So you've all probably noticed that my email is a day late. Our libraries were closed for MLK Day, so we had to wait a day for email. Good things are worth waiting for, right? Thank you for your emails. It's the concern of every missionary going home that people at home will forget to write because they'll see us in a few weeks. But I shouldn't have to worry about not getting emails and letters. Right?
We had our interviews with President Perry earlier today. We used to have them every transfer with Pres. Millburn but they have changed it to every other transfer and with other meetings popping up we haven't had "official" interviews in 3 transfers. He is such a great mission president and even though he has to talk to 200 missionaries and discern concerns and needs he always treats us like we are the only one on his mind. I didn't really have much to talk to him about, so he just told me about what is going on in the future transfers and etc. It was fun to hear about it all. When I leave there are 11 English sisters coming in I guess. Or that is the projected number. That means pretty much all sisters will train this next transfer because there are about that many going home and only a few more than that will be left. It's going to be a sister changing transfer it sounds like. How fun! And the mission is going to be receiving French speaking sisters here in a couple of transfers. How cool! His concern for me and for all the missionaries going home is keeping the focus. But I keep reminding him that I have no idea what I'm doing when I get home, so there isn't much to think about on that front. Haha. But I can see where he is coming from because I have seen trunky missionaries before!
Inez's baptism went really good and she was so happy. We've had some pretty awkward lessons with her...we think she just isn't used to young people teaching her about the gospel (not totally sure!)...but on Saturday and Sunday she was happy as can be and was really friendly and not awkward at all. She even wore a nice dress to church on Sunday. That is one funny thing about the Branch that cracks us up...totally active members will show up in pants or the men in jeans randomly. It's normal for the investigators, but just funny when the members do it. I'll send an email with pictures from her baptism. One of the pictures will be with Sis. Ibrahim...the member who fed us the whole fish and who introduced Inez to the church.
Here is a funny quote from this man we met...well the story then the quote. We were tracting around a former investigator and met this guy named Dustin who is probably late 20's or so and he grew up Episcopalian but doesn't have a particular faith now. We said we were missionaries and he asked us what a missionary was. We weren't sure if he was being sarcastic or facetious or what. So we kept talking to him and told him that if he desired to find and/or strengthen his faith in Christ then we could schedule a lesson and come back. We shared about how faith without works is dead and he said "faith without works is death?" Okay now that I am typing the story and quote I realize that it is probably a have to be a missionary type of funny. So sorry if that isn't funny to you, but for some reason we thought is was hilarious that he said that. Moving on...
We were finally able to schedule a lesson for this Wednesday night to teach this man named Jay. He is a part member and I met him after I had been in the Branch a week at the Trunk or Treat, but he would always avoid talking to me whenever we would see him. It must have been the badge... But we had a lesson at his in-laws a few weeks ago and he was there and then last Sunday I cornered him (well not really, but I yelled his name and chased him down) and he excitedly said he wanted to schedule a lesson and he would call or text us. And he actually did. A little different than avoiding us! So we have high hopes for him and he has had lessons before, so he knows our purpose and knows what he is getting into.
There is another member referral, Tanya, a member's cousin, that I've talked to a few times and this last Sunday she came to church and I went to talk to her and she was like "remember me? I want to set up a lesson for this week." She also has had lessons before and was actually supposed to be baptized back in the Spring. We teach her on Friday.
The Lord is really blessing us with wonderful people to teach. Richmond is a hard area for sisters because there are a lot of areas we are restricted from going into and it's hard to find when it gets dark at 5pm and we don't have very many members to just stop by. So we have been very blessed even with all the opposition and the challenges. We may not be teaching a large number of people, but the people we are teaching are getting baptized and getting involved in the church. So it's really quality or quantity here in Richmond. Good way to be!
I'm sure there are more stories I could share, but I have to save some for when I get home right? I love you all very much and am grateful you are my family. I am grateful for your support and love and for taking care of me while I am in VA. I miss you all and look forward to seeing you at the airport when I get home (kids don't have bedtimes anymore right?!)...or sometime in the near vicinity. I have loved my mission and will probably talk about stories from it forever, so I hope you never tire of them. Today as we were driving to interviews I was thinking about some of the highlights and some of the big challenges I've had and I really do love everything about my mission. I read in Our Search For Happiness today a section that said something to the effect of while missionaries are out we have trials that turn into triumphs, adversity that turns into adventures, and challenges that turn into opportunities. I love that and feel like it is so true! My mission has taught me so much!
You are great! And I love you!