We survived our first week in Rio Rancho. It was very easy to get lost because there is a lot of road construction, and the area is so new that some of the roads that appear on our map aren't exactly where they appear they should be. Our area is pretty big and very new. Rio Rancho is getting its own Stake Center soon, they are putting up all the artwork right now. It should open in March.
Thank you for the birthday cake and presents. I loved it! It was very kind of you. I cried and cried at getting your card. Thanks. I miss you all a ton. Thanks to Grandma too! I can't believe that in in a few days, I will have been on my mission a whole year. It has gone by pretty fast.
Well, this area is very hard; it's definitely my hardest yet. But the ward is wonderful, and our Bishop and Ward Mission leader are very passionate about missionary work. The Bishop in particular feels very strongly that we sisters are here for a reason, and I have felt the Spirit confirm that on a few occasions, but I am having a very hard time seeing that perspective. We really have no investigators to speak of. I’ve never been in an area before where we didn't really have a lot of people to teach. It makes it harder to feel at home here when we don't have those relationships with investigators. So we tract a lot, and visit less actives. We've got a few leads of people who might be "golden" but they are difficult to get scheduled or even meet. We've got our first real bright appointment on Wednesday with a recent convert's mother. So we're excited for that.
The area has a lot of potential, but it is easy to get frustrated when there is no immediate progress. I miss Paradise Hills a lot, especially since we had a few baptisms coming up that it looks like I'll have to miss out on :( That's the saddest thing for me.
In good news, we invited a part member family to come to church on Sunday and they actually came!
We were walking for a few hours so that we could try to save miles, and we met a woman. We talked with her for a moment and she said something to the effect of, "We go to a church, but surprisingly enough, I've always wanted to learn more about what you believe. I see you guys walking around a lot and I've wondered about it." We're excited to meet with her again!
My new companion, Sister Allred, is wonderful. She is very sweet. Sister Allred grew up just outside Boise Idaho. She is very happy all the time, and very upbeat even when I get discouraged at the lack of progress. She previously served on the Navajo reservations in Gallup, so being in normal neighborhood subdivisions is quite the culture shock for her. I remember feeling that way when I left Bloomfield. For being out only a few months, she is excellent at jumping right into lessons and teaching opportunities. I'm glad to have her as a companion.
Our apartment is HUGE. But it was a disaster when we moved in. It was very filthy, with a smelly fridge, a greasy stove, and socks under the beds, lost underwear, and dust everywhere. But after cleaning for about a day, it's a really fun place to live.
I decided to study out of the Doctrine and Covenants this morning. More than any other book of scripture, this book has a way of comforting missionaries when it all gets discouraging. Doctrine & Covenants 6:10-11 talks about how we each have special gifts and abilities that we can each use in missionary work. I'm relying on what I know...and that is exactly what Heavenly Father has promised: "there ARE people who are prepared to receive the gospel." But I need to rely on the Lord to figure out where in the world these people are. It is a complete mystery to me! I also love D&C 35:3. No matter how wonderful (or awful) our experiences on the mission can be, the Lord is preparing us for a greater work. It's great preparation, and that scares me a little bit to be honest. Speaking of the word "awful", one of our departing senior missionaries bore her testimony at our last Zone Conference and I love what she said. "How can you say goodbye to the most awful thing you've ever done, and the most wonderful thing you've ever done?" I LOVE that honesty. It's true it is awful and wonderful at the same time. She went on to talk about how when she felt like she couldn't walk another step, the spirit just lifted her up and carried her. I've felt that as well.
Thanks for all your love and support. I love you tons and tons.