October 17-Nov 20th
Well sorry I haven't written anything in a while. Don't worry it's not because I'm trunky but we've been super busy and I spend more time iMessaging than emailing. This is a 5 week over view of this area and transfer. Maybe when I get home I'll add more details because I've been keeping a really good journal this transfer. Surprise surprise!
I'm now serving in south Las Vegas. Our area boarders the airport and we have a great view of the Strip. We cover two wards and it's been interesting trying to remember the names of the members within 5 weeks. The members are wonderful and the work is progressing well.
My companion has been out 6 weeks but by the end of the transfer she will have been out 12 weeks. She is from Alabama. And is at a level 100 about 100% of the time. She is excited about the work and has been a great companion. She is super random for example, in one of our lessons this week she was singing all of the songs from Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. It was hilarious! I don't even know what lead her to start singing them but my only regret is not filming her.
We have several outstanding investigators but I'll only mention a few for sake of time:
JORDAN was baptized the second week of the transfer. His mom recently joined and his dad is less active. He is still in primary so it was always interesting trying to teach to his understanding but still make it interesting enough that he would remember it. For example, when we teach the Ten Commandments we use our fingers to remember which commandment is what. For the second commandment (don't worship idols) we shape our fingers into what looks like a cow. So when ever we ask him to list some one the commandments we follow his go-to is "don't worship cows" followed with a mooing sound.
When we were setting up his baptismal program we had it planned to be on a Saturday right after Madison's baptism. One night we got a call from our Ward Mission Leader telling us (not asking us) that he had called both families of those who were getting baptized, asking if the baptisms could be combined. We were fine with the change (even though we had already planned two services) but didn't understand why our ward mission leader didn't run it by us first. There are some communication skills that were lacking. Anyway, on the day of the baptism we were about ready to head out the door to set up when we got a call from Jordan's mom telling us that Jordan would not be getting baptized. What a curve ball. She explained that the rest of the family didn't feel like Jordan should be baptized, however she felt like he was ready. We knew Jordan was ready and wanted to be baptized but it's hard for a kid to be baptized when your dad tells you he isn't coming to your baptism. We rushed over there, said a prayer with them, and convinced them to at least come to Madison's baptism and if Jordan felt like he needed to be baptized then he could. We called Madison's family and our ward mission leader to ask them if the baptism could be pushed back 15-20 minutes so Jordans family could get ready and come. They both said 'yes'. Then we drove to the chapel and arrived there 5 minutes after the phone call. As we walked into the room the music was playing for the opening song. We turned to the ward mission leader and asked him why we were starting. He told us that people needed to get on with their day and there was no more time to waste. We were not happy! Jordan was going to miss his own baptism because our ward mission leader was afraid he was going to miss a football game! And we weren't able to get any pictures with Madison and her family because they were going to start without the missionaries. Who does that?! See what I mean when I said the communication skills are lacking. We went through nearly the whole baptismal service (because baptisms never really take very long) then Jordan and his mom showed up at the very end. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said 'yes'. I turned around to our ward mission leader and told him we are going to have to hold another service because Jordan wants to be baptized. He was not pleased at the timing but made the announcement that Jordan would be getting baptized however if the members needed to leave they could. No one left. Everyone stayed for Jordan's baptism. We got a picture with him and his family. After he was baptized he ran up to us and asked "Am I glowing?!" For as crazy as the morning was it all worked out and they were both confirmed the next day.
MADISON got baptized the same day as Jordan, during the second week of the transfer. Her family is awesome! Her dad got baptized about a month before I got into the area and her step mom Amber grew up a member but fell away for a little while and now is back stronger than ever! Amber works from home selling Lularue and I think sister Dyer has bought something from her every week this transfer. You'll be happy to know that as much as I would have loved to buy something I was disciplined. But mainly it's because I knew I would have no room in my suitcases. Whenever we need something they are always there to help out! And just really amazing people in general! One night I found a gecko climbing on their wall outside. Sister Dyer jokingly said "we should catch it and give it to them". She was surprised when I actually was able to catch it. And they seemed to like the new pet!
DAVID married a member. We went to their wedding at the beginning of the transfer. It was super fun helping with the wedding. It was held in their gorgeous backyard with their closest friends and family. The bishop did a great service and of course the cake was really good. After the wedding Chloe, David's wife, said that he is going to be ready to take the lessons soon. The in-laws were a little apprehensive because they didn't want to scare him away but he's taken everything so well! They have their vision not only on baptism but also the temple so they can be an eternal family. David keeps his commitments to read, pray and come to church and is always wanting more information. In the second lesson we helped him download the gospel library app and showed him how to use it. Best part is he got his answer from God that he should get baptized in the beginning of January!
Now real quick let me tell you about the BORLA's and the ZACH's. Sister Zach and Sister Borla are sisters and they both live in the same neighborhood. Sister Zach's daughter, Chloe, married our investigator, David. Sister Borla has two kids out on missions right and she is so quick to help us with anything. She even comes out to teach and talk to people. The two families get together every Sunday to have dinner. There has been quite a few weeks where we've come by to get sister Zach's amazing rolls or sister Borla's incredible dessert! They are our family away from family. We love going over there because we feel right at home!
