Well, one thing I can say about last week: I'm really glad it's over!
Okay, okay, to be fair, there were a lot of good things about last week. I got to go on exchanges (although in the end it only consisted of us going up to Boynton Beach to practice a musical number for the mission conference the next day), we had a touring general authority come speak to us at a FABULOUS Valentine's Day mission conference, we went to a rodeo, and I got to dress up like a cowgirl. But last week both Sister Holyan and I really struggled. We both had some hard family situations going on during the week and we both had our own respective little breakdowns. Mine came on Saturday, when I got a call from my mission president letting me know that my grandmother had passed away. (Getting phone calls from President is never a good thing) She's been fighting cancer and things weren't looking very good, so I knew that I would be getting one of those phone calls eventually. However, on Monday Mom had given me the update and told me that the doctors were saying she had about 2-4 months to live, so I definitely didn't expect to get the call so soon. So even though I knew it was coming and I've definitely been feeling at peace about the whole thing, it was still really hard. Then Saturday ended up being a miserable day besides that..no one was home and we weren't having any success, so staying busy & keeping myself distracted wasn't working out quite like I'd hoped. Later that evening, Sister Holyan and I both got priesthood blessings of comfort from one of our branch presidency members and they were both super beautiful blessings. One thing that really struck both of us was something he said in mine. He said something along the lines of, "The Lord wants you to know that it wasn't a coincidence that you and Sister Holyan were put together as companions. You are together at this time so that you can both help each other through your struggles." Afterwards we both just hugged each other and cried. I really have come to love her a lot and I'm super sad that we'll be separated next week. Can you BELIEVE that it's already transfer time?!?!?! I definitely can't! At the beginning I wasn't sure about her...she definitely is WILD and we are very different people, but we've become really good friends. She let me know the other day that she will always have my back and she'll take people out if they hate on me. And she meant it--yesterday our district leader (jokingly) told me to shut up...and she punched him. Yup. I love this girl.
One really beautiful experience last week was during our mission conference. As a mission, we all made a promise and commitment to the Lord that we will serve Him with all our "heart, might, mind, and strength." President had taken D&C section 4 and made it more personal by saying "Therefore, [We will] embark in the service of God, [We will] serve him with all [our] heart, might, mind and strength, that [we] may stand blameless before God at the last day..." etc. and printed it up like a contract. Then we all signed our names and guess what.... the document will be sealed in the cornerstone of the Florida Fort Lauderdale Temple! Super cool! The spirit was super strong and I was just crying over it. I feel really blessed to be able to have my name and my promise sealed in the temple!
Okay, on a lighter note...this may come as a surprise. But I have a new post-mission ambition and I am completely serious about it:
I want to be a cowgirl.
Sis Holyan is basically rodeo royalty back home...she lives on a ranch and owns 5 horses...and it's kind of rubbing off on me. For our p-day last Monday we had a western day and went to this western store and dressed up like cowgirls. And she was like, "You could totally pull it off!" And she & Santiago (our branch mission leader) are teaching me how to rope. And all of a sudden all the other elders around me know how to rope & lasso too and want to live on ranches after their missions. And we went to a rodeo on Wednesday night (we were meeting a new investigator there) and I loved it. So...I am seriously considering coming home and trying my hand at rodeo. I just have this really beautiful mental image of living on a ranch up a canyon somewhere and just riding horses late at night under the stars in my jeans, western shirt, and cowboy hat....
Yup. Never thought you'd hear that come out of my mouth, eh? Who knows, in another year I may have a completely different idea of what I want to do. But for now anyways, I really want to come home and learn to ride horses and rope calves.
Love you all!