Monday, November 16, 2015

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN dodododo dododododo dodododo dodododododo do dododo dodododododododooooodooooooooo dddooooo

Well kids, today officially marks the beginning of my last transfer as a full time missionary for the Lord. I can't believe it. Milestones, people. I don't really feel trunky... I mean part of me is definitely excited to hop on the plane and come home and see each of you. But really I just feel super motivated to work so hard and to do what the Lord wants me to do. A lot is going to happen in these next 6 weeks, and I still have a lot of growing to do. So I'm excited for that. 
First things first. Transfer calls came Saturday night and Sister Welch is headed to Monongahela and you will never believe who is coming to be my new companion.
For those of you who are like, "Should I be excited by that name?" the answer is a resounding YES! Sister Wadsworth is flippin amazing! She was in the megafamily with me last transfer! We literally had sleepovers and just played and had fun every single pday and now we get to be companions so it's gonna be every single DAY. 
So that is amazing. 
Also, if you're wondering, "where, how do you already know where Grapejuice is going and who is coming to Butler?" the answer is: someone finally decided to listen to my ideas and change the way transfers are done! 😉 haha no, just kidding. But for reals, way back in the day when I was on the MLC I brought up the fact that transfers are stressful and we talked about ideas of how to improve it and now, finally,months later, it's finally for realz. They decided that to help transfers go more smoothly, that they'd tell us on Saturday night 1- who is getting transferred, 2- where they're going and who their new companion is, 3- who their replacement will be in their current area. Then, once they give you all that information, they send you your transfer logistics and expect you to look at them and make sure that when you show up to the transfer meeting on Tuesday that you know what the game plan is. 
Long story short, I am super pleased with the new way they're doing transfers... Especially since it's the last time I'm really gonna be affected by a transfer since I'm pretty positive about where my new area is going to be next transfer ;) haha. 
But anyway, I have a TON of stuff to tell you guys so I've got to move on. 
As far as weeks go, this one was pretty fantabulous. Monday we had a huge pday with a ton of missionaries up in Slippery Rock and we emailed and went bowling together and then played frisbee and then indoor soccer and we all had dinner together and it was awesome. Then I got to go on an exchange with Hermana Busath who is my granddaughter (cause I trainer Hermana Landa and she trained Hermana Busath so... #missionlingo) but anyway it was just the greatest blessing. It felt like catching up with an old friend, it was amazing. 
I don't know if I'm mentioned it too much... I know I like to stay positive when I can... But this transfer has just been so hard for me. For lots of different reasons. In a lot of ways, I'm grateful it's over. But I'm also so grateful it happened because I learned so much about myself in the process. But anyway, it was just kind of a nice escape - to be able to head out to Franklin and to see some new faces. It was such a fun exchange. 
Our goal going into the exchange was to pass out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and to be more courageous in street contacting people. So that was our mindset. We taught a bunch of lessons and it was awesome. 
One good experience - we went to see one of their investigators. They had a set lesson with him and everything, but he wasn't answering the door. So we were headed back to the truck when we saw this guy walking his dog, and we decided to go give him a Book of Mormon. He said he was pagan but that he would read the book. His dog was psycho. Then we headed back to the truck, and their investigator was standing outside the house looking for us! So we went inside and sat down with him, and he had a bunch of friends over and so we just started preaching the word to all of them. And he had a pretty wicked sweet testimony of his own, so he was jumping in just saying how what we were teaching was true and stuff. Super rad. And all the while, more and more people just kept coming through the door and they all had questions and were super interested to know more and we ended up giving out a bunch of pamphlets and three Book of Mormons! So then we had four for the day! It was a super legit lesson. 
Oh, but funny story from that... So when we walked in and sat down, the guy was like, "oh, let me turn on the light" and he flips the switch and this red and black light turn on and he's like, "dangit, we forgot to change the party light." hahaha he told us how the night before they'd had a super big party and I was dying it was so funny cause here we are, sitting in this living room with a bunch of legitimate gangsters and one of them just lights up right in front of us and we've got this party light on... Super funny. 
