A quick lesson for those of you who don't know how mission time/transfers work (if you already do feel free to skip down to the next paragraph). A mission as a whole is more or less 2 years or 18 months depending on how transfers fall. A transfer is a 6 week period of time and is the basic unit of time measurement in the mission. The last Saturday of each transfer is when transfer calls come, also known as the worst day of the transfer. You only get a call if you are changing areas which is called being transferred. If you don't get a call then that means you aren't moving. The fun part is that they don't tell you who your new companion is, just what area you are going to. Then the next day the companion who is moving calls the missionaries in that area to find out who their companion will be and to work out plans for Monday. All in all it is a very stressful night.
Fortunately we all escaped from transfer calls relatively unscathed. Hermana Evanson is moving to Bell 1, which is in East LA, Elder Jimenez has finished his mission and is heading home, and we get a new district leader, Elder Lane. The best news of all is that Hermana Diaz and I are still together at least for another 6 weeks. There was much rejoicing after we found that out.
I figured that for this e-mail I would share some of the things that I have learned since I left home 3 months or so ago.
1. I can now patch and change bike tires without help from my dad as well as other things like adjust the brakes, align the chain/get it unstuck, and take off the front tire and get it back on in under 30 seconds.
2. I've learned how to use public transportation. I'm still working on the talking to people while on public transportation part but I'm getting better at it.
3. I've learned how to really pray. I though I knew how to before I got the the MTC and then I thought I learned how to do it there, but in reality I don't think I really got the hang of it until I got to the field, and the best part is that I'm still learning how to do it even better. It's something to work on over a lifetime and I will never be perfect at it.
4. When there is a problem between companions it's best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I've mostly learned this one from watching other companionships, but there was one day where my companion and I had a disagreement and it was probably the worst day I've ever had in the mission. The day didn't get better until we worked it all out, and then the Lord allowed us to start having success again. Contention is not of God but of the devil.
5. Daily repentance is essential. Missionaries are not perfect, not in a long shot, and I know that I'm not either. Something that has really helped me with this has been my study of the Book of Mormon. Right now as I'm reading I'm looking for any mention of repentance and the results of it. It has been a really good experience.
6. I've learned to eat anything and everything, even if I don't like it, like raw onions. Enough said.
7. This cannot be done alone. No part of this life can be done. One of my favorite quotes is "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path--the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are." (Jeffery R. Holland, April 2009 General Conference) I have never seen this more than I have here on the mission. I know that there are so many people around me to help me and support me, and the greatest is my Savior Jesus Christ.
So there you go. A small list of things I have learned thus far. I'm excited to keep learning and growing.
I hope all is going well for all of you.
Hermana Anna Christensen