Wow. My heart is full and a little bit sad.
I am so excited for friends leaving on missions and coming home.
I have made some awesome friends here in the field that are going home tomorrow, namely my trainer- Mama Dewey.
At Alona's baptism (I'll tell you more about that shortly) on Saturday, an elder came up to me and said "Sister Andelin! You've been out for 9 months! You're half-way done!"
And I just stood there, thinking, "Way to ruin a priceless moment, Elder. Thanks." Haha. But I was a little overcome with sadness thinking how fast time flies. It still amazes me how much I don't know, for how long I've been out. I guess that is the whole fun of it all.
Sometimes, I feel like a greenie still, not really knowing what the heck is going on around me. As one elder often says "I'm just a little boy in a big world." And that is how I feel most of the time, except more like "A little girl in a big world." Especially more so now, because we are learning a whole new way of teaching instituted from Church Headquarters. I have nick-named it "NETS" (New and effective teaching style). (I'm also trying to get that nickname to catch on in the mission) But it's fun. I love it. I'm just taking each day, one at a time, and loving it.
Anyhew. Let's recap the week.
I had the chance to speak at a morning side for some seminary kids here in Vegas the other morning. I was so excited to speak, because I got to share my story of how I decided to serve and how everything just fell into place in the end. Also, one of my favorite elders (the one from the picture last week) also spoke as well and he did a great job. Also, just for your informations, he was just called as the new AP. Haha. But it was just a cool experience and I hope that I can have inspired some young women (and men) to go on missions one day. At the end, I said "Heavenly Father is preparing people in your missions to be taught by YOU one day."
Which speaking of, I got the best email from Sister Diaz today telling me that she was asked to speak in stake conference this upcoming Saturday evening on her conversion story. I am just elated and I wish I could go, but we have a baptism at that time.
OK. OK. OK.
Remember Dennis that I've told you about? Maybe I haven't. Well Dennis is awesome. He was in a really bad car accident 7 years ago and has very limited communication. He communicates mainly through head nods "yes" and "no" and occasional one word answers (like last night we asked him what his favorite color is and he said "blue") He is definitely there, but can't really communicate. His wife is a member and they've been married for 30+ years. She is amazing. She is his full-time caretaker and she loves him unconditionally. It is like the sweetest love story. EVER. He is getting baptized this Saturday evening at, but he had not been in water ever since the accident, so we decided a "practice baptism" would be appropriate. (He has a lot of family and friends coming in from around the country for his actual baptism, so that's why we didn't just have the baptism then) So we summoned a group of elders to come and help and they figured out how many people were needed to help carry him and be in the font. It was so neat. I can't wait for his actual baptism this Saturday. It will be an incredible experience.
Speaking of baptisms, Alona was baptized this past week. Alona is amazing. Downright amazing. She is Russian and has lived in the states for only about 12 years. She has a thick accent and it is so cute. She never really had religion growing up in Russia. She tried different churches, because she was curious, but never felt anything. Then when she came to the states, some of her Russian friends started joining the church. She became somewhat curious. Then she went to SLC this past fall and wanted to visit temple square. One of her friends warned her not to go, because he said "The Mormons will brainwash you if you go." She dismissed him and said, "I will not be brainwashed and I want to go." She went and while there an important man (we are assuming a general authority, because she said everyone kept staring at them all wide-eyed) heard her accent and started talking to her. He dismissed the sister missionaries there and said he would show her around. They spent the next 3 hours touring temple square. She said he wasn't pushy, he just shared his love for his church with her. And she felt something. When she returned home, she figured out how to get the missionaries to come. My MTC comp and her comp taught her the first couple of lessons. And then she took a break. When my comp and I came in, she contacted us and said she was ready to start the lessons again. Her baptism was beautiful. She bore her testimony and told her story. She is a very logical person, very sharp, and independent. (She owns her own construction company) But as she bore her testimony she said, "I finally felt something when I came here. And I am very logical. I need to know whys. But I just felt it was right. But it is like the lights (she pointed to the ceiling). I don't know how they work, they just do. And I am ok with this." (Read in a Russian accent, it is much cooler) She was just beaming. So excited. She literally glowed.
The next day at church, another one of our investigators, Elizabeth, was sitting with us in the pews. She is also super awesome. She came to the baptism. She caught a ride on the bus to get there and she said she wanted to be spiritually prepared for the baptism, so she brought her triple combo and started reading it on the bus ride over. She went to look up baptism in the index and opened to Joseph Smith History. She read a line that said "the laying on of hands." She was really excited because she remembered us teaching her about that and then she read a few verses back and it was all about baptism. She was so excited to tell us this at Alona's baptism. Now fast forward a little bit.Before Sacrament meeting starts, Sis L and I normally hand out programs to people as they walk in. Elizabeth got there a little bit early and she came up to talk to us. So naturally, we put her to work. We gave her some programs to hand to people as they walked in. (It was a great way for the ward to get to meet her.) It was hilarious, because she would say to everyone "Hi..I'm Elizabeth!" Then the meeting started and she sat with us in the pews. After the opening prayer, she turned to me and said, "I'm so excited for Alona to get the Holy Ghost!" And then as she went up to receive the Holy Ghost, Elizabeth clapped her hands together and said "Woot! I'm so excited!" (We're hoping she'll be baptized by the end of this month.)
Right before Alona's baptism, our phone rang. The APs called. They asked what we were doing that afternoon. I checked our planner-- a baptismal interview. "Why do you ask?"
"Do you want to go to a special meeting with Elder Teh of the 70?"
"Yes. We'll rearrange our schedule."
Haha. We got to go to a special missionary training with stake presidents, ward mission leaders, ward missionaries, and bishops in the surrounding areas. There were about 10 other full-time missionaries there. When the meeting started, I turned around, to learn that we were literally the only two sisters in the room. Haha. The meeting was really good--- just all about how missionaries and members can work better together and HASTEN THE WORK!
Transfer calls are out.
And the verdict:
I AM STAYING!!!
AND SO IS SISTER LARSEN!!!
I am actually really excited for this next transfer. It's gonna be a good one. We have some really exciting things that are going to happen.
I am so blessed here.
I just love it. I LOVE IT. I LOVVVVVEEEEEEEE IT.
Love you too!
|District picture after breakfast at Bishop Larkins!|
|Dennis's practice baptism|
|Sometimes when their outdoor gate is locked, you use a random pole to ring the doorbell!|
|Kathy, one of our inv, broke her FEMUR. Ouch.|