Monday, January 20, 2014

Been doing mission work Mainely

Dear Texas,

Honey, it looks like we're gettin' farther and farther apart. My heart goes out to yuh.

I guess I should probably describe what a transfer meeting is like. Normally, we wake up at 6:30. On a transfer day, we wake up at least an hour earlier, and drive to a place where we pick up other missionaries. Then we get picked up by a member of the Church, who has volunteered to drive us to Manchester, New Hampshire with our luggage (three large pieces). For some areas in the mission (mostly Maine), it's a five hour drive. It was a two hour drive for us from Vermont. We meet at the chapel in Manchester. We wait in the Cultural Hall (kind of like a gym/basketball court/with a stage for performances) for everyone to arrive, with our luggage all pushed to one side. When the actual meeting starts, we sing "Called to Serve," a missionary hymn. It is absolutely glorious to sing with one hundred other strong voices. Then the missionaries going home share "The Golden Truth that I have learned on my mission that will change who I am forever." Then they announce the new companionships in this format: "In the Waterville One Area, Elder Thomas will remain as Senior Companion and will receive Elder Richins as Junior Companion." You stand up when your name is called so you and your new companion know who to look for after the meeting. Then we sing another hymn, offer a closing prayer, and break for lunch. During this time you find your new companion, say goodbye to your old companion and the member who drove you, eat lunch, and drive to your new area. The next week is spent getting to know all the people you need to know.

So, I got transferred to Maine! I'm in a city called Waterville, about 18 miles from Augusta, the Capitol. I don't know if anyone remembers Elder Chapman, but he always used to say that Maine is the Holy Land. It's still up in the air, but I think it could be. I have been so happy this week. Elder Thomas and I get along well and the members of the Waterville Ward have given me a warm welcome. I love Elder Thomas. He is such a great missionary. He has made friends with everyone in the ward and he works to show his love for the members here by making treats (he bakes) for them and by finding simple ways for them to share the gospel with their friends. We hope to help the members by making Valentine's Day cards printed with a spiritual theme, such as a hymn or scripture. The members may give these cards to friends, family, and others. A lady in the ward makes cards professionally, so she will show us how to make them look super-cool!

Dennis, the husband of a member, sat in on the two visits we have had since I got here. He sat in when we taught his wife a brief portion of the Plan of Salvation, and in our second visit, we showed him a talk by President Uchtdorf, one of the leaders of the Church worldwide. The talk is called Come, Join With Us. He immediately posted the link on Facebook and said, "My sister is going to freak out; I never post religious stuff on Facebook." I have some pretty high hopes for Dennis. He is so cool!

I am so excited for this week; I don't even know what we're doing this week though. I am just so happy to be a missionary!
Elder Jon Harrison Richins!

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