Hello to all,
Greetings. It's wonderful to hear from everyone. It's been a great week here in Albany. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the pictures of Ste and Grant at the front door before the first day of school..haha, nice shirts. I wonder where that idea came from? Glad to see that Penguin is still being well represented in Mesa. That's cool about the 'Meet the Teacher' experience. I really liked my 6th grade year; Mrs. Muehling was really good. Ste will do great; I've told a couple of the elementary aged kids I interact with that he is already back in school and they can't believe it. (But I remind them he is out in May, too, ha). That's sweet there was a Stake Activity for the Ithaca people, and to see the missionaries there. When people (usually just companions) realize how many connections and things I have with people out here it blows them away. On that note, I'll see Sister Porter tonight at the church and grab the cookies from her. Ha, thanks a bunch. It really is pretty crazy. Yeah, Elder West is headed to Ithaca; I've worked with him a few times he is a really good guy. Have him over for dinner, ha. As far as a package goes, the only thing I need is contacts (one box of each) please. That'd be great. And maybe a tie, ha. Never can go wrong with sending a tie. Other than that I'm good :)
So yes, the rumors are, in fact, true. I am leaving the blessed area of Albany and the Albany zone. And where am I headed, you ask? To Rome! (NY, of course. haha). Rome is right by Utica, about 30 minutes west. I'm serving with Elder Farrens and we're the Zone Leaders in the Utica zone. I'm pretty excited about the change, it should be a great time. I know a bit about the area and such. Rome is a city, where the brunt of our work is done. We have a car although it wouldn't surprise people for it to be changed to a walk area at some point in the future. There is a small ward but great members and support. Elder Farrens is from California I believe and he served with Elder Potter for 2 transfers. E. Potter always spoke very highly of him and really wanted me to serve with him sometime. This is always a bit of a weird, transitional time, the time of transfers. I feel at peace and have a calm, confidence in the future at this point. But I can't say that I felt that way this whole week. I was really unsure as to what was going to happen. It's been great, though, and I've thought a lot about what I've been able to 'accomplish' so far here. I really wish I had the ability to fill you in on all of the even small details of the things I've done or people I've met and taught. All in all, I feel that my service here has absolutely been what the Lord wanted me to do. Again, I've gained relationships that are so, so important to me. The gift of charity, the tender love of the Savior, is so real and very impactful as you are blessed with it for these people you serve. My mind really is just caught up in so many different thoughts and directions it's a little difficult today, I feel, to express everything. Just know that I've loved serving here and that I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in Rome. It's been great seeing people for the last (at least for now) time and saying goodbye. Attached are 2 pictures. The first is the part-member couple/family we are teaching. The wife is a member we reactivated and the husband is a nonmember (he who came to church last week which was a big deal). He is one of the most sincere and kind people I have ever met. He'll be baptized soon. And the second picture is a less-active member who we reactivated who has an incredible story. She is planning on going to the temple soon to receive her endowments. It's amazing. There are so many stories and memories of incredible people and experiences here. I'm already grateful I've kept my journal and written in it each night so I can recall people and experiences later.
So, today I'm going to be packing: Yeehaw! I've gotten pretty good, having done it so many times. It shouldn't be too bad. I will probably be sending home a package of things that I've accumulated or don't need (at least some letters, etc). Then tomorrow I drive into Utica for transfers and make the swap. This will only be the second time I've been able to go in for transfers since I've been out (the only other time was when I was training Elder Stratton). I'll get to see Elder Potter before he goes home and hear his 'departing testimony.' I hope you all have a great week this week! Time is absolutely flying by, it is incredible. Thanks so much for all that you do for me.