Transfers are this week.... *drum roll* ...... I'm getting transferred! I'm going to the Salt River stake and going to the richest area in all of Mesa! YAY! I'M SO EXCITED I CAN'T CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!! BUT! I'm in a trio.... AGAIN! Clearly the third time was not the charm and I didn't learn my lesson yet ;) Just kidding! My new companions are Sisters Chase & Krueger. I know then and they're great sisters. I can't wait to serve with them in this AMAZING area with little to no work. Here I come member missionary work!
I WENT HIKING THIS MORNING AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! We went to the "Wind Caves" (indents in the mountains...hills.... made by the wind). It was really cool. The entire zone was there and it was a blast. It took about an hour to get to the very top. We had to do a little rock climbing to get there but it was so worth it! We could see the Gilbert Temple and 5 of the 6 missions in Arizona. It was really cool and I've decided that I'm going to do this hike once a month. On the way back down, Sister Sparhawk and I ran most of the way and got a really good work out in. Yet another thing that is making my mission really cool!
I really loved President Jenkins email to the mission this week. I think this is applicable to anyone in a situation where they have a calling. Here it is:
"One of the things that I hope our missionaries learn while here is how the Church operates in general. I want to prepare you for your future in Church service by having your mission be a preparatory experience.
For example, in the Church we neither ask to be called to positions or asked to be released. The same should be true in the mission in order to prepare you for your future. It is appropriate both here and later to explain your circumstances to your leaders so we might have the information necessary to make inspired decisions. Later in life this will include family circumstances, work or school hours and demands, health considerations and anything else that the bishop needs to know in order to choose the right calling for you. The same information may be shared in order that the bishop might know when it is appropriate for an inspired release.
Also, in the Church there is no "up" or "down" in Church callings, only forward or backward. It is completely acceptable and customary to be the bishop one Sunday and the deacon's quorum advisor or a Sunday School teacher the next or visa versa. There are no promotions or demotions. The same holds true in the mission field. There is no leadership "ladder" to be climbed. One transfer you might be a zone leader and the next a junior companion. In the Church and in the mission we serve where we are asked and where we are needed. It is always "how" we serve and not "where" that is important.
Just as not every man is going to called to be the bishop, nor every woman will be the president of the Relief Society, not every missionary is going to serve in every position. The Church and the mission both have need of every member of the 'body'. Every member is needed in order for the body to function and work together. Some are more skilled at being the hand or the foot than another. It does not mean they are more important than any other part of the body, but that they have the gifts and talents to function in that capacity.
The more completely you learn and accept these principles here in the mission, the easier it will be to live by them after the mission, because that is exactly how the Church operates!"
What he said really opened my eyes about church leadership and callings. I hope that in the future I can live this principle more rather than just talk about it. I view my callings differently now and I'm more grateful for the opportunities that I have had to serve on my mission. Looking back I wish I had done things differently, but I learned what I needed to learn and I'm moving forward onto the next chapter of my life.
This week was really slow but it went by so quickly. I can't believe that another transfer is starting. We've had quite a bit of teaching opportunities in the wards this week. I think my favorite happened on Tuesday. Sister Hamberger and I were on splits; She was in Adobe Villa and I was in Vista Peaks. I went with another Sister in the ward to the Sekaquaptewa's. Anthony is a nonmember and has taken the lessons on and off. His home teacher, Mike Hixon, pulled us aside a few weeks before and shared some feelings about Anthony being ready to take the lessons and learn again. We then set up an appointment and during this appointment Brother Hixon took charge and followed the Spirit in teaching how the gospel blesses families. Adrian is not ready right now, but the cool part was seeing the member get excited and follow the Spirit. At the end he wasn't discouraged because Anthony was not ready. Rather, he was excited to go and find someone else who is. Things are starting to improve in Vista Peaks and a new set of faces will really help move the work along and to encourage the members. I'm seeing from first-hand experiences how powerful it is to have members be involved in every step of missionary work. If members could just get out and feel the spirit of missionary work then miracles would happen. Members and missionaries would truly be on the same side. I'm going to take this excitement and experience into my new area.
The lives of all of our investigators has been nuts. Everyone has either left for vacation because it's summer or their picking up more time because it's summer. It's been a struggle this week to meet with them but we have seen lots of less actives! We had 3 come to church in Vista Peaks and they appear to be starting to come regularly as well! Even though we haven't had a lot of success finding investigators, I think we've been fairly successful in getting less actives back on the path to activity.
I also had a neat experience with learning to recognize the voice and influence of the Spirit. It was Saturday night and we did not have any appointments and we honestly did not know what we should do or where we needed to be. So we prayed and asked for specific guidance to know where we needed to go. We had a specific name come into our minds and we felt that this is the area we should be headed for. As we were driving along Recker, we saw an old man walking and we had a feeling to stop and see him. Unfortunately there was not a single place to go and park to go and talk to this man. We decided that we would continue onward towards the name that we both felt inspired to go and see. We get there and the person we went to see wanted nothing to do with us. As we were walking back to the car we felt terrible. I felt that this was not where we needed to be. Sister Hamberger and I look at each other and we knew and felt that we needed to find the old man and talk with him. We ran back to the car and began our search for him. As we were driving away I began to feel better and as we continued to drive the better I felt. We eventually found him, pulled over, and talked with him. This old man was so sweet and very nice but not really open to learning, but we learned a valuable lesson that night. I learned another way that the Spirit speaks to me. Often times it's like a game of hot & cold. The closer we follow the feelings and promptings of the Spirit the warmer we get and the better we feel. If we don't follow the Spirit we do not feel good, a little unsettled, and the colder we get. It is our opportunity and responsibility to recognize how the Spirit is speaking to us and to boldly and courageously follow it. The Spirit truly helps us learn and he keeps us on our toes by stretching us and making us work to follow him.
Well, I'm not too shocked about transfer news. I saw and felt it coming. Adobe Villa is really sad and a little ticked off that they're being white-washed again. It was really funny... one of the members started throwing a tantrum and this is what she said "Ask your mission president this: was he really inspired? Did he pray about this?" Her facial expressions were priceless and it was funny, but the members are sad. We reassured them that they were getting fantastic sisters who would continue the work and do more than we could have ever done.
We got the fire rekindled and now the new sisters will have an opportunity to keep the fire going and turn it into a bonfire! I'm excited for them :)