Improvement and progression have one eternal round (Hymn 284, If You Could Hie to Kolob).
The Lord has blessed me through change. It is the roller coaster weeks that are the hardest, but that also inspire the most growth. This week, completely unexpected changes were made in the Bismark 3 area. (There's 5 areas, five sets of missionaries in Bismark. We just happen to be over area 3.)
Wednesday evening we were in a lesson with Jane. The phone rang, but of course we couldn't answer it, we were in a lesson. During the lesson, we invited Jane to be baptized, and she excepted to prepare herself to be baptized on August 30th. She's so ready spiritually, SO ready. We're so excited for her to make this step and to grow in her knowledge of the truth. Sheesh, we almost forgot that someone called us in the middle of the lesson.
"Oh, who called us?" Sister Easter asked. I got out the phone and flipped it open and we listened to the voicemail.
"Hello Sisters, this is President Anderson-" Our eyes widened. Shock. President Anderson called us? Why? What's happening to have him call 'us?'
"If you could call me back, we need to discuss some changes that will be happening in your area. So give me a call back. I love you Sisters. Bye."
"...What's going on? Changes in the area?"
"....I don't know.... ...It's probably nothing. It's probably something super simple and we're freaking out over nothing," Sister Easter said. But she didn't sound to sure... Pft, I wasn't too sure!
We walked into the apartment. The Sisters were home.
"Did you get a call from President Anderson?" I asked.
"No," Sister Christianson replied concerned.
Okay.. President Anderson called us and 'not' the Sister Training leader?? What was going on!?
We tried calling back, sitting at our desks now in preparation for the nightly planning routine, but President didn't answer.
"....Maybe we're the first ones to get new ipads!" I said, trying to come up with an explanation.. but I knew that couldn't be it... ..We planned for the next day, and then the call. We scrambled to answer the phone, pressing the button at the same time!
"Hello this is Sister Easter and Sister Sanderson!"
"Hello Sisters, President Anderson."
"Hello! We got your message!"
"Yes. There's going to be a bit of change in your area. There's a sister in Minot who is sick. Her stomach is having problems and she's going home. Sister Bell is going to be getting transferred from Eagle Bute to Minot so that Sister can go home. Sister Easter, I understand you have native american in your ancestry?"
"Yes," she said, looking into my eyes, her eyes red... we knew what was coming...
"Right. I'm going to ask you to serve down in Eagle Bute, South Dakota on the reservation with Sister Harvey. Will that be alright?"
"...Yeah." A tear trickled down. We were both in shock.
"Sister Bell and Sister Harvey will be there to make the switch at between one and two tomorrow afternoon." Our eyes widened... tomorrow!?
"So you'll have to pack tonight. And Sister Sanderson, Sister Bell will be with you until zone conference on Tuesday. The Minot zone is coming down on Tuesday, so Sister Bell will go back up after zone conference. After that you will be in a trio with the sisters closest to your area for the rest of the transfer so you can work in both areas. So you'll be in a trio for three weeks."
"Alright. Thank you Sisters for your willingness and your cooperation. We love you. Thanks for stepping in to help."
"Your welcome, love you."
"Love you too. Thanks, bye."
.....Sister Easter and I just stared at each other, tears in her eyes, shock and threatening tears in mine. ....Usually when you get transferred you have the whole weekend, Sunday Monday and Tuesday morning, to say goodbye and get packed. This. This was less than twenty-four hours...
We came out and told the other Sisters. ...We all gathered around, heavy hearted, into a group hug, Sister Easter and I both crying... I didn't expect anything like this.. or that the thought of her leaving would leave me with such a hole in my heart... I pulled back, tears down my face, my voice choked, and said:
"I didn't know you were part native," T^T
And everyone busted up laughing... lol Sister Christianson especially, rolling on the floor. lol Quote of the week I guess. I suppose it was just funny in this sad sad moment and just randomly, "I didn't know you were part native!" Haha. It's important though! Because she wouldn't have been sent to the reservation if she wasn't, because President only sends Sisters who have native in them to the reservations! So. It's an important detail. I had reason to cry and say that. lol
It was a weird night and day. It was so sad, Sister Easter taking everything off the walls. She had a LOT on her walls. It was so empty. And we couldn't sleep that night. So we got out our scriptures. We fell asleep 12:30, 1:00 area. Thursday, which was the next day, is usually the day we set aside the morning to plan for the week. But there was hardly any point of it anymore.. and we needed to say goodbyes... It was a heck of a weird day. ...
