Rainbow over St. George
For those of you who know me really well, you can attest to the fact that I can be a little dramatic sometimes. Ok, I admit it. And I was really dramatic about transfers.
For the last 6 weeks I had felt very secure in the knowledge that because I was being trained for my first 12 weeks, I didn’t have to worry about transfers. I was going to stay exactly where I was and nothing would change. And then the last week of my first transfer (week 6) the rumors started flying that they were changing things up. They were going to start switching trainers and trainees so that missionaries could have a more well-rounded training period. Makes sense. But I was not prepared for it! All of a sudden nothing was certain and I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. In retrospect, I feel quite silly, but in the moment it was real and important and awful. My journal entry the night before we got our assignments went like this:
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far as a missionary (and there’s actually quite a lot), it’s that the only constant is change. Nothing is stable; nothing is consistent; nothing is for sure. The only rock solid anything is the Savior and His gospel and the name that I snap on every morning. It’s nuts.
“Transfers are this week. We find out our fates tomorrow morning. And since I’m in training I’ll probably stay where I am. But you truly never know. There have been rumors floating around that they are going to try switching trainers after 6 weeks to give a new missionary a more well-rounded training. Part of me feels like that won’t happen, but another part of me is sure it will. And that’s why I say there is no such thing as stability on a mission. Ridiculous. But it just goes back to faith. All I know and all I can count on is that God is in charge and He is going to put me where I need to be. That reminds me of the words to a famous missionary hymn, #270:
I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go
It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.
I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I’ll be what you want me to be.
“I’m going to go, do, say, be what the Lord wants and ‘trust my all to His tender call.’ I know He loves me and will put me exactly where I need to be. I’m a little anxious, but I’m not worried.
“The unknown makes my stomach church a little. Or maybe that’s the taco soup I had for dinner. But, in any case, all will be known by this time tomorrow. And it’s not any of it about me. It’s the Lord’s errand and His work and THAT’S what it’s all about.”
So, yes. I am very dramatic. But in the moment it felt like the end of the world.
The good new is… I wasn’t transferred. Ta da! I’m staying in Green Valley (the name of our area) with Sister West and we’re still working in the Visitors’ Center and everything is the same. Happy!
The Green Valley Missionaries
Elders Dass and Niumatalolo with Sisters Hansen and West
The bad news is… my weaknesses are ridiculously abundant and made more and more obvious every day, it seems. It’s so frustrating. But it’s also so good. A few weeks ago we had a spiritual thought at one of our meetings that has helped me have a much better perspective about my weaknesses. The sister that shared the message spoke about verse 27 in chapter 12, in the Book of Ether, in the Book of Mormon:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their . I unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my is sufficient for all men that themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make things become strong unto them.
God shows us our weaknesses to strengthen us. Our weaknesses make us humble and humility enables learning. When we are humble we are more willing to learn from our mistakes, our weaknesses, and our shortcomings and that is when we can be strengthened and made better. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
9 And he said unto me, My is sufficient for thee: for my is made perfect in . Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in , in reproaches, in necessities, in , in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am , then am I .
Having our weaknesses “shown unto us” is hard. But it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It can be an opportunity to be strengthened and grow closer to Christ. When our strength is made perfect in weakness, we are humble enough to learn from our “infirmities… persecutions… distresses…” and all other things that we perceive as falling short. God knows our potential and He knows we can reach it if we can learn from and strengthen the things that are weak to us. That’s an incredible lesson to learn and a powerful tool.
That’s what transfers (and being a missionary) has taught me.
First Transfer District Elders Lopez, Sanderson, Rawlins, and Gregg with Sisters Hansen and West
Well, the new transfer has started off with a bang. And it’s been a blast. Sister West and I laugh all the time. And laughter really is the best medicine.
First of all, when we drove up to the house of one of our investigators a few nights ago, we saw that his girlfriend and her kids were there and were running around the yard like something was the matter. It was very awkward and apparent that we shouldn’t interrupt. But we had already parked and we felt strongly that we were supposed to visit him that day. So we did the only thing we could think to do. We hid. We put the seats down in the car and laid flat so no one could see us and look in the side-view mirror to watch and see what was happening. Eventually it became clear that we weren’t going to get to talk to him because whatever was happening wasn’t going to end soon. So we had to drive away. But for those 5 or so minutes that we were hiding in the truck we (felt ridiculous) had an absolute blast. We laughed so hard. And it was so good. And we were able to see him a few days later and everything was fine.
But that same day, we went over to see another investigator in the home of one of the ward members that he’s been staying with. They live in a mansion. Have I mentioned the mansion yet? Well, it’s something like 30,000 square feet and enormous. They have several laundry rooms, kitchens, staircases, etc. They have what Sister West likes to call a “Beauty and the Beast” library. With a ladder and everything. If that makes sense. And their fronts stair case splits at the top like the one in the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.
And they have a tree house that was designed by Disney. They have a swimming pool that is a good 13 feet deep, many balconies, a beach volleyball court, a pond (with fish and everything), a tennis court (I’m willing to bet, but I can’t remember for sure), a rock climbing wall INSIDE the house, a trampoline, and a slide that takes you from the first floor to the basement. I’ve been down that. That was an experience. And a full out movie theater in their basement. It’s… ridiculous. But anyway, we went over there and the member who lived there gave us boar and old cheese on crackers (delicious) and we made plans to help our investigator move into his new house. We had Sister Wyson (Michelle, Mike’s friend) with us and we are always laughing when we are with her. She is an absolute nut and such a blast. We love her and are so grateful for her.
Anyway, my mom asked me last week to give a run down of my schedule and things like that. So, here goes:
We have the normal missionary schedule, basically. We wake up every morning at 6:30am, exercise, study, and then work, work, work until we crash at 10:30am and then do it all over again the next day. But to give little more detail:
As a Visitors’ Center sister, I work in the Visitors’ Center. Shocker. But we work half days. Unlike the sisters who work on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and work their entire missions exclusively at the square except for a few transfers in a completely different mission, we work half days. We have 6 hour shift in the Visitors’ Center, and then we have 6 hours in our area. Every day is like that with a few exceptions.
Once a week we have a Full Area day where we never go to the VC. We only proselyte. And once a week we have a P-Day (Preparation Day) until 6:00 pm. On that day we shop, email (YAY!), write family, chill, and rejuvenate for the week, and… prepare for everything that we will do in the coming week. Those days we don’t go into the VC either. Except, actually, now we do. Let me confuse you. Because Sister West was just called to be the Visitors’ Center Trainer (VCT), we now have to go into the VC on our P-Days in the evening after P-Day is over and be “on shift.”
Notes from a District Meeting
Once a week we have DTM (District Training Meeting) where we meet with other missionaries in our area and discuss any problems we have, share the things that are going well, and are trained on how to improve. That’s marvelous. Then we have ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) where we basically do the same thing but with a large group of people.
I’m going to have to end this now, but if anyone has specific questions about what I’m up to, shoot me an email! I’ll make sure to answer the question either in a direct response or in next week’s post.
Much love and rice and beans,
P.S. My P-Days are moving to Mondays next week, so I will be writing again sooner than later! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
P.P.S. Hymn of the week: 221 Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd
P.P.S. I saw Sister Loski!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY DAY!!!
Sister Loski & Sister Hansen