So, first off, we got this email last week from our mission President, and I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to post on my blog for everyone to see, but everyone here is talking about it and facebooking about it, so here it is!
Dear Elders and Sisters,
We are pleased to announce changes that will occur to our mission on or before July 1 2015. First, as scheduled, there will be a change of mission president. The new mission president and wife replacing Sister Anderson and me will be President Michael J. and Danece Hess. They currently live in Malad, ID. Second, the mission headquarters will be moved to Bismarck ND on or before July 1st. Third, the boundaries of our mission will be changed. The decision by the brethren to make these changes is driven by several factors. There is significant growth in the Northwest portion of the South Dakota Rapid City Mission. It is the largest geographic mission in the continental US. The boundaries of the mission will be changed to reduce the overall size and make it easier to administer. The new boundaries will align with the boundaries of the Bismarck ND temple district. This means that the South Dakota Sioux Falls Stake will become part of the Nebraska Omaha Mission, the Wyoming Casper Stake will become part of the Colorado Ft. Collins Mission and the Wyoming Gillette Stake will become part of the Montana Billings Mission. Also, the Montana Glendive Stake will become part of the new North Dakota Bismarck Mission. We are awaiting further instruction as to the exact timing of these changes. We can only imagine the logistical details involved in this historic event. This change will affect four missions. Three of these four missions, Montana Billings, Nebraska Omaha and South Dakota Rapid City Mission will all receive new mission presidents on July 1st 2015. President Kelly Brown of the Colorado Ft. Collins Mission began his service in July of 2013. This change is part of the 11 new missions announced by the church this week. We fully sustain the brethren as they manage these changes and we anxiously await further instructions from them. We hope to be able to share further details during our January Zone Conference.
All our love, President and Sister Anderson
Isn't that insane! My mind was and still is blown! Everyone who will still be serving in the SDRCM (South Dakota Rapid City Mission) will have a different mission come July! I could be sent somewhere even futher out than the mission boundries originally allowed come my last four months as a misisonary! WOW! So crazy. But of course, we won't find out where we are going until late June or so when transfers come around and all the changes actually happen.
So, that is happening in the future and it's mindblowing.
But onto this week. My goodness. This week has been absolutely full of miracles and tender mercies and miracles, so much so that I came up with a list of "17 miracles" that happened this week that are all just... miraculous!
1. The deaf member we are working with, inviting her deaf friend to church by calling her right when we committed her to do it.
2. A member's brother, who is not a member, being at dinner and us having the chance to teach him the restoration lesson.
3. Our first lesson with someone who we ran into awhile ago- a thirteen year-old girl who is a seeker of truth and her parents are supportive of her religious search.
4. Calling the native american less active family and finding out they needed some financial service because of her son and his family, who are members we found, needing to live with them for awhile and being able to call bishop and provide that service for them.
5. The native american family coming to church, the whole family except the nonmember grandfather.
They are always so excited to come to church, but Satan is ensuring it to be a stumbling block for them.
6. Getting in with a less active family that I have never gotten in with before in my time here and them saying to come back on Saturday.
7. Getting in with another less active family that I have never gotten in with and being able to teach her kids who have such a desire to learn about Jesus Christ.
8. Being prompted to bring a bag of food and other necessities that we were able to part with in the case of meeting with a homeless lady. Though we didn't meet with her, the bag of food was truly meant for the less active family mentioned just above, who are also struggling financially, and we were able to cook dinner and clean for them.
9. Having my testimony increased of pushing through those moments where you just don't feel like working because you just might find a family to teach with a mom and dad and two young ones on the second door you try.
10. Having served half of my time as a full time missionary faithfully.
That's right! I've reached my 9-month mark! How awesome is that!
11. Being blessed with good health while the flu is still running rampant.
12. All of the member involvement we have been able to see this week. 7 member present lessons, most of our first lessons with people having members there, members giving us rides last minute, the list goes on.
13. My companion is a great support and the work moves along so easily with Sister Stephens working alongside me.
14. Our New Investigator goal as a companionship for the transfer is 10 and we found 4 new investigators since I last emailed.
15. The progression that our new investigators have made!
These were the investigators that we found in Tea through He is the Gift. I will call them Henry and Elizabeth. Henry was very closed off in the first lesson. This is the one who lost his grandmother seven years ago and has been very bitter about it until the birth of his baby girl began to soften his heart.
As we came over again, he seemed a lot more open, especially bringing an awesome member with us talked about in the miracle below. Henry said that if we came before we did knocking on the door, he would have messed with us in a bad way. It had to be now- he's prepared now. And now he enjoys having us come over. And Elizabeth says she's "hooked" on the Book of Mormon. They keep their commitments and them have such desire! It makes sense to them!
We have now taught them since last time I emailed the first three lessons and they accepted a baptismal date of February 14th!
16. Henry and Elizabeth having a super awesome fellowshipper.
This member is the mother of a family who moved into the ward as of December. She has been an extraordinary teacher and fellowshipper to Henry and Elizabeth, watching their first seven month old little girl while Henry had surgery on his back, and inviting them to FHE, all with just coming out to one lesson!
17. Henry and Elizabeth overcoming opposition from the adversary.
After we put them on date, they were on the phone with Elizabeth's mother mother who told them many false things about the church telling them that she raised her better. But they told her to respect their decision! They stood up for what they have been learning! It shook them up a bit, but man, they are so strong and just- amazing!
Needless to say, this was an amazing week! I think the differences have been our renewed desire to be obedient and consecrated missionaries. We started the 40 day fast together on Saturday. The 40 fast is something that was we were committed by are district leader to do. It entails fasting for a day and coming up with a list that day of all the things that poke at your spirit. Then, for those forty days afterward, you fast for those things, talking about each of those things in your prayers at night and telling Heavenly Father how well you did at fasting that day. It will be hard, but good.
We started fasting from food from Saturday to Sunday afternoon, and that's when we saw the two less active families that I had never taught before, when we were fasting. Other contributing factors to this success is the much groundwork that Sister Burt and I laid. We will have many potentials that we found that are looking at turning into investigators. And good health- having the ability to actually go out- always helps too.
SO MANY MIRACLES!
So much to be grateful for!