Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Biggest Roller Coaster of My Mission

 Dear Family and Friends,

This letter is really long, just so ya know. This week has been the biggest roller coaster of my mission, possibly my entire life. Really it all boils down to what happened Friday.

We had been able to set up a time for our investigator Lavida to be interviewed by our mission president in hopes that we would be able to move her baptism date forward from February to November. She ended up having a funeral in Manhattan and was going to be cutting it really close, to when she was supposed to be at the church for her appointment, with President Bell, at noon. We had been stressing since the night before re-arranging things with the schedule with her and the APs to make sure it was going to work out. But much to our relief she was on time. She went into the interview and then after what felt like a very long time she came out in tears with President Bell and he said, "She is getting baptized next Saturday!" our reaction was thus "Wait, is this a joke?" "Are you serious?!" 
We were so excited and were talking to her about it and realized that since transfers were this week Elder Hamblin, who played a huge part in her conversion, would miss her baptism, and she wanted him to be the one to baptize her. So we ran to grab President Bell before he left, to see if we could move the baptism. He told us we could do it the next day, or Sunday after Church. We decided to do it Sunday, which thus put into the works an amazing baptism. 
The baptism was amazing! She has been investigating for 4 months a lot of the branch knows her and many people stayed after to support her! She was so happy after she came out of the water.  She was crying because she felt so happy and loved! And then when she was confirmed she had a great feeling of peace come over her that she told us excitedly Monday hadn't left her yet! I know it meant so much to Sister McCarrick to be here with her when she was baptized since they found Lavida in her first transfer here.

That was the joyful part of the week, but Friday also was really hard. Sister McCarrick has been the greatest example of endurance and trusting in God. Her family has been very unsupportive of her as she has been on her mission. (She is a convert to the Church, and the only member in her family). So she asked President Bell if she could meet with him on Friday when he came up to interview Lavida. She was expecting to get advice on how to continue to cope and help her family, feel more at peace with her decision to be serving a mission. So it was a huge shock when President Bell told her that the feeling he was getting was that she was supposed to go home. She told him she didn't want to go home. And so he counseled her to call home that evening and then pray about what she was supposed to do. 
By a huge miracle the Sister Training Leaders felt that we should have a second exchange with them and that one of them would spend the day with us in a tri-pansionship, and the other would be in Manhattan with the University Sisters. Even though she was struggling with the decision she had to make, Sister McCarrick still followed through with our plan to have two splits. Which means one of us would stay with Sister Roquemore (our STL) and the other would go out with a member of the ward or branch their our companion. I went out with Sister Medina in the morning, and she went with Sister Wells in the afternoon. We taught a ton of lessons and found three new investigators! 
I had been feeling sick all day and had been getting worse progressively all day Friday. I felt like the area in my abdomen was going to kill me because of how much pain I was in. By the time we all went back to the church and the other STL Sister Dean joined us so that Sister McCarrick could call home.  I was in so much pain I was lying on a pew trying to not breath, because of how much it hurt. The Branch President and his Counselor were there and gave me a blessing of healing. Then sister Dean took me back to the apartment while Sister Roquemore stayed with Sister McCarrick, while she called home. Blessings really work, two hours later my pain had left, just in time for Sister McCarrick to return to the apartment after talking to her family.
After talking with them and them telling her to come home, she said she would call them back when she decided. She prayed and read her scriptures and then went and told Sister Roquemore that she was staying. Sister Roquemore talked to her about it and asked if Heavenly Father was there would she go home, and would she listen if it was just a quite voice telling her she needed to return home. They talked more and Sister McCarrick finally said, " I think I need to go home" and with those words she finally felt peace that she has not felt in months. 
Watching her listen to Heavenly Father and accept what He needed her to do, even though it wasn't what she wanted or wasn't expecting has been a HUGE learning experience for me and I feel very privileged to have been her companion for this last transfer. I have cried more in the last three weeks than the rest of my mission combined. I don't want to let her go because I know she has a hard road to walk, especially for the next few months, but I KNOW that she is doing God's will because I have felt peace and comfort as has President Bell, Sister Roquemore, and Sister Dean. This is Gods work, and his plan. She listened to him that she needed to come on a mission, and she is listening to him now as he tells her she has finished the mission he needed her to do and has another plan in mind for her! I love her so much and cannot express how privileged I feel to have been her companion!

Love you all 
Sister Blood  
Elder Hamblin & Lavida

Lavida & Sister McCarrick

 Sister Blood, Lavida, Elder Hamblin, & Sister McCarrick
Sister Blood, "True Kansas Wichita Missionary"

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