Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I'm in Africa 🦁

It's been so long since last P-day.
So so much has happened.  And I mean so much.

Let's start chronologically.

Monday night we were teaching Maurice at the Visitors' Center and had brought along a member.  He's a convert of just a few years and has a similar situation to Maurice. Or at least that's what we thought. While it was true that they were both divorced and had 3 kids the same ages, their religious backgrounds couldn't be farther from each other.
The member liked to talk a lot and told about how before joining the church he was part of a witchcraft cult and how he knew how to summon spirits but that he wouldn't. And so Sister Barr, Maurice, and I were just sitting there kinda confused at what we were listening to. Thankfully Maurice likes us enough to know that this was not typical and we laughed it off later. During the lesson, however, we got a call from President saying that Sister Barr would be staying and I'd be leaving.  She'd be getting her best friend, Sister Bingham, and I'd be going to a new area called Carrollton and I'd be white washing (FOR THE THIRD TIME) with Sister Vespucci!  (To be honest, there's nobody I'd rather be companions with that's currently serving at the VC).  So needless to say, Sister Barr and I were both super excited.  We got along just fine but there
wasn't any of the friend aspect between us. Not a lot happened Tuesday. Just packed and went to shift in the morning.

Wednesday was transfer day and, oh boy, was it hectic.  So the day started off with the fire alarm going off on the floor where we park (mind you, not the rest of the building).  And so on floor 4 we were instructed to not use the elevators, but we lived on floor 16 and we had to make 3 trips.  So we used the elevator.  We survived just fine.
We got to the Stake Center and I don't think I've ever been to a more disorganized transfer (and I've been to quite a few).  Nobody knew where we were going, what car we were driving, or where we lived.  So. We kinda had to sit around for an hour or so to wait for somebody to give us personalized instructions.  We got those, picked up Sister Vespucci's things, played Tetris to fit two whole people's worth of stuff in one car, and drove about 40 minutes to the East.  We found our apartment (with only a few detours), unloaded all of our things, unpacked for a half hour or so, then headed to the mission office to go pick up our phone.  <insert driving about an hour to the west>
(Here's where the day goes really bad)
At the mission office, I see a page of the names and dates of all the new missionaries coming in within the next 6 months or so.  So I pull out my iPad for the first time during the day to take a picture of it and..... It has a white screen..... It tells me to choose a language.......... My iPad somehow wiped itself during the day.  Completely reset. Nothing left. Nope. Nada.
So here I am.  I've lost all my pictures, notes, everything... I'm still kinda in that state.  Sister Vespucci's dad is looking into how to restore it still. So, the only pictures I have are of those that I can download from other emails I've sent. That kinda ruined my day.  Week.  Mission.

But at least it wasn't all in vain! (I think)

We were told about a week ago that Saturday morning bright and early, we were to drive out of our mission (le gasp!) into Virginia to go to a two mission wide conference (DC North and South missions) and guess who spoke to us?  Elder Gong and Elder Bennett of the Seventy along with two other Members of the Seventy (that I cant remember their names) and Elder Rasband and Elder BALLARD from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  Yeah that's right.  Two apostles.  (We took a mission wide picture with them too so I'll send that out when I get it).   It was so edifying and great.  :) (Here's where I think it comes full circle.  Still deciding).  But because my iPad was completely empty, I had enough room to record the audio from all of their talks (Which ended up being around 25 GB because I had to record it as a black video).  So I'm hoping that that's the reason why my iPad reset itself.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

Sunday.  We got to Church to discuss with the Elders how to split the area and transfer investigators.  We were asked a few days before to each take no more than 5 minutes in Sacrament Meeting to introduce ourselves, share missionary experiences, and share a brief spiritual thought.  (There was apparently a celebration when the ward members heard that they were getting sisters again).  So we're in the foyer and hear them starting to begin the meeting so we quickly pack up our things and go into the chapel to sit on the stand and there's about as many people on the stand are there are in the audience.... itty bitty ward. Luckily by the time that the Sacrament was passed, there were about 70 people in the congregation and by the end of the meeting there were around 100.  That's including kids.  So. Coming from two massive wards that have 300-400 active members every week to a tiny ward of 100 active members is a drastic change.  Also, Sister Vespucci and I might have been maybe 2 of 10 white women there.  This ward is incredibly diverse with most of the members being first generation African emigrants.  (So I literally feel like I'm in Africa).  Our area is also super poor with a ton of government subsidized housing.  "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth"  = means a lot of fertile ground here for people ready to change their lives and come closer to Christ by being baptized.  I'm super excited for this area. (I'm also starting to wonder if I'll ever teach a white American on my mission because so far it's been only black people, immigrants, or both).

Anyway, I'm loving life, enjoying being with my new companion (sometimes too much probably), and happy to be serving the Lord!

'Til next week! (when I'll hopefully have some pictures)

~Sister Galli

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