Sorry I didn't email yesterday--I'm actually at home on medical release and got caught up with other things yesterday. I'll explain a little more throughout this email.
Tuesday was transfer day, so Sister Gonzalez and I met some other missionaries at the temple and then I was with Sister Mozos all day. In the afternoon Sister Snow, our mission president's wife, called me and asked if I had thought about going home to get my medical issues taken care of. There aren't very many neurologists in Las Vegas and it can take months to get in to see one, and by that time my vision loss could potentially be permanent.
I actually hasn't thought about going home at that point and immediately went against what Sister Snow said. I thought that putting my mission on hold would be giving up and taking the easy way out, plus I had the faith to be healed or not to be healed and I'm serving a mission, for crying out loud! Is there anything better I could be doing?
Soon I realized that I was being very stubborn and hard hearted, because if God's will was for me to go home, I wasn't accepting it. Then a scripture that my wonderful seminary teacher pointed out to our class came to my mind: 1 Nephi 2:16. Before this verse, Lehi has told his family that they need to go to Jerusalem and so they went. Two of Lehi's sons, Laman and Lemuel, murmured and complained because they didn't know about the dealings of God. Nephi is one of Lehi's righteous sons, and verse 16 is him telling us about what he did. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers."
As soon as I mentally reviewed that verse, I prayed for my heart to be softened. Throughout the course of that day, I realized that I would have to go home. While we were in the car I prayed to confirm that decision and THE CRAZIEST THING HAPPENED. It was similar to how Jordan from Foothills YSA received the answer to his question about if the Restoration is true. He was flipping through the channels on TV and caught snippets from each channel: "God. Says. True."
Well, as soon as I asked that question, a song from Sister Mozos' USB started playing. It's from Les Miserables. Any guesses to what it is yet? The instrumental part at the beginning is hard to distinguish because so many songs in Les Miserables have the same chords. I listened and then all of a sudden it hit me: the song was "Bring Him Home". You've got to be kidding me! I was not expecting an answer like that! Oh, Heavenly Father...he sure has a sense of humor! I don't think I'll ever be able to think about Les Miserables the same way any more.
I called President Snow that night and told him what had happened. Another thing I should mention: I also didn't want to go home because I knew how much of a headache it would be for President Snow to deal with, especially for it to be at the beginning of a transfer when he probably has over a million things on his mind and gets two hours of sleep each night. I was supposed to train, so what would happen to my trainee and the area we would be transferred into? Would the area need to be closed?
Well, during that phone call President Snow told me that there was a sister who was assigned serve in a trio in the North stake where I would have been transferred. He would just pull her from the trio to train a new missionary in the Harmony Hills ward. Again, it never fails to amaze me how perfectly orchestrated Heavenly Father's plan is. That certainly wasn't a coincidence!
Also, at some point on Tuesday we were inspired knocking on a street and at one house, a little boy that looked like he was about 3 opened the door. A dog that was bigger than he was was right behind him. Throughout the time we were there the dog kept trying to go outside and the boy would pull it back in. We asked him if we could talk to his parents and he said something like "mommy's on an airplane". We couldn't figure out if anyone was home with him, but we gave him a note to give to his parents and went on our way. Later, on our way back to the car, we saw the same dog running around on the other side of the street at the same time we saw a family in their garage. I figured we could grab the dog and then talk to them, so I caught it and the family gave us a leash so we could take the dog back to the owners! We returned the dog and saw an adult asleep on the couch this time when the boy opened the door. We made sure the dog was inside when the door shut and then went back to return the leash. The family that let us borrow it is pretty cool! They have a lot of Mormon friends and didn't feel like they're ready to learn more right now but they were happy to have a conversation.
Wednesday afternoon was new missionary assignments, so Sister Mozos and I went up to the mission office to pick up our trainees. I would be in a trio with the new missionary and Sister Jane, who was taking my place. Before Sister Mozos and I traveled to the mission office, we had an hour to proselyte so we went to a referral's house to contact and teach them. We got there and discovered that the house had a massive fence surrounding it. We had no way to get in. Then that one District video started playing my head where the sisters had a similar experience and they saw a little kid outside and said, "Nigelli, come here!" So I was expecting something like that to happen. Sister Mozos wrote a long note and right after she tucked it into an obvious part of the gate, the garage door opened and a YSA girl walked out and asked if we needed any help! We told her who we were looking for and she was like, "that's my dad! He's literally going to be here any minute because he's picking me up". We didn't want to stick around because we had to get to the mission office pretty soon, but a car rolled around the corner and we met the referral! I don't think words can actually convey how perfect the timing was. This guy is awesome! We were able to teach him quickly about the Restoration and set up an appointment with his whole family!
We arrived at the mission office and had extra time because President Snow needed to finish interviewing all the incoming missionaries and figure out which trainers they'll have, so I rearranged my stuff in my suitcases to prepare for departure (the 50 pounds or less type thing for flying).
Then new missionaries were assigned companions and Sister Jane and I (mostly Sister Jane) were assigned as companions for Sister Garn! She is an amazing new missionary!
We got back to our area with only an hour left to proselyte and the previous missionaries arranged a lesson and a member to come out at that time. The lesson fell though so I went on splits with the member while Sister Jane and Sister Garn went off and found other people. The member I was with was awesome and we met lots of prepared people who became new investigators!
On Thursday we had new missionary training, which took FOREVER. I don't think we got out until around 4:30 and we were carpooling with some elders, but we also needed to go to Walmart to pick up Sister Garn's bike. I realized while we were in the parking lot that this would probably be the last time I'm able to be in public as a missionary, since after dinner that night I'd be going to an amazing member's house to back up all the pictures on my iPad and then flying to Portland the next morning. We can't go up to people in businesses and teach them, so I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to give someone the strong desire to approach us and ask us something so we could teach them.
We walked to the back of the store and then Sister Garn realized she left her photo ID in the car, so we went back to get it and left the elders in the back of the store. On our way back, a 24 year old girl named Angelica stopped us and exclaimed, "Wow! You all look so put together! How old are you?" We're all 20. She was like, "no way! I'm 24 and still trying to dress like a teenager! How do you all do it?" We explained that we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she said "I'm so sorry I don't think you're going to like this, but I think I'm losing my faith." She then told us that her parents had forced her to go to church when she was younger and then as soon as she could she stopped going. At some point the elders heard us and walked over to join us, so Angelica was surrounded by 5 missionaries. She said she felt like she was surrounded by a wall of faith! We taught her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation (I think) and then gave her the Robindale YSA ward information. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father answered my prayer!
I can't wait to go back to the Nevada Las Vegas Mission. Meanwhile, I'm going to try to work in the temple and go out with the missionaries as often as possible! Do I understand why I am here? Not at all. I have only a few guesses, and after receiving my MRI results that said hydrocephalus isn't a problem, I don't even know if those guessed are accurate. I do know that everything happens according to God's purpose and everything will work out in the end! I've prayed for patience nearly every day of my mission and I think this is the ultimate test so far. After all, Preach My Gospel states that patience is "the capacity to endure delay without becoming anxious". That's still a work in progress for me, but I know I've come a long way!
I still firmly believe that since I was called to serve for a period of 18 months, it means I am called to serve for 18 months. Not 19 or 17 or anything else. I just can't wait to go back!