So, my new companion is here! Her name is Sister Camarillo and she was born in Mexico City, lived most of her growing up years in Provo, and then moved around in Mexico. She used to live in Monterrey, where Nathan served his mission! She's doing really great and I'm learning a lot from her. She comes from an awesome family. She has 2 younger sisters and a younger brother, and her family lives in Mexico right now. Her dad is in charge of the Church's humanitarian program for the whole country of Mexico! She's a great missionary and she's working hard and learning very quickly.
It's interesting how the Lord gives you exactly what you need to be able to grow. I was shocked to be assigned to be the senior companion and a trainer so early on, but I'm already seeing that this is exactly what I need to be able to grow into the missionary the Lord wants me to be. I've learned in just a few days what it means to truly lose yourself in the work. It's interesting because I see missionary work a lot differently now that I'm the senior companion in my area. This assignment has really helped me recognize the sacredness of this time that we have to be working in this companionship and in this area, and that the Lord really has blessed us with a wonderful opportunity and we can't afford to waste a minute of it. I'm completely exhausted, and so happy. I've never been this exhausted in my whole life, not even when I had my 4:00 AM job or when I didn't sleep at all in high school. But I've never felt more urgently the desire to keep working. The Lord has been very merciful in helping me learn how to really serve Him with everything I have.
Anyway, now I shall describe my week. :) Monday involvled lots of crying. Lots of it. We had an appointment with the family [was baptized a few weeks ago] and Sis. Osborn had to say goodbye. It was very hard for everybody. We taught a lesson on endure to the end, and we know that this family will continue to live the gospel, even when the missionaries leave. They are wonderful.
On Tuesday we woke up early in the morning to finish packing everything to send Sis. Osborn off to San Mateo. We got everything packed and went to Oakland. I said goodbye to my companion, which was totally weird because we've gotten so close over the past 2 transfers. Then I was companions with Sister Essig, from the English program in San Leandro. I got to work in her area and be her companion for Tuesday and most of Wednesday. She's a great missionary and I learned a lot from her!
On Wednesday I got to work in the Visitor's Center with Sister Essig. I LOVED it! It is such a wonderful place, and the Spirit is definitely the teacher there. I got to teach a father and son that came in. I had to do it by myself because Sister Essig doesn't speak Spanish, but it was a great experience to be able to teach with the resources of the Visitor's Center. Awesome! I also met a man who walked in, not knowing anything about the church, but who has read the Book of Mormon one and a half times. He told us he prayed about it and he had a powerful experience and knows it's true! This was a few years ago, and he's never met with missionaries at all. Amazing! We got his information and hopefully he will meet with the missionaries soon. In just one day at the VC I saw lots of miracles!
On Wednesday night I got to meet Sister Camarillo. We had a short meeting with all of the trainers and new missionaries, and then headed home so she could get some rest.
On Thursday, we started out by going to Auto Zone to get a new light bulb for the rear blinker of our car. An easy fix, right? Yes, maybe. We knew how to change the bulb but couldn't get it off because it was on too tight, so we asked the AutoZone guy for help. He tried to help us but couldn't get it off, so we decided to just buy the bulbs and have the mission take care of it later that day. As he walked away I followed him to give him an invitation to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon. As I was talking to him about the Book of Mormon, I heard the trunk of our car slam, and my heart dropped because I realized that the keys were in the trunk. NOOOOOOO!!! Ay-ay-ay. The AutoZone guy laughed at us and went inside, and I started trying to stop myself from panicking. I called my district leader and told him we would be over an hour or so late to district meeting (basically all of district meeting), and then called Oakland to tell them we needed someone to bring us keys. My wallet, my planner, and everything except the phone and my purse were in the car. That left us with a set of Spanish scriptures, about 10 pass-along cards, a cell phone, and an hour and a half of time that needed to be used effectively. I felt HORRIBLE. My first day as a trainer and my brand-new companion and I were locked out of the car with almost nothing. So we did street contacting! It was actually good because it was a nice way to get a feel for Sister Camarillo's teaching style and personality, and we did talk to a lot of people. Unfortunately none of them spoke Spanish, but it's ok! I felt like puking the whole rest of the day because I felt so guilty for missing district meeting and wasting the time of the person who had to come from Oakland to open our car. We did get about 6 referrals for the Tagalog program, so maybe that's why we were there.
Other highlights from this week.... It's actually been quite a tough week as far as investigators go. Let me 'splain.
[G], who had a baptismal date, dropped us this morning. We had an appointment with her on Saturday and we were trying hard to resolve her concerns about church. When I was in San Leandro, I called her and asked her how she was doing. I had talked to her after church and she said that she loved it, that she wanted everyone to be baptized, etc. Then on the phone when I called her from San Leandro, she talked straight for 15 minutes about how she didn't ever want to go to church again because everyone is rich and she's poor, and how she felt like the people who gave their testimonies in fast and testimony meeting were trying to compete with each other for who had the best testimony, etc. It was awful. I was trying so hard not to cry during that conversation. During our lesson with [G] on Saturday, it was the same thing. She's also stopped reading the Book of Mormon and told us straight up that she didn't want to come to church. We tried to teach the doctrinal importance of church attendance, but she has so many problems, in her family, with her self-esteem, with her preoccupations on being at church, that nothing changed. This morning she called me and said that she doesn't have time to meet with us and that she'll call us when she's ready. Sad. :( She is such a good woman, and she will get baptized someday.
[M] had a baptismal date last week. It was a miracle because he has been investigating the church for FOREVER. When I was in San Leandro I called him and called him but he never answered. When we had an appointment with him, the first thing I did was follow up on the word of wisdom. The requirement for baptism in this mission is that they have to live the WOW for 3 weeks at minimum. He is within those three weeks. He told me that every morning he's still been drinking coffee with his milk at breakfast. I was so, so disappointed and sad when he told me that. He knows the word of wisdom, and Sister Osborn and I had made it very clear that he was within his 3 weeks. He wants to be baptized on the 26th because he wants to be baptized by the former bishop of the ward, who is moving permanently to Chile in 3.5 weeks. When we told him he couldn't get baptized on the 26th, he got really angry, as did his wife, and he said that if he didn't get baptized on the 26th, he wouldn't get baptized at all. They talked about how nobody is perfect and how there are lots of members who drink coffee. That's probably true. All we could do is testify of the importance of obedience and the restored gospel--that the word of wisdom is a commandment from God. The saddest part of this is not that [M] won't be getting baptized on the 26th, but that he's not repenting. He doesn't have a desire to leave behind the coffee in favor of the gospel. I actually cried during the lesson, which freaked me out, and Marlon kept saying "No llore, no llore" (don't cry, don't cry). The mission is hard! It's emotionally very difficult. But the gospel is true, and there's nothing I'd rather be doing than serving a mission!
Hilarous story of the week: Locking the keys in the car, aaaaand, a guy telling us to be careful in a certain neighborhood and to not go into a certain apartment complex. I looked to the apartment complex where he was pointing and it was [the apartment complex of the family who was baptized a few weeks ago] :) Hahahahha.