I cant believe that we are already in week 6 of this transfer! Time just continues to fly by and its beginning to scare me.
This last week has been full of ups and downs. Last Monday was so emotionally draining. We had a lesson planned for our new investigator but right before we got a call from Red. He sounded so distraught. He told us that he needed help finding a ride that night so that he could check himself into a hospital for suicidal thoughts. We were very worried about him and started calling the Bishop for help. He gave us assignments to complete so that we could help Red. The only problem with this is that the phone kept going off during our lesson. Also our investigator just wanted to argue his opinion that he doesn't believe only one church has the priesthood and that there is one true church. So I kept having to leave the tense conversation to answer the phone. By the end of this short hour where everything was happening I was totally and completely drained. We were late to FHE where we were supposed to give the thought so they started without us. We talked to Bishop a long while about Red and we came up with an action plan. When it came time to initate the plan with Red we had to get Red to empty all his pockets and bags of anything that could get our members arrested. We were all a little on edge about how the night was going to go down. I want to tell you that I watched a young man 23 years old, who has lived on the streets for 3 years, been in and out of prison, and is addicted to drugs throw away a large amount of drugs and surrender himself to hands that can help him. Red was probably in the most sincere state I have ever seen him. He told us, " I am tired of just surviving. I just want to live. Its not as fun as it looked when I was 11." Red just wants to live. That probably has stuck with me more powerfully than anything this week. What killed me more was hearing members of the ward and our Bishop logically condemn Red to a useless life and stating no hope that he could make it through this trial let alone another day. And you know they are probably right but it hurt because I dont want to believe it. I realized just then that I have invested all of my love to this kid to help him find a better light to walk by in life, to help give him a hope for a better future because I hoped for a better future for him. Through my interactions with Red I have taught him how to rely on the healing power of the Atonement and to trust his life in the Saviors hands. Monday night was the longest night of my life, I couldn't sleep because we didn't know how long it would take to get him checked into the hospital and the people taking him were supposed to update us frequently. Finally at 12 am we heard back that all was well and that they made it home safe. They informed us that Red received a blessing before getting admitted. The member that gave him the blessing had never done one before so it was an amazing experience. I finally fell asleep at 12:30 ish and then woke up at 3:30 to another text saying the same thing. When I woke up in the morning I was exhausted. I started crying in my prayers because I was so tired. Apparently I cried alot lounder than I thought because Sister Scrivner ordered me back to bed very promptly when I left the room. I went back to bed promising the Lord that I would work hard the rest of the day if I could just sleep. I woke up at a startling time of 10 am. I felt so good from the desperately needed sleep and I did work hard. I am so grateful that the Lord helped me get the rest that I needed. On tuesday I was near a piano for about 10 minutes and just started to tinker around with some hymns. I got the thought to call the assistants and make sure they had a pianist for zone conference the next day. I thought to myself, "No, Im sure they would have called by now if they needed me." Dumb. That night right before lights out the phone went off and it was of course the assistants. "Sister Cottrell! We are so sorry we didn't call sooner. Can you play the piano tomorrow?" they said. I started laughing as I put 2 and 2 together. We arranged the songs and I went to bed. The next morning we got to the church early so I could practice. With a blessing and a prayer I was able to play the songs well enough. I was very nervous because I was playing 2 new hymns that I have never played before for a congregation to sing too. It was truly a miracle and a tender mercy from the Lord. I realized shortly after zone conference that our one organist in the mission is going home soon and he has always been the one to play at transfer meetings. Yikes! The assistants told me that I am the only other pianist in our mission. So with that information I need to figure out how to play the organ!!!!! Luckily we have a very talented organist in our ward and has offered to show me how to play the organ. A word of advice to all you youngsters who aren't excited to play the piano: DO IT! Keep practicing and working hard to learn at least the Hymns. Your future mission presidents will rely very heavily on you.
Zone Conference was amazing and we talked alot about new ideas to work with the members. We are currently meeting with each member of our ward so that we can give a 5 minute Restoration lesson and give the member a "Member Missionary Prepardness Kit." Each kit has a Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and pass-a-long cards. We set goals with the member to use something from the kit and then make plans to reach the goal. We then follow up in a week or two. I think this is a wonderful thing for the members of our mission. They really need a way to become missionary minded because our wards are struggling. They don't understand why missionaries are there. We are in their wards to "assist them in their missionary efforts." We are not there to do the missionary work just to assist. Its a fine line and we are working hard to define it.
Good news! Our mission has been approved to have more temple trips, since it is only 8 miles outside of our mission. We can now go once a transfer with an investigator to the visitors center, go for ourselves in our Birthday month, and for any other special occasion we have permission for to attend (such as investigators going in for endowments). We are so excited to put this into effect immediately. Several missionaries have already gone. Lucky Ducks! hahaha
Well I think that is it. Transfer calls are on Saturday night. Next monday I will tell you the news. Oh and to all who may have written me letters and sent them to the Palmdale address. I have not received them and I probably wont knowing the missionaries who are there. ;( It makes me sad but its the truth. So please write again or email. Which ever works. Here is the address you can safely send it to (its the mission office):
23504 Lyons Ave. ste 107
Santa Clarita CA 91321
I love you all very much and I miss all of you. I hope you have a wonderful week and that you are mindful of the blessings God gives you each and every day. I am so grateful for the Pioneers who made their way across the continent to help all future generations have a hope for Israel and a Zion to call home. They made such a wonderful sacrifice for us and their children. May we all remember their sacrifice this week as we reflect on our heritage as Saints of Zion!
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!