Another moves week has commenced, with last week being the first week my new companion got a taste of the craziness of transfers. He did a great job, and will be able to help our new mission president wonderfully. He's got a load of natural talent in missionary work and logistics. I'm so proud of him.
This week has been quite dramatic for our area, we've had to make a hard choice and drop a few of our investigators who aren't progressing, Gary included. Unfortunately, Gary could just never get to church, so we're going to give him a bit of space for the time being and see how he continues to fare. It's quite sad having to drop investigators because you get a glimpse of their potential as you teach them and then they decide not to act and reach that amazing person they could be. It's the sorrow that comes with deciding to love someone.
Speaking on the subject, I made a connection at church the other day that was interesting. A returned missionary who now has a small family spoke. He talked on how God's relationship with us, missionaries' relationships with investigators, and parents' relationships with their children are all very similar, and that we can use their similarities to learn from them. For instance, when we as missionaries commit our investigators to do something, it is because we can see the benefits and blessings that those actions will bring into their lives; we've seen prayers answered, therefore we know that it is possible and want others to do the same. This is similar to a parent telling their child to not touch a stove, or to gain an education; these things have to do with vision and experience the parent has that their child does not. Our Father in Heaven often reaches out to us and gives us a bit of His vision and experience, which encompasses far more than this life; sometimes it doesn't make much sense to us, but He knows that it will benefit us. Ha, school doesn't make much sense to a child :) It's boring, takes a long time, and gets in the way of more exciting things! Yet, there is so much to gain from education that will benefit them in the future, a time unrecognizable or practically non-existent in their eyes. I'm sure God feels the same with us often. I sure feel that way with my investigators.
Anyway, to sum it all up, it looks like we're in for an exciting transfer of finding! :) It'll be good, some of the best stories and most incredible miracles are seen when we find. I trust God to lead those who are prepared to hear the Gospel to us.
This week we got hooked on Family History :) A member in our ward had us over for dinner and family home evening. The Brownes are so awesome. Brother Browne was a professional clown at one point in his life, attested to by his wonderful sense of humor. They're definitely one of the most interesting families in our ward, and probably the best when it comes to family history. They sat us down, put us in front of the computer, and took us through My Family and Ancestry step by step. It really hooks you in when you get going. Hats off to my amazing American grandparents for owning my dads side of the tree. We've got a bit of work to do when it comes to my namesake ancestors on the Scottish side, so it looks as if the lot falls to me. I'm so excited! James Stewart the 12th will be remembered! It makes me want to dance a jig and put on a kilt just thinking about it.
The Zone is doing well, we'll be getting two new visitors' centre sisters this week. One is from Germany and the other from Utah. I feel as if I've been through quite a few generations of this Zone, and each one is very different than it's predecessor. One thing that is interesting is seeing how much the training and efforts of those who came before affect the missionaries now serving. When scriptures say the "traditions of their fathers", they're talking about something real. If we leave a sense of excitement and diligence in our wards, in our families, and in our groups of friends, we can really change what standards those that come after us will uphold. The same occurs if we leave behind negative influences, poor habits, and lack of diligence. The scriptures call those the "sins of the fathers", ha.
We had a great experience at the end of this week where we were invited to a members home with two returned missionaries. It was wonderful to sit and talk about our mission experiences, and we ended up teaching a lesson about what makes a successful missionary. It was so good to hear similar answers from missionaries who had served all around the world among very different cultures and people. I hope that was good premonition for what life is like back home. I've chatted with a lot of the departing missionaries from our mission as I shuttle them around, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about the next stage of life. They call leaving your mission "dying" for a reason; it really is quite the surreal event, including the time leading up to it. It's a major change in life that everyone knows is coming, but doesn't really hit until you're crying on the plane home, ha.
I'll definitely be sad to leave; even though I've lived many places in England, this is my home. Funny how home becomes the place that you've grown the most. Having that on the horizon won't affect the way that I work, though. I plan on finishing strong. The hardest part comes after you leave, anyway, so why let yourself get out of shape before the big game?
I love you, Mom, hope that gives you some insight into this week. It's been a good one, full of a lot of thought provoking experiences.