Well....are you all on the edge of your seats wondering where I have been transferred to? Drum roll please.........I am now serving in the La Jolla Young Single Adult Ward in a Tri-Panionship with Sister Rasmussesen and Sister Pagel! Yeah...what?! 3 Blondes in a YSA ward? Look out! No one is going to be able to say no now! ; ) Ha ha...but wow...what a week of DRASTIC change it has been for me, and what a week of incredibly high emotions...it hasn't been easy at all...but that is exactly what I expected...it's time to grow again, and to grow, I have to face and overcome challenges. So I was very sad to leave my home of El Cajon and to say goodbye to my Fuerte Ward Family. It was even harder to say goodbye to my companion, Sister Hudson. We faced a lot of trials together and became very close...sisters indeed. We were sinceriously like one brain and it was so incredible because we were able to work so hard and see so many miracles. As we packed up all of my stuff and moved out it just seemed so unreal...we both kept saying...this is weird...this is really weird...what are we gonna do?!!!! Those months I spent in Fuerte will always be treasured and I am forever changed by the experiences and the people I met there. When I arrived to transfer meeting I was wiping away tears thinking of being separated from Sister Hudson and being scared about who my new companion would be and where my new area would be....I was honored as the President welcomed me back to the Battalion and reported on the incredible work and experiences I had while being a full-proselyting missionary...his wife chimed in and said, "She has done an AMAZING job out there and has really set the bar high." That brought tears to my eyes..well...more tears. I was honored, and again, sad to say goodbye to the full-proselyting work. Funny how the Lord works...when I was transferred away it broke my heart, and through the first 6 weeks I missed the Battalion so much. I wanted to be back for the next transfer...and when that didn't happen, I was shocked and sad about it for a few days....but through the next 6 weeks....it was all I wanted to stay out there. I thought the President would change my call and make me full-proselyting because I felt so needed in the work I was doing and I thought, "The Battalion is just fine without me, they don't need me there, and it feels so distant to me now I don't even feel I have a place there anymore. I would love to just keep doing this." But behold....that's not what happened = ) But as I said last week, I felt complete peace about it.
The love for the Battalion is coming back...all those things I missed when I left, I am being reminded of. On my first day back even, I had a sweet experience with a couple I met from Newfoundland. It was just about the end of the shift and I was standing by the door and greeted this couple. They said they had been on the Trolley Tour and heard about this place and wanted to check it out. They told me they were about to board their 14 day cruise to Florida, where they live for the summer. I told them how I lived in Orlando for 3 years before my mission and performed for Disney World. They were very interested to learn about that so after telling them my little life story that lead me here...they wanted to know what serving a mission and being a missionary meant. Wayne and Myrna were very impressed and astonished at all that I had given up to come and serve the Lord. Wayne kept saying it was very commendable. Our conversation lead to many things....the Restoration, how prophets are called, the ordinances of the temple. It was crazy! They told me a little bit about their religion, that being of the Salvation Army....Myrna saw many similarities, but wanted to know how we were different. They had to run to catch the trolley, so they didn't even take a tour or watch a presentation or anything, but Wayne said, "Thank you so much...you were the perfect person to greet us at the door and we will always remember San Diego and our trip here because of this wonderful conversation we have had with you. We came in here because we wanted to learn more about Mormons, and this has been the most educational experience." I LOVE THEM! I told them I would love to keep in touch and answer anymore questions they had and also that I could have missionaries come visit them in Florida or Newfoundland and they were excited about it and left me with their info to do that. It made my heart leap for joy to be reminded of why I love the opportunity to serve at the Mormon Battalion Visitor's Center....for experiences just like that!