EDWARD is an incredible investigator! He's from Panama but grew up in NYC so his accent and stories are ones to hear! He works for PepsiCo so he always gives us snacks and juice. It's awesome. At the beginning of the transfer he wouldn't say prayers in our lessons and rarely read his scriptures. But he has come so far! We went on a temple tour with him and have been helping him grow his faith in prophets and the Book of Mormon. One night, after he had read Lehi's vision in 1 Nephi 8 he applied the symbolism perfectly to his life. He said that he is at the point where he is about to partake of the fruit but there are people in the great and spacious building mocking him. We jokingly said "yeah the Strip is right over there" and then he said "no, the great and spacious building is in my phone. It's my friends and family who don't want me to do this." It was so deep! But boy was he right. A few weeks later he had a friend ask him what church he had been attending. Edward told him and then when the friend found out he proceeded to send Edward 45 links to anti material. 45! And he read them all. He disregarded most of them except for blacks and the priesthood. It hurt us seeing him so distraught. We came back the next day to try and answer his questions. When we did the spirit took over and it was a huge testimony builder for him. He thought through it a lot but now he is stronger than ever and is getting baptized! When we had his baptismal interview, which he passed, he said the closing prayer and in the middle of it he had a loss of words because the spirit overcame him. He knew this was God's plan for him and everything that has happened in his life has prepared him for this decision. I'm so excited for Edward because he has been truly converted.
So obviously the people here are stellar but some other things that happened this transfer were:
DEPARTING TESTIMONY AND DINNER. President Snow invited me to the departing missionary temple, testimony meeting and dinner the day of transfer. I didn't go to the temple because it was right in the middle of transfers and I didn't want to leave sister Dyer all alone, so I told him I would go to the temple later in the transfer. The testimony meeting was good. It was a smallish group of us. I mainly hung around the sisters that were going back to temple square because their missions weren't actually ending either. Where as everyone else was having a hard time coping with the end. The dinner was great. We missionaries are treated so well! After dinner we all sat around talking or looking at out missionary books. Mine wasn't made yet so I just sat there waiting for my companion to come pick me up and thanking Heavenly Father that my mission wasn't quiet over yet!
ELDER DYCHES is a general authority who came to visit our mission. He had all the missionaries that were leaving this transfer share their brief testimonies (that meant me). And he gave a great training on how we can become better missionaries by focusing on the fundamentals. For lunch we got to sit with Elder and Sister Dyches and visit with them. It was really special and they had some great stories.
HALLOWEEN PARTY. Every year the mission gets together for a Halloween party to eat candy and watch a movie. Previously that weekend, we went to both ward's Halloween parties. I cannot tell you how many people made the joke "oh, I see you dressed up as missionaries!" It was a lot. The members here love missionaries so they gave us a lot of candy, really good candy too! It made me wish I would have brought a bigger purse, but then I would have needed a bigger skirt. Okay, back to the missionary party. It was great seeing so many missionary friends and catching up with them. We rarely get to meet as a whole mission so this is always a treat we look forward to. This year we watched Shrek for the movie. There were a lot of parts that thankfully I didn't catch onto as a kid. It was fun watching it with a group of missionaries because we haven't seen any movies in years so any movie seems amazing. And most of the missionaries could quote almost all of the movie. All in all it was a fun holiday.
EXCHANGES IN ANTHEM. I got to go back to my old area for a day. So many memories came back to me as I stepped into that apartment and walked around those neighborhoods. Ryan came out with us to help us find people to teach. Later we had dinner with the Whites. I couldn't have asked for a better family to have dinner with during my one day back in Anthem. We also saw the Mann's there so it was neat seeing old members. In the evening we called Axel to come teach with us last minute. When he answered I said "hey it's me, sister Gier!" He didn't believe me so he said "no way. Who's calling? This is a lame prank." I tried to convince him and said "no, it's really me! I'm on exchanges right now!" Then he freaked out because he realized it was actually me. But he was busy so he couldn't come out with us. The Rivas family are such solid converts! It's amazing!
TEMPLE WITH SISTER KOYLE. She picked me up bright and early with Ruby and her boyfriend Kyle (who got baptized!). We met Adrianna, Axel, Sonia, Ryan and Axel's girl friend at Kneaders. It was so great to see everyone again. When we got in there Sister Koyle was like "I don't know what to get, I'm not familiar with their menu". So I gave her a look and said "what are you talking about?! We came here together before!" We had so many great memories together. After breakfast her and I went to the temple for a session. It felt like nothing had changed. Two friends ready to take on the world! She filled me in with all she's been doing back in Utah and I can't wait until I'm up there too with all my old friends making new memories. The temple was gorgeous and the spirit was so strong. It was weird thinking that was the last time I would go to the temple as a missionary. But it was a great last time! I know I'm missing a lot of details or funny things that happened but this is the gist of it! It's been a wonderful transfer and the work is going SOOO GREAT!