We went to the temple with the family [who were just baptized a few weeks ago]! The mom and the older daughter got their recommends to go and do baptisms for the dead last week, so on Thursday we got to accompany them to the temple. It was so amazing to be in the temple with them, all of us dressed in white. They got to do a lot of names--close to 20 people and they were so excited to be able to participate in this sacred work. Spanish-speaking temple workers came so they could participate in confirmations and baptisms in Spanish. How great! I was surprised at how much it meant to me to be able to have this experience completely in my mission language, which I have come to love, and with people that have come to mean the world to me. It was a heavenly experience and such a blessing, for me and for the Aviles. They are truly dedicated to this new life they've chosen and they understand the sanctity of doing work for the dead. It was a huge testimony builder for me to be able to have this experience. It makes me sad that I didn't go and do baptisms for the dead more often! Go to the temple! Everybody!!
So, like Derek explained, on Saturday we get transfer calls, and if you are to receive a special assignment, the mission president calls you and extends the call. Saturday afternoon we were innocently eating bunuelos (basically a deep-fried tortilla with cinnamon sugar.... tastes like a churro!) when President Wade's ringtone started going off. I picked up the phone and President Wade said, "Hello Sister Croft, I have a special assignment for you. You'll be training a new missionary. Isn't that exciting?" I was literally in shock, literally shaking. I told him it was exciting and that I'd gladly accept the assignment. I was completely surprised. Just that morning Sister Osborn had said as we finished companionship study, "Ok hermana, the 12 week program is over. You're officially trained!" And then hours later Pres. Wade told me I'd be starting the 12 week program over, but on the trainer's side. What?! And then Sister Osborn was called to be a Sister Trainer! The sister trainers are a companionship who are assigned to go on exchanges with every sister in the mission--Chinese, English, Tongan, Spanish, Tagalog--in every area of the mission. A huge responsibility and a huge challenge! She is so prepared for it and she's going to be great! I'm so sad to see her leave though. We've been crying all day because it's hard to see this companionship come to an end! I'd imagine this is a problem that only sister missionaries have (the continuous weeping)... but it's ok! We're both excited for what lies ahead. I'm extremely humbled by the new assignment I've been given, because it comes with a lot of responsibility. All I can do is trust that the Lord has given me this calling because He knows it's what this new sister and I both need, and because He knows we have specific work to do in Richmond together. Please pray for me, and for Hermana Osborn! And for my new companion, whomever she is! I'll meet her on Wednesday night.
This has definitely been a week of refinement for me in the lessons we've taught. We have several investigators who have accepted baptismal dates for the beginning of March, but who have major difficulties they need to overcome. I'm coming to better understand my role as a missionary over the course of this week. My role as a missionary is to invite others to come to Christ, which is not an easy thing for many people. They have to experience major changes in every aspect of their lives as they learn about and accept the gospel--changes that I can't imagine having to make. It's sometimes hard to stay in my role as a missionary, and not to step into the role of a therapist or a casual friend, especially considering the training I received in school. It's been humbling to have to rely on the Spirit to tell me what to do and what to say to best represent the Savior in the capacity in which I've been called to serve. I've noticed this week, however, that I'm "settling" more into my role as a missionary. I feel like a missionary. I'm even a missionary in all of my dreams at night, even if I'm not in California in my dreams! I'm coming to understand the sacred nature of my call, and to accept and love it. At first it was hard to admit to myself that I'd committed myself to living this life, which is so completely different from anything else I've ever done, or anything that I ever saw myself doing, but that perspective is changing and I can finally admit to myself that I love being a missionary. I love being set apart to represent the Savior and to love and serve the people here in this area.