THEN...the next day I met the Le Roux family, which was another miracle....A mom and dad and their son and daughter came in and they were from Quebec and very French! I was excited to incorporate the phrases I could remember into the tour! ...You know...some simple "Zut alors" and "C'est pas vrais!" ; ) The kids didn't know much English so they liked it. I was SO exhausted during the tour....the emotions of all the changes I think really wore me out and I was praying in the middle of the tour for help to be able to testify with the spirit and discern their needs even though I felt so tired and it was hard to "feel." At the end of the tour I felt they needed to watch the video "God's Plan." Heavenly Father made it easy on me = ) ...they had questions after and were touched by the faith the men had. The dad filled out the referral card and said he wanted to learn more. I asked them if they had time to watch a 10 minute video about God's plan for their family. They watched it...and it was like watching their own family...the kids in the movie are similar ages....at the end the lights came up and the kids were smiling and the dad had a pleasant look on his face and then they all looked to their mom and noticed she was trying to hide the fact that she was wiping tears away from her eyes...she laughed and said in her defense, "I just feel happy!" They giggled at her...but I took the moment to pause and point out to her that the feeling she felt in her heart in that very minute was the spirit...the spirit was confirming to her that God loves her family and indeed does have a plan for them and this is where they can learn how to become a forever family. I asked her to remember how she felt right then, and promised her that when the missionaries come to teach her, she would feel it again, and recognize it! I sent with them a French copy of the Book of Mormon, and they were on their way! I can't wait to hear from them and to see their journey to the truth unfold!!! I LOVE THIS!!! = )
When I arrived back to the Battalion and checked my e-mails from those I had met there and wanted to stay in touch, I was so happy to see that a girl I met from China, a couple I met from Germany, and a sweet little Dutch girl from Holland, had all written me back saying they wanted to read the Book of Mormon and stay in touch. How amazing! It warms my heart to see my Patriarchal Blessing unfold before my eyes....I was told in that blessing that I would cause comfort to come to the lives of many of my brothers and sisters throughout the world! I use to think that meant someday I would be traveling the world!...Who knew that serving a mission, right here, exactly where the Lord needs me, would accomplish that promise! Heavenly Father did = )!
So, many adventures await me! I get to serve with the beautiful San Diego Temple in sight every day now! It reminds me of being back in Florida seeing the Castle on the way home from work = )....it was quite the culture shock driving through La Jolla. I have gone from the poorest of the poor, and the most humble of people...who have nothing but God to look to for hope and who were so willing to cling to the Gospel....to the richest of the rich. Most all of the people in the ward are getting their Masters and PHD's or are owners of companies and very high up in their jobs....crazy....I am thankful for the opportunity, and the challenge it will be to learn how to take what I have learned from serving in El Cajon and what has brought success there, and learn how to teach a whole different way....or apply it differently..I don't know, I am still figuring it out ha ha. Each area and each companionship seems like a whole different little mini-mission in itself. This is all a new adventure the Lord has provided for me to learn and grow. I know I make everything sound so perfect and peachy in most of my e-mails...and I just want to say that is because of faith and hope...even in the midst of trial....because this isn't easy....and it has been one of the most difficult weeks of my mission....it is very hard to go from an amazing companionship and a place where you are so loved and so needed, to a companionship where I come in as the 3rd person to two that have already been serving together, and to a total different kind of area and people...feeling a little bit lost in how to do things...not being able to help in planning much because I don't know a soul...it's almost like the beginning of my mission again, except now I know how to handle it....and I know I'm going to get there and it is going to be OK. It's also hard to go from teaching 30 lessons a week and seeing so many baptisms....to teaching 10 lessons..maybe....(with half time at the Battalion, a huge area, and Young Single Adults rarely being home). My sense of self and the work and everything has now shifted....I have shed many tears this week...many....but the Lord has not forgotten me and has given me arms to be encircled and comforted in...and I know, this is for my good and there is a purpose....and I am going and doing! I am excited to see how He will use me here in La Jolla.
I love you all! Miss you tons and hope your year is off to a great start! Embrace your challenges that come. Go to the Lord in them...know that you are so strong that He is taking the time to work with you individually to make you stronger! You'll learn to love those days!
All my love and hope,