Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 56: Fare Thee Well, Florence

Whew!  Transfers yesterday.  What a trip.  (get my joke?  cause it was an actual trip.)
I am now in - ha.  Wait.  I'm gonna make ya'll wait.  Til next week.  For now, I'll finish up Florence.  The final week in my precious small town.  I will, however, include a photo of my new companion.  I'll miss Sister Dailey, but now she gets to stretch her little wings and fly around Florence with someone new, who hasn't tracted the entire map.

We tracted all the rich hoods this week because - why not?  I'm leavin.  I may as well spare the next sister the common experiences of rampeumptom row.  We had one last district meeting, and with the new car share we share with the elders, which means we have to drive them home afterwards.  We're girls and they're like barely out of high school so it's sufficiently awkward.  We had one last McAllisters dinner out with Sister N, one last Book of Mormon class with Brother J (our recent convert who's doing great, by the way), one last day in Mendenhall with the C family (my adopted Mississippi family), one last lesson with the spiritual-giants missionary-minded N family who gave us the referral that got baptized, one last service day cleaning out cupboards with Sister R who rewarded us with the best banana pudding ever.

At our one last taco night at Bishop's (aka the Last Supper), we helped them with their ice bucket challenge, if ya'll have heard of that.  If you get challeged, you have to dump a bucket of ice water on your head and donate to a cause, finding the cure for ALS I think it's called.  Then you challenge 3 more friends to do it, video it, and post it online.  I believe it's raised a few million dollars already.  Anyway.  That's why Sister Dailey and I poured a bucket of ice water on bishop's wife, and the elders did it for bishop.  Also, the elders gave me a 2013 Chinese calendar from a sushi buffet in their area as a going away present.  Yes, 2013.  You have to remember they like just finished high school and that counts as a thoughtful gift.

Brother D, a 60 year old recent convert, blessed the sacrament for the first time on Sunday and I wanted to cry, I was so proud.  He has such a reverence for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it was evident in his reading of the prayer.  The spirit was so strong.  We got to see one of our crazy investigators again (an enthusiastic but flaky one) who loved our Restoration cup demonstration (where we build the church, take out the foundation of apostles and prophets to show the apostasy, and rebuild it to show the restoration).  He's still hung up on the 2nd coming because he thinks it's already happened and we're in the midst of the "first millenium" at the point of "the great deception" where Satan is loosed for a season and now we're waiting on a "3rd coming of Christ."  We didn't contend.  Just handed him a gospel principles book and referred him to the last chapters.  He said he'd been praying before our arrival and almost answered the door with "Where's my book?" because he knew one was coming.  I have a most interesting mission.

In Mendenhall, we got let right in at one house, which never happens.  But like the woman was telling us all their struggles.  Living off social security, no jobs, no transportation, no family support, husband passed away, have to go without food or nice clothing a lot of the time.  And they got "kicked out of every church they've ever gone to because they weren't wanted there I guess.  And I was like, gosh.  I know nothing about real world problems.  Like, this happens to me a lot out here.

A member family we visited was like a poster-perfect family.  Nice house, attractive kids, young-looking parents, glamorous jobs, all.  They have it all.  But as we shared a spiritual thought about scripture study, she told us she tried having family home evenings but the kids just didn't want to do it and the spouse was no help.  So they just don't have family home evening.  Or family scripture study.  Because the poor mother doesn't want contention or forced-anything.  It was so sad.

 24 And said unto them that it was the word of God; and whosowould hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it,they would never perish; neither could the temptations and thefiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, tolead them away to destruction.
 25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto theword of the Lord; yea, did exhort them with all the energies ofmy soul, and with all the faculty which possessed, that theywould give heed to the word of God and remember to keep hiscommandments always in all things. [1 Nephi 15]
Without the word of God, how is your family to be protected?  The Spirit is in the Word and the enemy is in the world, and if you're not inviting the Spirit into your home with the Word, the world is going to take over.  Because the enemy never sleeps and he comes in with absolutely zero invitation.

Transfers yesterday was bittersweet, I kinda feel bad that I didn't cry because I was too excited.  But I'm just so stoked to be on a new adventure.  Kyle Dalton goes home today, I told him to hug Brosk for me, let's see if he remembers to.  Chatting with the greenies (fresh out the MTC) made me feel older than old.  I'm one of the vets in the mission now, and that's super weird.  13 months sounds ever so much longer than 12.  And 5 months left seems like way less than 6.  I talked to Sister Borja on the van all the way to our new zone, she and I are the only hispanic sisters in the whole mission.  She's from Paraguay.  By the end of the four hour drive we were like BFFs.  And we're in the same district, so this is gonna be a good one.  I can tell.  Also, I'm killing my new companion (that's mission lingo for this is her last transfer) so, ready set make it count!  Can't wait to show ya'll pictures of this place!

Sister Valdez

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