Hello!!! So this week was crazy busy!!! So this transfer in general is busy and we have tons of meetings coming up, which I am super excited for!!! We have normal Mission leadership Counsel, a special leadership training, zone training meeting, a special zone conference with a member of the 70 coming, a special mission leadership counsel attached to that, general conference, a sister trainer leader training, et cetera. And with our assignment to be sister training leaders, we have to do at least 1- 24 hour exchange with each companionship we're over. Right now we're over 6 companionships of sisters. So last Monday evening, we received a call from the assistants for the official time of the special sister training leader meeting and during that call, we found out that the time it was at knocked out two of the exchanges we had planned. So we had to do some pretty crazy things. We called up one companionship and asked if they could move their weekly planning day to another day and we could do an exchange with them on a Thursday, we are going to have to perform two exchanges this transfer from a Monday night 6:00pm to Tuesday night (which is weird-- we like to do them noon to noon), and the best one was that literally to fit them all in, we had to call up a companionship last Monday and ask if they would be up for the challenge of doing an exchange the very next day. They were, so this past week we did 3 exchanges and tonight we'll be doing our fourth already. Hermana Barnes didn't just get her feet wet a little with this assignment, she jumped in head first haha! So the exchanges were Tuesday-Wednesday, Thursday-Friday, and Friday-Saturday (the last two were back to back. It was funny because we like never got to see each other practically even though we're companions haha!)
For all three of the exchanges so far, I've been in North Hollywood and Hermana Barnes has been leaving. In the first exchange, it was in a trio, so I was with the trainer and a brand new missionary. My favorite part of that exchange was probably in a role play we did in the comp study in the morning. The brand new missionary (who still looks a little shell shocked most of the time) was being the person who the trainer and I were contacting and we were role playing a knocking door situation to practice using the Book of Mormon better. I asked the new missionary to be someone real and we later ended up finding out that she picked her brother who has made some quick choices that he regretted to sign up for 6 years of the army without thinking about it too much and his testimony is lacking because of it and he's not sure if he wants to go on a mission anymore. The trainer ended up picking this scripture in Alma 48:11 and the new missionary read through it once and after testifying a little bit further, she had the new missionary read it again but substitute the name instead and she started crying and the spirit was so great! I really think it helped her understand what the experience can be like for people when the Book of Mormon is used effectively.
In the second exchange I learned about how our attitude totally impacts our experience. She is what we call a "visa waiter" and this is her 4th I think transfer she's been here waiting to receive her visa to go to Argentina. And I think she's literally making herself sick because she wants to just be there and she isn't that motivated to get out and go all the time. But we did see many miracles together and were able to do much good and so I'm hoping my example and words to help bring up her confidence helped her. An interesting part is that I brought up with her the story of a member in my current ward, Nicole, who is from Ecuador and wants to go on a mission when she turns 19. Nicole has told us that when she goes on a mission, she hopes that she gets to be a visa waiter so that she can get to help that many more people and learn from 2 mission presidents and that many more individuals and missionaries. Your attitude totally controls everything!
The third exchange I went on last week was probably the best exchange I've ever been on. She was so honest and open with me about how she's been feeling and so I really feel like I was able to help her tremendously! She talked about how when she first came to the mission, she had such huge fire to go out and find and do everything she could, but that her companions haven't had nearly as much energy as her, so she's felt like she's had to make herself comfortable with playing a small role in everything. I helped her realize that she actually loves finding and she doesn't know how or why she forgot (which was probably the biggest miracle of it all). I gave her some tools to be able to take back this newfound fire with her companions, namely I told her to have her and her companions act out Exodus 17:8-12 (the verses which was basically the time the Lord revealed the idea of having a first presidency where Aaron and Hurr had to be at Moses' side lifting up his arms because when Moses' arms were up, Israel was winning the battle). She also set some of the coolest goals ever! In the next month, she wants to find 25 new investigators!!! And also, she wants to achieve all her daily goals, so she made a plan where for each daily goal achieved, she gets 1 point and for each daily goal exceeded, she gets 2 points. Then when she gets up to 15 points, she has earned herself ice cream. And for every daily goal she doesn't make, she has to do 10 pushups! She was so great!!!!
Now for a funny story and a few things I've been learning...
The story is that there is this missionary on the other side of the SF Valley who has only been out for 1 transfer. Last weekend we had a huge stake activity called the Dia de Hispanidad and at one point I ran into her and her companion. This newish missionary was in the same zone as Hermana Barnes last transfer, and so she came up me and looked at me and said, "you are so lucky!!! You have such a great trainer!" haha!! I didn't know what to say. Hermana Barnes wanted to burst out and say, "take it back now!" and her trainer had a shocked look on her face. I thought it was super funny.
And for something I've been learning, I told Hermana Barnes that I have been feeling the spirit with her absolutely all of the time constantly that I've been with her. It was interesting because it was almost such a stark contrast but we've been coming up for some theories why. 1) she is just completely jam pack filled with the spirit 2) she thought that just maybe I've learned how to recognize the spirit so much more in my life so it feels like it hasn't always been there but now I just notice it. 3) There was this missionary that we gave rides up to the mission office yesterday because they needed to have an interview with President Hall for some reason. And afterward, President Hall invited Hermana Barnes and I and the two of them to get this new resource called "adjusting to missionary life" which is basically a whole manual that the church recently came out with that is all about how to deal with stress as a missionary and it is so cool. But there was this one chart in it about levels of stress and there were colors like green-yellow-orange-red. Green is a great level and red is like you are crazy and sick because of stress. And there were some interesting explanations by it, but what I learned from it is that I think with Hermana Barnes, I've been able to be totally and completely in the green zone of stress (the zone where of course you feel stress but your resources help balance it out and so you are working hard and feeling great) and in that zone, you feel the presence of the spirit constantly. So I think that is what I am able to be with Hermana Barnes. I am literally the best missionary I've ever been on my mission, I am able to work so hard and stay super focused and learn so much and I know that she will always be 100% completely at my side so that we can help each other through everything. It was really a great realization to make. Other companions have been great in many different areas and reasons, but I think she is my favorite! I am so super happy. Pretty tired, but happy!
Anyway, hope you had a great week and I'm excited this week to be able to look through more of that stress book!