1. Any idea what schedule we need to use for a call on Christmas yet?
2. How is the new area?
3. Will you still get to attend Jose & Ida's baptisms?
4. Who is you new companion? What is she like?
5. What else changed with this transfer?
- Not sure yet. Honestly, I'm still not sure what is going on here, period. haha just because there is so much going on. I would guess we'll probably Skype in the morning/afternoon. California would be two hours earlier than here? I'm pretty positive it is at least some amount of time earlier so 9 am here would be bad, right? haha I doubt it'll be that time. We'll probably do studies in the morning and then do weekly planning so we'd finish at about 3, so sometime after that I would think. Not positive but I'll let you know for sure next week. Just don't let me forget to tell you.
- Wow. Where do I even begin...? Well, first off, keep in mind that I've been in Rochelle for the past six months (literally) and Rochelle is the smallest branch in the stake. And now I'm in two wards. Granted, not huge wards (I think) but still, two wards. It actually reminds me a lot of Bloomington-Normal. Not just that there are more than one ward but even the town itself. Sycamore and Dekalb basically get smashed into one, just like Bloomington-Normal. And it's a college town. And it even looks a lot like it, architecturally speaking. It's kinda crazy. So that's kind of fun for me, but it's also weird. And then, serving in two wards is kind of overwhelming. At the beginning I didn't know any better but after serving in two small branches (separately) before, this is pretty overwhelming. But it's good. I've met a lot of awesome people and the work here is truly flourishing. It's amazing.
- Definitely! Especially since the baptismal service will be here in Sycamore. haha so that's awesome. At this point, I don't know exactly what's going on, but it sounds like the new Hermana there is perfect for the area in this moment--her mom is a cake decorator and so she knows a lot and the Hermanas offered to make the wedding cake. And they might take them up on that...but that's all I know as of right now.
- My new companion is Hermana Albrechtsen. She is somehow distantly related to Brother Albrechtsen from the Normal ward. She is actually a lot of me, but also different. She's absolutely adorable and looks like she could be a Disney princess. She loves to eat food. She ran for BYU before the mission. She comes from a big family (7 kids + 2 parents). She reported about the same time of year that I did, just a year later. I'm finishing up her training, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't even need it. She is an amazing missionary and I am so glad to get to serve with her. This first week seriously flew by. I can hardly believe it's even happened.
- Um.....well. I'm not sure what else could change that I haven't mentioned. New companion, new area, but that's about it. Oh, I did get an email on Thursday from the mission saying they've purchased my plane ticket home. I literally gagged when I read that. But, it's okay. I knew it was coming. And it'll all work out. I'm definitely not going to stop working. I will keep moving forward and trusting in the Lord.
As far as this week goes, well it's been crazy and yet I feel like nothing worth reporting has happened. But then, that's a lie. haha.
We had stake conference and it was amazing! Here's some of the things I learned:
- Since the new Christmas initiative began, the video "A Savior is Born" has been viewed 16 million times. On average, there have been 172,236 visits to mormon.org per day since the initiative began (on 29 Nov). And there have been 6,942 self-referrals (meaning someone has requested a Bible, a Book of Mormon, or missionaries to come to their very own door.)
- Our inspired mission president told the Rockford Illinois stake "No one has to sit on the sidelines of missionary work." The funny thing about the work and the glory of God is that it's going to happen. It just is. Whether or not we are a part of it. But it is our privilege to be a part of it, and absolutely NO ONE has to sit on the side lines and just watch it happen. Everyone can be an active participant.
- In this dispensation, there are three "prophetic priorities", as told by our stake president. They are 1) Keeping the Sabbath day holy, 2) Family history and temple work, and 3) Members and missionaries working together. Just as the people during Noah's time had to listen to him for revelation concerning the flood to come and not just to the past prophets, we too must heed the counsel of the Lord's living prophets in order to withstand the floods of our time.
- There is a hymn, which was sung by the choir I was privileged to be a part of, called "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy". As we drove up, our bishop's wife, Sister Malley, told us some of the background of this lovely hymn. And I would like to sum up what she said: In some places with reefs, in order to come to shore there is frequently only one passage to get to the shore without hitting the reef. So they will put a light at the top of the hill/mountain and a light lower down, on the shore, so that when those two lights are in line with each other from a view out at sea, that is the path you must follow in order to find your way safe to shore. Here's a description from a talk in General Conference: "A light on the hill above the beach and a second lower light marked the narrow passage. When a boat was maneuvered so that the two lights were one above the other, the boat would be lined up properly to pass through the dangerous rocks that lined the passage." And as was explained in stake conference this weekend, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, we are that lower light. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the light on top, but we must shine brightly (Matthew 5 & 3 Nephi 12) so that others can find their way safe to shore. In another comparison, the missionaries are one light and the members are the other. We MUST work together in order to bring souls unto Christ.
We are teaching the most amazing couple of all time. No joke. Their names are Francisca and Saul. They have a 7 year old son named Diego who absolutely LOVES going to Primary. Saul and Diego came to the ward Christmas party on Friday and he got up on stage when the Primary sang. He totally fits right in. It's awesome. That right there is the effect that members can have. Thanks to a Primary President who is aware of all the kids at the party and at church on Sunday. Francisca and Saul want to be baptized but we have to work out some things first, but I am SO EXCITED to work with them.
Also, we have one of the greatest ward mission leaders of all time, Brother McConkie. To make a long story short, he and his family moved to Illinois from Utah in order to be missionaries. That was the whole reason. haha they're amazing.
There is literally so much to say but I just can't sum it all up, so I think this is about it. The members here are awesome (I probably say that about every area though) and I'm excited to see miracles with Hermana Albrechtsen. She hardly even needs training--I think I need the 12 Week program more than she does!
The Gospel is true! Families truly are forever, when we fulfill our part of the commandments and covenants of God. He loves us, more than we can possibly comprehend. That's why He called the prophet Joseph Smith. Through him, the complete Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. God answers prayers, but only if we first do them. I know that all this is true, with all of my heart and soul.
Love, Hermana DeBuck
5. In case you're wondering. It's 14 December and there isn't a snow cloud in sight... How weird.