Friday, July 5, 2013

Letter #40: I love being a sister missionary!

We had a miracle baptism in Nova this week! During the first week of the transfer, we met and taught a girl named Lucia. We only taught her once, and then she went MIA...didn't return phone calls, was never home, etc. Turns out she was out of the country for some family funerals. Then a week and a half ago, she texted us out of nowhere and asked about church and talking to someone because she was really struggling. We went to see her on Sunday morning, she came to church, and started preparing for baptism the next Sunday. Lucia is absolutely amazing! She is so full of life and spirit and was so prepared. She got baptized on Sunday and was so happy afterwards. She is going to strengthen the branch so much and I am so excited for the new life that she is going to have! 

This transfer was definitely one of those "stretching" transfers...definitely painful at moments, but overall an absolutely amazing learning experience! I grew so much and I have been so happy this transfer. I learned a lot about turning things over to God and truly learning to submit to His will. I definitely learned a lot about time management and prioritizing. I feel like I grew as a missionary and especially as a person SO much over the last transfer. It is amazing to see the experiences that Heavenly Father gives us in order to help us change and become more like Him!

I have been reflecting in Nova and how grateful I am to have been able to serve here. One of my goals in every area has been to leave the area better than I found it and I was thinking about Nova and trying to discern whether or not that was the case. So many people have moved in and out while I've been here that the branch is such a different place than when I arrived six months ago. Those who have been baptized since I've been here have also brought all kinds of different experiences and personalities to the branch. Because there has been so much turn around, it was hard to think about the branch as a whole and see if I've made a positive impact on Nova. We never achieved as much unity as a branch as I hoped for and there were still certain people that I never established as great a friendship as I would have liked. But overall, I think that I truly was able to elevate the little Nova branch. I have learned so much from my time in Nova and I have loved almost every minute of it. How blessed I am to have been able to serve there!

Let's see...what happened this was another awesome week of missionary work. We are working with some great people in deepside and are still loving life, especially the new ward [also we discovered that part of our area is called "shadowside". i LOVE this place.] On Saturday they had an Independence Day rib cook-off. It was awesome. The people in this ward are so wild!! I went on an exchange to a Spanish area and it was AMAZING. It was the best my Spanish has ever been! I loved this exchange because it gave me the opportunity to exercise faith and just open my mouth and trust that God would give me the words I Spanish! And He definitely did! When Sister H would turn the lesson over to me, I would open my mouth and was surprised to realize that I had exactly the words I needed to say. Heavenly Father has definitely blessed me with the capability to speak and understand Spanish when I need to, even without getting much opportunity to study it recently! It was super cool. Sister H even told me at the end that my Spanish was good enough that she would feel comfortable with me being her companion in that area! SWEEEET!
I also got to go on an exchange to my old area again and I got to go to a correlation meeting at the church, so I was able to see some of the people in my old ward including a couple of my recent converts. When I was in Stuart, I taught & baptized a father and son (Brian & Brandon) and I got to see them on Wednesday. Actually, first I ran into Michelle, Brian's wife.... She saw me and started squealing than ran over to give me a hug, and just kept saying, "Sister Dougal! It's my girl!! I can't believe you're here!" It was so awesome and felt so good to know that there are people here who love me that much! As missionaries, sometimes I think we forget just how important the work that we are doing is. We help put people's families together for eternity, which is what I was able to help do with Michelle & Brian. And because of that, they will forever be grateful for my service! What we're doing truly IS a big deal! It's an eternally significant deal! 
Also cool was that while I was there, I saw this cute little kid in the ward who has autism. While I was serving up there, he would always come up to me on Sundays, shake my hand and tell me hi. Anyways, I hadn't thought much of it but I saw him on Wednesday and he was SO surprised and excited to see me. I definitely didn't think he would remember me, but as soon as he saw me he ran over and was like, "Sister Dougal! Why are you here? Are you still a missionary? I thought you were at home!" It was cute and was a really special moment for me. People truly do come to love and appreciate us. It made me so much more grateful for this opportunity I have to lift and bless others' lives!

{I know that none of the following will really mean anything to any of you, but these are currently the thoughts going on in MY head because these are the sorts of things that are important to missionaries...}
Transfers tomorrow....can't believe it's been 6 weeks again! I'm super excited about this new transfer and being able to focus all of my attention into ONE area instead of covering two. It will also be interesting to see what happens with our calling as sister training leaders! We are staying together....HALLELUJAH, I get 6 more weeks with my best friend...:) We know for sure they are opening a new area within our we may have 9 companions of sisters [oh my...that is a LOT!] or they might call a couple more STLs to spread the sisters out more evenly. Guess we'll see what happens! They'll also be calling a new AP, since Elder Gust (who we just adore) is going home. :( The biggest question on my mind right now is...Are they going to put sisters in Nova after we leave? Or are they going to close our area?!?! Right now it's looking like it might only be the APs in Nova with no sisters..... that would be so interesting. Also they whitewashed all of the leadership in my zone...transferred out ALL of the district leaders...SUPER interesting! Excited to see what happens this next transfer!

sister dougal

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