So if you're waiting to hear the transfer news, here it is:
I am staying in Etobicoke South with Sister Mitchell. That means that 1/3 of my mission so far will be in this area. I think that's great, since I love it here, and my blood, sweat and tears went into opening this little baby up.... So I'm all good with helping it continue to prosper. There are a lot of people we are working with who are SUPER close to baptism. I really want to help them get there before I leave, I wonder if I'll have just one more transfer here, or if I'll be here longer. The suspense is killer.
This week has been one that required much endurance because it was 10 days long in the life of a missionary. But we made it. So that's good. They added two new companionships of sisters to our Zone this transfer, there are so many sisters coming out, it's insane! I don't think President Scott really knows what to do with them all. We don't have enough places or enough apartments, so it's really spontaneous. This mission is growing so fast, it should probably split soon since we have almost 300 missionaries.... But I'm not quite sure if I'll ever see that happen. I bet it will split right as I leave, because that's when President and Sister Scott leave as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they called two new mission presidents here.
Monday was Canada Day! I felt really lame because I wanted us to do something really fun and Canadian, but we didn't. We couldn't think of anything! We tried to sneak a peek at the fireworks at night, but our balcony faces the opposite direction. Bummer. Some crazy teenage kids were shooting off fireworks in the school yard right under our balcony. Apparently if it's a holiday in Toronto, you can shoot off fireworks wherever and whenever, even in the middle of a city. I thought our apartment was going to get hit and burst into flames.... Oh well, we're going to wear red, white and blue tomorrow, which is super patriotic of us.
Our apartment building, because it's so tall, has a garbage shoot. It is a wonderful creation so that we don't have to run all the way downstairs to take out our trash. We simply walk down the hall and toss it down the shoot. If you can imagine, the garbage shoot room (about the size of a closet) is rather disgusting. All my germaphobe tendencies come out when we have to go in there. This week Sister Mitchell went in there and the door closed behind her. She was stuck in there for a little bit, and I expected her to start wailing and screaming because that's exactly what I would have done. It was really funny though, I think that she almost died holding her breath. Maybe that's why I didn't hear any screams....
Things have been slowing down a little this past week in this area, and I can't quite figure out why. But it's alright, we've needed to spend more time finding than the past month. It's kind of refreshing to do different things once in awhile.
So remember when Orlando got baptized? Well we visit him once a week at least to give him new member discussions, and it's one of the highlights of my week. It blows my mind how Orlando sees me. He loves me, and thinks that I'm the most incredible person in the world (he also thinks I'm incredibly stubborn and threatened to deport me a couple of times, but that kind of ruins the story:)). I think he sees me through rose-colored glasses because I helped him embrace the gospel. He always compares my directness to the apostle Paul, and says that I'm perfect and I'll have a straight way to the kingdom of the Lord. Of course he's incorrect about basically all of those assumptions, but it really made me think about the beauty of change on a mission. That regardless of who we are before we come on a mission and what good or bad choices we may have made, with the Spirit we still have the ability to change people's lives, and they will forever be grateful for it. Orlando could probably hear a load of things that make me incredibly imperfect (trust me, I tried to inform him), but to him I think I will always be on a pedestal. I don't deserve it, but it is so cool to think that as young and imperfect as I am, I can bring that happiness and joy to someone's life. It makes me never want to do a thing that would have them lose faith in me as a representative of our Savior. Kind of a heavy load, I know. But it is so great to carry such a load for my Father in Heaven.
Do you want to know something about me? I thought that before my mission I was just about all that I could become at my age. That the only way I could continually improve was through advancing onward and upward from that point. Serving a mission so far, I have seen that I was terribly wrong. There are so many aspects of myself that need to be improved and focused on before moving on to the next thing that is exciting in my life, whatever that may be. Never before have I learned so much about myself as I have learned so much about others, including my savior Jesus Christ.
The photos I sent you this week are of my old district, Sister Mitchell and me at our "Holy Harvest"/transfer party (after District Meeting), and the other one is me at the "Kiss and Ride" sign. These are everywhere. I guess it is Canadian-code for "drop-off zone." Apparently Canadians are more affectionate than Americans....
I am staying pretty safe, and things are going well. Our Stop Smoking Workshop is a disaster, but we're working on it. Ha ha it's pretty funny, actually.
Take care and know that I love you and pray for you always.