I feel so overwhelmed by everything that I want to tell you! There is no way to describe in a few paragraphs everything that has happened this past week (or any week) in the mission field. But, I will do my best to hit the highlights.
1. I am getting transferred... I was sad when I found out on Friday. I have come to love this area so much! The ward members are so incredible, I feel like I have learned so much from so many of them and have built such strong relationships!! The people here, my companion, the area... it was such a wonderful time. I feel so blessed for every minute I have gotten to spend here!
2. On Tuesday, we had one of the most spiritual lessons I have had so far on my mission. It is with one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. Her name is Valerie, and she has been investigating for a few months now but has only received 2 lessons. She was found by the Elders and has been to church consistently since the first week she came (6 times- not counting conference). She is such an amazing woman!! She lives in Columbia which is out of our area, but the Elders got permission from President Topham for us to teach her because that is what she preferred and what we all felt she needed. Anyway, we have tried meeting with her in member's homes that she has come to know and love through church attendance 3 times but she has always cancelled last minute. On Tuesday she randomly invited us over to her apartment, which she had a big aversion to before because she said it wasn't ready for people to see. It was our first time meeting with her and we completely fell in love!!! She is so desperate to have relief from problems in her life and is anxious and ready to use the Atonement and her Heavenly Father's love to help her get there. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ. She said she really needed to learn about repentance so it was "totally from the Holy Spirit" that we were there to teach her that lesson :) After Valerie hesitantly accepted a baptismal date, Sister Thomas felt prompted to give Valerie her CTR ring. When she did, Valerie burst into tears and told us that she has been looking and praying to find a ring! For a ceremony she is doing through "group", she needed a ring to symbolize the things that she was putting behind her, and help her move forward. She turned to us and said, "Now I know I can do this! This will give me the strength I need! God is so good!" :) It was a very special moment! When I said goodbye to Valerie on Sunday she told me how much she loved me and was grateful for me... I felt it was Heavenly Father's way of telling me that I am doing my "job" in making a difference in someone's life. Missionary work is the best!!
3. I got to go on exchanges!! Sister Berry is one of my favorite people ever. She is serving in Ephrata, and I got to go up to be with her and my grandmother Sister Averett (they are in a trio with Sister Kirk). I feel so blessed to be surrounded with such wonderful missionaries! Getting to go up for 24 hours to Ephrata and spend time teaching people that I don't know at all was an amazing experience. There was one experience I wanted to share with you: One of their investigators is named Sylvia. She lives with her Sister Sofia, and Sofia's daughter Megan, who were both baptized a few months ago. As we went into their home and talked with them about the gospel, I couldn't help but feel a connection to Sofia. I asked her about her baptism, and she told me the wonderful feelings she had. Then she told me about her good friend who baptized her! He is a member of the Lititz ward (the ward that meets in the same building as my ward - Elizabethtown ward), and she was baptized in my building! Whoa! Then it clicked, I WAS AT HER BAPTISM!! After only being here a few weeks, I attended a baptism of the Ephrata Elders in our building of a wonderful Hispanic lady and her daughter. She was amazed! It was such a fun connection and it set the tone for the lesson, helping us remember that God gives us little miracles everyday :)
4. This is news that President Topham shared with me and I can't share with other missionaries yet but I AM GOING TO BUTLER TO SERVE!!! I have been called as a Sister Training Leader over the Pittsburgh North zone (I think that is the zone name). Ever since I receive my call, Daddy has talked about my ancestry in Pennsylvania, specifically in Butler. Now our feelings that I will be able to reach out and bless some of my distant relatives are actually happening! I feel so blessed that President is trusting me with this calling, it is a lot of responsibility but I am so excited to take it on and help Heavenly Father accomplish what he needs to accomplish through me.
I love my mission. This is where I need to be. I can feel so many of your prayers everyday, and I will praying along with so many of you that I will be open to receiving those promptings and inspirations that will lead me to those of my relatives and others that need to hear the gospel from ME. This is a wonderful place, and a wonderful time, when the Lord is "hastening His work", to be serving a mission. The Lord really does love all of His children. (YOU AND ME) I am so grateful for His hand in all things. I hope you have such a wonderful week!! Hurrah for Israel!
p.s. there are so many picture this week....
1. my awesome district. We are obsessed with saying 'Merica for some reason, so Sister Thomas and I got each of us little American flags.. haha so fun.
2. the beautiful Sisters that I got to go on exchanges with - Sister Berry (my future companion - hopefully haha) is on the left, and my mission grandma Sister Averett is on the right.
3. Cutie patootie little Blair Montgomery. She is a little girl in my ward who wanted me to speak at her baptism next week! She gave me about 20 hugs on Sunday and kept telling me I wasn't allowed to go because she would miss me too much... So precious. Love her. (Daddy - her older sister is Belen) :)
4. My beautiful companion and I... I will miss her so much.
I LOVE YOU!!