|Joe, Doris, and their wedding party!|
|So happy together :)|
|Thanks Mom! It rained all week :)|
Family and Friends,
First of all I have to congratulate Deena on the wedding!! Wow, she looks so beautiful and grown up. I wish I could have been there. We'll just have to throw a big one year anniversary I guess :)
So everything is changing out here with the hoards of new missionaries coming. The VC will have about ten sisters full-field at a time when we usually have two. Normally we find out about transfers tuesday night and figure everything out the next day. The new policy is that we have a normal day on Monday, find out that night, and then a Tuesday p-day before transfers. So surprise! I already know what's happening to me. I like this a lot better than not being able to relay where I'm even at for almost a week, and I think a final p-day with your companion before you split will be an emotionally healthy thing for me. That's for future transfers though. As for this one, I'm staying! I'm so happy! I can't imagine leaving Marina del Rey. When I called to tell Richard it sounded like I have him to thank for the lack of changes :) I love that man! Sister Schiel had me worried because she was SURE that I was going full-field, and she's so in tune that I completely believed her, but alas she was wrong for once and all is well! We were both exceedingly grateful to be staying together. We get along great and have high hopes for our area. She even appreciates my teasing. Hallelujah ;)
Ok so update:
Enrique is doing great! He had is baptismal interview this week and is all set to go for this Sunday. We know that the week leading up to baptism tends to be an arduous one so keep him in your prayers.
Angel got a job this week! He seems to be really happy about it and we of course are very proud.
Richard has become quite the mentor for both of them. It's great to see how they look up to him. Enrique has asked both Richard and Angel to speak at his baptism and I get butterflies witnessing this cycle occur before my eyes. I love those moments when I would rather be here than anywhere. I can't believe that I reach my year mark this week. When I first came on my mission and honestly for a long time after, I felt like I would be here forever. The end doesn't seem to exist and you get to a point where you kind of just let your old life go and this becomes all you know. I used to promise people that I wouldn't be awkward when I got home, but now that I only have six months left I kind of took a beat to stop and evaluate myself and 1) I'm SO different #thankgoodness 2) I have a lot still left to learn 3) I will miss all my people here so intensely that I don't even know if I can handle it 4) I'll miss being a missionary... a lot and 5) I will be INCREDIBLY awkward. It's like, I still quote movies all the time, but they're Visitors' Center movies... my brain has finally grown accustomed to steering any and all conversations toward gospel topics, but most of all boys have cooties ya know? I guess I can share crazy stories about being a missionary in L.A. There's certainly never a shortage of those. It just seems like a rough transition, and I'm not sure how people do it #GoodluckTaylor, but I guess it is better to be wary of it than anxiously awaiting. Anyway, I'll just forget about it until it slaps me in the face and then who knows what! Moral of the story: My mission has been difficult #understatement, but I'm recognizing that there really is nothing else in life quite like it, or quite as wonderful. I love it!
We set a baptismal date with Bernardo! We found a member from a neighboring ward who came along and was able to speak some Taglish(Tagolog/English) and she helped a lot with explaining the Restoration. He hasn't received an answer yet, but you can tell that he is genuinely curious. He is hesitant to ask questions when he prays and I think he may have some misconceptions about how we pray in compariosn with his sisters. A significant portion of their living room is taken up by what I would call a shrine representing the crucifixion and a bunch of porcelain dolls which I am unsure of the meaning of. Anyway, he said that he wants to learn for now, but that he'd be willing to set a goal for March third. We were so excited and it sounds like he'll be coming to church this coming week. Even better.
We had some unique experiences in the Visitors' Center this week. One that I got so excited about that I nearly burst! A Chinese group came in asking if anyone spoke Mandarin. Conveniently my companion has studied and knows some. Their next words were, "We have papers, can we marry here?" AH! They were so cute! Not surprisingly the Mission President said no, but we spent the next several hours trying to help them find a bishop who would marry them, or convince them to go to a courthouse. They weren't planning to get married on their vacation, but decided when they reached the end of route 66 that they wanted to get married anyway and it would be more romantic if they did it in the United States. I ended up talking to them a lot while Sister Schiel was trying to get a hold of the Bishop and it was so much fun even though we couldn't communicate very well. They seemed a little stressed #don'taskmewhy so I suggested we take a walk around the temple while we waited to hear back. They loved the tour and were very touched when we explained how families could be together forever. They of course took some pictures of us and asked to e-mail them. I gave them your address dad so don't delete that e-mail :) I honestly have no idea if they ended up getting married, but I hope so! We referred them to a Mandarin branch in Irving.
On Saturday I met a little 9 yr old girl named Shelby. I don't think I really taught her much, but she taught me a lot. She was recently removed from her father's home and given to her grandparents temporarily while he cleans up his life. She explained to me bluntly what had happened and that she had moved in with her grandparents around August and was baptized by October. Then she asked to take a picture with us and said, " I'm going to serve a mission too, but not in Alabama. Where do you think I'll go?" She was so cute and a good reminder for me that the gospel is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.
I don't know if you remember the beautiful couple Sister Jones and I took on a tour a while back. He was the convert that had previously planned to be a catholic priest and the tour was him introducing his girlfriend to the gospel. Well, I've been keeping in touch with her over the phone in the teaching center and she is not only now his wife, but a baptized member of the church and so is her 11yr old daughter! They said they would come visit, and I really hope I'm on shift so I can get a picture. Visitors' Centers are the best!
That's all for now folks. I love you all and I can feel your prayers. Keep up the good work! :)
Sister Jenna Davis