The Sisters cooked us pancakes though.
Sister Easter didn't have much of an appetite.
She's good at putting on a happy face though.
It was nice to be together for breakfast.
"Dare you to eat the last pancake Sister Sanderson," said Sister Christianson.
I have a reputation for eating a lot.
I think Anthony, (co worker at Circle K) was right...I do put everything in my left leg.
I was glad to make everyone laugh with my silliness.
We headed out to say goodbyes after Sister Easter's laundry was switched over.
|Sister Easter with her Blanket from Jane|
It was important to say goodbye to Jane and her husband.
Her husband was reeeeeeally upset about her leaving.
"What do they think they're doin'!
You're not an object to be just shipped around!
Your a person with feelings!
They should give you at least a week to get used to the place, and have someone show you around!"
"Honey, this is what they signed up for. This change is a part of mission. This is expected," Jane said, very understanding.
But her husband was still really upset.
Jane.. she even gave Sister Easter a blanket, which is HUGE In the Native culture, a huuuuge sign of respect.
|I'll miss you MORE than I ever imagined!|
So after a lot of phone calls and about three stop by in order to tell people goodbye, the other Sisters came and we said goodbye... She might even finish her mission at the reservation. She only has 3 transfers left. Well, and a half...
So I was with Sister Bell the rest of the day. And I drove. Again, weird.
On With Mission Life... Sans My Trainer (Sister Easter)
Friday we had scheduled exchanges. We did exchanges as scheduled, so I worked with Sister Christianson in my area. Just working with ALL the Sisters! May as well though, seriously. But, it was a struggle that day. I was really emotionally stressed with the pressure of having to make all the decisions for the area, having not very much to work with and feeling the pressure, not because of the sister training leader, but just because of myself to have a well rounded day, and I couldn't say, 'hey, know how to get there?' I couldn't say that anymore and just... all the changes and emotional stress... it was really hard. I cried, but Sister Christianson is such a good Sister Training leader. She knows how to teach and to comfort. She helped be so much and I'm so grateful for her kindness and her knowledge and her example. She helped me understand that the Lord has blessed me. And I understood that before, but she put it in a way that was so precise and.. yeah. It was so helpful and comforting. I love Sister Christianson and how she cares for me.
So the exchange was successful and I learned a lot. And I've learned a lot from Sister Bell too. I've come to really respect her in these past three days and the way she does missionary work. Just the way she views it, her work ethic, and the way she teaches. I've seen it and I have a lot to learn and a lot of confidence to gain. I feel or have felt inadequate, mostly because of situational reasons that I have very little control of, and by having this all be it jarring opportunity to work with Sister Bell for a short time and to work with the area 5 Sisters for the rest of the transfer starting tomorrow after zone conference, the Lord has blessed me with a new situation where I can work up that confidence, truly paving the way for me to work up to being the missionary that I envision myself being.
I do feel confident in taking over the area. Sister Springer and Sister Paniagua teach SO many lessons, and I've always wanted to know how they do it. Now I get to work with them and see first hand. I am, so, incredibly excited for that. I will be working in downtown Bismark now, as well as in my own area which is North of downtown. I will also be staying at their apartment as well, but I'm still going to be able to receive mail from the same address. Our apartments aren't that far from each other. I know that I will see growth in my area as I see growth in myself. I'm at peace with the changes that are happening and the improvement which need to happen in myself which won't come easily, but I'm so looking forward to impressing on my character. The Lord seriously is so kind to be in granting me this blessing, these 'changes in the area.' I thank my Heavenly Father for the miracles I have seen. I want to make him proud of me and not waste a moment of this opportunity.