This week was without a doubt the most hectic week of my mission - I thought that I was going to explode at any minute. In the last week we had transfers, a late P-day, my first exchange with my new Sister Training Leader (on my birthday), my birthday, a late district meeting, planning a baptism for Jen (with our ward mission leader out of town), and somehow still ended up teaching 14 lessons and hitting standards. It was insane.
I never imagined the pressure that I would feel being the only one in the area who knew entirely what was going on. Sister Mitchell is great, and she is trying the best that she can to get to know the ward members and investigators at rapid speed, but in such a short time, I felt like everything was on my shoulders this week. Especially since she was gone all day Friday for the exchange and I had another new companion. I had three different companions this week. The people we were teaching were making fun of me: "Sister Hutchings, what are you doing to these poor sisters that they keep asking to leave you?"
I loved serving with Sister Tofa (my STL) for the day that she came into Etobicoke South with me. Though I must admit, when they called me Wednesday and asked if they could exchange the next day for ALL of my birthday, I almost said no. I was very tempted. There was a very long, awkward pause on the phone before I forced out: "Okay." I give really good first impressions, I know.... I wasn't planning on being a disobedient or bad missionary or anything like that, but I wanted to treat myself a little more than usual on my birthday. For example, maybe take a little longer shower, and eat a nice cupcake, something alone those lines. I didn't want someone watching my back all birthday long so I'd have to be on my best-behavior and stressing about that even more. But immediately I learned that Sister Tofa (who is from Australia) was not like that at all. We had a jolly time together. In fact, one instance when we were street contacting, she started talking to a woman about the church who was waiting at the stop light. The woman apparently would have rather died than talk to sister Tofa about the gospel because she ran out in front of a bus to get away from us. Don't worry, she ended up safe. We were kind of laughing about the plight of people to avoid us sometimes... It's insane. We're really not that scary.
So yesterday the second person got baptized whom I have taught. If I thought Orlando's baptism was a gong show, I didn't know what was in store for me. So Jen is pregnant and unable to bend. We had to be pretty creative in finding a way to have her baptized. I asked everyone: My ward mission leader, my bishop, my district leader, my zone leaders, my sister training leader etc., and NO ONE had actually seen a pregnant person be baptized in an alternative way, but they all had a few ideas. We brainstormed baptizing her in a chair, having her kneel and lean forward (we learned soon after she couldn't bend forward, either), having her lay flat like a board and then pushing her in the water, actually laying her flat on top of a board and submerging her, taking her to the swimming pool across the street and just dunking straight down... the list went on for a very long time. So on Saturday at Jen's baptismal interview, we agreed to baptize her in a chair, but we cut off the back two legs so her knees wouldn't pop above the surface of the water when tipped back the chair. We also asked two men to baptize her for safety. She was scared out of her mind. She thought she was quite funny exclaiming "No,not the chair!!" ... all Sunday long. But alas, she did get baptized in the two-legged chair, and although it did float and proved to be a little difficult in the font, it ended up working. I don't think I've ever held my breath through an entire baptism before, but there's a first time for everything, right?
In case you're curious, the Cruze (our new car) is doing quite well. I love driving it, and it loves having me drive it. We are one. That's how I know.
Sister Mitchell and I currently have 32 investigators we are working with. She's dying because she came from an area where they only had 4, and I'm dying because I have no idea how on earth we can take care of them all! But I look back over the past three months I have been serving in Etobicoke South and I marvel at how much it has changed. I got here in February when we had nothing: No place to live, no mode of transportation, no Books of Mormon, no solid boundaries, no people to teach, and no clue about anything. And now we are fortunate to be serving in one of the most successful and prosperous areas of the mission. What a blessing it is to be part of the Lord's work. Everybody has a part of Heavenly Father's plan, whether they're members of this church currently or not, whether they know of it or not. I just hope that I can be worthy of this great responsibility that Heavenly Father has given to me. I'm trying my best.
Ammon explains my life: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever" (Alma 26:12). Each day I am weak. True story. But the only thing that gets me up at 6:30 each morning (yes, Dad, people really can change:)), is knowing that I can be an instrument through which miracles can come forth.
What a beautiful work.