First of all: Today is the last day of the transfer! I got a call this morning, and I will begin my next transfer tomorrow in the Ventura 2nd Ward!
Sister Anderson and I really felt like the pay off for this transfer has been this past week. This transfer has been tough. We haven't seen a lot of steady progress and it takes it's toll, but this week has just been one of those weeks when it all becomes worth it!
Monday, we were walking to an area we were going to knock and this lady at a bus stop we were walking past said hi to us and asked us to come over to her. This doesn't normally happen. Usually we initiate conversation. She told us that she was baptized about a year ago and had just moved to another city and had been praying to run into missionaries. She said that after that prayer, she ran into a member who gave her the number for the missionaries and today she found us! God is so aware of each of us and really sends what we need. She hugged us multiple times.
Tuesday, we were visiting a few potential investigators and got 3 big rejections in a row. We were walking toward an apartment of a referral when we passed a man. Sister Anderson said Hi just to be friendly. He turned, took one look at us, said I'm not interested, turned, and walked away. Sister Anderson was like, "Oh, we just wanted to say hi and see how your day was going." No response. We knocked on the apartment of the lady we were trying to contact. We heard a voice come through the open window. She asked who it was and said she was busy. Sister Anderson then asked when we could come back. Silence. Sister Anderson stared at each other for a minute trying not to laugh. Finally Sister Anderson said, "Well, have a good day!" People are so funny. It's like the equivalent of someone knocking and the door and you saying "No one's home!" Oh well. Finally, we were walking back to the car from this apartment, and offered just a card of a website to this man. He looked at it and gave it back and walked away. We decided at this point it was time to try somewhere else. Later, we went to contact a referral from a lady who visited our ward on Sunday. She wanted us to visit her mother-in-law. So we went to the address she had given to us and it was this old lady who is from the Ukraine. She thought we were Ukrainian as well. We talked to her for 45 minutes and I cannot tell you what was said. The whole time we were trying to figure out if she was really the person we were sent to contact or if it was the wrong address. We couldn't tell! We figured it had to be. She couldn't hear very well and was all over the place, so that didn't help us figure that out. We ended up leaving her with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We walked away very confused and managed to barely hold our laughter in until we reached the car. We called the lady who gave us the referral back to tell her about the visit. We said that she thought we were from Ukraine as well. She said, "Ukraine? She's from Canada!" Obviously she'd given us the wrong address. At least we had a good story come out of it. We turned the car around to contact the real mother-in-law who was super nice and a lot easier to understand.
Wednesday we had the best District Meeting ever. I think it really changed the course of my mission. Elder Bostrom told us to picture each person as our dad, mom, sister or brother. That's what they are. They need this. They need what they have. That goes for everyone, not just missionaries. The people around you need this. They are just as much children of God as you are and mean just as much to Him. Share what you know! Anyway, we walked to our dinner appointment and knocked and no one was there. We sat on a bench swing they have in front. We sat there and contemplated what to do. Sister Anderson finally said, "Well, we got stood up for dinner. Luckily they have this swing though." They showed up 15 minutes later. We had our Book of Mormon class with Sandy. I will miss her!
Thursday, we visited with Linda in the nursing home. She is the sweetest. I remember meeting her my first week in the ICU. She's really improved since then. She is such an example to me. She always recognizes the Lord and is quick to remember that whatever trial she is going through, is part of God's plan for her and things will be made right soon. I will really miss her as well. After we visited her, we visited another member of the ward who has pets, pets, and more pets. I made the mistake of petting one of the cats and had cat hair all over my hand. Completely. Sister Anderson sat there trying not to laugh as she saw my facial expressions and somewhat discreet effort to wipe the hair off me. I hope I'm only that obvious (my dislike of pets) to Sister Anderson since she knows me so well by now. I got a package from the Merrell's :) It completely made my day and added to the feelings of joy.
Friday Sister Cusick and Sister Marchant surprised me with a cake to celebrate my birthday early since we didn't know who would still be here on my actual birthday. We lit a candle and I blew it out. They sing to me and everything. It really was so thoughtful of them. I felt so loved! The cake was delicious and super cute too. We had dinner with a family from the Philippines. Honestly some of the nicest people I have met. I think they gave me a taste of what the people in Brazil will be like. We took off our shoes by the door and she gave us slippers to wear! She'd made spaghetti ahead of time, so we warmed it up. The mom and the daughter sat and talked with us and ate a little of some soup thing while we ate our spaghetti. They kept telling us to go back and eat more. We ate a ton. And when we were done, the Sister pulled out legitimate To-Go boxes and packed the rest of the spaghetti, egg rolls, sauce, 2 onions, and some turkey she'd made earlier into a bag for us to take for later. We walked out of there to our next lesson about ready to explode. That night, we taught Alex! He's the Cal Poly student. His roommate John joined into the discussion. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and they had really really really good questions. We walked out feeling so good. We left John with a Book of Mormon. Now all 4 roommates have a copy. 3 of the 4 are agnostic. We invited them to pray. I know this is something they need! I'm so excited for them to continue. I'm sad I can't continue to teach them. They are some of our best lessons. That night, I returned home to find a package from my family! In the box, was 9 wrapped little presents I can't open til the 29th. Thanks for all the birthday thoughts so far! I've still got a week. Ahead of the game :)
Saturday, one of the Young Women came out with us for a couple hours. MIRACLES. We had planned to go to another area, but things just worked out that we knocked houses near her apartment. That was the best knocking experience I have ever had. Elizabeth did so well and had a good experience. We found Eric, Michael, and Charles. Charles is elect. Golden. He is from Kenya and is Catholic. He has so much faith and love for Jesus Christ. Our hearts dropped when we found out he is a student at Cal Poly because that means we have to eventually refer him over to the YSA Elders, but then he told us he returned to Kenya last year and got married! Yay! So that means he's our investigator. He was amazed by the amount of faith we have since he doesn't see that as something young people generally have in this culture. We had a beautiful discussion with him and left a Book of Mormon. He said he'd read it. Before we left, he offered an amazing prayer. I cannot wait to hear what happens with him this next transfer. We also met a student named Carson, who has a lot of questions about why we are here! We met so many great people that day. We also had a turn-around lesson with our investigator, Lee. We watched The Restoration video about Joseph Smith that's about an hour. It is so powerful. It completely changed her view of him and made all the difference. The Spirit was so strong. I was able to share my experience of visiting Nauvoo, Independence, and Carthage this summer. Sister Anderson and I were literally on a cloud as we had a kind of last supper with Sisters Cusick and Marchant to celebrate the end of the transfer.
Sunday, we talked with Sister Cusick and Sister Marchant after church. SISTER MARCHANT GOT HER VISA! She is actually on a plane right now to LA, then NY, then Sao Paulo, then Ribeirao Preto. The day consisted of mainly a lesson with Lee. We talked about baptism and committed her to live the Word of Wisdom. I can tell she really wants this. It's just getting her there, but I know she can do it. That night, we got a call from the Assistant's. Sister Anderson will be training this transfer. That meant we wouldn't be together. We cried and hugged as soon as we hung up the phone. This morning we got the call telling us our fate. Sister Anderson is staying in the SLO 1st Ward, Sister Cusick is staying in SLO 2nd, I'm going to Ventura 2nd Ward. It will be an adventure. I will miss SLO and the people here. Especially Sister Anderson. I have learned so incredibly much from her and will miss her terribly but I know this will be the new adventure that I need and that Heavenly Father needs for me at this time.
Carry on, Carry on, Carry on!
I love you! I hope you have an amazing week!