Thank you for the video of Bryce coming home! That was the greatest gift! I am so thankful for a big brother who has served such a valiant mission. I miss his weekly emails from the mission field; he is one of my greatest sources of encouragement!
This week was not what I expected! Heavenly Father is definitely not predictable, but He is all knowing so I guess I trust Him. It is transfer week (transfers are on Thursday, August 29th), but Sister Larkin and I weren't scared! We were positive that we were both staying in Pikeville, and we had our reasons! Reason #1: we are only 6 weeks into Sister Larkin's training, and I still haven't finished my last 6 weeks of training. Reason #2: Elder and Sister Smith, the senior couple in our area, have finished their mission and are driving home to Utah today. Reason #3: at the beginning of this transfer President Pitt told Sister Larkin and I that we were "the companionship that Pikeville has been waiting for." So why would we only be here for 6 weeks? That seems too short! Heavenly Father chose to differ...
The Saturday before transfers approached too quickly, but we were not afraid, we were not expecting a call from the zone Leaders! After a fantastic day of working hard, Sister Larkin and I came home atfor dinner, planning and bed, excitedly giggling about the amazing miracles we were blessed to witness, and the events / baptisms that would take place next transfer. Our phone rang. The zone Leaders. Before we even had time to push "answer" on the phone our eyes latched onto each other, quivering with premature tears. The zone leaders gave us the dreaded news that we would have to find a ride to transfers, and told us that President Pitt would be calling us soon. We went to bed heartbroken and anxious to discover the result of the transfer.
After church the next day we got a call from President. With pounding hearts and restless hands we grappled with the phone in a scurry of sadness, excitement, and overall anticipation. President told us that we had a great assignment and calling from the Lord. Sister Larkin has been called to be trainer! She will be staying in Pikeville with her new missionary. President then asked to speak with me privately. He told me that the Lord has called me to be a trainer again, but he said that I would have much more responsibility than just training. I am being transferred to an area called Buckhannon in West Virginia. My new companion and I will be opening the area, which means that there have not been missionaries there before. President said, "they have good missionaries in that zone, but they need great ones. They need enthusiasm and they need conversions." Whoah. No pressure!
I never imagined how difficult it would be to leave an area. Missionaries seem to always come and go, but Pikeville has become my home! Nobody ever told me that one of the most difficult aspects of a mission is getting transferred! I have served with these people and they have served me tenfold. I have loved them, cried with them and for them. I have prayed with them and labored in prayer on their behalf. I have plead with my Heavenly Father to understand their needs so that I can be a tool in His hands, and as a result I have cultivated a love for each individual here in Pikeville that is impossible to describe!
These people have changed my life, they have become my family. I am heartbroken to leave, but I know that there are amazing people in Buckhannon as well. My life and the Lord's work will continue to change as I love and serve with the people in Buckhannon, and I am so excited to become involved in their lives! I cannot wait to work with the Bishop and the Stake President and with each member of the ward! (They have a ward there, that'll be culture shock!). I know that there are elect individuals in Buckhannon who will bless my life and teach me much more about God's will for us than I could ever teach them. I am very excited for the adventure, progression, miracles, and blessings that this next transfer will bring.
F_____ is getting baptized this Saturday! He is ready and he is excited! It has been a great experience to plan and organize the baptism, and I am devastated that I will not be here for it. But I know that the covenants made will be between F______ and God. Therefore it does not matter if Sister Shumway is there or not. I am humbled and thankful to be trusted and blessed by the Lord to play a minuscule part of his conversion.