Transfer facts are in! Tomorrow morning Sister Luke leaves for Black Mountain. Not sure why they would name a stake Black Mountain. It sounds like something out of Lord of the Rings, like she's headed to the orc mines or whatever. **Taps playing softly** But honestly, she's going to be incredible. She's gonna be a Sister Training Leader which means she'll go on exchanges at least once a week with all the other sisters in her zone. She'll get to give lots of trainings, and she'll be covering 3 wards, so basically, Sister Luke is about to hit the people of black mountain with a wave of Christlike love. They are the luckiest people in the entire mission!
Meanwhile I'm staying in Robindale with Sister Smith, who's been serving in our next-door-neighbor single's ward her entire mission! She's the one who met Zach and also the one who taught Tori. I've never heard of someone singles ward-hopping like this. So there's a huge reason that Heavenly Father needs Sister Smith to work with singles! I get to spend a whole transfer learning from her :) Can't wait!
This week literally flew by faster than Mom behind the wheel of a corvette. :) It's funny how when you want time to slow down, it speeeeeds up! Some really incredible things happened this week. I love this area and this ward with my whole heart.
DJ's baptism has been postponed but she's still doing great. Her testimony and conversion just keep growing and deepening! Any backlash she gets from family and "friends" from her decision to be baptized, she just takes in stride. We took her to the temple this week and did our tour of the grounds. She was bothered by the fact that she couldn't go inside past the lobby until we told her just to touch the wall of the temple. As soon as she touched it, she started crying. She said that was the strongest she's ever felt the Spirit. She's amazing!
We also had a lesson with her where she confided in us some of the hard things from her past and how that's affected her self-worth. Sister Luke and I felt impressed to recite the Young Women theme for her. I have never understood or appreciated the full value and power of those words till now. As we said "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him," I almost started to cry. How lucky are we to have that knowledge? So many girls grow up being fed lies... You're fat, you're dumb, you're useless, you're a whale... Nope. You are a daughter. Of the Creator of the Universe! "... as we come to accept and act upon this knowledge, we will strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation." First we have to accept that we're loved and of worth, and then we have to live that way. And then we get peace, lasting happiness, joy, true love, exaltation, eternal life. Knowing you're a child of God opens the doors to heaven! Literally! I want to run around and find every young adult who's ever been deceived or abused or neglected or brainwashed and help them understand the truth. The coolest part of being a missionary is helping people "accept and act."
We went to the temple a couple times this week actually-- Friday we went inside and watched Stefanie do baptisms for the first time! Great experience for her :) It was also our member friend Keline's first time-- she's just as big of a miracle as Stefanie. Keline was baptized when she was 8 but basically hadn't been back to church since. Before this summer, she confided in us, she didn't have a belief in God. But in June she started coming back to church, and now she teaches with us, holds a calling, holds a temple recommend, has the strongest testimony, is thinking about serving a mission, and is one of the biggest example of selfless service I've ever seen.
Oh! We also got to do a real life service project this week! We don't get to do much service in this mission simply because not a lot of people will accept help. But on Saturday our whole zone showed up to paint a young couple's house who couldn't afford to have someone come paint for them. Amazing how quickly a big group of missionaries can get a whole house painted!
I'm so so so grateful I get to keep serving in this singles ward I love so much. I'm just sad that I won't be serving with Sister Luke :( we make a great team, her and I, because we're best friends with the same goals and the same desires. I love her so much but I can't keep her all to myself! She's worked her magic on Robindale, and now her talents and gifts are much needed elsewhere.
I should be nervous about running the area without her because it's gonna be really hard and scary... but I feel strangely calm (thank you Heavenly Father!) I'm going to do everything in my power to keep the work rolling the way Sister Luke started it. Today I bought a foam poster to make a "vision board" of the things I want to see happen. Gonna work hard and pray hard! And I know a huge key to that success is unity in my companionship, so I basically plan on drowning Sister Smith with love. Hahaha :) Please pray for Sister Smith and I as we start this next transfer! Robindale is so priceless, Heavenly Father is so invested in these people, he knows where the prepared people are and what needs to happen. I just feel so blessed that he would trust me enough to let me labor in this part of His vineyard for the next 6 weeks.
Funny story of the week: In one of our lessons with Akeem, who is a scripture-reading-commitment-
keeping-boss, we asked him what was happening in the Book of Mormon right then. He sighed, shook his head, and in his quiet, New York-ghetto accent, said, "Nephi's brother's are still ignorant fools." Haha you got it Akeem!
I almost forgot to mention that I got to meet Sister Luke's whole family on Friday, minus one brother. She got permission to see them when they were driving through, so they took us out to breakfast and Brother Luke gave us both priesthood blessings for transfers. She has an amazing family! Not surprised! :)
In honor of Sister Luke, I'm attaching some of my favorite pictures of us from the last 2 transfers, that you may or may not already have seen. Enjoy!
Love you lots!