I have truly been so very blessed to have gotten to stay here for 5 transfers - to get to spend so much time among all these people that I love so much! Truly, I've been spoiled - 6 months in Lake Charles and 7 months in Pasadena? Livin' the dream. Except it kind of is earth shatteringly horrible when suddenly that dream ends and you have to pack all your bags say your goodbyes and take five million pictures. However, I did handle this transfer call much better than the last. Considering that my reaction last time was to lock myself in the closet, however, that bar was pretty low. But seriously, to have been out on your mission for over a year and only been transferred once? That's a blessing. So I guess it's time I get with the program and move onto my third (and possibly last? That's alarming - let's not go there) area.
But before then, let's talk about one last Pasadena miracle - and it's a biggie.
Remember LaVenia Wilson? LaVenia-golden-Lavenia-gonna-
get-baptized-LaVenia who was also LaVenia's-gotta-move-out-LIKE- RIGHT-NOW-LaVenia? Yeah - that LaVenia. Well, anyways, so her baptismal date was set for this past weekend (the 19th) but the week started out with our only prospective housing solution for her falling through. So to say I was "mildly stressed" is being awfully polite. But we're missionaries! So we had faith that SOMETHING was going to work out. We had been in close contact with the RS President trying to find someone with a spare room and some Christlike charity, and she had given us some names to try and most of those had fallen through, and days were passing by and we were praying and fasting and so was LaVenia, and THEN - we get a phone call from Hermana Rios - a sister in our ward who moved over from the Spanish ward and who I can't bring myself to call "sister" instead of "hermana" (because let's be honest - "hermana" is a lot more fun to say than "sister"). Hermana Rios is one of those members who is just like five seconds from being translated, and we answer the phone and she goes "Hermanas, I just heard from Sister Hayden that you have a sister needing somewhere to live. Didn't you know I have an apartment in the back of my house?" Uh, no, we didn't, but that certainly would've spared me an ulcer or two to have known that just a week or so earlier. But nevertheless - she offered us the apartment as a place for LaVenia to stay! When we went and told LaVenia, she started crying and told us that she had just been praying so hard that morning, telling Heavenly Father that all she wanted was to be baptized, but if she couldn't find somewhere to live, to please help her be okay with waiting.
Yes. Yes indeed. This is real life, people.
With her baptismal date for, the move had to be pretty fast - which was easy considering that all LaVenia owns is in two suitcases, and as soon as we left after telling her we'd found a place she apparently went and packed everything. But then there were still a few kinks to work out - like for instance, the apartment didn't have an air conditioner - which just doesn't fly in Texas - and LaVenia didn't have any household items like towels or a pillow or anything, and she didn't even have clothes or food or a bed or any form of transportation. But this was when we got to see the Relief Society of the Fairmont Ward come together like nobody's business. Memebrs rallied together to provide her with items she lacked, including an a/c unit, and provided meals for her at their homes. They gave her rides, they gave her clothes, they came together in ways I have never before seen a ward come together to support this sister so that she could be baptized. By night, she was officially moved in to her new home, and evening she was baptized.
At her baptism, LaVenia bore her testimony. She told us all that she was eternally grateful not just for us the missionaries, and not just for all the members who had helped her, but to her Heavenly Father for finally guiding her towards the truth. She started crying, telling us that she knew that this church was true and this gospel was what she needed. *That* is what this work is all about.
And on that note, I can leave Pasadena. To have seen the members here reach out with such Christlike love towards a sister they didn't even know until a couple weeks ago. To see the joy LaVenia has found and continues to find in this church and in this gospel. She's so excited to go to the temple and to receive a calling. And because she fought so hard to get here, and because she gave up so much, her faith is so strong - I know she's here to stay.
Pasadena has taught me a lot - a lot of the same things Lake Charles taught me, and a lot different. It's taught me how to love everyone. It's taught me to never doubt. It's taught me what kinda Mexican food I really shouldn't eat if I don't want to die. It's taught me to trust in the Lord even more, to trust in His timing, and to surrender my will to His. It's even taught me a little Spanish - muy poquito - and it's taught me that anti-material is the worst thing ever. But mostly, it has taught me that this work is the MOST IMPORTANT. And I'm not just talking missionary work like full time missionary work. I'm talking about the work of salvation. I'm talking about the work in which we should all be anxiously engaged - living the gospel of Jesus Christ, and helping others do the same. If that is not your number one priority - fix that. Make God your first priority, not just on Sundays, not just for Christmas, but in everything you do, every day you have.
I love y'all! Keep living the gospel, feeding the missionaries, and saying those prayers.
Sister Bayley Enright
Ray, Alazne, me, and Mary :)
Ethan, me, and Ty - these guys are my favorite. funniest lessons EVER.
lma, LaVenia, me, and Sis Taylor, with Bishop Christensen creeping in the back
Me and my Spanish missionaries - me, Hna Stiles, Hna Hansen, Hna Snow, Hna Shannon, with Elders Owen and Sully in the front
Our morning exercise tennis team :) best hermanas ever. I obviously don't know the difference between holding a lightsaber and a tennis racket...we can't all be winners