Received on 11/17/14
Familia! I have had one of the craziest weeks of my entire life!
As I sat patiently awaiting the read-out of my new companion at transfer meeting, internally (and possibly a little externally as well) freaking out a bit, I received a shock: my name was announced! And not in Killian West! I got transferred and Sister Heacock, stayed in Killian – the exact opposite of that which the Assistants told us! What?! I got transferred to Flagler West, which, funny story, is about a twelve minute drive from my old apartment. This certainly was fortunate because I hadn’t packed a thing, nor had I mentally prepared myself to change investigators, wards, or areas! My new companion, Sister Monsuy, is from Equatorial Guinea (don’t worry, I had to look it up on a map too), which is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa! She is in her 30s and has, wait for it, a whopping TWENTY-FOUR siblings! Twenty-four! Nineteen of them grew up in the same house! All the same father (but a few different mothers – none are members of the church), and he wants to have MORE! But that’s another story. She is the only member of the church in her family and found the church when travelling in Ghana through a cousin. Aaaaand she dies (finishes her mission) this transfer, so I will have yet ANOTHER new companion next transfer! Merry Christmas, Sister Burdett! I can’t believe it. Even though there is a big age difference between us (almost fifteen years), we are working really well together. The first day was certainly hard, but every day has got increasingly better and we are already good friends and have more things to talk about in the car.
Basically, everyone in Flagler is crazy. That truly is the best adjective that I can come up with. Crazy, crazy, crazy. It’s awesome! I’m serving in an English ward/area now (sad day), but the majority of our harvesting is done in Spanish because, guess what, everyone in Miami is a Latin transplant, the majority of whom speak no or very little English! So it’s good to at least have that to practice with a bit. Another funny thing is that Elder Nogueira, my old district leader in Killian, got transferred to Flagler East! So now we’re serving in the same ward! And he’s still my district leader! What in the world. And I’m living with Sister Madsen (she’s serving in Fountainbleu, the Spanish ward here), my comp. from the MTC! So it’s good to have a few familiar faces around in such a new situation.
Here’s the deets on our best/craziest ‘gators:
Christy: age 34, alcoholic/smoker who lives with her alcoholic/smoking mother. We see her every day and are helping her overcome her problems with alcohol. It’s pretty unpredictable how she will be when we see her, but the last two times have been reaallyyy good with her (my first night meeting her was a little terrifying). She already has an amazing testimony and has really sincere desires to change, but the alcohol has a pretty severe hold on her body. We’re praying that she can get down to just one cup of wine today so that she can continue progressing towards her baptism. She has such strong desires to be baptized and to change! It’s really refreshing to see and work with actually. She also has been sharing the gospel with many of her friends, one of whom is pretty solid! She has a cat named Baby Monster who is almost as fat as (or maybe even fatter than) Juh Taiy and is adorable. Christy always tells us we’re the “Best Sisters in Miami”, and this phrase gets adopted to many things as well as a little chiste (she now has the title of “best organic sandwich-maker in Miami” and her mom apparently has the “best shoes in Miami”, and apparently our church, too, is the “best in Miami” – hallelujah). She’s crazy. The other day we were having a pretty powerful lesson with her and her alcoholic friend George. And she told us, “Wait, before you go, I just want to open up to see a random scripture in the BoM and see what God has to say to me.” Now, as any missionary knows, this is a pretty scary/risky thing. I mean, I have a firm testimony that the scriptures give us answers from God, but sometimes you can just get weird scriptures through this exercise that leave you saying, “What?”. However, she pressed forward and we didn’t deny her the opportunity. She opened up and began reading Helaman 7:15, which, oddly enough, contained something we had just taught and discussed. Pretty remarkable how the Lord works sometimes. I later tried it myself after we planned that night and got Alma 57:27. Also a cool answer to the kind of missionary I want to be. The crazy is rubbing off a little on all of us, I guess, but at least it kind of works!
George: age 52, recovering alcoholic who has been helping Christy a lot. He’s getting baptized this Sunday! As long as he can not drink alcohol all week and for the rest of his life! He’s awesome and is also very sincere. He always talks about the powerful feelings he gets whenever we meet with him and when he goes to church/reads the scriptures. It’s an amazing and pure testimony of the Holy Ghost testifying of the truth, and it has led him to have super strong desires for baptism – woo! I am ecstatic for him to change and to be the example that Christy really needs to progress faster!
Marina: age 14, best friend of a recent convert of last month, Lisbeth. She is awesome! She has come to church three weeks in a row and loves it! Really wants to get baptized, but her mom is (yes, you guessed it!) an alcoholic! Not that this impedes her own personal salvation/testimony, but because she is a minor her mom has to come to church at least once and meet with the bishop for her to be baptized. And the drinking makes it a little difficult to meet with her, unfortunately. Soon! Marina really is amazing.
A great big shout-out to my sister Mollie for getting just a little bit older last week! Way to stay alive for 23 years straight. Also, every time I see anyone with a baby I tell them about you and your pregnant self. Sorry ’bout it.
Something we found ourselves sharing repeatedly this week was a message or faith, hope, and patience. I am learning that hope isn’t just believing and wishing for things to change or improve, it is expecting it too. And through our faith (belief + action), we can help that change come about! Faith without works is dead, and so through our actions based on our beliefs/hope, we can help Heavenly Father help us! Patience, defined by my excellent DL as enduring in righteousness, is required in the process as well. Really, I have learned that faith, hope, and patience in this sense are all the same thing: trusting in God to help you in His time while doing all you can do to help Him help you. Does that make sense? Maybe Flagler has made my brain too crazy, but here are some scriptures that hopefully help illustrate my point: Romans 8:24-25; Mosiah 23:21; and Mosiah 24: 11-16.
Thanks for all of your loving letters and good feelings! Have a week a little less crazy than mine!
Yahtzee: Sister Burdett got surprise-transferred to Flagler (still MIAMI, but Hialeah zone!)! Here’s my new comp, Sis. Monsuy!