I've decided that Heavenly Father definitely knows when it's time for a change... Transfers were last Wednesday! I lost my wonderful Sister Ortez. :( I will miss her lots and lots. But I still get to see her around at the Battalion, so thank heavens for that. AND, I am still in my lovely, amazing, FANTASTIC Black Mountain Branch. :) I love my branch so much. But the best news is that I'm companions with Sister MILLER!!
THERE ARE NOT WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW INCREDIBLE THIS MISSIONARY IS.
She is everything I want to be and more. And she has gotten me excited about being a missionary again! Sometimes we just need refreshers, I think. :) Because of her, I have seen so many miracles in this past week. She expects miracles. She has so much faith. She is confident in her ability to serve and confident that the Lord will bless us with people put in our path that need to hear the gospel so long as we are strictly obedient. And she's just happy and loving and fun and enjoys life, which makes ME enjoy it more too. The funny part is that Sister Miller and I came out the same day... we were in the MTC together and everything! But she is DEFINITELY a lot farther down the "successful missionary" road than I am. Ha. :P I cannot count the times that I have already thanked my Heavenly Father with all sincerity of heart for Sister Miller! I love her so much! And I'm really trying to capitalize on this positive, selfless energy she's got me going on. I am learning SO MUCH from her and I really need to put it into practice and make it habit before I slip back into the plateau I felt like I had hit.
Let me give you an example: It is amazing what the tiniest grain of faith can do. Sister Miller and I had an hour planned in our area the other night to go contact former investigators because we didn't have any appointment. For the first months of my mission, this tended to be kind of a fruitless task for us. But Sister Miller had just the opposite experience with contacting. She calls it unplanned miracle time. :) She basically told me how she KNEW that there would always be people placed in our path that we needed to talk to on visits like these, even if it wasn't the former investigator we planned on seeing--we just had to talk to everyone. That's what sparked my desire to really believe, like she did, that there were miracles awaiting us. RIGHT THEN. So... that tiny like spark inspired a simple prayer of faith that I offered right before we left the apartment. Believe it or not, having faith is something I still struggle with! Yet when I do have miracle experiences that come about because I exercise the smallest particle of faith, I don't continue to look for them, or to have more! It's like I subconsciously restrict myself to one rare miracle here and there. WHY?? I don't know. I'm silly.
Well... that little prayer of faith actually worked. We were at an apartment complex trying to find the right unit, and a lady was looking through her window at us, so we asked her for help... we ended up explaining who we were, of course... and she kept listening. She didn't just walk away. It was so unexpected. So we started telling her more about what we believe. And she invited us into her house! We basically taught her and her 19 year old daughter the restoration, and she said we could come back! She was so nice and so fun to talk to ... she has a little sassy spunk in her. Her name is Mari, and her daughter's name is Cynthia. :) It was amazing! I couldn't believe it. Heavenly Father rewarded me for the smallest bit of TRUST I put forth. It just goes to show that He really does intend to use me while I'm out here if I'll only believe that He will... regardless of my immeasurable weaknesses and imperfections.
So the theme of the week has been "help thou my unbelief." I don't want my lack of faith to limit the people I teach any more! But like I said, the problem is this: I learn a lot of lessons without internalizing them. Wouldn't it be nice if every time we learned something new about how to progress in the gospel we could just be perfect at it right then?? :) Also, I think a lot of this is having faith in myself. I just need confidence that I actually have a lot more to offer than just teaching lessons and hoping things work out for the best... and that I can play more than just the supporting role. That's what I feel like I've been most of the time that I've been out here. I want to change that, slowly but surely. :)
Other miracles of the week:
1. Mario FINALLY came to church on Sunday! We think he liked it, too. He even participated in Sunday School! I overheard him talking to another member about coming next week, as well! So exciting. SO HAPPY HE CAME!
2. Micheal Jensen, a less-active we've been trying to contact for months, came to church too! We stopped by his house on Saturday and he happened to be on his porch. Coincidence? Nope! Coincidence that I thought of going to his house right then? Nope! So we invited him to church the next day and he actually came! Holy smokes... that faith thing... blows my mind.
3. Jared Walker (less active) AND Vinod both ended up going to the branch service project on Saturday! AND Vinod went to church at a different sacrament meeting with another member of our branch since he couldn't come to ours because it was too late in the day!
4. Bill passed the sacrament! He bought a suit and everything! The change in that kid is absolutely incredible. The gospel truly does bring happiness! It's so apparent in him.
5. This sweet deaf girl (member) came into the battalion a couple days ago. I gave her a tour in ASL and found out she needed a lot of help... she was in a pretty rough situation. So I got her in contact with the deaf ward bishop afterward and did everything I could to help. She ended up calling him and he took her to church. Yesterday, she wheeled herself all the way back (she's wheel chair bound) just to tell me thank you! It took her hours to get here! It was so incredibly sweet of her, it broke my heart.
6. It finally RAINED for once! I love rainy days! It just made my heart so happy. Rain is so different here... is super light. But great. :) Don't worry though, we're back to 85 degree weather. :P I miss my seasons.
So many tender mercies this week! I am so blessed! Being on a mission is the best... sometimes I wonder how I ever let myself think otherwise! :)
I love you!