Companion: Sister Melissa Rowley
I have been so excited to email y'all since transfers. I am in the Serenada ward. Transfer day was awesome, but totally exhausting. I was surprised to find out that I was going to Austin. Me, along with some other missionaries would be heading to Austin where we would do another transfer meeting to find out who our new companion is and where our new area is. It was about an hour and 45 minute drive. Sister Rowley, and I drove together on the way up, not knowing we would be companions. It was exciting to find out we were companions! We went on exchanges with each other a few weeks ago and were in the same district. This area is sooo different than Converse. I am in love with the homes. It's a very rural area with A LOT of deer. More deer than I've ever seen in my life. I was somewhat puzzled by that because I thought deer only lived in the mountains. Ha ha! The ward is incredible! We have a fantastic ward council, and the people are so supportive and missionary oriented. Sister Rowley and I were doubled in [meaning they are both new to the area] to an Elders area. Elders have served here for over 10 years. The ward is thrilled to have Sister's.
Now for some news that is going to blow you away!! I've been so excited to tell y'all. At the end of Thursday night, I was curious and asked Sister Rowley what her Dad's name is... Her Dad is Lin Rowley. I asked her if he has a brother named Ty, and he does! Her Dad is Mom's cousin! I was super excited when she said that. I was like, "No way!" I couldn't get over it. I just couldn't stop asking her things specific to the Rowley's. We both just laughed and showed each other pictures. Her and I are second cousins! At one point I commented that this is like a parent trap moment. All our stuff was everywhere. The living room was a mess. We've been doubled in and don't know anyone or anything about the area, and we showed each other pictures. She said that all we needed was peanut butter oreos. I can't believe we've lived so close to each other for so long and have never known each other until we came on our mission. We would never have known if we weren't companions! Her name is Melissa, she's 22 and graduated from college, but decided to come on a mission. I also found out yesterday that she wrote "Knights of the Right". THIS IS SO AWESOME!! Sister Rowley is very humble and a fantastic missionary. She's been out for 3 months. She just finished training. I feel such a connection with her. We're not only family, but close family! :D What a blessing to have her as my companion and to be doubled in with her, of all people.
|Sister Melissa Rowley and Sister Annelise Record|
Coming into an area after Elders is interesting... We have a lot of work to do. Nothing is organized, we don't have a map, and the apartment is pretty gross. But hey, it's part of the adventure. The Elders really have done some amazing work. I'm really grateful for the path they have paved for us. But yes, we have some work to do....
Going to church on Sunday was a delight. I'm telling you, the members are smothering us with love. Ha ha.. A focus that Sister Rowley and I are going to have is working with the members. We are really striving to have inspirational visits with them and gain their trust so that we can really work side by side with them. We want to do a lot of referral teaching. In the Book of Mormon we read of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (see Alma 23-27). After they were converted, and after the first battle where the Lamanites slayed so many of them, they were again in danger of the Lamanites coming to slay them. Ammon, the Nephite missionary, suggested to the king that they come with him to the land of Nephi and join the people there. The kind of initially hesitant, but after receiving confirmation from the Lord, said they would go and be their slaves. Ammon told him that being their slaves was not necessary. They journeyed over to the land of Nephi. The Anti-Nephi Lehies stayed outside of the borders of the land, while Ammon and his brethren went in and told them of the conversion of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. He told them of the covenant they made not to take up arms against anyone and how they were in danger of being slain. He asked them if they could come in and join the people of Nephi. The Nephites responded readily. They were very open and welcoming. They provided a place for them to inherit, the land of Jershon. It was in between two lands that would provide safety. Not only that, but the Nephites were willing to defend them. They set their armies around the land of Jershon to protect the Anti-Nephi-Lehies so that they would not have to break the covenant they had made. This sounds like a very good ward to me. A ward that takes in these recent converts and strengthens them. They provided a place of refuge and safety, and they were full of love for them and the covenant they had made. Years later The Zoramites, who were less active, are taught by Alma, Ammon, and their brethren. The Zoramites had fallen away, but those who believed and desired to return, retreated to the land of Jershon. It is my hope, that each ward can be a land of Jershon. A place of refuge for every soul seeking to make and keep sacred covenants.
I also want to say, that I am so grateful for the time I've had to spend with Sister Foster. I have learned so much from her.
It is an amazing experience to serve a full time mission. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am so grateful to be here. I'm grateful for the trust the Lord has given me to lead out an area that we're both brand new to. I definitely could not have handled that earlier in my mission. It's hard work, but miracles are happening. As we continue to get our bearings, I know that miracles are going to happen this transfer. Miracles have already happened this transfer. Thanks for all y'alls support and love.
I love you so much. But I love the Savior more.