My second transfer has come to a close, and with that, I am being transferred. I figure that is important news. I'm super bummed that I won't be with Sister Sprouse, but President Wheeler says he feels very strongly that this is the direction the mission needs to go. Several new areas have been created, and I have no idea where I'll be going next. Maybe I'll just be in a different area of Desert Ridge or maybe I'll be on a completely new adventure. I guess I'll let you know next week!
This week in Arizona has truly been an incredible one. For starters, we had a baptism that we didn't know was happening until the morning of . . . let me explain now before you get excited. Jay, who lives in Georgia, wanted his wife's family to see him get baptized, and they all live here. They had the service here and are going back to Georgia. It was still a crazy experience because morning of we get a text from one of our bishops and literally no one had any idea what was going on. The service was beautiful, and I'm happy for Jay and his family even though I don't know them very well. At his baptism, right after he had been baptized, a three year old started crying because "he wants to be baptized NOW!" . . .Maybe we should take him along to rub off on the people we meet.
I suppose I'll continue and tell you other funny moments because that's how these emails usually go. Sister Sprouse and I go (or try to go) tracting for about one hour each day. People are interesting. We met a lady named Lori who pretty much spent 10 minutes telling us, "I don't 'badmouth' the Church, but y'all are brainwashed" in every different way you could think of. I have had to learn with those people that even though their concerns are so easy to resolve, they aren't open to understanding. In the mean time, Sister Sprouse and I get to just laugh it off and go find those who are ready.
This week we played Chair Soccer for Zone Sports, and let me tell you, miracles happen because I actually won! I love playing with my zone because they are all hilarious in a way where we can make fun of each other and also be pals. I told my zone leader, Elder Merritt, that he and Elder Wilcox were my favorite zone leaders ever in my whole wide long mission that I've ever had ever in this long mission that I have had which has been so long. He was so flattered until Sister Sprouse reminded him that I haven't had very many other zone leaders. I feel like that experience just sums up our zone. But seriously, Desert Ridge.
Last fun experience which I will then use to transfer into the miracles of this week, I had a really sad attempt at speaking Spanish this week. I tried to talk to one guy, and he was speaking so quietly that I had a hard time hearing anything. I heard the word temple, so I asked him if he knows what happens in temples. He said yes. He was a Mormon . . . so I asked if any of his friends were LDS and he said no, so I went to talk to them. Sometimes it feels like words just flow out and other times, I don't know what I am trying to say in English. Talking to the friends was one of those moments. I was stumbling along having no idea what to say in English, let alone Spanish, and everyone kept looking at the ground while they were talking, so I could hear nothing. But this is the Lord's work, and I wanted to at least share something to tell them about Christ and His Gospel so awkward and onward, I continued . . . until one of the friends yells, "Say it in English!" in English . . .
Even though that was an awkward experience, I have seen the Lord's hand in other conversations so much. Each transfer, the missionaries like to think of something we can sacrifice to become a better missionary and make a covenant with Heavenly Father. This transfer, because I run into Spanish speaking people frequently, I decided that instead of using extra lunch time to get a few extra moments of sleep, I wanted to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I prayed and said, "Heavenly Father, I love napping, but if I read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, I need your help to be able to understand so that I can then send a referral to the Spanish missionaries." Now, it's the end of the transfer, I'm almost through "1 Nefi", and although I am by no means fluent, I am able to hold a conversation about the gospel in Spanish. It's such a blessing to be able to see the Lord expand my abilities to hasten His work.
As huge as a miracle as that is, though, it's not even the most incredible or spiritually uplifting one from this week. (Yep, it was that good of a week.) Tracy is still inviting us for lunches from time to time, and it's cool to see that she knows this is true. She still needs that extra push, and we really need to be bold and say, "Tracy, just let us teach you". But her softening of heart has been such a blessing to watch.
We also got a referral this week for a girl named Danielle. I was really scared for some reason (probably Satan), but after we met her, I felt so much love. Danielle is a wonderful person who has made decisions in her life that she sorely regrets. She told us that she is recovering from a drug addiction (she's been clean for a year) and the horrible things she went through because of that addiction. We talked to her, and she is so sincere and ready for the Gospel. She was in tears when we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon to have of her very own. I don't think I've felt love more strongly and more quickly for anyone I've talked to on my mission than Danielle. She is one of those people I know that I will stay in contact with for the rest of my life. Although I'm getting transferred and I don't know what will happen, I feel strongly that I will see Danielle again.
I'm seeing that God does put miracles in our path every day because I still have one more miracle that I want to talk about this week. Shannon, as I mentioned last week, has not been doing well. She actually ended up in the Emergency Room because she threw up so much that her stomach broke through her diaphragm and is currently in her chest cavity. She has a surgery coming up, but she is in so much pain. Sister Sprouse and I kept having the thought that we need to teach her about Priesthood blessings. We stopped by her house one day, and she welcomed us in and said, "My LDS friend from work is coming over with her husband in about two minutes to give me a blessing." Jaw Drop. Divine Inspiration at its finest. It was amazing to tell her about the Priesthood and have her have that special experience. Even her fiance, Robby, was sitting there completely intrigued by every word we said. And then to end it all, at the very end of our meeting, Shannon prayed aloud. It was the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard, and I wish I could let you all feel just how excited I am for Shannon.
In closing, I want to talk about the mission choir concert we had. We had three investigators come: Heidi, Jeanie, and Carl. The Spirit was so strong that they must have felt it, and I pray that they felt it as strongly as I did. We were singing songs about Jesus Christ and the whole concert was focused on how He is the Living Christ. During that moment, I felt such an overwhelming love for my Savior and everything He did for me. He lives, and He is just as involved with our lives today as He was when He was physically on the earth. I know it. And I'm grateful for this opportunity to teach others about Him.
I love you all, and I miss you dearly, and I pray that you will see the Savior in your life like I have been blessed to in these last three months.
The Burrito Shack (for Sister Kilsby's birthday)