How is everyone feeling? I am sad to hear that more people are getting sick but I will pray some more, no worries. I've been high and extra tired lately so maybe I'm fighting something but so far it's all good. I drank my first diet coke I've had in like years this week and now I know why mom loves that stuff so much. It's a magical brew of instant energy! That talent show sounds hilarious! I wish I could have been there but I'll watch the video tapes.
Well this week may have been one of the best weeks of my mission and it was a lot of hard work, but I have felt the spirit so strong these past couple days. My district had the best week they have had in maybe the past year as well! So Winchester is growing like crazy. This morning was callouts, Elder Ocasio leaves obviously and then the Zone Leaders told me that I'm staying so I was pretty relieved, but I didn't think I was getting transferred anyways... Then I got a call from President Richards 20 minutes later and he told me they are shotgunning my area and I'm going to Baltimore! I was blown away but I wanted to know which area in Baltimore so I asked (there are 4). I was told then I will be with Elder Gunderson (one of my favorite missionaries in the mission) in Loch Raven... speaking English.... as a Zone Leader. Hahah, it was the craziest thing ever. I kept telling President to quit messing around and he told me he doesn't kid about these things.
So all of this saying goodbye stuff to the members with Elder Ocasio suddenly takes a more personal tone! But if there's any week I wanted to end my time here it would be this past week.
One of the biggest miracles of this week and maybe of my mission was with Hermana G. She is one of our most solid members and I sometimes refer to her as my Spanish Mom (not to her face). We ate dinner with her on Saturday and after we started to share a message. I was suddenly prompted to ask an off topic question and her response was heartbreaking. She began to express feelings of loneliness and doubt in church leaders and it quickly escalated to the point where she was weeping and saying how she wouldn't go back. I felt crushed as we sat and just listened. Once again I was prompted to just open my mouth because up until that point, I still didn't know what to say. I don't remember what I said to her but I do remember the feelings I had and as well as my own tears coming pretty heavy. My companion supported my testimony and at that point it was time to leave for another appointment that we couldn't miss. We invited her to get on her knees that night and to pray. That day I prayed and thought about Hermana G. all day/night. The next morning I went to Winchester ward to translate and Elder Ocasio went to Shenandoah (The ward that she goes to). When we met back up after church Elder Ocasio began to tell me how Hermana G. came to church with her three sons! And she bore her testimony on the power of the Spirit and how now she knows she was wrong and Satan was tempting her. Elder Ocasio also said that she mentioned me a lot in her testimony. I wish I could of seen it but I got to feel the peace that she was ok. We'll also be seeing her tonight to just followup and make sure they're ok. (and to say goodbye!)
We also have another investigator named C. (and her husband O.), she has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and she has really progressed. Last week she kinda avoided us, or so it seemed. We decided it was time to drop by yesterday and we were invited in and we just taught a simple message and listened to her thoughts. Her daughter was there too, she's like 22 or something. All of a sudden C. opened up a little more and told us that the reason she's been so busy is because her daughter was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was able to provide a lot of comfort and they cried a little but I could tell they had some more hope after we left. I know without a doubt that God directs this work, not man. President makes assignments as directed by Him. I know I was called to this area, at this time, for a reason. I am grateful for the opportunities I've had and for what I will have in the future.
I love you more and more every day. It is amazing to hear how much you all have grown, physically and spiritually. I miss you but I wouldn't trade this time I have for the world. Have a great week and I'll send you my address next week!
Jenny & Dennis, kids Jonathan and Christian, Reuben, and Esperanza
Me and Elder Ocasio
Me and Elder Rebaza (exchanges in Petersburg)