Hermana Garner Had a Birthday!
Transfer news - I'm leaving Gilbert! For the first time, I'm leaving the branch. It's bitter-sweet, really, but I feel a lot of peace about it and feel like the Spirit's been preparing me for this change. Sister Hanson is also getting transferred, but we still don't really know what's going on - the two of us could be together in a new area while Sister Anderson stays here with Sister Fuimaono, or Sister Hanson could go with Sister Showalter and I could train the new sister coming in in a new area, or .... who knows? Haha. It's a bit daunting not really knowing what's up ahead, but it's a good thing. Besides, a change of pace and scenery will probably be really helpful for me at this point!
Not going to lie - this week was really hard. It was a slow week without success (in fact, really only the opposite) despite our best efforts, and incredibly discouraging. And yet, here I am, pressing forward with the strength of my Savior. It hasn't been easy, but I'm striving to have patience and diligence. One of the things that was so hard about this week was that Luis dropped us. I felt like such a failure at that moment. I've worked so much with him, devoted so much energy to helping him understand what we're teaching and recognize the spirit, and he's simply deciding to ignore what he's experienced. It was all friendly - no hurt feelings on either side - just a broken heart on my side as a missionary who wants to see salvation come to him and his family.
Another hard thing this week was an incident that happened in the neighborhood near the church. Sandra and Sayra live around a bunch of other kids/teenagers, and one of their neighbors was shot with a BB gun by another kid in the neighborhood. He's also a former investigator, and we happened to drive up just after it had happened and right before the police arrived. Thank goodness it was only a BB gun, because he had a bad welt on his chest exactly where his heart is. They were metal BBs, so it hurt a lot and his hand was bleeding where he was hit there, but it didn't break the skin on the chest. If it had been a real gun ... it's scary to think about what would have happened. So we're praying a lot for them, their safety, peace, and comfort, and we're going to buy him some of his favorite snacks at the store today and bring them over since that's really all we can do in this situation.
|With one of the sisters from the branch who made them dinner|
But, of course, there were also upsides to the week, as there always are when you look for them. My birthday was really awesome, we had a wonderful, fun time and I felt loved and enjoyed myself. I received some great spiritual guidance from my Father in Heaven and feel I am growing closer to Him and becoming more of the woman that He wants me to be. Yesterday, we received about eight referrals (that I won't be here to contact, but oh well!). And all of our dinners this week were amazing, I am seriously going to miss the branch!
Another really hard moment this week - being given back a Book of Mormon that I gave to a potential a few months ago. As soon as she saw us, she rushed to get it, and I felt excited to share something from it with her since she seemed willing to talk to us, but she handed it to me and wouldn't take it back, and when I tried to testify of how it's brought me closer to Christ, she just said, "Pero no creo en el," and more or less shut the door on us. I broke down and cried as I carried that book back to the car. So as I mentioned in my other email, it was a difficult week for me. But in the midst of the trial, I was able to grow closer to my Father in Heaven, and he provided me with so much guidance and spiritual insight for me to understand the gospel more and also learn and grow individually.
|The last picture with Hermana Cedeño before she went home|
One thing that I've started to focus on really studying is patience. I've realized this past week that that's a Christlike attribute in which I am seriously lacking. I need to be more patient with myself, with others, and with the Lord in the going forth of His work. I've found more peace and serenity as I've studied this attribute, but know I still have a long way to go. Yesterday morning I prayed for patience, and in my prayer I said, "I'm a little scared to pray for this, because I know that it usually means that you have to wait even longer for the things you're already waiting for and be tried a bit more, but I know it's something I need, so ... help me." And then, throughout the entire day, literally NO ONE was home at ANY door that we tried to knock and go to. I just started laughing at one point, and when Sister Hanson asked why I said, "God has a sense of humor."But in all seriousness, I have learned a lot about patience.
|The Spanish zone in their zone shirts|