22 September 2014
I have some big scary news. I don't know who my new companion is because she's still in the MTC right now. I just finished my training and I'm going to train a new missionary! I don't know if she will be gringa or latina. I don't know how old she will be. I'll meet her tomorrow and find out. Prayers needed.
I can't even explain how I'm feeling. The APs called on Friday and told me I had to be in Santiago for a meeting, training for the trainers. They told me I would be training at some point, not necessarily right away, but that the President wanted me to be prepared to train as soon as possible. I went to this meeting kind of expecting to train later, when I have more experience in the mission.
On Sunday morning we were in a colectivo on the way to church when the district leader called with the transfers, as usual. "Hermana Dodds, you're being transferred to Paguitch, Utah. Hermana VanCott, you're going to stay in your sector and train a new sister."
About an hour ago I said goodbye to Hermana Dodds. That was so hard. We have had such a good time together and part of me believed that I was just going to spend 18 months with her in Calle Larga. I was happy with that. She has become a wonderful friend. We wake up every morning at 6:30 and while we do our exercises we tell each other about the wacky dreams we had. We listen to awful EFY style music and I know which songs she absolutely hates, so we end up listening to the handful of decent ones over and over. We tell stories about our families and friends at home. We make up bedtime stories.
Last night we were up late sorting and packing all of her things and trying to clean up the house a little bit to welcome the new missionary. When we finally went to bed I couldn't fall asleep and I started to cry. She said she has never seen me cry. I realized it's true. I haven't cried since the day I arrived in the MTC. But I was imagining being in this sector later without her and I was imagining being with a new sister in that house. I trust Hermana Dodds so much. For fourteen weeks I have followed her around Calle Larga, copying everything she does. Now a new sister will be arriving here and I will be the senior companion. She's going to think I know what I'm doing. She's going to think I know how to take public transportation here. She's going to think I speak Spanish. I can barely teach basic gospel principles in Spanish. I'm becoming comfortable asking for directions. But now I have to teach someone else how.
In the training I went to we were told that we would have an impact not just on our new companion's whole mission, but on their lives. I'm in charge of my sector, responsible to introduce those who live there to the path that leads to the Celestial Kingdom. We are the only missionaries in my sector and no one else has the responsibility and the authority to do that. I will also have an effect on my new companion as she begins her mission and therefore have an effect on everyone she will teach in the future. I'm feeling a lot of responsibility.
I'll do what is in my reach, which is all that is expected of me. A while ago Mom sent me a pinterest quote which I printed at a photo place and put on the cover of my planner last transfer. Elder Holland said, "Imperfect people are all God has had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to him but he works with it." That thought has been the theme of my last transfer and I think I will see it even more in the transfer to come.
This morning Hermana Dodds got on a bus to Santiago and I am here in Calle Larga with Hermana Clark for the day. We flew on the plane to Chile together and hoped we would get to be companions some day. I am super excited to be Hermana Clark's companion for the second time this week. On Wednesday we worked together in her sector in San Felipe because Hermana Dodds and Hermana Pascual (Hermana Clark's companion) got to visit the Santiago temple one more time before going home. Today we are companions again in my sector. We are going to decorate and laminate some missionary planners for our new companions. I hope to organize the house a little bit as well.
My last week with Hermana Dodds was full of visits to members and investigators who wanted to say goodbye. That combined with the 18th holdiay, which actually lasted all weekend, meant we ate a lot of food and didn't teach very many lessons. Yesterday, for example, we had five meals. One of those meals should have counted as two. It seemed like everywhere we went someone had planned a surprise party for Hermana Dodds. On the 18th we celebrated the holiday with the Cortez family. On the 19th we had lunch with the bishop and his wife. The 20th, Saturday, was the training in Santiago. The 21st we had church and a lot of visiting. And today Hermana Clark and I are in limbo.
Tomorrow Hermana Clark and I will go to Santiago. The new missionaries will have a meeting with the President and lunch together and then they will bring us in. The president will announce who our companions are and we will take a picture with them and then get on a bus with all of her suitcases. We will arrive in Calle Larga and I will show her our house, which will be clean by then. If we get back early enough we can go grocery shopping and I will pray she isn't picky and doesn't have any food allergies because that could make lunches with easily offended members kind of difficult. On Wednesday we will go to district class and I will pretend I know where to get off the bus. I will probably be taking bags of things Hermana Dodds left to send to people or to the office. It might take several weeks of district class to send them all, sorry Hermana Dodds. Thursday will be a normal schedule, the first normal day with my companion. We will plan and study together and I will pretend I know where I am going, who to visit, what we need to teach, and how to teach. The only thing I really feel confident about is studying. Friday I assume we will have training for the new missionaries with the President. I will pretend I know how to get to the mission office in Santiago and how to get home.
Hermana Eva VanCott
Hermana Eva VanCott