"How is it possible to be so happy, and yet so sad all at the same
time?! Can someone please explain how this is possible! My heart is
heavy this week as I write for several reasons. The first being, i
have been set apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints exactly one year as of last night. ONE WHOLE
YEAR!!!! And this Wednesday I will have been in the field exactly a
year. Mom you asked if it went by fast for me too, yes! I would bet
that it's gone by faster for me than it has for you at home. Garret's
mission went by fast but being the missionary now, it goes way
faster!! It's been the best, it's been the hardest, it's been the most
rewarding year of my life. I look at these past 6 months since I got
to Oswego and it has flown! To think I only have a 6 month span like
that makes me physically ill. Sisters get jipped 6 months! I'm just
praying that this conference they come out with the announcement that
Sisters can serve for 2 years. I'd do it in a heartbeat:)
Well I've been avoiding the elephant in the room long enough. I'm
getting transferred. I have been called by The Lord to serve in Pekin
Illinois. You have no idea how much it hurts me to say that I'm
leaving Oswego. I thought it was hard to leave for college, that was
nothing compared to this! The difference is I don't have the option to
call my Dad, sit on the stairs outside my apartment, cry my eyes out,
and tell him that life just isn't fair!!! Being the first sisters in
Oswego is what makes the difference between here and Belvidere. When
we got here there was nothing. I feel so blessed to have seen so many
miracles! My heart is full to the brim with joy and gratitude for the
6 months I did get to spend here. Yesterday at church was so hard! The
members here hold a very special place in my heart. It was here that I
grew the most and learned even more about the gospel. I love staying
in an area for 6 months, but I hate it because the good bye is so
hard. So Pekin is in the middle of nowhere. Literally. It's south of
Peoria Illinois so about 3 hours southwest of where I'm serving now.
I'm excited to go back out to the country for when the sweet corn is
harvested! (I'm trying to find the positives of this!) No, I am
excited. Once I get there life will be great. But it doesn't help with
the fact that this week we had some crazy awesome things happen!!!
So Carol is getting baptized in 2 weeks!!!!!! This week we visited her
and were going over the baptismal interview questions. We get to word
of wisdom and mention that we don't drink coffee. She flipped out!!
She claimed no one had ever told her that, I promise we have! She was
so mad she walked out of our lesson and went on a little walk! We just
sat there twiddling our thumbs until she returned. We told her to pray
about it and we'd be back. But she had come so far with smoking and
now she was going to let one cup of coffee stand in her way!! I was a
nervous wreck for a few days until we went to see her again. When we
went by a few days later she nonchalantly told us that she has
completely quit smoking and drinking coffee!!! She mentioned in
passing that she has put her baptism for June 21st. WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!
Carol was the first person I met in Oswego. She was completely
hopeless and down. She has completely quit smoking after doing it for
40+ years, drinking coffee, and can feel of our Saviors love for her.
One of the best moments of my life was hearing them announce her
baptism in church yesterday! I started crying so hard! After 6 months
Carol had done it. I had the opportunity to witness it all. Until now.
My heart breaks that I won't be here for the next few weeks to watch
her grow. Being 3 hours away I don't know if I can come back for the
baptism. Never in my whole life have I invested so much time, energy,
sweat, blood, tears, and joy for one person. Carol is 68 years old,
and if she can do this, anyone can. I could probably count on one hand
the number of times I've cried on my mission, but bearing my final
testimony to Carol was one of them. I know The Lord has a plan. I
don't understand it, and I know there's a bigger picture. But I just
wish I could be here to witness the end of this 5 year journey to
We had a super cool thing happen this week! We were walking home one
night and we heard someone yell "Sisters!" So we turn around and it's
our investigator Antonio! He lives across the street from us and we've
taught him a few times now. He tells us he's just walking and reading
while he waits for his laundry to be done. We told him "You better be
reading the Book of Mormon or we're going to be disappointed." He
hangs his head and tells us we're just going to have to be
disappointed. But as he gets closer he says "But you'll have to save
that disappointment for another time!!!" And he holds up his copy of
the Book of Mormon!!!!! We were freaking out! Since when do you
accidentally bump into your investigators and they're actually reading
the book of Mormon! We were so pumped we had to take a picture! That's
what's included with this email:) and he came to church yesterday for
the 2 time and brought his 2 kids as well! It was so exciting!!
And then my personal favorite miracles from our week. We had the car
and we pulled up to a red light. I was in the passenger seat and I
looked over and saw this lady driving a van and her window was rolled
down. Immediately the spirit was telling me to give her a Mormon.org
card. So I mumbled something to Sister Teerlink about not leaving
without me as I climbed out of the car. I walked up to her window and
said "Hi, I had a feeling I should give you this card, it's really
changed my...." And then she started yelling at me! She said "I DONT
APPROACH ME LIKE THIS. GET AWAY FROM ME!" I just stood there and kind
of calmly said "I just want to give you this card." And then she
pulled away and left me looking like an idiot standing in the
intersection. With my head down, I got back in the car and the light
turned green. I could barely question why Heavenly Father wanted me to
do that when we see this car behind us, pull along side of us, the
driver waved, and drive past. It took me a minute to register who it
was but it was one of our former investigators who had stopped meeting
with us last week! His name is Ward and we were so sad when he dropped
us! As he drove past we realized that he had seen the whole encounter
at the intersection! I knew that Heavenly Father had prompted me to
give a card to that lady so that this former investigator could see us
still working. So much so that we're willing to risk our lives and
look like idiots to share this gospel. He needed the gentle reminder
that the gospel is still here and that this message means more to us
than anything else. The Lord works in mysterious ways:)
This week we had a mini missionary with us for a few days. She's from
the Rockford stake and is a senior in high school. So she tagged along
with us for a few days getting a real feel for the mission life. So
that was fun! And the sister who is replacing me in Oswego is the same
sister who replaced me in Belvidere! So she's just following me
around. She'll probably be sick of hearing about me!
Well Pekin, here I come! Ironically enough I don't think it's too far
from Galesburg Illinois where Grandma was just last week! I hope
they're not in a car share... But I will do whatever The Lord needs of
me. I told myself before transfers that I just didn't want to be
transferred to the Peoria area in the middle if nowhere. The Lord has
a sense of humor:) I've told the whole Oswego Ward that we'll be back
next summer to visit so now we have to because they're all holding me
to it! Well I love you all so much. With is many changes happening I
am grateful for the things that don't change. And that's knowing that
my family is eternal. That no matter where I am out here, I have all
of you back at home cheering me on and supporting me. And of course,
the gospel never changes. And I am so grateful for all the wonderful
experiences I've had here. It's crazy to think when we first got here
we were homeless, had no car, and lived out of our suitcases for 5
weeks. I have seen 3 of the 4 seasons here. Bring on the next 6