It's that time again, transfers!! Wow, this has been a week full of meetings, exchanges, office work, and of course smiles all day every day! :) Last Monday was Elder Chiu's last preparation day of his mission so we went to lunch with some Elders and then went shopping for him. We visited Yuliya so that Elder Barlow and Elder Chiu could say goodbye and she is doing well. She wants to get baptized, but is fighting the temptation to doubt. It is so important that we read the Book of Mormon everyday so that we can withstand those temptations! She struggles knowing that there are people that used to be strong in the church, but have gone off the path. She has asked many times how that could happen and I believe it to be comparable to riding a bike. How can someone that has ridden a bike for so many years now be nervous to get back on? It's because they stopped practicing. It doesn't mean they never knew how to ride, nor does it mean that riding a bike is wrong! Simply put, something can only be meaningful to us when we use it. She is making progress and we are proud of her! After our lesson with Yuliya, we ran to the church to plan our instructions for First Transfer Training. God is so good and I felt truly guided in my preparations. The meeting went very well the next morning! All of the instructions were very inspirational and I was grateful to be able to talk about repentance. It is something that should be central to our teaching, regardless of our callings! Repentance is such a gift from God, it is the process by which we make Jesus Christ a daily part of our lives. We taught Rich Tuesday night and had a great lesson about the First Vision. He really is a great man. We tracted the rest of the night and boy did it feel incredible!! Have I ever shared how much I love tracting? If not, here it is. I love it. Wednesday was a big driving day! We drove down to Jacksonville for district meeting and were edified by Elder Mortimer's great instruction. It was terrific being able to see many of the missionaries and interact with them! We love them all so much and are so grateful for their dedicated service out here. We had an exchange planned with the Wilmington Zone Leaders, but on our way down there we made a few quick stops. The first of which was to Laney High School, Michael Jordan's High School! We jumped out of the car, took some pictures, and went on our merry way. We then swung by Britt's donuts, an incredibly famous donut shop with the best donuts in the world. It was my last time there so I made sure to enjoy it! Our exchange was great, Elder Chiu and I went with Elder Rawlins. We tracted for the first half of it and as we did, we ran into a Hispanic woman. We taught her the Restoration and she was so prepared!! We asked her what it would mean to her if there was a modern prophet on the Earth today and she told us it would be something that everyone would need to know about! She said she would want to go listen to him right away! It was a tender mercy to be able to teach in Spanish again and at the end of the contact, she asked me if I was from Spain! It's been quite some time since anyone has asked me that.. The climax of the exchange was definitely meeting with our Congolese family. They fed us a meal, we shared many scriptures with them, and then they told me some news. Elias, the father, explained to me that they are moving away. They have family in South Dakota and have decided to move out there. He explained that they were leaving the following day and it was heartbreaking to watch him. I could tell it was hard for him to break the news to me, but I did my best to motivate them, encourage them to find the church out there, and stay active. They sang a few songs for us and then we all said our goodbyes. It was extremely painful to say goodbye, especially knowing I won't see them for quite some time, but I have faith in the Lord that he will watch over my family. I love them so dearly and have spent hours on my knees in prayer for them. I thank God for the miracle it was to be a part of their conversion. From the day we found them to now, they have gone through so much. Yet they do a great job staying strong in their faith and relying on the Lord! Thursday was a very heavy day administration wise trying to prepare ourselves for transfers this week, but we stayed positive! We were able to sneak out for a little while to teach a man we found last week. His name is Ray and he is the best! He has read from the Book of Mormon that we gave him last week and he even had questions! We established some expectations with him and began to share the message of the Plan of Salvation. He loved it! Friday was another busy day taking care of administrative things. We started the day with an MLC meeting where all of our zone leaders and sister training leaders come to Raleigh to discuss the needs of the mission. The meeting was great and we got a lot of things figured out! We have some great leadership in this mission, many missionaries who are striving to become consecrated more and more each day. I love their examples! I just hope I can follow. Saturday was probably the busiest day of the week, trying to finalize transfers! As we talked about various situations and different ideas, the transfer board slowly but surely came together until we all felt that each missionary was in the right spot with the right companion. Of course the most important thing is that President receives confirmation for each name, individually. His ability to follow the Spirit confounds me. It is one of the greatest blessings to watch him work and learn from his example. We filled out all of our electronic transfer forms and he made his calls to the missionaries! It was a great day working alongside him, Sister James, and my wonderful companions! Today has also been fantastic! We went to church this morning and it was great to see a few of our investigators come. They love church and we believe they will be baptized very soon! After church we drove up to Durham to pick up my new companion!! His name is Elder Jones and I am extremely excited to work with him! We are going to have a great transfer together. We brought him back to the church to do a little emailing and now we are headed to the mission home to have dinner with a few missionaries departing tomorrow! We will have a testimony meeting and a great night with them. And then tomorrow, we pick up the new missionaries! 19 of them will be coming in!! It's going to be a great day and a great week! I love this gospel, I know this church is true with all of my heart. My testimony is strengthened each and every day that God will take care of us. All he requires is that we rely on him unconditionally! I have learned that in the end, it is not only the better choice, but the easier choice as well.
Gearing up for the best transfer of his mission,