Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29th, 2013

Dear Family,

Well, I'm not in Del Rio anymore, and I feel about like Dorothy when she left Kansas. Usually they tell missionaries important details about their assignments before transfer meeting, but I guess with a change of President and four new assistants, that tradition has fallen through. I have been relocated to the North Zone of San Antonio, doubled in and opening a new area with Hna. H who has been up in Austin. Here's the specs. We're working in the Monte Vista Ward which is a Spanish ward, much more solid than the branch down in Del Rio. The first night, we met our mission leader and he is awesome!! Hermano G has a goal to split the ward in a year, y vamos a sudar la gota gorda para lograrla. Because we're in a Spanish ward, we're covering the geographic area of 4 or 5 English speaking companionships, which means no more bikes. :(  They gave us a brand new Ford Fusion instead. It's a nice car.

Our area includes the San Antonio temple and most of the members in our area live right next to it, so I get to see the temple every single day. It's a great talking point during contacting, and I'm really excited to be able to go soon. My goal is to never stay away from the temple as long as I have on my mission, haha. Despite the fact that we cover such a huge geographical area, we have almost no members to work with. I think we have 8 families in our area, and they're all the leadership calling families, which ironically means they are less likely to have referrals. We inherited about 8 findable former investigator records, about that many potentials, and that's all we have to work with. So it's going to be a fun transfer rooting out all of the Spanish speakers in North San Antonio with little or nothing to start from. Being in the city is so different from Del Rio. President lives in our zone along with all four of the APs, we see other missionaries regularly and usually drive more than 35 mph. To get anywhere we have to take several freeways, and I can't believe how much that freaked me out the first day after growing up in Atlanta. In Del Rio, I knew every street in our area and could tell you something about most of the people that lived in each house. Here, each of the three English areas we cover have more streets alone than my one little corner of Del Rio did. Definitely not in Kansas anymore, but I'm excited, and it's going to be a blast!

Our new address is:

1700 Jackson Keller #3302
San Antonio, TX 78213

Dad, "My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore, my hand shall be over thee." I've been studying the past week about faith and hope, and especially in a time of transition and feeling like there's nowhere to start, I've been relying on the promise that Heavenly Father is going to sort things out as we work hard and do our best. He knows the beginning from the end and put me here for a reason.

A few notes about leaving Del Rio. I felt a lot of tender mercies as I said goodbyes this week and realized that my time in Del Rio actually did mean something. We stopped by to see our 89 year old investigator, Mr. Moravitz, who is a sweet old man going a little bit senile. Usually, it's a struggle to get him to pray during lessons, but at the end of our brief meeting, he bashfully asked if he could pray and then offered a sweet and simple prayer that as I left, I would be blessed and be able to have safety and success on my mission. He always jokes about how he can't hug the sister missionaries, but after the prayer I asked if he would do me a favor and give me a hug, and he was just about tickled to death.

We had a testimony meeting with the G family before leaving and it was so good to hear all of their testimonies of the gospel. They drove up to the church to meet us since they aren't in our area anymore, and J was so proud and duly humbled by the responsibility of taking care of the church building and his new set of keys to all the doors. I think I might have said this before, but last Sunday, he got the Melchizedek Priesthood and was able to stand in the circle for the confirmation of the Sisters' convert baptism. Also, because the temple is in my area, if they get sealed in August as planned, I'll be able to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm so excited for them!!

All day, we kept stopping by J's house to try to drop off a picture and give her a hug goodbye, but she wasn't home, which was abnormal. Finally, around 9:30, she gave us a call which was also abnormal because she usually goes to bed at 6. She told us that [her daughter who has MS] L had been hospitalized with pneumonia because she wasn't able to breathe at all and she had been with her there since Sunday. Of course we were concerned and asked if there was anything we could do. Jacque gave us permission to give L a Priesthood blessing the next day, but said she didn't need us to bring meals or anything. And then she said, with a hint of surprise and wonder in her voice, "you guys really do love us!" Yes J! We love you so much and Heavenly Father does too! That was my goal for her. Even if she never joins the church, J needs to know that there are people in this world who love her and that she has a Heavenly Father who loves us too. There in that last phone conversation with her, I found out that J met that goal.

When I got into bed that night, I couldn't sleep because I was worrying about all of the needs of the people we've been teaching that I wouldn't be able to help anymore after I left. I finally got out of bed and said a prayer that I'd be able to have peace and know that everyone would be ok. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep, but the rest of the answer to my prayer came when my MTC companion, Hermana L got off the Border Van to take my place. I know her, I know how hard she works, how disciplined she is and how much we prayed and worked together in the MTC to discern the needs of our investigators, and I know that the people I have come to love will be well cared for in her capable hands. Thank you Heavenly Father for tender mercies like these.

Another fun side note, Saturday morning was a stake Pioneer Day celebration in our new area, so we went to meet and mingle with the members. Right at the end of the activity, they had the Elders and then the Sisters compete against each other in a watermelon eating contest . . . and guess who smoked all the Hermanas. Yours truly. I'll send a picture.

Well, I believe that's the news from San Antonio. I loved reading about what's been going on from your end. Every sister missionary has at least 10 pounds she'd like to be rid of. Our zone leaders get up every morning at 5:30 to run at the high school track and we went with them for the first time this morning, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to at least not put any more on this transfer. There's a little old lady in our ward that leaves all of the missionaries food in the fridge every Sunday and apparently there's always cake. This week it was pina colada cream cake. Sometimes there are consequences for being loved so much.  :)  

I love you all mucho gracias bueno amounts, as my FHE brother Jeff used to say. I pray for you bunches and think about you every time I look at your picture right next to my study desk. 

Have a marvelous week!