Thank you so much to all of you for your letters and emails! It has been so great reading about the goings on. Alan, I'm so glad that you were able to go through the temple. I thought about you this week. Go as much as you can before you head to Mexico. It's so good to be able to think about the promises that are made to you there, and you might not get to go much on your mission. Mom, I love the covenants of the temple. I've thought a lot about the promises, like you said, and how they are such an anchor for everyone, but especially for missionaries. I need those covenants in order to be successful here.
Last night was transfer calls. I didn't mention it last week because Hermana H and I just opened our area and it was pretty certain we would be staying here. Last transfer calls I couldn't stop thinking about them for two weeks in advance, but it barely crossed my mind Sunday morning before church. So when Elder Wcalled and told us they are closing Monte Vista C, we were both pretty shocked, and pretty sure he was pulling our leg. It wasn't until he offered to let us talk to President that we actually believed him. So there it is. Now that the Zone Leaders have finished remapping and ripping up their area book for us, everything is turning back to exactly the way it was before we got here. Why you might ask? I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning about how the prophets wrote their record without knowing exactly why, and I feel kind of like that, but I do have some insights.
First, S. Mom, she is now on the radar. We got her and her family to church this week, and I know they were able to talk to the bishop. As a side note, we got some referrals from them for people that live in Georgia, and when we got phone numbers to go with the names, I realized that instead of waiting three days until the office would be open, I could have just called you to pass them on to the Cherokee branch missionaries, but I didn't think that would quite be kosher. :) )
Second, X. This Saturday (after we leave), the St. Cloud sisters that we live with will be holding a baptism for X, a 15 year old young man that we gave to them as a referral. He lives in an apartment complex that is almost entirely Spanish speaking and never would have been found if we hadn't been there. Since the missionaries started teaching him, he has been to every Sacrament meeting, every mutual activity and every Seminary class. He has also stated that he wants to serve a mission. We're going to miss the baptism, which is a major bummer, but I'm so excited for him and the sisters. We've given away a bunch of other really good referrals too, and it finally makes sense why all the good people we found were passed off at the beginning and none of the referrals we received were worth a first lesson.
Third, the temple. If I hadn't been here, I wouldn't have been able to go to the temple with the G family, or for myself. That was one of the most choice experiences of my mission, and I wouldn't have traded it for 500 first lesson referrals. I've also learned a lot from my companion and from the experience of opening an area and having very little success. Was I shocked and disbelieving when the news came? Amazingly so. But Monte Vista C has definitely been vale la pena.
Funny story to go with this all . . . the ZLs just finished tearing apart their area book for us and spent some long, boring days in doors. After one of these a few days ago, they stopped by the mission office and bumped into President Slaughter. Apparently the dialogue went something like this:
PS: Elders, how are you doing?
E: We've had a kind of a bummer day doing paper work. We finally finished going through our area book for the Monte Vista C sisters,
PS: Oh really? Well I sure hope there aren't any big changes.
President Slaughter!! I love that man. He's hilarious.
The other other awesome thing that happened this week was training with President Slaughter. He talked about finding by faith and it was so awesome!!!! Alan, I want to give you a definition that has changed my mission and might make yours a lot easier from the get go. A goal reflects the desire of your heart and the vision you have to achieve it. If you desire to baptized 500 people in your area and you have feasible plans of how you can accomplish that, 500 people is a great goal, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. PMG says to keep your expectations high, because when you lower them, your faith decreases. If you don't baptize anybody, but you did everything in your power to accomplish your goal, you were successful. Goals are not a prediction of what will happen, and don't get caught in trying to be "realistic" like I have. Think about your desires, come up with a feasible plan to accomplish it, and there's your goal.
I love you all so much! Have a marvelous week!!