I was calm and at peace about transfers because the spirit told me I was leaving and I just knew it was what was right and what I needed. I thought I would be stressing and having headaches and feel sick and just not like it. But I was happy to meet my new companion and I just got to work as quickly as I could. I unpacked fast and got settled in and I'm just giving my heart to this area. This is where the Lord wants me, so why fight it? I'm finding myself to just be happy all the time and just love what's happening and to smile and laugh through the hard times. I also find myself wanting to only work! Yesterday I had bad stomach pains and ear pains and back pains and a migraine and I felt sick.... yet I couldn't let myself stay in. I wanted to teach and work. And I was so bummed when we got sent in for the night because of the ice! No! I wanted to work and see people! I'm turning into a real missionary!! Hahaha
We have a full time car here and 100 more miles than Nashville. Our ward boundaries are bigger than the entire Nashville zone. It's pretty flat out here. And it actually snowed yesterday and stuck to the ground! We were told that our entire zone was shut down because of the ice so we had to go in early last night... luckily we were able to come out today. So if I ever skip a week of emailing... we're probably stuck in our apartment.
We're going to the temple on the 21st. I'm so excited!! My temple dress has been hanging up just waiting for me to put in on and feel like an angel again. I'm so excited to go to the temple! I didn't realize how blessed I was to have a temple so close until I couldn't go to it at my own free will any more. I don't think I've ever been more excited to just go into the temple and feel the spirit and talk with my Heavenly Father even more. That is the one place where I can go and absolutely know for sure that the church is true and that God is present.
I already miss Cha so much!! Good thing we can write to recent converts. We're going to be eternal friends!! She is my joy so far. If she is my only convert (besides myself) I will be happy! Her testimony is through the roof! Her testimony is mind blowing. I can't say enough how much she is an example to me! Living proof that the atonement changes lives!
We are teaching the best people. We have a 19 year old girl named Brianna out here who is getting baptized on Sunday. She is really sweet. I just met her yesterday.
We're also teaching a 74 year old named Wanda. She cracks me up!! She was telling us that she was laughing so hard just before we came over because she was standing on her daughters back while her daughter did push-ups. Hahahaha She was in her Betty Boop PJ's and she told us about how she used to belly dance and how she's going to watch the Super Bowl and she is so active and funny and old! I love her so much! She's also pretty upset that we don't really cook. She said she's going to whip us into shape and teach us how. She also set a baptism date for herself!! She was going to get baptized about 20 years ago but she couldn't quit smoking... she only has to give up coffee now. She set a date for April 6th just as a goal to work towards. Oh she is just full of life and so sweet.
We also taught a 94 year old who we had to yell the entire time because she can't hear. When she would walk somewhere she reminded me of a cartoon because she would take a few fast steps in place like she was winding up and then she'd start moving forward slower than I've ever seen any human being walk. She's adorable. She refused to come to church and is really set in her ways... but we're going to baptize that woman. I love the old people out here!
Lastly we're teaching Kate. Kate is the girlfriend of a less active named John who is coming back. We had a picture perfect lesson with them. I felt like it was the District movie they have us watch before we become missionaries and they were supposed to film us! We had a member there and John and Kate both had their Book of Mormon in their hands and they had read together and Kate came to church for the first time yesterday and she loved it and her 2 boys loved it too!! We're just going to take off with them!
I've started to love this area slowly. It's a huge change and I know that Heavenly Father is just asking me to trust Him. I'm shocked at how well I handled the transfer. I went with an open mind and heart and I've just been happy. I haven't found anything negative... I don't love it yet as much as Nashville... but I'm working towards gaining that kind of love for this area. It's a new adventure that I was honestly ready for. It was time to stretch more, learn new skills, and strengthen my testimony. It's humbling and I am just so happy. I know that I will never regret this decision. I can't imagine how anyone can live a good life without experiencing a mission!! It's too great to miss out on. It's the best thing I have ever done. Ever. My heart is so full of gratitude right now. I just can't believe how right Heavenly Father always is.
Sister Ferrin and I were talking last night in the car about how we are so far from everyone and yet we obey. We go in on time and we just obey. We could get away with anything we wanted to out here. But Heavenly Father trusts us. I can't imagine how much trust it takes for Heavenly Father to let us do His work. We're imperfect. We mess up. Yet He trusts us with His children and trusts us that we will obey. Then it hit me... If He trusts us this much, why is it so hard for us to trust Him in the work? I'm still working on my ongoing theme this transfer with "Trust in the Lord." It's fascinating to learn about. My testimony on this subject has exploded! Oh man. I just love this gospel. Mom, since you're so good at listening to what I say, I want to give you a challenge this week. I want you to trust in the Lord for EVERYTHING this week. Be so specific in your prayers and pay more attention to the spirit than you ever have before. You will be blown away by the things the Lord will show you to do and where He will lead you. I'm going to do this as well and we'll report to each other next week. This challenge is also open to anyone who is willing to try.
I have had some meaningful studies this week. I started really focusing on the spirit. How to obtain revelation and how to listen to the spirit in lessons. I read a talk on how to receive revelation. This is how you do it:
2. write it down
3. ponder the meaning of the things you wrote down
4. study their meaning and apply it to your life
5. pray and review with the Lord what you received
6. thank Him for the guidance given
7. ask if there is more
I did this! I felt like I needed to re-read D&C 6. (My great revelation chapter) I learned more this time! The things that kept popping up were to be patient, have faith, obey, and work. I told the Lord what I had learned. I asked if there was more and He just told me to smile. I need to work on smiling more. It was so cool! I'm loving the scriptures more and more and I'm just diving right into them! I can't wait to read more! After that study, we had a lesson with John and Kate and I could totally feel the spirit. It was relieving to feel the spirit and to teach with it again. I found a scripture that applied to them and I think they felt the spirit too. It's hard to focus on feeling the spirit all the time and listening to the Lord... but I did it once and it payed off! So I'm going to do it again.
I set some new goals for this new transfer. I'm really excited about them! One of them is to exercise daily and eat healthy.. because I know if I don't do that out here.. I'll get fat real fast. Also.. I'm trying not to be self critical. I think so many times as missionaries we focus on our negatives and the things we're struggling with. I know that we are always striving to be better and that's good... but we shouldn't beat ourselves up about things. So.. every time I'm thinking something negative about myself.. I'm going to turn it into a positive and find a strength to match it.
I love you so much. It makes me know I'm doing right when you share with me how you are being blessed. It makes that line from my blessing real! I figured it was true.. but the stories make it real. Always tell me about those! I love you and can't wait to email you next week!
Well I've got to go. I love you so much! I hope you have a great week. Again... I LOVE YOU!
Sister Mickelsen and I got matching Vanderbilt sweatshirts
P-day by the Johnny Cash mural
Sunset in Marion Illinois