SO, transfer #11 has commenced for me. (Sisters only have 13 transfers in their mission, if that gives you an idea of how brief my remaining time is.) Sister Croft got sent home okay and she has been in contact with some of our ward members, so I know she's alive. :)
In the meantime, I got a new companion! :D Her name is Sister Fairchild and she is from Kaysville, UT. She is very cool. She loves to go running, so in the morning for exercise she'll run while I bike alongside her. She came out only a transfer before me, so the suspicion we are making is that I will also be sending her home. By now, I am a pro at that kind of thing. :) But we have had SO MUCH happen in the few days we've been together.
One, a recent convert from my second area (Gus, if you remember me talking about him) called us up and said he'd just talked to a lady at the bank and they talked about the Book of Mormon for over an hour and he promised he could get her one. He then found her address, found out the missionaries that covered that area (us, if you haven't guessed) and then called us to ask us to take her a Book of Mormon. Of course, we agreed. :) We haven't met her yet but we have talked to her over the phone, and we did meet her husband. They are both very interested. They went to a ward a couple of weeks ago with a friend and really liked it.
An update on Duane and his family - they've been coming to church and loving it. The ward has wrapped them up in their arms and adopted them. Duane still has a few doctrinal questions - for the longest time, his hang up was tea. Tea, he would insist, is very good for you. And of course he's ridiculously smart so he pulled up all the evidence WHY and all I could tell him is that all I knew was that God had asked us not to drink it. And that was good enough for me. And it was a very small thing to sacrifice for eternal life.
He battled with us consistently for a few visits, but then the day after his first time at church he said "I've figured out the tea thing! It's about your conviction, your faith, more than anything." Our jaws dropped. We'd been trying to tell him that very thing since the beginning but he had to figure it out for himself. The spirit told him while he was at church, and ever since he's been switching to herbal teas (which, of course, are not forbidden.). Talk about a miracle!
Do you remember Amey, who was baptized in April and then moved to Florida? Well it turns out the family who moved into her old house are part-member - she's baptized and he's not. She has been telling all her neighbors that she wants to try coming back to church and her husband may want to check it out as well. And, she has ten kids. :) Her across the street neighbor took us to meet them (member missionaries, yeah! :D) and they are seriously the nicest people I have ever met in my LIFE. They told us the same thing that they've told everyone else, and invited us to come back soon. So, even though I miss Amey a great deal, I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to get to know these wonderful new people, Angie and Woody.
Aside from all those, we've been knocking on doors and meeting people like crazy. Although not everyone is interested, most everyone is kind. We knocked on one door and the lady was pretty curt when she told us to leave, but we'd only gotten a few houses away before she came running out after us with two cold water bottles. She gave them to us with a smile and told us to have a great day. Summer is a time of miracles in Arizona. :)
I love being a missionary. Even in 115 degrees, it is worth every minute. Our mission had it's two-year anniversary party just this morning. It's been two years since the Arizona Gilbert mission was created! Back then, it was an experimental mission to see how successful we could be with SO MANY MISSIONARIES in such a small geographical area. We've thrived and flourished so much by now that there are other missions being patterned after ours. It's been incredible to be a part of it all. And it's strange to see the days repeating - this is my second June, second mission anniversary party, secondcoming up. I remember it was this time last year that I'd gotten stung by a scorpion. I was so young then and just a timid little missionary. I felt like I was in over my head.
Well... not much has changed, actually. xD I still feel young and shy, and I still feel like I'm in over my head. But I have changed a great deal. I have learned to persevere through difficult times, because I know they don't last. I know I won't drown in my trials. I know the Savior has overcome the world! (see John) I know better now, how real the Savior's atonement is. I know the most glorious Being in the universe, with all His power and might, loves us imperfect little children more than we can comprehend. I know prayer makes impossible things possible. :) I've seen it.
I love you all, I really do. This is going to be a long hot summer, but it will be worth every broken moment. It always is, when you're pursuing the work of the Lord. :) Have the best week of your lives!
Love, Sister Bethany Ball