Well, I have lots to tell you all and really not any time in which to write you!
First, it SNOWED! In Georgia! All the people who we have asked (which is a lot, by the way) who have resided in Georgia for any length of time tell us that it's not normal, but we're not sure whether or not to believe them because of the recent evidence otherwise. On Wednesday we woke up to snow, which was exciting, but also not because we had to somehow end our exchange without using our cars. And it was only 17°F (which is "below zero" in Celsius) when we started the 2-hour walk to meet back with our companions. Luckily it wasn't as humid as it has been lately, so we didn't die. Phew! The snow is mostly gone now and yesterday was warm enough for short sleeves, so it's been a wild week with the weather!
Because of the snow, we also received the disappointing news that our multi-mission conference, which was scheduled for Friday, was cancelled. Bummer, but maybe one day we will get to meet the GAM (Georgia Atlanta Mission) missionaries.
|Rachel at the Washington D.C. Temple|
on Friday before she knew I was
coming to her baptism (by the way, I
managed to surprise her- it was the best!).
The next highlight of the week is that Rachel got baptized! Let me tell you her story. It started in St. George this past summer, where she was in an opera with a whole bunch of Mormons. She and some of the other nonmembers in the cast were invited to the St. George Temple Visitors Center, where she was drawn to the doctrines and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When the opera was over, the Athens 1st Sisters (before I got there) received her information as a referral, requesting a triple combination (The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price all in one bound book, and a very unusual request from a nonmember). When I arrived in Athens, the previous companionship had met with her once and so my companion and I tried for weeks to meet with her. However, as an opera singer, student, and teacher, Rachel was very busy and it was hard to get in with her. Sister Johnson left and I was on the verge of dropping Rachel because we had been unable to teach her in over 6 weeks. Nevertheless, Sister Nielson and I tried one more time, and were finally able to meet with her! For the remaining 3 months I was there, we were able to meet with her several more times (despite phones being destroyed and numbers being lost - Facebook saved the day!) and we started receiving pictures of her at various temples all over the country as she went to opera auditions. Well, fast forward to 2 weeks ago, when she messaged me on facebook to tell me she was planning on getting baptized! I was thrilled out of my mind and could hardly think about anything else! I asked my mission president if I could attend (per her request) and on Saturday, I got to be there for her baptism in Athens. It was a wonderful place and possibly the best moment of my mission. At the end of the service, she bore a powerful testimony of 2 Nephi 2:25, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." She was glowing and I could feel the pureness of her joy as she testified of gospel principles to everybody there (including her nonmember husband, who has undergone a real change of heart in terms of his attitude toward the church in general). As I reflected on my part in Rachel's experience learning about the gospel, all that I could think of was that Heavenly Father knows exactly what each of His children needs and He knows exactly how to put us where we can have those needs filled perfectly.
On Saturday evening, I thought that there would be nothing else to email you all about this week. How wrong was I? Very.
So transfers. Sister Parsons and I thought we would be staying here in Webb Bridge, with a small chance that Sister Parsons would leave. Well, Heavenly Father has other plans for us. I will only be in Webb Bridge for a few more hours- tomorrow morning I am going...back to Athens! Well, not the ward, but the zone/stake. My next area is the Winder Ward, and my companion will be Sister Wagner. I've never worked very closely with her, but she came out shortly after I did and has a very positive reputation in the mission. The other crazy bit is that Sister Parsons is also leaving Webb Bridge! Yeah, we're getting whitewashed out. President Marsh called us last night to tell us why. Supposedly he wants us to be ready to train again, 6 weeks from now, in our respective new areas, but we think he probably just doesn't want to put up with us anymore as a companionship, which is why we are going to opposite ends of the mission (Sister Parsons is going to Allatoona, where I spent my first 6 months!). We are both bummed to be leaving the area that we just got comfortable in/with, but now we know why we felt so much urgency about getting everything organized (mapping things out, sorting through junk, getting to know the ward and its needs, etc.). I could have stayed here for several more transfers, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go! And that is Winder. I've never worked there, but it has glowing reviews throughout the mission, so I don't think I will have much, if anything, to complain about.
Guess what! I actually have a spiritual thought to share this week!
As many of you know, this week, the new prophet for the world was announced
. I didn't get to watch the announcement, but when I heard the news, I immediately knew that he is the right person. I have been studying a Church history book, called Our Heritage
for the past week or so, and have been impressed by the courage the early saints had, and especially their leaders (the first modern prophets). As I read, I was led to ponder on several occasions about how well I follow and sustain the prophet. I have begun to make a more concentrated effort to know the prophets and what they have conveyed to us from our Heavenly Father. I invite you all to do the same.
I hope none of you fell asleep while reading this, but that's the update on my week. Happy January and I will be writing from Winder next week! :)