This transfer has been insane, guys. We have pretty much hit rock bottom over and over and over again repeatedly on the hard rock with our heads impacting and tears flying and awfulness ensuing. It's been rough.
HOWEVER! God has been aware of us this whole time. And His plan is better than my plans ever could be.
On Monday and Tuesday last week I was totally sick. We didn't teach a single lesson. I was basically passed out dead for like 48 hours. I feel so bad for Sister Nielsen - staying in the apartment with a companion sick in bed is pretty lame. Wednesday I still wasn't feeling well at all, but I was so sick of staying at home so we went out and tracted for like 3 hours. We had taught no lessons at that point. But we were so blessed! We only tracted one tiny little street, but it took so long because we literally got into every house we knocked on and taught a lesson. It was pretty remarkable.
On Wednesday night Sister Nielsen and I drove to Delta for Exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. Typically we meet up in Hotchkiss, one of the towns I serve in, and separate from there. But we had a specialized Zone Meeting and interviews with our mission president on Thursday in Delta, which is like 35 miles from our apartment, so we spent the night in Delta with the STLs instead of driving there in the morning. I was still sick, and went to bed early and got up late. I ate so many popsicles, let me tell ya.
Our meeting on Thursday was EXACTLY what I needed. Before that point, Sister Nielsen and I were feeling pretty bummed about our area. Other than all the lessons we taught on Wednesday, we really haven't had any success at all this transfer. No one ever wants to listen to our message, and if they do listen and set up a return appointment, they have cancelled the return appointment without fail. We have been exactly obedient and we just did not understand why things were so rough. We did have a woman get baptized at the beginning of the transfer, but then she didn't get confirmed, so even that was really awful. Plus everyone else in our Zone is killing it. All the companionships have been having miracle after miracle and putting people on date for baptism left and right, and we were getting doors slammed in our faces left and right. We may have had some slight pity parties...I'll be honest.
But the Zone Meeting helped a ton. The Spirit was really strong, and Heavenly Father taught me a lot of things in those couple of hours. They did some trainings for how to use the skills that we have more effectively, and they taught us a new way to place the Book of Mormon. It's AWESOME. I love it so much. By the end of it, I just felt so rejuvenated and had a renewed energy and desire to do the work in the Paonia Ward. Even though it had been really really hard.
When I had my interview with President, he gave this whole long spiel about how he sent me to Paonia for a reason and it's a good area and how I might be there for a while. I just laughed and said "President, I love Paonia." He looked shocked and said "What?" and I just said "Look, I know I've called you complaining about how hard it is like 3 times, but the hardest places are the best places. And God has called me to serve here for a purpose! And I know that now. And I'm really excited about it." I think he was really surprised. I was kind of surprised, even haha. But I had a great interview with him, and I was so stoked to go out and work.
Exchanges were interesting. Still no one listened to us haha. But we worked hard and we tried! Again on Friday we went out and surveyed for a really long time and met a bunch of....different people :P But no one listened to THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE IN THE WORLD. Seriously, it will change their lives, but they don't even care. It's so sad. Then on Saturday we continued to tract and knock and knock and knock....but no one listened to us still. We were so discouraged! I have never knocked so many doors in my LIFE until this past week. It was pretty insane. Oh and then, 5 of the people we were teaching dropped us on Saturday! They called us and said they don't ever want us to come back. Harsh. We literally only had one other investigator left, and we hadn't even talked to her in over a week. We could have easily given up. But we didn't. We continued to press forward with faith, and do the best that we could do.
On Sunday we fasted for the work to pick up in Paonia. For us to finally understand our purpose in being here. We wanted so badly to teach and to help souls come unto Christ, but that just was not happening.
We went out to Crawford, a little town in the ward boundaries where Sister Nielsen hasn't worked very much at all. She has totally covered the towns of Paonia and Hotchkiss, and they're pretty much completely hardened against us. But Crawford is untouched.
We tracted into a couple more "interesting" people. But then WE FOUND THE MOST INCREDIBLE FAMILY AND PUT THEM ON DATE FOR BAPTISM FOR APRIL 11!!!!! It's a mom and dad and two kids. The mom was busy and couldn't listen right then but she was nice! And the kids and dad loved the message that we shared and are so excited for us to come back and teach them about the Book of Mormon. We were pretty much in total shock when we left.
THEN, we went back to Paonia and tracted there, and found ANOTHER woman who was really interested and wanted to learn more! We are seeing her again in a couple days to bring her a Book of Mormon. She is moving to Boise in a couple months, which is like Mormon central. So great.
Then this morning we had a lesson with a potential investigator named A. We met her last week and asked if we could teach her but she was busy and said we could come back another time. The only time that worked for her was Monday morning, which is our preparation day and we typically do not teach on Monday mornings. But we did, slightly begrudgingly, and IT WAS SO GREAT. She believes that the message of the restoration of the gospel is true, and said "It all just makes sense. Why wouldn't there be a modern-day prophet?" She has also met with missionaries years ago and really liked what they taught, but then she like moved or something and stopped learning. We also put her on date to be baptized on April 11.
MIRACLES HAPPEN GUYS. I am so happy. The work truly is hastening, and the Lord is preparing souls to hear about His gospel. But He is also preparing each of us personally for whatever responsibilities we have ahead of us. Although this has been the hardest transfer ever, I have learned and grown so so so so much more than I ever even thought possible.
He loves you, and me, and all of His children. At church yesterday one of the speakers said "I'm old, I'm ugly, I'm fat, I'm bald....and my Father in Heaven loves me!" Haha He loves you no matter who you are, and no matter what you've done, and the Lord's arms of mercy are continually extended towards you.
Have the best week ever!