Oh happy day!
It's the start of a new transfer and I'm super happy to stay in Moses Lake. It is the BEST place to be for missionary work. I love it. I LOVE IT! I have a new companion! Well, not yet. She will come on Tuesday but I found out last night who she will be. Hermana Tippetts! She was also trained by Sister Hicks so she will probably do missionary work similarly. I'm sad Hermana Hicks left yesterday but I'm actually pretty excited too. It means that I'm taking over the area because Hermana Tippetts has never worked here so she doesn't know anybody! It was reeeeaaaallly great that Hermana Hicks was traveling sister because all the exchanges prepared me to feel ready to take over the area now. When I first got here I never thought I would know so much about everyone or even WHERE TO GO. Does anyone know me? I'm terrible with directions! But somehow I can manuever my way around Moses without a problem. It's definitely the Lord working through me. I had a feeling from the very start that Hermana Tippetts would be my 2nd trainer. She was training one of the sisters that came out of the MTC with me but she was in a trio so it just made sense to bring her over to me. But I think more than making sense, it's what the Lord wants and knows Moses Lake needs to help the work progress. Ahh! So fun!
I love change and newness and beginnings and so I'm super excited to work with her and get to know her better. And I also love the responsibility of looking over my Moses and taking care of all my sheep here. I love the people. People make the mission. They are everything. Yesterday I gave a talk in 6th ward and as I sat on the stand and looked over the congregation, I just felt so much love. I don't even know many of the people in 6th ward very well but I LOVE THEM. I feel a divine love for them and I am so happy to serve in their part of the vineyard. Being a missionary is such an amazing privilege. This was the week where I decided I'm going to LOVE my mission-which may sound silly to you but this first transfer was rough. There are some really hard days where I just don't love being a missionary. I received a letter this week that really changed everything for me. It came on the day I needed it most and it was everything I needed. It put things into perspective and I realized it's really no sacrifice to be a missionary. Especially here in Washington-I live a more luxurious life than at college for sure. I mean I buy all brand name food! :) But this one year and half of my life is everything. The Lord sees my great potential and it's going to be a rough go to get there but I have this amazing time to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm really learning to apply the Atonement daily. It's so important! But this last week-especially since it was Hermana Hick's last week-we did our everything to work hard and give it to the Lord. We saw miracles and reached nearly all our goals! It was incredible.
And next week we are having a baptism! Claudia and Genaro are getting married on thursday and baptized on Saturday. I'm super glad Hermana Tippetts will get to see this baptism and witness just how miraculous and wonderful Moses Lake is-but more importantly how wonderful the people are. So Hermana Hicks left yesterday at 2 pm so I had one of the YSA sisters come and step-in as my companion for the night. It was super fun. She is headed out to serve in Romania in February so she was soaking everything up. She has gone out and taught lessons with us before but this was the first time it was just me and her. I had a glimpse into trainer-life [yikes! tough stuff. hopefully not anytime soon!] But it was cool for me to see that I can do it! I can step up and take the lead in our spanish discussions and I can listen to promptings of the spirit and to apply the scriptures and doctrine of Christ to people's lives! And I can love the people I serve. I can be a missionary! I am a missionary. I still get surprised some mornings because I'm actually still pretty much the same. My testimony has grown, my love of the scriptures has exploded and my desire to be more like Christ increases everyday-but I'm still me. Little ol' emily who sometimes can't decide what to wear in the morning because I love clothes too much. And little emily who reads the scriptures and finds inspiration for new art projects! But the truth is-I'm actually not emily for now. Not for the next 16 months. I'm Hermana Judd. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ and it is a sweet, sweet privilege. Bearing testimony is my favorite! More than anything I want to help others feel God's love for them and help them recognize their amazing, divine worth. The worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God. And I'm witness to that everyday!
I sometimes don't know what I should say in my letters. Do you want to hear more about my investigators? Should I tell more missionary experiences? I mostly just tell my feelings cause that is so me. Ya know? Digame, mama.
For now I'll leave you with some photos from the last few weeks.
So I am not sure what order they will come in but here goes:
1. This is Jonathan. He is Claudia and Genaro's son and he was going to get baptized this weekend with them too but he told us last night that he wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon and really pray to know it's true. He is such a solid 9 year old! He always tells us how much he loves church and how good it makes him feel. It makes me so happy that he really wants to have a testimony and be baptized because he knows it's true! The primary in the branch gave all the kids missionary name tags with their last name. He's Elder Avila. It touches my heart to think of him serving a mission! Oh, I love this family so much!
2. This is outside the temple with Hna Donaldson and Hna Sanchez from Warden. Also, Sister Mathyer is a sister in the 6th ward who always drives us around and takes us to the temple. She is the best!
3. The sun doesn't shine very often in the winter but it did on our temple day! I thrive on sunshine. It is so great anytime we see it!
4. This is my district. We set our cameras on the sidewalk so we could all be in the picture. Tallest to shortest of course. Ahh, so great. I forgot that working with Elders is such a big part of my mission-but turns out it's awesome. These Elders are so great!
5. This is Elder Bell. He was my Zone Leader before he left for home today! He is so great! It was so fun to work with him. And he's like literally 3 feet taller than me. SO funny! He is the tallest in the mission and I'm the shortest. We had to get a picture, of course!
7. This is a boy named Cody in Jacob's freshman ward. It was super random that we were at the stake center and that he was there too but he came out and was like, "are you sister judd??" so had to take a picture to show Jake and remind him that he should write me! Or send me your address so I can write you!!!!
8. & 9. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Bowens in 6th ward. It might honestly have been the best thanksgiving meal I've ever had. Such good broccoli salad and sweet potato souflee! Afterwards we watched Mormon.org profiles with the family and shared a scripture with. Definitely a good thanksgiving!
10. This is Virgina and Arturo in their living room. Oh, I love them. Gollee, we are praying for a miracle with Arturo. I don't know when he will be baptized but I pray it's soon.
Welp, that's all for now I think.
I love being a missionary! I can't believe it's been two months. Time stands still just as often as it flies by. Had I stayed in the MTC for 9 weeks I would be coming out in the field today! Man, I'm so glad that I was here in Washington instead. I have learned SO much about the gospel and about Spanish just from working with the people here.
Here's to the start of an awesome transfer 2!
Love you all!