I have been on my mission for a whole year, and now I'm back South in the Queen Creek Zone! I'm companions with Sister Mary Rogers from Syracuse, UT. We have a lot of similar quirks, so it has been a lot of fun. I'm excited for this transfer. We cover four wards now, including one that we are "white-washing" (that means that we are both brand new to the area--last transfer, the ward had elders), so I have a lot that I need to learn. We are still a biking area for the most part, but we do have a car that we can use for meetings and times that it's too far to bike. And on top of everything, my trainer, Sister Sprouse, is one of my Sister Training Leaders for this transfer. It seems like it will be a great transfer and area.
I will absolutely miss Highland Zone, though. My last few days there were wonderful. I have come to love those people so much! I got to have one more lesson with Nicole, and I cannot tell you how much I am going to miss teaching her. This last time, we read from the Book of Mormon with her. First off, it was great because we had only asked Nicole to read one chapter between visits, and this time she had read two. We were reading 1 Nephi 21, which is the first chapter that Nephi quotes Isaiah. I was worried because I don't know Isaiah very well (or at all), and now we were suddenly in a lesson where I would have to explain it. It turned into a really cool experience, though because we had to go slowly, and I discovered that as we went verse by verse, it made a lot of sense. As I run into Isaiah chapters from here on out, I want to use a little bit of patience and go verse by verse, because it has some powerful testimonies of the Savior.
But now that I am in Queen Creek, Sister Rogers and I just want to work hard. We are excited. I'm also beyond excited to learn from Sister Rogers because she is so bold. My very first full day in the area, we went to the house of a guy named Brandon. He had met missionaries before and had said they could come back. We went to ask if we could teach him, and I was completely taken aback when he actually said yes, we could share a message. My response in this situation would be share a scripture and then get out because clearly if people say that they would like to have a message, they don't really mean it (or so Satan tries to tell me). But not Sister Rogers. Brandon came outside and she went right into the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We seem to teach really well together already. As we taught, Brandon was completely attentive, and the Spirit was just there testifying. It was so clear that Brandon noticed too. He said he'd think about what we'd said, but he wouldn't commit to praying about it right there. Hopefully he will act, so that he can know.
Sum up, I have have an incredibly bold companion. But one thing she said that she wanted to work on in this area was reestablishing expectations with members and helping them to do missionary work. As soon as she said that, I had a moment of completely understanding why I was here because that is exactly what Sister Johnson and I had been working on doing in Highland. I am so excited to work with Sister Rogers, to learn from her boldness, and to help her with all the things Heavenly Father taught me to do in my last area. I know we are going to see miracles this transfer.
Another tender mercy about being with Sister Rogers is that she served in the same area as I did in Desert Ridge, and she told me something that had happened there that I didn't know about. There was a lady named Diane in one of my wards in Desert Ridge that we had both helped teach. Diane had taken the missionary discussions when she was younger, but didn't end up getting baptized because her dad had told her that "the Mormons didn't want her" to cover up something else he had been doing. She carried that lie with her for almost her entire life, but she'd let missionaries come over now and then. After I had left Desert Ridge, a rumor went around the mission that Diane had started taking the missionary lessons again. And eventually, I found out that Diane was getting baptized. But Diane was getting older and because of her heath, her baptism was postponed. And that is all I heard . . . until I came to Queen Creek. Sister Rogers told me that Diane's health got worse until she had to live in a hospital bed in her own home. She got weaker and weaker until her daughters were to the point of planning her funeral--Diane couldn't even open her eyes and was minutes away from passing. Her daughters were talking about Diane getting baptized, and they said something about just doing baptisms for the dead. At that moment, Diane's eyes shot wide open, and she said no, she wanted to be baptized before she died and demanded a member of the mission presidency, President Lowder, to come right now. He did, and when he got there, she told him, "I want you to baptize me." He tried to remind her of her weak condition, but Diane would not be dissuaded. Quickly, they set up a baptismal service for that very night. Diane was still so weak that they had to bring her hospital bed to the church, and it took four Elders to carry her into the font. President Lowder took her frail body in his arms, and just as she wanted, she was baptized. A few weeks later, Diane passed away, but she had done the one thing she really wanted to do before she died. She had been baptized.
I feel so privileged that I had the opportunity to get to meet Diane. God is truly aware of all of His children, and I am so blessed to be in the Greatest Mission in the World. I am so happy to be here, and I am so glad I was able to talk to you, my wonderful family, yesterday and share with you all the things I'm learning. I miss you dearly, and I love you more than I can say.
1001 N Burk Street
Me and Sister Rogers