Thank you so much for your emails, pictures you sent, your love and your prayers. I appreciate every word and thought that you send my way! We have been really blessed to have such a wonderful family. I especially loved the picture of my new little nephew! He is so precious! I can't wait to see everyone again in 6 short weeks, but as for now I have to focus 100% in the work that I have, because everything is about to change again!
On Saturday morning, this past week, I got a call from Elder Rahde, one of the assistants to the president. He told me that I was going to be transferred, but he didn't tell me where to! I just had to train Elder Duerden so that he could train the new Branch President when he arrived. It was good to have a little time to say goodbye to the members of our little branch, but it was bittersweet. I feel so small for the responsibilities that my Heavenly Father has given me here in the mission, but I know that by His power and His grace, we have done many mighty miracles among His children. In my time in the Diego de Almagro branch, we reactivated many families and baptized many of God's children for the remission of sins. The spirituality of the branch is what really gets to me; the members are so humble, they love one another and look out for each other. It has been amazing to serve with them and feel strengthened by the Lord's hand to help His children.
As we were sharing a message with one of our investigators on Sunday night (Margaret), we gave her the news that I would be leaving. We talked for some time, and I really felt like I was leaving my family again because I really have grown to love the Chilean people SO MUCH! When Margaret offered to give the closing prayer, I listened to the touching words she used. She asked our Heavenly Father to bless me in all aspects of my life, now and after the mission, for the service I was rendering. It was one of the most heartfelt prayers, and I was filled with a pure love for all those who I have had the privilege to serve. It is difficult leaving the people that I love, and I know it will be even more bittersweet when I have to return home. However, as I poured out my soul in humble prayer, I felt the sweet assurance that my work here in Diego de Almagro was not wasted, that the Lord is accepting of my sacrifice, and the He is preparing many more spiritual experiences and people to help in these few weeks that I have left. I am sure that the Lord's will will be done, and I am ready to head off to my new sector and start working again!
On Monday, Elder Mortensen called me to tell me that he is the new assistant in his final transfer of the mission! He gave me my transfer. Tomorrow, I will leave bright and early from Chañaral to go to my new sector, Torre Blanca, in the city of Vallenar, the furthest south of the mission! It is the most beautiful part of the mission, I hear, and there are even horses and cows that walk around in the streets. Everything is green. Well, green for the Atacama Desert. :) I have been assigned as Zone Leader, and my companion will be Elder Shim. It looks like we'll be opening the sector also, since Elder Shim was serving in Calama before, so that should be great fun. I am really excited to serve, focus all of my efforts on my call as missionary (not having to worry about giving callings and doing interviews and all that), and help, inspire, lift, and bless my fellow missionaries. Should be a great transfer, a great way to end my mission!
Well, there's not much more to say. It has been a great end to a great transfer. I loved serving in Diego de Almagro, but I know that the Lord wants me to go to Vallenar to end my mission. Elder Duerden and his new companion, Elder Cruz, will have a lot of success here; they already have lots of progressing investigators and potential converts. You are all in my prayers. I can't wait to see you all in October!