Zoe's baptism, Saturday, May 21, 2016
Well in two days I will be on a plane for home. It's weird it's all over. There's been a ton of anxiety the past few days. Very similar to what it was like before I left. It's rare when I get to sleep before midnight. This is a very hard time period for me right now since I'm excited to go, but sad to leave. Should be interesting.
Anyways at least we had a great week.
Monday we spent most of our time at the church playing basketball and other stuff. In the evening we went over to a recent convert's home for dinner and enjoyed teaching their sister who used to live in Norfolk, VA. Not much else happened after that.
Tuesday we had a history lesson on Joseph Smith with Joe. He really reasoned with a lot of the things about Joseph's life and was touched by a lot of events. He then took us out to Olive Garden for lunch as kind of a goodbye gift. This was kind of the tone for the week. After that we ended up dropping a few investigators such as an Arabic guy who isn't progressing in any direction. We also saw Zoe that day and went over the interview questions one more time. Not only did she know them, she expounded a lot on them too. It was really cool.
Wednesday morning was my departing interview with President Andersen. It was kind of a sad situation but he was really awesome. Among the things he told me was "On behalf of the Lord I can promise that He is pleased with your mission and is grateful for your help in His work." It was a really humbling meeting. He was sad to see me leave but excited for my future.
The last district photo
(from left to right: Hermana Hill, Elder Peery, Sister Crossley,
Hermana Hooker, Sister Woods, and Elder Hinds)
It was also the final district meeting for Sister Woods and me. So after the trainings, our companions gave us eulogies and we took funeral photos.
Elder Peery's funeral
It was very bittersweet but it was really cool. After that we had a meeting with a recent convert, which was fun talking about the Pearl of Great Price.
In the evening we had our last correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, which was equally sad. After the meeting Elder Hinds went to interview someone the sisters were teaching for baptism, so I played Pakistani (basically dodgeball where you have to get everyone out without getting out yourself) with a bunch of youth.
Thursday we went and tried a bunch of people after shipping my bike home. That was the last package needed for home. Eventually we went over to Zoe's again and found out she has a new addition to the family! A cute 7-month year old puppy named Sheba. She's part lab and is wayyy chill--like didn't even bark at all when we showed up. Very obedient too. But yeah later on the zone leaders came and interviewed Zoe and she passed with flying colors.
Friday we went over to Zoe's again for lunch before heading to the church for another lesson with the recent convert. She was going to the temple that night for baptisms and she had a few questions. When she went that night she had a great experience, and we were really happy for her. After that we practiced this musical number with the sisters for their baptism, which was a few hours after ours. It was originally going to be Go Tell it on a Mountain, but there just wasn't a reverent way to play it on piano that I knew, so we went with Come Thou Fount, and it worked a lot better. While we were tracting, I got nipped by another dog. Thankfully this dog was about the size of a half-gallon of milk, and since it was a house dog, I wasn't too worried.
I told Zoe the next day that any opposition to her baptism was just being thrown on me instead of her, which I said was just fine. We also got a call from President while tracting that Elder Hinds will be training next transfer, which will be good for him.
The cake the Hermanas made for me
In the evening we went to a not-so-surprise party for me. The Hermanas made me a cake, which was so awesome. It was kind of sad saying goodbye to the Hispanic portion of the Ward.
The Spanish goodbye party
Saturday was really special. Lots of people showed up to Zoe's baptism, and it was just a really special occasion. I was way nervous and I ended up having to redo the baptism twice before getting it right on the third attempt. On top of that I forgot to pack another white shirt, so I was still wet when I changed. But aside from that it was a really special experience. My favorite part was after the baptism, she was invited to bear her testimony. She panicked and asked me to go up with her. I bore my testimony first and then she did. There were a lot of tears in the audience as she bore a beautiful testimony. Her mom of course was crying. It was great.
After that we went to the hospital to give a blessing to a member who had just had her baby the day before. The baby's name was Elam, which is from the Book of Mormon and I guess it means "eternal". Pretty cool experience.
After that we went to the sisters’ baptism, played the musical number, and then went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. In the evening we were invited to the church for a wedding reception. What was really cool was some people from Thompson's Station showed up as well as some members from Smith Springs (my first area—and the ward where my parents lived when I was born). Most particularly awesome was Sis. Danielle Clark Hardisty showed up, so I got to say goodbye to her. She has known me since I was a baby and was my very first babysitter when she was just a teenager growing up in the ward where my parents lived at the time. Her mom, Estella Clark, was my mom’s visiting teacher and very good friend. It was an awesome day.
Sunday was my last ward council and last sacrament meeting in the Spring Hill Ward. They had me on the program to speak, so I sat up there with Bro. Kraus, the high councilor from TSTAT (Thompson's Station Ward), who was visiting our ward. The wife of the WML (Ward Mission Leader) from TSTAT was also there, since she is the stake Primary president. I bore my testimony and I could see a lot of smiles. It was sad to leave the Ward. What was cool was a brand new investigator walked into church asking to learn more while I spoke. We talked with her during gospel principles and set up a return appointment for after I go home.
After that we went home where I began packing. I finished after we had dinner at a member's home where they had invited their non-member neighbor to come over to meet us. Cool!
My mission has meant a lot to me and to a lot of other people. There have been a lot of hard times, but I can definitely say I did my best to serve and am confident with my standing. I look forward to the future and am excited to come home. On to new adventures!
See you in two days,
Saying goodbye to the bishop's kids