Buenos Tardes Familia!
Ok so this week has been the craziest week of my entire mission. I don't even know where to start because so much happened this week. Well I guess first off we'll start with transfer news. At 9pm on Saturday Sister Biancardi and I received a phone call telling us that we are both being transferred. We were in shock. I've been feeling for this past week that I was going to be transferred, but it didn't even cross my mind that Sister Biancardi would be being transferred as well. We didn't even believe the district leader when he told us we were being transferred. Then the tears started to come and we have spent a good portion of the last 24 hours in off and on tears. Saying goodbye is the absolute worst. Church was so hard yesterday. I kept looking around at the people that have become my friends and family and it was painful to think that I have to leave all of them. In relief society both the president and her counselors started to cry when they thanked us for our service which made me cry. We have become very close to the Relief Society president in our ward. Just a few weeks ago we had dinner with her and had such a lovely conversation about missions and missionary work. Then not even a week later she broke her ankle at the gym. So we went and visited and asked if there was anything we could do to help. She told us that if we could find her a wheelchair it would be a huge help. So we set off in search of a wheel chair. Then this week we were talking to Hermano Arroyo after we had finished a service project, and we asked if he knew anyone with a wheelchair. He said well I do, but you send the elders over and they can get it out of the attic. Sister Biancardi and I were not going to believe that the elders could get the chair and we couldn't, so we told him we would. So we went up to the attic and - props to him - his attic is the equivalent of Grandma Z's basement. :-) It has everything. The only difference is the ceiling is low and you have to watch where you step so you don't step down through the kitchen ceiling. We then did our best acrobatic impression and we worked our way through the stuff and finally reached the wheel chair. I think Hermano Arroyo was impressed by our ability to crawl and slither across to the wheelchair. It actually was a little bit of a work out and when we finally got the chair, I turned to my companion and said thank goodness we were wearing pants, because that would have been impossible in a skirt! We were so excited to bring the chair to the relief society president that when she saw us coming up the walk grinning like school girls she knew something was up and she was so surprised and grateful that we actually found a wheel chair for her to use. I am going to miss this ward so much. Yesterday we spent most of the day going to each of our investigators and letting them know we would both be leaving on Tuesday and the question everyone asked was why why why? We tried to explain that we believe we are called to certain areas for certain times by inspiration, but it still was difficult for most of them to understand. It was hard for people to understand when Hermana Cruz left, but with both of us leaving it's even harder.
So the week started off really well. On Monday night we were fed dinner by an investigator. It was chili colorado and it was super yummy. She had her sister with her kids and her son with his kids all there so there were like 10 kids all together. We taught them to sing the wise man built his house upon the rock in English and Spanish. They loved singing - with all the hand signs of course! Then I brought out my camera to take a picture and it was like Christmas morning. They all wanted to take pictures and then see themselves in the pictures. After we took the pictures, I had all the kids trying to see, so they were crowding in as close as they could get and I was laughing and trying make sure I didn't get squished!
So the other reason that this week was amazing was this week was my first baptism. So about a week and half ago we were told that there was an eleven year old girl who had been coming to church with her grandpa for most of her life, but right now her mother was just starting to come back to church and so she wanted to be baptized. So we started teaching her last Sunday and we set her baptism date for the middle of May.
Fun side note: Her mother is a translator, so she listens to all sorts of different accents and she can tell where people come from by how they speak Spanish. When we were talking, she said you learned Spanish in Spain didn't you? I was a little surprised because I hadn't told her about living in Spain as a kid and asked how she knew. That's when she told me about her job and she said that I have a slight Spain accent to my way of speaking . I guess I will have to work harder to try and fit in down here. I don't know if I ever wrote this but one day at dinner one of the ward members said I don't have an American accent and that I sound native, so I was pretty excited about that. :)
Ok enough of my side note... So on Tuesday her mother called and said we have been praying and don't know why, but Alexa's baptism needs to be this Saturday can you make it happen? So we spent the rest of the week making sure that Alexa was prepared for baptism and Sister Biancardi and I both felt very at peace with her decision, so we did everything in our power to make it a special occasion. It turned out wonderful. Alexa is just one of the sweetest 11 year olds you will ever meet and she was so ready to be baptized. It was a Spanglish baptism because Alexa understands English better. The baptism was simple but beautiful and the spirit was so strong. One of the neatest experiences was that we brought another investigator that we just met this past week who is 15 to the baptism. We originally met Meribel's mother outside contacting and then spent 5 weeks trying to get back in touch with the mother and then this week we met Meribel. She actually started to tear up during one of the talks and afterwards she said she had been to a lot of different churches before but she never had felt this before and she wants to get baptized! Which is another reason why leaving this area right now is so hard. Meribel was so sad to hear that we were leaving, but we promised her that she would love the new sisters coming in and that the important thing is that the spirit is the real teacher. It has been such a blessing to serve in this area. I know that I am staying down south and will find out tomorrow exactly where I am going. I am excited to serve the Lord in a new area and I am a little nervous that new area might be a bike area and I am going to need to buy some shorts! Yay for surprises every single day of the mission! I hope you have a great week and I am sending lots of love your way!