, the Lord definitely knows what is best for each of us. He knew what would stretch me and make me grow, just like he knows what would stretch and make other missionaries grow. Maybe for most missionaries, a normal transfer would be easy, and whitewashing, let along whitewash training, would be hard. For me, I found it's the opposite. I thrive on "cold contact" situations. Which is probably why, at this point, I'm not doing that anymore. I just hope President lets me do it one more time on my mission. Hopefully my last two transfers! Some of my favorite times on my mission have been the first week of a whitewash.
Anyway! As far as Facebook goes, ... the rule is still that my only contact with you specifically is supposed to be through emails once a week, and phone calls twice a year. Of course, you're welcome to "like" my posts and whatever, but I can't really communicate with y'all in it. Like, I never spend time in my "news feed" but only try to post spiritual info on my timeline, and I use messenger a lot to keep in touch with investigators and members. The question President said to ask every time I'm about to use Facebook is, "Am I doing this for the Lord? Or am I doing this for me?" If the answer is yes to the second one, then I won't do it. So, I only post stuff that will help my in investigators progress. So, you probably won't actually see too many posts from me on there, but if you do, feel free to interact with them, share them, and help spread the good news of the gospel!
Let's see... investigators.... so, Shantelle dropped us. She texted us and canceled our tentative return appointment, and said she wasn't interested. :( Honestly, I wasn't too shocked. She came to church last week, but hadn't ever sat down with the missionaries, and didn't have a friend in the ward. So, hopefully some day! I know she felt the spirit, and she has a Book of Mormon. You never know what good that might do. We haven't been able to have a lesson with Brianna, but I've met her, and she seems awesome! I'm hoping to teach her soon. And Ebonee! She's so prepared! She set a baptismal date for November 12th! She has just been eating it up! She's been reading the Book of Mormon, and the other day she texts us (at midnight) and says, "In 1 Nephi 4-11, they predicted that Jesus was coming?" Which was so cool! And when we taught her the Plan of Salvation, she totally ate it up, saying how much more sense it made, especially in relation to the fall of Adam and Eve. She's amazing. I'm so excited for her!
I was so hoping Garrett's mission call would be here! I'm dying to know where he goes! Hopefully Texas Fort Worth, haha. :) That'd be pretty cool though... :) let's see, real guess? Let's go with East Coast somewhere. Maybe Boston? I can't wait to find out next Monday!
Well, I think that's about the close of my novel this week! I love you all sooo much! This has been a truly amazing week in the Lord's service! I can't believe it's already been over a year! It feels like it's going too fast! But, that's always how it goes right.
❤❤☀Sister Erika Marks ☀❤❤