Wow. This week did not go as planned. After six months in Liberty Lake I had almost forgotten how unexpected and constantly changing Nauvoo is. When we received an almost routine call from the assistants to get together the announcements and scheduling bugs that had been looming. It was a shock to everyone to have a mid-transfer move to work out. Everything has gone perfectly. Sister Westwood was at peace as she left, everything was packed up and cleaned in a matter hours, Sister Cordoba (my new companion) is amazing. I feel like I have a much better handle on my calling as Carthage group leader (at least I feel a lot more comfortable), AND I found my backpack (which was missing and basically contained my life. It was a good thing when it was found). Sister Cordoba is from Miami, Florida. Her parents are from Costa Rica and she is bi-lingual! which means I get to learn stuff in Spanish like how to pray and bare my testimony. She is the second of four children and absolutely beautiful. I love her! We get along so well and have A LOT in common.
Today has gone really well. We are a little behind schedule but other than that we've been able to accomplish SO much. We've done shopping, e-mailing, address labels, tags, Pioneer dress fitting, studies and were able to fill the time in the car by talking with one another. As the day has gone on I think that Sister Cordoba is feeling better and better about her call. It have been sooooooo good to get to know her. We get along great! She has such a testimony and a fantastic life. I could listen to her talk for hours.
The funny thing about all this is that I found myself less than excited about my call in Carthage because of two things: 1) It was an unexpected responsibility and I had no idea what it entailed, and 2) I had done a lot of reflecting in the time between our arrival and when we received our assignments; mostly upon Sister Thomas and what she means to me, what my first ever transfer here really meant to me and how it has shaped me as a missionary. I was looking forward to (something I could not always claim) training someone. Teaching them to love Nauvoo, giving back just a little of what I had gained here, and helping someone else have a better experience on their mission both here and in their winter assignment. I have been trying very hard to follow the council of Elder Bednar to write down impressions more often than quotes. One such an impression happened in one of the many district meetings that followed when you said, Some of you may be wondering "how can I be in Nauvoo?" and even more of you may be wondering "how can I be back in Nauvoo?", but it doesn't matter, because this is the Lord's way and that is the right way. Underneath this note I wrote "Carthage Group Leader IS the Lord's way. Training is not. Focus on that". I did, and things started to fall into place. I had almost forgotten how much I had been looking forward to being a trainer. I was reminded as I looked over the past couple of District meeting notes. I read over and pondered on that impression for quite sometime and felt so good about how far I had come and about being Carthage group leader. Then the phone rang and it was Sister Parker letting me know that Sister Westwood was transferring and that I would be training a new sister. I felt like everything had been running like a little conveyor belt factory and when the call came someone shut the power off and everything just stopped. It was the weirdest thing. I planned on telling Sister Westwood privately after all the other announcements were made, but as soon as I hung up the phone rang again and it was President Ludwig! He told Sister Westwood and then we packed, had a family home evening with the Leals and packed some more because Sister Westwood needed to be out by the next day. It was certainly an eventful night. The family home evening with the Leals was so spiritual. We read D&C 135 with them, shared our testimonies and played a game. We have all loved the time we've had to get to know the Senior Missionaries and learning from their lives and their testimonies. They are the biggest blessing. We also assigned everyone Disney Characters. It was so funny.
Carthage and it's sisters are doing GREAT. Everyone is so supportive, so flexible and so happy to help where ever they can. The sisters are feeling so much better and so much more confident about the script and the Seniors are all amazing. Also so flexible and supportive.
I am starting a study on the blessings of missionary work listed in the D&C. It has been awesome so far. THERE ARE SOOOO MANY.
This week has been pretty nuts so I am a little scattered on things I feel I need to say. One part of my testimony has grown at a more accelerated rate than the rest of my testimony this week and that is of how perfectly perfect God is. He is perfect! and that sentence doesn't even do Him justice. I am so humbled at the time and energy taken to teach me, to support me and to forgive me of every inadequacy I have and to work with me to overcome them. And then to think that He does that for each one of us on a minute to minute basis is mind boggling. It makes me want to take back every doubt and misunderstanding that have taken place over the past 22 years. He is Perfect and His Son is prefect. I am so grateful for my knowledge of Him and His Son Jesus Christ and am so excited at the time and experiences I will have in life to continue to build that know ledge and relationship with Him. And then, if I endure well the lessons, opportunities and experiences I will have all eternity to grow closer, get to know and build that relationship. I received a letter from a friend serving a mission in New Mexico shortly before I came out. She said, "Sister Bailey, This work is so great, I can't wait for you to join me. Every once in a while Heavenly Father gives us a peek into the flawless masterpiece of this work and the view is amazing while it lasts"! Her words have echoed through my head on a number of occasions and I know them to be true. Every once in a while we see the big picture and then it is taken from our view for a time so that we can focus on the task at hand. I cherish those moments. The past two days have been littered with those moments. My whole life has been littered with them. And will continue to be! As long as a hold to the rod of Iron. Sister Cordoba studied Lehi's dream this morning and I have been thinking about the things she has shared with me all day.
I love my studies. I love this work, I love this place, I love this Gospel and I LOOOOVE all of you.