Anyway! The other really cool story is Danielle. It was getting just about time to head back to Butler, and we were trying a couple of less actives and things just weren't working out. When we were knocking on this one door, we noticed a lady right across the street smoking a cigarette and talking to a little girl. So we went to talk to her. Anyway, long story short... We ended up having this super amazing gospel conversation and she actually had a substance abuse counselor who was a Mormon and she had always wanted to learn more, plus she had just moved to town to be a live-in nanny and she was looking for a church to attend and we were like, "We can help with that!" and it ended up being really amazing. I need to call Hermana Busath and see how things went with the return appointment. She was super cool! 
When we got back from exchanges, we had dinner with the Beers, they wanted to take us out to eat. It was super amazing, they're the nicest people ever. I love them with my whole heart. My biggest desire in this area is to start teaching Lisa because I absolutely just adore her. So hopefully something happens. 
We met another cool family this week, they're Messianic Jews and they told us that they're pretty happy with their religion right now, but just based off of what Mike was saying about how they found their religion and why they decided to go there, he's looking for the restored gospel. We were respectful and had a good conversation and Sister Adduru (our team up) threw down about the Book of Mormon and encouraged them to read it and find out what's inside and they both agreed. They're the cutest little family. Mike and Karie and Elijah and Asau and Isabella and their little dog Cookie. So I think we might invite them to the Christmas party or to come play volleyball with us on Tuesdays or something. We will see. 
Some more exciting things that happened this week:
1- I got to teach a lesson in Spanish this week to our investigator Neftali and it made me super happy. I love teaching in Spanish, I wish Neftali would just move to Lancaster and get baptized in the branch because the members would love the heck out of him! 
2- We got to have dinner with the Adduru family and they made us delicious curry and they have the absolute cutest kids in the world, especially their little girl, she was so funny. She was trying to convince her dad that she was sick so she could get some medicine and he said that she didn't sound very sick so she needed to show him that she was sick and she said, "Well the cough isn't here right now so how am I supposed to show you?" And she was just the sassiest little girl. It was so funny. 
The Adduru kids burying their cat!
3- We had a great lesson with Bill. He's struggling again because his dogs both died and he's been having some family problems and so he's been smoking a little bit again. It's kind of sad but we know he's gonna be okay and some day he's gonna make it to baptism. He still comes to church and Book of Mormon class every single week. This week he was like, "I just want to get baptized so I can get up on fast Sunday and bear my testimony about the church and the Book of Mormon." And we were like, "oh Bill! You don't have to be a member to get up!" And his face just lit up and he looked so happy like all of his dreams were coming true. Super precious. 
But anyway, that about sums things up for this week. 
Honestly, I am just looking forward to these next six weeks so much, and honestly to these next couple of years of my life. The other day I was sitting, kind of kicking myself for how I've fallen short in a couple of things these past couple of weeks and I was just letting myself get really down. Honestly, this transfer has been one of the hardest transfers of my entire mission. But at the same time, I have learned so much about myself and about Jesus Christ through it all. I have been so blessed. But I couldn't help but feel disappointed in myself as I looked back on all of my shortcomings and the times where I felt that I could have done better. And then one of the wonderful members of our ward got up the other day in Relief Society and gave this wonderful lesson, and there was a quote in there that I needed to hear so much. It said, "God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than who we once were."
That hit me like a ton of bricks, and that is why I am choosing now to look forward and not back. I can't change what happened in the past, but I can allow it to make me become stronger and better. He knows who I have the potential to become, and He's going to help me get there, but we have to be looking forward if we want to get there. Like my coach always taught me, you have to be looking at the rim before you take the shot, or you're not gonna make it in. We have to look forward to our goals to be successful. That's what God asks of us. He doesn't care about when we fall short as long as we get back up and keep moving. Christ has paid for our mistakes, He loves us. He wouldn't want us to get down on ourselves. 
So to those of you who are struggling, just remember that you matter so much to God!! He adores you and He has a perfect plan for you. He knows you can make it, and I know you can too!! 
I love you guys. 
Hermana Bills