Monday, January 26, 2015

A Change in the Weather

Well... Saturday night transfer calls came, and just as we predicted, I'm leaving the nest. This little pichon has got to spread her wings and fly. Packing was just as awful as I predicted it would be. Not as bad as the news that came Sunday when President Johnson called us to tell us about our new leadership positions. Hermana Landa will be training the new Spanish sister, and I'll be heading to either Pittsburgh or Gettysburg to be an STL. 
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, it stands for Sister Training Leader. So... It's kind of like a Zone Leader? but for sister missionaries. If that still doesn't make sense... it's just... really nerve wracking.) 
President Johnson's comforting words to me were, "You'll be one of the youngest members in our mission leadership meetings. But you shouldn't be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts. Your input is important." 
So now I'm feeling even more nervous, haha. 

It will be good, though... 
Just... crazy. 

I have been so touched by everyone's love to me this week as I've said goodbye to all the people here in Lebanon that I've come to love. I love the people in this ward. They have blessed my life in countless ways. Sacrament meeting yesterday was such a powerful experience for me. As I sat in our little pew, I started saying a silent prayer of gratitude in my heart for each member. I just looked around the chapel and thought about all of the pleasant memories I have had with each member or each family and I was filled with so much gratitude. I have seriously LOVED serving here in Lebanon. It has been one of the greatest blessings for me. 

I love Hermana Landa. She has been an incredible strength to me through these past 12 weeks, and I am grateful for her example to me of strength. We were with our Sister Training Leaders the other day and they asked us to give compliments to one another and I was sitting there, trying to think of some way to describe Sister Landa in a way that these STL's could really understand just how amazing she is and I think I found the perfect descriptions
"Hermana Landa has the faith to move mountains, and the wisdom to know where to put them."
She is such an example of Christ to me and I am going to miss her dearly as my companion. She is so strong. Everything is changing. Our ward is getting a new bishopric, our Zone Leaders were both transferred out within the last 3 weeks, our District Leader is being moved this transfer, and I'm leaving too, along with half of the people in our zone that are going to new areas. But she just faces everything with such strength and determination. She is incredible. I know that we will always be friends, though I don't think I'll ever quite understand how I came to deserve a friend like her. She is going to be a killer trainer and probably the best missionary in this world.

As for me... although I still feel some nerves, I know that I am ready for this new calling and this new area. The Lord has prepared me and He will strengthen me. I am so grateful for the knowledge that He is in charge of the work, because He truly does see all and He knows best. Sometimes I get a little nervous and scared and sad. But I am trying to put all of my faith in His perfect hands. He will change me into the person He wants me to be. So I am thankful for this opportunity to grow. :) 

The work here is going so well. I will miss it.  We picked up a few promising investigators this week. I am excited that the new Hermana will have the chance to help them on their journeys. 
One sweet little lady that we've been teaching is a real live angel, I think. Her name is Alba and she is the nicest person I have probably ever met. She opens the door when we knock and just smiles and says, "Muy bien. Adelante." ("Very good. Come in.") And she just smiles so big to see us. She doesn't waste time to chat. She wants to get right down into the good stuff - the scriptures. She always relates everything we teach back to Christ's life and the miracles He performed and the work He did. And when she found out that we usually eat dinner with the members, she insisted that we come over to her house some time and told us that if we didn't have an evening open, to come for lunch. Who does that!? Alba does. 
She came to church on Sunday for the first time and it was such a miracle... She doesn't speak a lot of English and so the members in the ward who speak Spanish really reached out to her and it was wonderful to see. They translated for her and helped her feel at home. She said that she loved it and can't wait to come back. 

We had an awesome Sunday - one of the best we've had in this area - with 3 investigators at Sacrament meeting and 9 less actives at church. Two of those less actives are now reactivated!! To me, that's just as important as any baptism. These members have already entered into the covenant of baptism, but aren't fully keeping that covenant. They need JUST as much help and support as any person who doesn't know the gospel. To see them coming back to church and loving it, and feeling love from other members... That means so much to me! Because I remember when I was in their shoes, and I remember how, through the consistent and loving outreach of several leaders (my home teachers, my young womens leaders, and especially my bishop) I was able to feel loved at church and to really feel like I belonged. It changed my whole perspective!  

I am so grateful for those members who never gave up on me, even when I was struggling. It has strengthened my testimony that you can never give up on anyone! Even if it seems hopeless. I am so grateful for members all over the world who have true charity for those whom they are trying to help. In Relief society yesterday, we were discussing Elder Oaks' talk: "Loving Others and Living with Differences". I would encourage all of you to listen to that one! It's so good! When we have the love for others that it takes to help them come to church... when we truly love them the way that Christ loves them... THEN miracles happen. We are commanded to love one another! And when we keep His commandments, the Lord blesses us. Plain and simple. 
So love each other!! :) 

I love you guys! 
Please keep me in your prayers these next few weeks. I will need all the added strength I can get! ;)

Going forward with faith, 
Hermana Bills

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