there's been some crazy changes! sad news first: i had to leave my wonderful, amazing, all-that-i-could-ask-for, love of my life, black mountain branch. :( i will miss them soooo much. but sister miller is there still and i know i can trust her to take care of them! that's the other sad thing... i had to leave sister miller! :( sad, sad day. she is my best friend... and so incredible. maybe someday i'll be half the missionary she is. good news is that we're both still at the battalion so i'll still get to see her all the time, and she can update me on how the branch is doing. it's not TOTALLY lost to me. ;) BMB FOR LIFE!!! can you believe i've been in one area for almost half of my mission?? oh, by the way, did you realize that almost HALF of my mission is OVER??? tomorrow is my eight month mark... and mormon battalion sisters end up on a transfer rotation that cuts our mission down a month... hence, if i don't extend at the end of my mission, my half-way mark is march 5!!! that's in like 15 days! holy SMOKES. that is CRAZY.
good news next: i'm in another amazing YSA branch!! i was so terrified to leave my area that heavenly father decided to soften the blow a little bit and put me in something i'm familiar with: another singles ward. THANK GOODNESS. i cannot tell you the relief i felt when i found out that's where i'd be. it's called the santee YSA branch, and it's about the same size as black mountain. the cool thing about this branch, though, is that they have an institute! black mountain doesn't have one... but it's like our home base! there's a college right across the street, so lots of nonmembers wander in wondering what it is... and all of our branch members hang out there all the time. it's going to be a really good tool for us to use. and the branch is a well-oiled machine! they have activities like every other night, and they're super close-knit. our branch president invited us to his home and fed us like the second night. and our branch mission leader is INCREDIBLE. he's so on top of his calling it's not even funny... he's soooo helpful. ESPECIALLY... since we're white washing!! for those of you who don't know what that means, it means both of the old missionaries were transferred out of the area and me and my companion are both new to the area. we don't have anyone to show us around... we're just starting from square one. it's challenging, but since we have such a great branch, it's going a lot better than i thought it would! so far we've mostly just met with the ward leaders... this week we're going to meet some of the nonmembers and less-actives the other missionaries were working with. so it's coming along, slowly but surely.
the other thing heavenly father did to soften the blow was give me another great companion! sister mulipola is her name. she's been out 4 months... and she's samoan :) can i just tell you how much i love polynesians?? it's just in their blood to be happy and easy-going all the time. there is not a single negative bone in sister mulipola's body. :) i love it. and i NEED it, so badly. i think that's going to be one of the biggest lessons i learn with her: how to simply be happy, despite the stresses of missionary work. she has so much faith and such a strong testimony... and she's the complete opposite of high-maintenance, so she just goes with whatever i say. ha ha. she's also really good at following the spirit... i can trust her instincts and depend on her decisions.
it's been a good experience to have to step up and be the leader... i've never been the senior companion before. it definitely has made me focus better and depend on heavenly father more. so i'm grateful for this chance to grow. pray that we can get the area moving! as amazing as the branch is, the one thing they struggle with is finding new people to bring into the fold. they only had 2 baptisms last year... just to give you a little perspective, black mountain had 8. so. it's gonna take some work. but we'll get there eventually. :)
i love you so much and i hope you had a great valentines day. pray for missionary opportunities. (yes, even in utah. :) )