Monday, October 5, 2015

Go West, Camilla Capibara

For all of those folks out there who don't get the title of my email, I am deeply sorry that you didn't have a childhood. I invite you to repent and change your ways and go read "Hooway for Wodney Wat."

Now some of you may be thinking, "Alright? What's so special about going out west. That's just a simple direction. No big deal."
It's a really big deal, people!! 

Many of you may not realize this, but I have literally spent 15 months as a missionary in the same tiny corner of Pennsylvania. Like literally, my ward/branch boundaries literally border one another. But I'm not complaining, really! I lovemy little corner. I have grown to know so many people, not just in the wards that I've served in, but in other wards as well. Some of these people have become lifelong friends. I know it :) 
But here's the thing... I'm serving in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania mission. Many years ago there used to be 3 missions that divided Pennsylvania - The Harrisburg mission, the Philidelphia mission, and the Pittsburgh mission. Now, there are supposed to only be two. But I was talking to my companions the other day about my areas and transfers coming up, etc. And I told them that President Johnson better send me out west, cause if he doesn't I may as well have just been called to the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania mission. EW!?
So I'm finally going out west and everything is just falling right into place :) Hooray!!  
Although I'm excited for a change in scenery and an opportunity to serve in a new area with new people and a new companion, I'm also torn up inside. Like I've said before ( and I'll probably say a million times again) my heart is completely in this branch. There are people here that will be in my thoughts daily for the rest of my life. They have changed me, shaped me, molded me. I love them.

An especially tender farewell occurred last night when I said goodbye to Eunice. It was just hard. I don't think I've ever been in an area and felt so strongly that I was sent there for one person. Maybe I'm just forgetting someone or an experience or something. Don't get me wrong, I know the Lord has been able to use me to help people in my other areas. But I've never felt so strongly that I was sent to an area to help one individual person/family the way that I felt about Eunice and the Martinez family. 
Eunice - pronounced (Ay-oo-nees-ay) 
Eunice is my best friend. She is my twin, literally! We're both even hispanic. :) haha But it was amazing to see how the Lord had prepared me to help her. She has the strongest testimony, she just hasn't been active for years. She would always tell the sisters, "Yes, I will come to church before you leave the area." She's told sisters that for FOREVER, apparently. When I first got to the area, I immediately fell in love with Eunice. She was my idol! I talked to her brother and sister-in-law about what we could do to help her, and they pretty much said it was a lost cause. I just felt like there was something I had to do. So we never gave up. 
Every lesson, we would sit there and I would think, "If I for some reason went less active in the future, what would I want the sister missionaries to say to me? What would help me make it back to church?" And then I just said those things to Eunice. And because the Lord was there with us every step of the way, the things we were staying started sticking with Eunice. She started coming to church for the first time in years and she is completely reactivated now. She reads the Book of Mormon daily, and shares the gospel with her friends. She is the best example to me and I love her. 
We sat down together last night and just talked about the gospel and the atonement and the blessing that we have to live in the fulness of times where we having living prophets and authorized priesthood holders. We talked about her goal to get to the temple, We cried together. It was kind of embarrassing, but it was also really sweet. 

Saying goodbye to Ruth and Nacho (the Martinez's - they're Eunice's brother and sister-in-law) was hard, too. We had dinner with them for Sister Canseco and Elder Hatch's birthday and it was emotional because we had to tell them we were getting transferred. They said they were so sad, but that it would be okay. We tried to go by on Sunday and say goodbye, but they said they weren't home. Hermana Martinez texted later and said she was sorry, she didn't want to see us again because she had been crying too much. She said she loved us and hoped we'd come back soon to visit because we are her family. Her and her husband are going to go through the temple and get sealed in a couple of weeks and I was so sad that I can't be there for them! But it's okay, I will be there in spirit! 

It's also going to be so hard saying goodbye to this district. I feel like I just love each district more and more. This one definitely takes the cake. It's a HUGE district, so we started calling it the #megadistrict. But because we are all so close to each other, we spend so much time together, we've started calling ourselves the #megafamily. I seriously feel like these people are my family. They have helped me learn and grow in so many different ways, each one of them has a special place in my heart, and they are the best missionaries. We have spent every single pday together, district meetings, zone conferences, mission meetings, etc. We see each other at church every Sunday and throughout the week sporadically. We're just always together and it feels like the MTC all over again and it's just wonderful. I love these wonderful people. We're spending our last pday together, since quite a few of us are being transferred. I'll probably cry. I tend to do that. 

This week we were finally able to go out and work hard every single day and it felt so good. We saw so many people and met so many amazing new people. There is so much work to be done in this area and I can't wait to come back and visit the Columbia STAKE! :) Some day in the future. So many amazing things are happening in the area. 
I have been struggling with "how am I supposed to leave this area, there is still so much for me to do, the work never ends!" But I know that the new Hermana that comes in is going to tear it up and do so much good and the people are going to love her! And I'm going to go to my new area and it's going to be amazing, as well! I know that the Lord helped me and gave me the strength to do all that he needed me to do while I was here. That is a good feeling. 

It appears that this will be my last transfer, folks. The next time I pack my things, some of you will be helping me unpack them. 


Hermana Bills