So I feel like I should have all this crazy news but again this week I really don't. We met with President and Sister O on Thursday aka 4th of July. Quick side note: We had a ward breakfast that morning and naturally Sister T and I wanted to dress in red, white, in blue. The ward went crazy over us. They thought we were the greatest thing they had ever seen. Apperently, they had never had missionaries get super excited or involved or something. Anyways, back to the O's. They are wonderful. I already love them so much. The number one thing I was worried about in meeting them was that they would be unapproachable or hard to relate to but that is so far from the truth. They are warm, real, down to earth, spiritual giants, in love, and hilarious. Those are just a few of their traits. As individuals and as a couple. I can't wait to get to know them better.
We show up to the welcome meeting and are greeted by many familiar faces but by even more strangers (since there are 3 Carlsbad zones and only 2 Anaheim zones). We walk into the chapel and notice that the room is split down the middle by tape with signs for the Carslbad missionaries on one side and a sign for the Anaheim missionaries on the other. We were all super confused. We thought the point of this meeting was to help us integrate and get to know each other better. After the meeting started we heard a testimony from a missionary from both missions. The AP from Carlsbad then explained that the tape was there as an object lesson. We would be getting to know each other in the next hour and the idea was that the segregation no longer existed after the activity and we would come back together as the Irvine mission. We got into groups of 5 or 6 and answered "What is something unique that we ALL have in common?" "Who has the most embarassing mission experience?" "What excites you most about being part of the new Irvine mission?" President and Sister O walked around and would join in different groups. The AP's would stop us periodically to switch groups and have a couple groups answer some of the questions. It was a lot of fun. We joined back together to hear from President and Sister O. It was a blast getting to know them better. They have 7 kids. They LOVE polonesians. Obviously. And Hawaii. They have four unmarried sons. And I beleive 3 married daughters. They met at BYU. That is a long crazy story for another time. They are just great. After their introductions President went into a mini training. It was then that I realized how powerful he is. He told us that he was impressed many times from the Spirit that "we are His chosen ones". He explained that as we bring two missions togther there are going to be differences and none of them really matter because in the end we all have the most important thing in common and that is our purpose to being others unto Christ through the gospel. It was awesome. The Spirit was there very strong. I knew that what he was saying was true and key to a smooth and successful transition.
Our district was lucky enough the be the first to have interviews with President O later that afternoon. I had the best time getting to know him one on one. He was so interested and took down numerous notes. I could tell he cared. We talked about What makes me different. We talked about my area. To my surprise he praised me on my work and said we had some of the best numbers in the mission. We talked about my struggles, my strengths, my ambitions. We talked a lot about my family. He told me that he wants to meet them all very badly. He invited himself to my wedding. :) He made is clear that he cares about me more than just now as a missionary but what I will become. It made me wonder if there are missionaries out here that might not have a dad and what a wonderful father figure President O can be for them. Change is not always bad. Sometimes it comes just when we need and in the way we need it. I know that if I have faith in Heavenly Father I will be happy. I just know He is SO much smarter than me.
Pdays are on Tuesday for the next couple weeks. President will announce the final decisions on how things will be done at transfers. He needs some time to figure things out and receive inspiration on what will work best. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. All I know is Monday's are rough now! Haha Our minds are conditioned for a break that we don't get for an extra day now.
Sister T and I are doing well. We have had a lot of fun in our finding activities. One of the things that we are struggling with right now is getting our ward members involved in missionary work and receiving referrals from them. We have made it a goal to brainstorm and try different things to try and help the members recognize their role. We want them to know that we are here to do whatever they need. We want to be a support not a burrden. We are both hopeful that as the members come to realize how much our success depends on them they will be more quick to act. Just as we testify, commit, and promise blessings to our investigators we know that we must do that with the members as well. We have also determined that we want to be better at having members with us at every lesson where it is possible. We know the testimony of a member is so powerful.
I have been thinking a lot about my purpose this week. On Sunday in fast and testimony meeting I was prompted to share my testimony about how missionary work is focused on the Savior and bringing families closer together through living the principles of the gospel. I have come to know that the family really is key. I know personally that as a missionary my family has and continues to receive blessings as I am away. I know that I am helping people have the opportunity to be with their families forever by helping them prepare to make sacred covenants. And finally, I know that the work I am doing to save families now will be an incredible blessing to me and my future family. The gospel is connected to everything. The actions we make have an effect on way more than we realize. It has been a growing experience to understand that what I do matters. 18 months is not a very long time. I want to make sure that I " start strong, and finish well" as President O stated.
Our area is doing well. Our investigators have been out of town or sick this past week. It was hard to not have contact with them. It is amazing the love you gain for people so quickly. We are excited to see potentials turn into solid truth seeking investigators. Summer time is hard but life is good.
I hope this email finds you all happy and well! It's summer time. Your schedules are open...GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES! :)