Where to start?
Transfer Wednesday was a fabulous one! I got to see Sister Peatross, Sister Ramstedt (MTC companion), and the Everitt family from Spartanburg. Didn't think it could get much better than that until I found out my new companion is Sister Belyea, the sister that Sister Derrick trained right before me, and I moved 5 1/2 hrs away to serve with her at Surfside Beach! Yep. The beach. What a way to start a new transfer and this peak of my mission. My first night out we had a lesson on the pier with a sister who has recently started coming back to church. You would never have guessed she'd stopped going to church. She loves the scriptures and Heavenly Father so much, especially his creations. And so it was only fitting that she was the person who took me to see the ocean for the first time in my life!
Went to the end of the pier, looking down we saw jelly-bobs and not long after one...two...thre--four--no, five sharks! Seeing the ocean without an end made me think of our Heavenly Father's love for us. There is no end. His tender mercies that He places in our lives on a daily bases have no end. The grace, support, and aid He provides has no end, as this Atlantic Ocean seemed to have. No end.
Since a year ago when I was on bikes for my first transfer in Spartanburg I have wanted to be a biking sister soooooo badly. And so as evidence of His endless love, Heavenly Father blessed me to serve in a biking area. What's more it is flat. Pancake flat. I didn't believe companions and missionaries who said the lower part of the state was flat. I've been in the upstate my whole mission where it's hills without end. So yes, I didn't believe it 'til I saw it and biked it. It is so flat and pretty and there are houses on stilts. (No, I'm not making it up). I love it here. And I love the people. When I thought my heart couldn't get any bigger it opened up and made more room. Like a can of sardines, they just keep lining up and squeeze their way into my heart. I don't know how Heavenly Father has room for all of us kids, but it is an amazing feeling.
Yesterday, we had an amazing miracle. To set the scene, the Surfside ward is the one that all the tourists go to when they're at the beach. We had a constant stream of visitors that we welcomed as they entered the chapel. Sometimes asking where they're visiting from, and not expecting to see them again. And so it was with a couple of women who came and after Sacrament Meeting asked where the investigator's class was. We pointed and said we could take them in a minute, but like any normal member would, they said they could find it. At this point most tourist visitors have left but these women stayed for Relief Society. A convert of some years taught the lesson all on baptism, testifying often of how it differed from her baptism in her previous church. After Relief Society ended these women talk to the Relief Society President and to the Elders, then to us. Morgan wants to be baptized.
Let me clear my ears.
You're not a member?
The mom is a less-active sister and this was her first time back in over 10 years and her daughter who'se in her 20's and who did not grow up in the church, came with her and after that lesson wants to be baptized.
You want to say "this doesn't happen". No. People don't come to church on their own, stay the whole time, then tell you they want to learn more and be baptized. Guess what? It does. It did. The Lord is hastening the work. People are finding or remembering the safety and security that is only found in Christ's Church and by living His teachings. And they find in so many different ways. Through you. Through me. Through their children. This is the Lord's work. It will move on regardless of all things. But it is our privilege and blessing to accept the call to be a part of it. Abroad or at home, online or on the bus, at the store, through a letter, a kind word, serving a friend or an enemy, hearts will be softened--including our own--and we will see the Lord's hand more frequently and abundantly. So come. See the blessings, feel the joy, and then watch the work move forth "boldly, nobly, and independent."
I am so blessed. Thanks for all that each of you do.
Love, Hermana McNeece