After being as far north as the mission reaches, I am now serving in good old Bella Vista. It's not quite the most southern zone in the mission, but I do cover a YSA ward that reaches all the way to the very bottom of the mission. My new companion is Sister Hendrick. She's from New York and has been out on her mission for 14 months. She loves cows, which I think is awesome. One thing she has taught me already is how to better utilize prayer in everyday proselyting.
The members are awesome. In addition the the YSA ward, we cover one family ward. I got to meet some of them on Sunday. One of the members, Sister Wilcox, was giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting, and she said, "Missionaries are nerdy, dorky, happy people." I think I will get along with these members just fine. :) Sister Hendrick just recently had a lot of baptisms, so we are back to finding new investigators. In Desert Ridge, usually people would talk to us to be nice most of the time. Here, when people do not want to talk to us, they do not talk to us. However, we've also met a lot of awesome people that I'm excited to get to know. My very first day in the area, I had a conversation with someone named Jen. Jen is super awesome. She has such a kind heart and acts on her belief that people should just be treated with kindness. We are trying to set up a time we can teach her.
My second day in the area some Elders in a different zone gave us a call and asked Sister Hendrick, "How much do you like miracles?" They gave us a referral for a super sweet YSA girl named Shaye. She has a super awesome relationship with her family. She identifies as agnostic, but she believes in a loving God. We have a lesson with her on Thursday, and we are hoping to help her understand Jesus Christ and what He means. I'm excited.
Day three we had service with a lady named Rose. She's in her mid to late 70s. Before the mission, I didn't really know how to talk to older people, but from talking to people like Rose, I'm getting to see just how fun and easy it is to talk to them. Rose played the piano growing up (and she was really good), so it was super easy to talk to her. She was also able to answer a question I've been wondering about since I got here. There's a lot of pictures of a little guy playing something that looks like a recorder/oboe on people's houses. I was curious as to why I kept seeing that little guy around everywhere, but no one seemed to know what it meant. Guess who knew? Rose. I found out it's a Kokopelli. It's one of the gods that Native Americans believed in. A Kokopelli is the god of fertility or abundance--like having lots of crops or a big family or something like that.
The other night, we had dinner with a girl in the YSA ward and her grandmother, who everyone just calls Gram. Gram has a lot to say about everything, and it's so much fun to listen to her. She's definitely one of a kind. One thing I like about this area is that there are so many different people here. You never know who you are going to meet. I've gotten to get a few referrals for the Spanish missionaries, people that are just as amazing and wonderful as the people I've talked about, and I guess there is also a motorcycle gang leader who lives around here (Don't worry, Mom, I know what area that is in, and Sister Hendrick has been in the area for a while. I'll be safe.).
I also had my twelve week New Missionary Meeting, so until I get a companion that has been out only one or two transfers, that was my last one. I got to go back up to Gilbert for that, and so it was like I was going back toward my home in Desert Ridge. I also saw a few of the Elders from my last zone at the meeting. I loved the meeting a lot, but there was one thing that particularly stuck out to me. When we meet people on the street, I'll usually tell them that we are going around sharing a message about Jesus Christ--which is true, we do share a message about Him. However, I learned that it is so much more than that. One of the Assistants to the President said it best by saying, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ, not just someone who likes to talk about Him." Woah. It made me stop and think about the magnitude of my calling once again. I don't think I understand yet how big being a missionary is. But I love learning about it every day and trying to be the best representative of Jesus Christ that I can be, and relying fully on Him because this is His work.
Finishing up real quick, guess what I realized is this transfer? General Conference. Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to say how excited I am. I realized that yesterday, and I am ecstatic. In church yesterday, someone shared a quote by Elder Jeffery R. Holland that made me even more excited for conference because we get to hear what God needs us to know. The quote reminded me of a story that I'll share as I finish up this email. Elder Holland said, "If it was right when you prayed about it, it's right now". Someone shared that quote and it reminded me of when I would get scared and question my decision to serve a mission. That quote is one thing that kept me determined to serve the Lord. Being in a new area is scary, so that quote was perfectly timed for me, and I can't wait for General Conference because that's what we will get to hear for two whole days. *excited noises*. The Gospel is amazing. Read the Book of Mormon! I love you!
Sister Emily Sabey
Greatest Zone in the Greatest Mission in the World!
One more for the books with Sister Sprouse
Sister Hendrick and Me