Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference and Transfers

After I last e-mailed last Monday, we worked hard that night and went all the way out to Browns Yard, NB to visit an active family in our ward--the Johnsons*. They're the ones who know Baba. They were so excited that we saved up our Ks all month to see them, and it was a really great visit. Sister Nelson and I made the long, dark, scary, moose-y drive home and it was terrifying and exciting. The next morning, we had personal study at 8, companion study at 9, French study at 10, and lunch at 11. At about 11:10, we got a call from President Leavitt. You know you should just hang up immediately when the first words he says are, "Are you at your apartment? Is the phone on speaker? Is your companion there?" Never answer yes to any of those questions or he'll tell you one of you is getting transferred!

The circumstances are these: Sisters in this mission really serve for about 19 months rather than 18, because people hit 18 months mid-transfer. Sister K got hit by a car and that was kind of the end of it for her. So she'll be serving for 17.5 months instead of 19. She's going home at the end of this transfer (October 27) with Sister Hart. She's finishing up the last 3 weeks of her mission living in the mission home.

So Sister K will be going to Dartmouth. To take her spot in Charlottetown, Sister Rust left Fredericton. I am now taking Sister Rust's spot in Fredericton with Sister Sandberg (who is 19 and has been out just a transfer longer than me). Sister Doherty left Halifax to be with Sister Nelson in Riverview. To make things work, one companionship in Halifax is covering two areas. It's a little crazy right now.

I was really upset to be leaving Riverview, but excited. As soon as President broke the news to us, Sister Nelson got upset and I started crying haha, even though I was excited. Then President asked, "Sister Lewis, how do you feel about this?" And I said, "I'm excited!" even though I was crying at the same time. And he sighed and said, "Of course you are, Sister Lewis. We could tell Sister Lewis she was being transferred to a tent in the forest, there to be eaten by the wild bears, and she'd be excited. Well, thanks for being willing anyway." And hung up. Haha as a side note, whenever he asks how I'm doing, in response to my answer he says, "Now Sister Lewis, are you really doing great, or are you just saying that because you're an optimistic person?" Haha.

So that was Tuesday morning. We called the Elders to tell them and that was horrible, then we called the Calls, and they invited us over to say bye to them since they were about to go out of town until after I'd leave for Fredericton. We had sad goodbyes there--it was REALLY hard to say goodbye to them. I said bye to the Bishop too, which was very hard. He started crying. Then we just continued our missionary work that night. Wednesday we had several lessons planned and I had to say goodbye to the majority of our investigators. Thursday was my last day in Riverview and by then, most of the ward knew I was getting transferred, and a lot of them swung by the church or called to say goodbye. We don't really know what's going to happen with the primary program now. Lots of tears from me and ward members! Sister Nelson was very stressed because she doesn't feel like she knows the area or the members well enough yet, and lots of people have threatened to send hate mail to President for this haha. But Thursday night, we had a dinner appointment with the four Elders with some members (the only time that has happened and will ever happen--so ineffective to take all the missionaries out in an area for an hour). It was a really good appointment and I shared the spiritual thought, which was on prayer (2 Nephi 32), and it was very spiritual as Sister Nelson and I taught our last "lesson" together. It was a great experience. After that we had our YSA bible study at the church with the Elders and our two YSA reps. I lead that as well, and it was also a very spiritual experience. We made carameled apples for the activity afterwards, then we took last pictures as a district, everyone signed my goodbye book, and then we said goodbye one last time. It was a really hard day. Oh yeah, and that morning I was throwing up for a few hours, so it was fun to run to the bathroom all through district meeting.

Early Friday morning we transferred. Sister Sandberg and I are a SUPER motivated companionship. President is excited for the 19-year-old Sisters because they actively chose to come, because they WANTED to serve missions.  I've never been able to put so much into this work before this companionship. She feels the same way. Both of us are on fire. The Hendricksons are FANTASTIC and helped me not feel so homesick for Riverview. Our Elders in this area are the ZLs--Elders Evanson and Campbell. They're great. This is a biking area. In the winter, it'll be walking and bus. I love the bikes, but hate them in skirts. It's really annoying and embarrassing and difficult to ride in skirts. There is a lot of work to do here--we have 0 investigators. Time to get this area on its feet!

General Conference was sad without my family:( I missed you guys a lot. And I've hardly eaten anything the last few days because we have almost no food in our apartment, so I've been starving! So I was daydreaming about your breakfast during the Sunday morning session:) Did you guys set up the tent? I can't believe yesterday marked 1 year since the age-change announcement! Incredible.

Here, for General Conference, people usually watch from home on their computers. But a few members came out for a session or two. I didn't get to meet very many members. Morning sessions are from 1-3PM, afternoon sessions are from 5-7PM (messes with dinner), and the priesthood session is from 9-11PM. So the whole day is kind of thrown off, but it's fun. The Elders bought $50 worth of candy (are any of us really surprised by that?:)), and I'd say that I miss playing Conference Bingo with you guys, but let's be honest, we all know I never played, I just ate all the candy immediately anyway.

In between Sunday sessions, we had a chili lunch with the YSA here. There are real YSA here!!! It's exciting. Most of them are recent converts too. Including ISABELLE PHILLIPS! She came here to UNB for university at the end of August, and I haven't seen her since then. Since she left, she stopped going to church. She met with the Sisters here once, then missed other appointments. Sister Hart was able to get a hold of her from Newfoundland and asked her to start meeting with the Elders here, and she's been doing that, but has not gone to church or anything. So my first day here, she met with the Elders, who told her I just got transferred here, and she sent us a text that said, "Ok, I want to meet again." And since then, she's asked us for a scripture study plan, she's been studying for an hour everyday, she attended all 4 sessions of conference, she's made YSA friends, she's felt the Spirit and recognized it on her own, she's asked for a blessing of counsel from the Elders, and even called her mom after the last session last night and testified to her about General Conference and the Church and she and her mom both felt the Spirit. She's preparing for a mission again. Sometimes Heavenly Father knows what He's doing when He sends you away from the area you love.

I love you, family. I'll get my address to you soon.

Sister L (FREDERICTON Sister!)

Saying goodbye to the Calls.  I don't know why I look so happy.  I was crying a lot that morning.

Casual, romantic swings as a missionary means having one with yourself

I miss Riverview.

Not sure...

Saying goodbye to our investigator, Anna*.  I LOVE HER!

Saying goodbye to Eustace.  :(  We had a special friendship.

Saying goodbye to our French investigator, Edith and her baby, Paul.  This was a hard goodbye.

Saying goodbye to Evangeline, Amelie and Charles.  They are adorable.  Amelie and Charles were my joy!!!

Saying Goodbye to the Pratt* family.  Laughing over an awkward moment that had just happened.


Making "the elephant face" with Soeur Nelfils when we said goodbye.  She was laughing and couldn't really do it.

Sister Sandberg!!!  Our first day together.

I broke a door while knocking.

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