Well first off, to answer everyone's question, I got transferred to Kent Island!!!! And yes, it is litterally an Island! It's in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. I am SO excited to be here! I was really hoping I would get to serve in this area at some point on my mission. I coudn't imagine a better place to be during the summer! The Island is beautiful! Everyone's backyard has a dock and a boat. It's a lot like what I had imagined maryland to be like. Beach homes and boats everywhere. My new companion's name is Sister Courtney Richards. Funny thing is sister Richards and I knew each other at BYUI. She was a cashier when I worked at the bakery. She would come over and eat our reject cookies all the time. Small world! She's great! I have a lot of respect for her already, actually. She's kind of engaged... well she's really engaged, she's getting married April 12 next year. But she chose to come on a mission anyway. She could have easily stayed home and gotten married, but she realized she could have the mission and the guy, so she's doing both.
Anyway... Kent Island is much different than Eldersburg. WAY different. Theres just a branch here, not even close to being a ward. And a struggling branch at that. A lot of the members who are now active were recently less-active. The ones who dont fall into that category are from part-member families. I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders the first few days I was here. We didnt work with less active members much at all in Eldersburg, and I had no idea how I was going to help this little branch. But I feel an overwhelming amount of love for the people here. They are amazing. Somewhere along the line these people have forgotten the why of the gospel. So i'm here to remind them and to love them back into it! I know that this area is where I need to be right now, there is no doubt in my mind. We've already had some really amazing things happen in just this past week. First, theres this girl here named Emily Gates. She's 13 years old and she's been coming to church with her next door neighbor for 5 YEARS. She hasn't been baptized. The first day I got here sister Richards told me about her,and I couldn't believe it! Emily is kind of quiet girl, but she's expressed that she wants to be baptized, wants to serve a mission and be married in the temple. Some how this girl has slipped through the cracks for the past five years. I asked sister Richards why she hasnt been baptized, and she just said " I have no idea." So yesterday at church, I asked Emily if she wanted to start taking the lessons from us so she could decide if she wants to be baptized. And of course she said yes. In 5 years the missionaries havent had the stroke of brilliance to just ask her if she wanted to take the lessons. Of course we are getting permission from her parents, but i'm pretty certain they will let her meet with us. They've let her go to church for 5 years on her own, I dont see why they would have any objections. The whole situation was kind of odd to me, but it's been a testimony to me that the Lord has his timing for everything. Hopefully everything will go over well with her parents and I will be able to see emily get baptized after she's waited for 5 years. I feel really priviledged to be here right now and hopefully have the opportunity to teach her. I feel like the Lord has put me here for her. For some reason, He has saved her for me to teach.
There are some other really great people they've been working with here as well. Theres this amazing guy named lawrence who really wants to be baptized. He has such a strong testimony of the restored gospel. We've met with him twice this week and each time he expresses how much he loves the book of mormon he know's its true because he feels the spirit when he reads it. The only issue is he needs to quit smoking and he needs to get married. And he wants to do both of those things, baptism set aside. He's having a really hard time quitting smoking, and he's not much of a planner so the wedding has kind of been on the backburner. We had the coolest lesson with him last night though. We dropped by his house because he didnt go to church and wasnt answering his phone. As soon as we showed up at the door, he said " I knew you'd stop by" . He was having a really really rough day. He was a mess. He was upset that he didnt make it to church, he had been on a smoking that day, an he had just gotten a phone call from his brother who was asking him to send him money because he hadnt eaten in three days. Oh and lawrence hasnt had money this week either because his SSI check hasnt come in this month yet. ( I often walk into situations like these and wonder "how am I loving this right now...?") We talked with him for a long time and tried to calm him down. It was definitely a time when I realized there wasnt much I could do for this guy but just love him. We got some plans set in motion for him to get married and baptized next month. We're calling him 3 times a day to see how he's doing with smoking. And we left him with a burger king gift card for his brother. It's hard to put into words everything that happened last night. You can't put experiences like these into words, actually. But it was definitely one of the most meaningful hours of my mission so far. God loves his children so much. He is aware of each of us. He knew that lawrence needed someone to talk to and that his brother needed something to eat. Somehow we showed up at just the right moment. I feel so priviledged to be here doing the Lord's work.
Well there were lots of other amazing experiences I had this week, so many more great things I could say about the island, but unfortunately I don't have time. But I' am doing well, I love it here, and I couldn't be any happier than to be a servant of our savior jesus christ in the Maryland Baltimore Mission!!!
I love you all! Have a good week!