This has been the most eventful week of the 7-week transfer! Well, not in terms of teaching cuz ya know nobody wants to talk to us, but we got a lot of contacting done, and so many other things have happened. First off, remember how Dominicans are the fastest Spanish-speaking people ever? Well, one of them told me that I talk too fast. HA! Mission accomplished:) This week was Semana Santa, and according to Dominican tradition, everyone cooked massive pots of habichuelas con dulce, a sweet bean soup, so we ate a lot of that. Funny, before the mission, I wouldn't even eat beans, and now I drink them!
I HIT MY HALF-WAY MARK on Friday!!! How does that feel? WEIRD. Seriously, where has the time gone?? I remember my first day in the field so clearly, and it feels like just yesterday that I got to Los Angeles. It was rather appropriate that the temple trip and Women's Conference were also this week, because it was an amazing opportunity to see how far I've really come, especially with the language. I can't believe how much I've learned and changed these past months, how much better I understand everything with Spanish and the Gospel. My perspective has been broadened, and through all the trials, I have been strengthened.
On Saturday during lunch, Hna. de Leon and Hna. Black both received calls from our mission president asking them to be trainers! They're going to be mommys! Which means I'm leaving! But we had to wait until nighttime to find out for where. That afternoon, at the request of our bishop, we taught a music/conducting class at the chapel, and that was fun. Afterwards, we headed to the stake center to watch Conference, and I loved it! It was awesome to hear those messages about love and service:)
Then we were dying waiting to get transfer calls, and I found out that I'll be serving in Bella Vista in the Central zone with my first Dominican companion, Hermana Perez! You're not going to believe this: I'm coming from the third-richest area in the mission to the second richest. Basically, that means not very many investigators and a lot of perseverance & personal willpower. So I guess God is trying to teach me the principle of long-suffering. Okay, I can do that. I hope I'll get to physically teach a bit more in this new area, but even if I don't, I can trust that I'm there for a reason, and the Lord needs me to be strong.
I've been internalizing Christ's words: "Not my will, but Thy will be done." That has gone perfectly with studying the last week of Christ's earthly life, especially the Atonement and His Resurrection. We are so blessed to have the knowledge that through the Atonement, we can be clean and return to the divine presence of Christ and our Heavenly Father. And we know that They live! And they're waiting for us to turn to Them! Partaking of the sacrament yesterday on Easter Sunday was very special; I've never appreciated its literal significance as much as I have then. I also felt the Spirit very strongly when I got to play the song I wrote for the November zone conference, "Brillan Rayos de Su Luz." Its meaning was extra special then, talking about the Lord's mercy and letting His light guide us. I was able to feel more at peace with leaving, and it was easier to say good-bye to these wonderful members who I love so much.
A total miracle happened with a family we teach. Just like in Ocoa, I have another 9-year-old named Rubi! She and her 7-year-old sister, Stella, come to church every week and want to be baptized so badly. Their paternal grandmother lives in the ward and brings them each week, but her son is not a part of the girls' lives. The mom, Arisleida is not a member and knows perfectly well that Rubi and Stella can't get baptized until she does. She knows that reading the Book of Mormon, going to church, and being baptized are essential, but she refuses to do any of those things. That being said, I cannot tell you of the absolute joy it was to see on Saturday night when Arisleida and her daughters came to watch Conference!! It really was a miracle, and I hope that she could understand the importance of the messages given and could feel of the special Spirit there.
Things got even better the next day when...we reactivated the familia Medina!!! What a way to end the transfer:) I talked about them a while back, it's Silvia, the mom, and her 14-year-old niece, Nicole, that she's raised as her daughter. Silvia was a Primary and YW President and everything, but she and Nicole have forgotten a lot of the doctrine, so we've taught them every week, and what a change I've seen in them, especially Nicole. She is reading the Book of Mormon every single day, goes to mutual, and has become such a happy girl. I love her sooo much, and I'm so proud of her!
Things have never been better with Hermana de Leon and I, I'm so grateful things have turned a 360 for us. More than anything, I'm grateful to have been a seed planter here in Los Angeles. I may not be here to see the baptisms of Maribel, Perla, Laura, Samuel, Jasmine, Jorge, and Miguel, but I know that one day, they'll be in white and happier than ever from having fully accepted Jesus Christ and His teachings. The past 3 months here have been nothing short of a mental roller coaster, but now I get to continue persevering and give my all to this work wherever the Lord needs me. wish me luck, I love you all!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Melissa Randall