This week is a happy one, if unusually sentimental. The last six weeks have been some of the best of my mission. They have flown, as happy moments always do, and I can't believe I'm about to enter my 13th of 16 transfers.
We were confused when the transfer call came, telling me that Anziano Carter would stay a fifth transfer in Reggio while I was being transferred to Brescia. We were puzzled, saddened, and tried to accept the news for over 24 hours until a second call came straight from the Assistants. They told us there'd been a mistake in communication, and that in reality I am staying here in Reggio while Anziano Carter is going to Brescia.
We're both relieved at the truth, but the whole experience was just muddling. I was trying to understand why I was only staying barely over a month in this wonderful place, having hardly started to get to know the members and investigators we frequently visit. I can't explain here or anywhere else the strangeness of the feeling, especially when it was partly pacified and partly accented when the second call of apology and clarification came.
Either way, I'm staying here, and tomorrow I'll meet my new companion, Anziano Ty Smith. I don't know a thing about him, except that Sister Jackman in my district and the Assistant, Anziano Johnson, says he's cool.
And then Anziano Edwards is going home... sigh. I've really come to love every member of this district, especially these three wonderfully anziani I live with. We've had so much fun, have so many inside jokes, and have laughed all my troubles away time and time again.
You just can't explain the nature of a mission, and you can't understand it if you haven't been there. It's fun to change around, but it's also so heartbreaking. I guess we just move on and remember that there's really no such thing as "the end", now, is there?
I'll quickly answer the questions my mom sent me, and then I'll close off for the day:
Who are you teaching?
Not many people. We do have a number of Italian investigators who I love. One problem we have is how spread out everyone is. Trains, bikes, and buses take up so much of our weeks, and the humidity just saps us the whole time.
Where do you tract?
Tract? What's that? We use words like "finding work", "strada" (street contacting), "casa" (house to house, which is weird when everyone lives in apartments), and we call lots and lots of potentials that past missionaries have written about the Area Book.
Have you had flooding? The news reports Venice has.
Yeah, we've had a good number of crazy rainstorms that come out of nowhere and flood the streets. It's pretty awesome, and this region must be used to it because they don't seem all that affected when there are puddles of water all over the place the morning after.
Where do you meet for church? Ward or branch?
We have a ward here in Reggio. It's comprised of all the members from Reggio Emilia and Parma, our neighboring city (Parmesan cheese, anyone?). Lots of people don't come for various reasons, but the active members are wonderful. The building is pretty cool--it takes up half of an industrious building that's also used as a T-shirt factory and the home of the man who owns the whole building.
What's your favorite part as DL? least favorite?
I loooove being District Leader. My favorite part is conducting the weekly District Meetings every Monday where we talk about how the work's going and I get to give training and spiritual thoughts and stuff to lift, inspire, and direct the elders and sisters in the group. We're in 6, four elders and two sisters, and we had the best district ever this last transfer. Now three of our members are leaving who brought tons of personality to the district, so we'll see how dramatically things change this next transfer.
How is your companion?
Anziano Carter is amazing. He's definitely been one of my very favorite companions. He's a big guy but has the softest heart of anyone I've met in Italy. He's a thinker, which I love, and we've had some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations I've ever enjoyed. He really taught me a lot and helped me learn about myself. He's everything a good companion should be -- funny, caring, spiritual, humble, and hard-working -- and I was truly honored to serve with him. I know he has a beautiful year ahead of him in this powerful work of the Lord.