August 20, 2013
This week has been a WHIRLWIND. I look back at everything that has happened and I want to cry. But I’ve been holding back tears a lot the last couple days…
Might as well spit it out now.
I’m getting transferred.
Wanna know the best part?
I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING.
I find out today. At the transfer/trainer-trainee meeting.
It honestly came as such a shock. I had it all set in my mind that I was staying in Wauchula until at least December. Seriously. And I would have been glad to do it too. Especially with Hermana Larsen. But growth happens outside our comfort zone. And Heavenly Father decided to kick me 12 miles out of my comfort zone. Time to do some serious growing. [Which, for those of you that know me, is not my strong point. I’m 5’3″ and there’s no sign of any improvement in that area…]
But don’t worry it gets better. Not only am I leaving today, Hermana Ashby got her VISA and is leaving to Argentina in 1 week!!! Real life. We’re all getting split up. And poor Hermana Larsen has no idea who her new companion is going to be. I’m just so grateful for this opportunity I’ve had to serve with them both. They are amazing hermanas, and I love them both so much, and I’m super excited to meet my new trainee! I have learned so much and apparently I’ve done what I’ve needed to do here in Chula. This week has been perfection though. I couldn’t have asked for better.
This week we had this spectacular lesson with Ana. We walked in and sat on the $25 Couch [that’s it’s title: the $25 Couch. Funnily enough her Free Couch is more comfortable.] and one of the first things that comes out of her mouth is, “The more I read in the Book of Mormon, the more I–[we held our breath expecting the worst]–am amazed at God. [Sigh of relief] I am just so awestruck that He would lead these people out of Jerusalem and love them enough to let them experience the same things as the people in Jerusalem. I am amazed at how much He loves every single one of his children. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I don’t doubt it’s veracity. That’s something I haven’t been able to say since I met you, Madison. [She calls us all by our first names :)] And I don’t doubt that Joseph Smith saw Christ. I believe that happened. There’s some issues I don’t understand with the establishment of the Church. But I know the Book of Mormon is true.” I wanted to scream right then and there. We always said once Ana recieved a testimony of the Book of Mormon it was all downhill from there. And now she’s got it. And she studies it all the time. She is connecting the dots and realizing just how significant our message is. It’s incredible. I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. I only wish I could be here to teach her!
We also had an incredible lesson with Gloria and her sons Saturday night. They are a family we’ve taught a couple times before but this one was so special. She’s been reading through the beginnings of the Book of Mormon slowly but we wanted to get them all hooked on reading the actual story! So we read 1 Nephi 1 with them, verse-by-verse, English [her sons] and Spanish [us and Gloria], everyone with their own Book of Mormon. It was like family scripture study back at home. And I looked around and saw future priesthood-holding missionaries in each of those 3 boys. When we finished, Adam [the oldest boy, 15 yrs. old] asked, “So did they kill him? did they kill Lehi??” We answered with the classic Reading Rainbow: You’ll have to read to find out! And I think he really will. The boys all told us they wanted to come to church, even though Gloria couldn’t because of work. We told them maybe next week as by then it was 9:00 on Saturday night. But with some prayers, help from Hermano Todd, and some quick texting during planning that night, we got them a ride.
We met Hermano Todd right outside their apartment and we went up to their door to go get them. We knocked. No answer. Knocked again. Nothing. Knocked again. Silence. We called Gloria, who told us that they probably just slept in and maybe next week would be better. Oh no. Hermana Larsen checked the door to see if it was open. It was…so being the completely normal but rather determined missionaries that we are, we opened it a little and called in. “Adam! Adammmm!” Knocked again. Silence. We had been there for about 7 minutes and the situation was looking hopeless. We quickly got in a circle and prayed. “Heavenly Father please help those boys to wake up and come to church and please help Adam to hear our knock.” We felt peace and I was assured that Adam would wake up. We knocked one more time. Not 10 seconds later, Adam opened the door, looking as though he had just rolled out of bed. PRAYER WORKS FOLKS. He quickly got ready and tried to get his brothers up. They ended up sleeping on, but Adam came right outside and Hermano Todd was able to give him a ride to church. Heavenly Father really does have his hand in this work. He is in control of everything and is so aware of us. We just have to ask him for help.
Church on Sunday could not have gone any better. We had 5 investigators! From 4 different families that we’re teaching! Felicita, Adam, Viviana, Brianna and Daniel. The congregation was full, even with half the Juarez family gone in Ohio [different Juarez family….but related.] and everyone was happy. Isaiah was confirmed. Daniel finally made it to church, even though he felt sick, and I know he felt the Spirit really strongly. Me and Hermana Ashby were able to stand up and bear our testimonies to the branch. I was holding back my Grandma Jensen tears the entire time. I looked out at our little branch in the middle of nowhere Wauchula Florida and I just felt so much love for these people. Heavenly Father is so aware of each of them. He cares about them and wants the best for them. That’s one of the most amazing experiences as a missionary: to be able to feel the love of our Heavenly Father for his children. I looked out and saw Hermana Ofelia, Liz, Hermana Martinez, Hermana Moreno, Hermana Ruelas, Hermana Rojas, Erika, Daniel, Adam, Felicita, the branch presidency, my Hermanas…and knew that these people were going to be in my life forever. I testified that this church is true. That the Book of Mormon is true. And that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. It was a day of pictures and emotions. I don’t know what I’ll ever do without these hard-working, dedicated, loving souls in my new area. They’ve impacted my life forever. But that’s the beauty of the Church. It’s a family everywhere. There are new people for me in my new area that need me specifically in combination with my new companion. There are no coincidences.
It’s bittersweet, yet exciting to be starting a new chapter in my mission.
But it’s for the best.
The only constant in life is change right?
Ok I’m done with cliche sayings now.
Time to head out and meet my new MTC baby.
Love y’all [better believe I say ‘y’all’ now… ‘fixin’ too… #southerngirl]