It is absolutely a great day to be a Mormon Missionary!!!!
So, this has been some VERY difficult few days. I am getting transferred from Kerman after being here for 6 months. Words cannot express the love I have for this area and, more importantly, these people. I have grown from an awkward, non-Spanish speaking new missionary to a near fluent, still semi-awkward but fully capable missionary.
Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. Saying goodbye to my family here was just heartbreaking. But at the same time it was very gratifying. It feels good to know that the reason why this hurts is because I fully love so many people and that they love me too. I don't feel the pain of regret, just the pain of leaving my family for a time. Saying goodbye to Lupe was especially hard. Her and her girls. I mostly just stood there, tears streaming down my face as 5 year old Evolette shouted "Everyone! Group hug Sister Zollinger!" and just feeling her and her three sisters and her mother and my companion surround me. Or Evolette's sweet prayer in which she said "Please help us to never forget Sister Zollinger". I heard a lot of things like that the past 36 hours, and that is a feeling of sweet sorrow. I feel like this is how Heavenly Father must have felt a bit like when, after He had taught us all He could, He turned us out into this world and just ached, hoping we'd make it back. I'm not sure if He exactly hopes because He knows all things, but I feel like it must be something like I was feeling in my own tiny insignificant way.
I love being a missionary. My heart will never fully leave Kerman. I am very excited to go to Ceres and be with Sister De la Cruz. I took her out on Open Your Mouth two transfers ago! So cool. And that's where Sister VanWie just served, so that's pretty cool! We just swapped areas.
I don't really know how to put into words how I have felt or what I have learned. Here I have grown twice as humble and 3 or 4 times as patient. I have learned how to be confident and strong. I have learned to consecrate my success to my God. Kerman has changed so much in my time here. They LOVE missionary work in a way I haven't seen before. I have put a ton of work into member trust. But I know that God has a plan for every thing and that His work will progress. I have learned that baptisms do not measure your success as a missionary. I have learned to love with everything I've got, put every thing into the playing field and not look back. I believe I can honestly say I have no regrets about my first area. It wasn't perfect, but it was my best. And I will do the same in Ceres.
Thank you for this opportunity to grow. I really appreciate it.
I love you President!
So..... I'm getting transferred up to Sister VanWie's old area. Up by Modesto! And my new companion is the girl I took out on Open Your Mouth two transfers ago, she just finished training and she really doesn't speak English, so I have to teach her English! And it's an all Spanish branch! I'm going to be SO Hispanic by the time I get back. She's from Peru, Sister De la Cruz.
So... the past day and a half have been some of the hardest of my life. Lots of crying.
Also tender mercy.... two less active teens I've been working with my whole mission came to sacrament meeting for the first time ever yesterday, and also Brother Bontrager came with no encouragement from us! Such a tender mercy, I thought he was going to be at the fire station. I just started crying when I saw him there. Also the Herberts are moving to Washington.... surprise move, Jimmy left without even saying goodbye like two weeks ago, so I was just waiting for him to come pick up the rest of the family in two weekends but now I won't be here, but I got to talk to him on the phone this morning and he said that they're going to try to drive through my new area on the way to Washington! And I'm saying goodbye to the Nunez tonight.
Anyways, I'm going to Ceres 3rd, all Spanish branch that's almost a ward. But it's in the Turlock stake. Which is close to Modesto.
this zone is brand new that I'm going to, it only has two districts, only 8 companionships total. thats about half my current zone's size. But they are on fire! We're going to baptize up there!