October 28, 2013
Transfer calls were Saturday. Hermana Newbill and I are both getting transferred and shutting down our apartment. Basically the mission is getting turned upside down. More than 170 missionaries will be at the transfer meeting tomorrow…that’s over 2/3 of the mission. So yeahh…it’s gonna be loco. Just so you all have kind of an idea of what’s happening [that’s all anyone has here…just ideas and guesses]… basically all the Spanish areas are getting shut down while the English areas are going “Zebra”–teaching both Spanish and English. The mission has too many missionaries for the work that is happening so the majority of the mission will be in trios until it all equals out. So the Spanish missionaries are being distributed among the English companionships. That’s the trend. We’ll see what actually happens tomorrow. The Lord doesn’t tend to work logically.
This week was great though. I felt a lot less stress than I have in past weeks. I’ve laughed a lot more. I’m just trying to enjoy every second I have because time really is starting to fly.
This week we had a full-on miracle. They always seem to happen in those last weeks of the transfer. We were driving, and I had this strong impression we needed to go see an old investigator. I was thinking about it when something pulled me across 3 lanes over to the left-hand turning lane to go see him. I decided to go with it. When we pulled up to his house, nobody was home. “okay…..” I thought. We had put in our backup plans to go contact another referral in that area. We had tried to contact her a couple times before but with no success. We pulled up and saw a car outside. Yes. We knocked and waited awhile. and knocked again. We were about to turn back when she answered the door. We introduced ourselves and explained what we were doing..we had met her son in her driveway a couple weeks back and he referred us to her. She told us her name was Awilda and stated clearly, “I’m Baptist. I’m old and pretty set in my views and [looking down at the Book of Mormon in my hand] I’m good.” We thought she was about to close the door but the next thing we know, she’s inviting us in and insisting that we take a seat in her living room. Ooookayyyy…
She then pulled out her well-worn, well-loved, annotated, highlighted, gorgeous Bible. And her huge stack of study journals. She went on for a bit about how she didn’t ever want to miss something she’d learned from God because she had missed some promptings she’d gotten when she was younger so she writes down every day her study of the Bible. We mentioned we like to do the same thing and Hermana Newbill pulled out her English quad and opened up to a page in her Book of Mormon. Willy [short for Awilda] grabbed it right out of her hands and began to flip through. And read verses. She looked up at the top of the page and saw Alma. “What does this mean?” “that’s one of the prophets that wrote in this book.” And we began to explain a little about what the Book of Mormon is. “It looks strange because of ‘Alma’ but this…this sounds right.” she said, pointing to the verse she just read aloud. She flipped to Ether and started reading aloud about the Brother of Jared. “You know…I’ve never actually taken the time to read the Book of Mormon. I thought Romney was a great guy, not just because of his values but because of the spirit he carried with him when he spoke.”
We took that as our opportunity to testify. Hermana Newbill said, “This book has changed my life….and we invite you to let it change yours.” Willy basically snatched the fresh copy of the Book of Mormon we held out to her. “Thank you so much. I’ll be reading this.” Well, somehow we got to the topic of her preacher and she showed us his website. “Willy. We have a website too!” We showed her mormonchannel.org, mormon.org, and lds.org and watched a couple videos, including Elder Uchtdorf’s talk from this General Conference.
She looooooooved it.
“When I hear this…it’s like hearing my pastor speak. We’re not too far from each other in our beliefs are we? You know, I’ve had other churches come to my door. I’m polite to them and listen to what they have to say, but after 5 or so minutes I tell them ‘thank you but I’m already Christian and I’m good. But with you girls it’s different. You have a different Spirit with you..you brought Christ with you into my house…I don’t believe in coincidences. I know everything happens for a reason. You came to my door for a reason. I’ll probably write about you two in my journal tonight!!”
We later found out that that day was her only day off that week. Wow.
I felt like I was on a cloud. I thought about her all week. I had butterflies. I prayed for her with everything I had. It was love at first sight…..missionary-style.
We set an appointment to go see Willy on Saturday but when we got there she was in bed with the flu. “I thought about you all morning but I lost your number!” We gave her our number and stopped by later that day with some treats. She proudly showed us the Book of Mormon she had sitting right next to her on the couch and said, “You girls are so special…God couldn’t have sent anyone else.”
I hope I stay in this area. I can’t leave her.
But all is according to God’s will.
After the experiences I’ve had in this area, I feel like I could take on the world. I have grown so much and I am so grateful for everything I have learned. This mission has truly changed the person I will become.
I know this church is true. I love being able to testify of the Book of Mormon every single day. I love seeing lives change. I love having confidence knowing that I’m called of the Lord. I love my Savior.
And I love you all!!