It’s transfer news time! And my prediction was correct. I’m staying in Rio Rancho for another transfer. I’m learning that there are missionaries that move to a lot of places on their mission, and there are missionaries that stay and hold down the fort. I guess I’m the latter. I’m really going to miss Sister Allred. She had a way of telling me exactly what I needed to hear, and we had a lot of fun together. She is heading to Shiprock, an Indian reservation, and I am getting Sister Kavatoe as my new companion. She is from Tonga, and waited for almost 6 months to get a Visa to come here, so I’m sure she is an amazing missionary. We took her tracting her first day in the mission last fall. At that time, her English was very limited. I’m a little bit nervous about this. The ward is so excited to get another Tongan missionary, apparently they had one a few years ago they just fell in love with.
Honestly, I’m a little jealous of Sister Allred going to the reservation. That is something I had been hoping I’d be able to do my whole mission, and it looks like my opportunity has all but passed. Sister Allred just came to Rio Rancho from the reservation, so she’s a little hesitant to go back. I guess it’s a good thing Heavenly Father is at the head of this transfer business, because I don’t know if either of us would have picked it this way. As Sister Allred says, “tomorrow I’ll understand, but today I’ll just obey.” Yes, I would have loved the chance to serve on the reservation, but as I’ve prayed about it, I’ve also realized that it isn’t something I should ask for. Heavenly Father’s children are just as important in whatever area you serve.
We were telling one of the families we visit that Sister Allred was being transferred, and it was her opinion that transfers are harder on the missionary left behind. I think sometimes it feels that way. But I was reading in D&C 112 this morning, one of my favorite missionary sections, and I’m realizing that I have so much to be grateful for. Verse 19 talks about how an effectual door will be opened before the Lord’s missionaries. I’m serving here in Rio Rancho, and there are a lot of exciting things happening along those lines right here. In just two transfers, we have seen so many new investigators invite us in. We had two people we invited show up to church just yesterday, for example, and one of them even invited their friend! We even had a baptism this transfer, the first in a long time for this ward. (We didn’t have much to do with it though, that I KNOW.) Things are certainly starting to turn around here. As I was studying this morning, I was thinking about how one of my biggest challenges on the mission is to not compare my efforts with the outward signs of success that other missionaries have. Baptisms have been skyrocketing here in the Southwest, but I feel like in my sphere of influence, relatively not much has happened on my mission. As I read D&C 11:8,17 it hit me that the righteous desires of my heart WILL be fulfilled, somewhere along the lines, the work I’m doing now will make a difference. Like President Anderson said on my first day in the mission, “Because you have the Spirit with you, as set apart messengers of the gospel, you are succeeding even when it feels like you are failing.” I was talking with Sister Allred a couple nights ago, and she told me that the ties we build here in the mission field with Heavenly Father, the faith and the reliance on Him will outlast any area, or even the whole 18 month experience. That makes it all worth it.
Well, I’ll get off my little soapbox.
The Baptism on Saturday went very well, but the week was crazy! On Tuesday we found out that there was going to be a funeral, and so our baptism was getting bumped. We spent most of the week trying to move the Baptism to the Stake Center, get keys, and logistics worked out with the time and location change. But all in all, it worked out. When we got there, we found out the font had been filled only full enough for a child’s baptism, so that was another little hitch. And the funeral took precedence that day, so attendance was a little weak. But I’m glad it happened on that day, postponing baptisms is scary to a missionary, and it’s conference weekend this week. I know this brother felt the Spirit strongly. And that’s the most important thing.
Remember the Irish brother I wrote about in some of my last e-mails? Well we got to have another lesson with him this week. He’s been reading the Book of Mormon, but also studying things on-line…which is every missionary’s worst fear. Needless to say, we had a lot of tough questions to answer this week. He is very interested in historical evidence, and mostly we stressed that the witness of the Holy Ghost is more powerful than any other evidence we could obtain. Like Christ told Thomas, more blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. I was so grateful to have Brother Bartlett from the ward with us. Sister Allred and I have gotten very close to this family, and both the Bartlett’s were converted several years ago. It was so powerful to hear Brother Bartlett’s testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I just hope our friend continues in his reading of the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, we invited him to continue reading the Book of Mormon; I love his response “You know I will!! And If I find out that this book contains the truth, I will be this first to join and give up tea (which will break my heart.)”
Remember when I was in Farmington, and you fasted for and put Crystal and Tommy’s name in the temple? They were the couple that I sent wedding pictures of? Well I’m glad to announce that Crystal did get baptized in January. Also some other people I taught in Bloomfield were baptized. I was surprised to read their names at Zone Conference, because when I was there, it seemed to me as if our visits were more inconvenient than anything. It’s neat how when the Spirit works, attitudes can change relatively quickly.
We also got to visit our Nun this week! Finally! She loved the literature we gave her and would like to meet from time to time, in another location. We got her cell phone number. So that is exciting news.
Well, I think that is most of the news I have for this week. Thank you so much for all you do for me. I really do have the best family in the world. I love you.