This week of the new transfer has been seriously an amazing experience for me...but also one of the hardest weeks of my mission. I was with my last companion sister winn for 6 months. I felt so off and slightly alone for the first little bit without her. Almost like I forgot how to even be myself, crazy. And I forgot what it felt like to have that new awkward-just getting to know you feeling. So there were some really hard moments for me that I kept inside and to myself (so that I didn't freak or stress out my new missionary haha), but Sunday was a turning point for me. I still am figuring things out but I am doing much better. I love my new companion!! Her name is Sister Talbot and she just arrived on her mission. She is from Texas and just barely turned 19. She is just the cutest thing ever! She is a little shy but really funny. And she is so willing to work and have faith and be obedient. We will have a great transfer together. I am already learning so much from her. I am excited.
We just covering the Ripon area. I have been here for 7 and a half months currently...by the end of the transfer I will have spent half my mission here. I feel like a true riponite! I am not disappointed at all to still be here though, everyday we go out, we find and talk to new people. I know there are things left for me to do here for God. Our teaching is starting from ground zero though this transfer. When they split me from covering Ripon and the YSA wards, I left all my investigators. So we are currently in full force finding mode. We get out and we bike all day (it was 106 the other day..soooo hot!!) and we talk to everyone we can. We have some return appointments set up for this week so hopefully we will start actively teaching these people. Tonight we are actually having dinner with the mother of a kid who was just recently baptized into the YSA ward a few months ago. She said she wanted to know more about the church, and invited us over to share more. We are very excited for this! Oh and this week we taught this man named Ben! Sister Winn and I meant him our last monday together at walgreens in Ripon. He works there and we started chatting as we checked out and invited him to learn more. We taught him about the restoration of Christ's gospel and he committed to be baptized, it was a really amazing lesson. Sadly though, he lives in Lathrop, another town near by, so we are passing him off to the missionaries who serve in that town. We are excited to keep hearing how he does. I want my new companion sister talbot to have more and more teaching opportunities so bad. I am praying and working really hard to find those, along side of her. We are doing are best and I feel peaceful that we will carry out the work God has for us here, whatever that might be. Good things are happening right now though too, we are building a strong foundation in diligence and faith together, and that is what will carry us through hard days in our mission. It is an important lesson to learn, and to always be learning.
We do teach a ton of lessons each week to our recent converts, Kelly, Trisha, Robert, and a girl Zoey. It is a good opportunity for sister talbot and I to get comfortable teaching together in a less stressful environment. I love those lessons so much. They are always a highlight of my day, and they remind that there are more people like them here- right now- who are waiting to be taught. The Souzas and Kelly and her husband Marco are all going to the temple tomorrow with the ward to do baptisms. I am so happy and excited for them! Today we are all meeting and doing family history together in preparation for their trip. I feel blessed to still be working with them all.
So this week has been full of a million emotions. I am excited to be here in Ripon full time and to start teaching more and more with my new companion! There have been, and I am sure there will still be, hard times for me, but I know it will be okay and that Heavenly Father is aware of me personally. He is taking care of me, especially in those hard moments. I was praying out loud in my bathroom on sunday after having a hard few moments and I had a scripture come into my head so clearly. It was John, Jesus Christ is speaking and He says, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." I felt that truth become a reality to me immediately. I was blessed with comfort and with a heavenly assurance He is here for me. I know it is true for everyone of us. His promise stands- no matter how long it has been, no matter what things we have done, no matter how undeserving we feel. He will not leave us alone, He will come to us. We just have to allow Him to, and we will find that when we do allow Him to come to us that He has been anxiously waiting there all along to be let in. That promise means everything to me. I know it is true.
all my love,
sister eleanor neeley