Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter #61: Feliz Navidad!

It's so crazy for me to sit here with only 2 transfers left. Actually...I only have 11 weeks, since my last transfer will be cut short by a week. I didn't ever think I'd actually reach this point in my mission. It literally feels like I just got here. Last Wednesday, when I was saying goodbye to Sister Clayton at 5:30 am before she and the other departing missionaries left for the Orlando temple, it seemed like it had only been a week earlier when I'd been there saying goodbye to Sister Spjut. It's a really weird feeling, to watch people that I've served around my whole mission go home. Three of my previous companions left last week....that means I'm down to having only 2 comps who are still alive in the mission.

After attempting to take a nap on the church couches with the other sisters who had sent off companions that morning, I got a huge surprise at transfer meeting. I honestly could not figure out who my new companion was going to be. My area is at the very end of the transfer read-out, and I was watching all of the sisters get assigned away to other areas. I just kept thinking, Who could it be? And then...surprise....SISTER GORDON is my "new" companion! An audible gasp went up from the other missionaries when they called our names. It's not very often that you get put back with a previous companion, and it's definitely rare to be put back with your trainer again! So, now I'm training her again, but this time it is how to be a sister training leader! (How cool, my daughter is an STL!) The funny thing is, I'd actually had the thought that it might happen but dismissed it with a "No, they wouldn't do that!" As surprising as it was, I really am excited about it. It's nice to be able to have a "second chance" with her since I felt like I didn't really know how to be a loving companion when I was her trainer. It's also nice because we already know how to work together, we both know the branch, and we both love YSA! I plan on tearing it up with her this transfer! :) 
Things have gone really well so far....we truly had a transfer week full of miracles. We were able to get in contact with both Christina and Manuel, who were supposed to get baptized last week. They had both lost their phones and so we hadn't been able to get a hold of them for days. 
It's been amazing to me to see how the Lord truly is hastening His work. At the beginning of my mission, occasionally we would meet really amazing and elect people and I always remember how excited we would get. Now, I experience that feeling every seems like EVERY SINGLE PERSON we meet is just SO prepared and ready for the gospel. Our teaching pool is full of amazing people. The Lord needs these people in His church so that His work can move forward, and it is so cool to watch as He puts them into our paths! For example, 19-year-old Remington who showed up at the family ward last week, found the bishop, and told him that he wanted to be baptized. We're also working with Benny, who began to cry the first time that we met and prayed with him and told us how ready he was to put God first in his life and receive forgiveness. He was the one who showed up to church last Sunday, our tender mercy :) Benny and Remington came to church this Sunday and are preparing for baptism this weekend. Both of them are truly seeking to change their lives and they are so eager to learn more about the gospel. Remington kept volunteering to read in Sunday school and wanted to answer all the questions....and surprised us by knowing all the right answers! Benny was diligently taking notes in Sunday school and at the end of church, he expressed disappointment that it was already done and that it seemed "so short!" I don't know what we did to be able to work with such awesome investigators, but I am truly grateful to the Lord for trusting us with them.

My vision for this transfer is to more deeply internalize my purpose and to become a true representative of Jesus Christ so that when people look at me or talk to me, they will be able to KNOW and FEEL that I love and represent Him because I will have truly "received His image in [my] countenance." I am going to be studying the life of Christ this transfer and focusing on becoming a selfless servant. 

Well, I am excited for this transfer. I am excited to learn from Sister Gordon as well as to learn from the things that I once taught her that I maybe have forgotten. She had me in tears the other day! She told me, "Sister Dougal, I just want you to know that everything I do as a missionary and everything I learned about being a missionary I learned from you. Thank you."

It honestly does NOT feel like it is Christmas this week, but it is fun to see all the Christmas lights and decorations up around Miami. People here LOVE Christmas! Everyone we pass on the street and talk to will tell us, "Tenga buen Navidad!"
So...MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'd just like to remind you that you only have 2 more days to complete Elder Ballard's commitment to talk to someone about the gospel by Christmas. I hope you won't just brush that commitment came from an APOSTLE, after all! And if you didn't make it a priority...luckily, there's repentance, and I'm sure he'd be satisfied as long as you open your mouth before New Year's. :)

Have a fabulous Christmas week!

Feliz Navidad,
Sister Dougal

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