Before I dive into this post, I need to reiterate two things: [ONE] West Virginia is my favorite place in the entire world. If I could, I would go back there in a heart beat. The ward, Mill Creek, changed my life. Looking back at the two transfers and a week that I was there, my life was altered extensively for the better. I don’t know if I can even give that time any justice for what it was really like. But I will try. [TWO] I hated sea food by this point on my mission. By the end of my mission, I loved it. Anyway, here we go: Lesson #1: Always Be Grateful
I’m going to be completely honest here: I had a really bad attitude with coming to West Virginia. I wasn’t excited for it at all. It was West Virginia and I wasn’t sure what I was going to run into when I got there. My first week in West Virginia is something that I will never forget. I arrived April 24 and the first week was such a blur. I met so many incredible people my first week. Brother T, Shurleah, C-Clan, and more (but for the sake of time, I won’t list them but every single person). Anyway, the first 48 hours in Mill Creek were rough. I mean, really rough. This is what I wrote in my journal for my first two days in Mill Creek:
April 25, 2013 Today I met Shurleah! She’s super great. She has a really bad case of MS and is wheel-chair bound. It just breaks my heart because she is the sweetest lady and LOVES Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much. She told us how she loves picking flowers and how she can’t wait to run through the fields of flowers in Heaven to pick a bunch for Heavenly Father. She also has nine cats and my nose was super stuffy by the time we left. I’ve never been allergic to cats before but I guess I am. I’m going to have to figure something out because we’re going to be going back soon. …[Later in entry] I really miss Eldersburg and all of my investigators. But I know that this is where I’m supposed to be and that there are people that I’m here for. I’m excited to see what this transfer will bring!
April 26, 2013 After we finished the map, area book, and weekly planning we went to dinner and had sea food. It was gross and I’m pretty sure that I’m NEVER, ever going to eat sea food again. Can you say “Ironic” because I’m serving in the east coast? …[Later in the entry] After dinner, we went to an investigator’s house to teach the restoration again to the kids. As we were leaving, the member who was holding her three year old (he was coughing) said, “Don’t worry. He’s not sick; it’s just allergies.” Then BLAAH!!! He threw up and it got all over my legs. …[Later in the enter] I hope that this transfer will be good because I want to fall in love with this place but so far I’m not liking it at all.
The first 48 hours were really hard and I was super ungrateful to be in West Virginia when I wanted to be back in Eldersburg. But as the days turned into weeks, (and with the Lord’s help and with Sister M by my side) I did fall in love with Mill Creek. Looking back, I truly cherish the times of the vomit, cats, fish, and all of the new things that transfer brought. It was a huge reminder to me to always be grateful. There were so many times when I saw Shurleah not being able to physically do a simple task. But even though she was physically unable to do so many things, she never lashed out or complained or was unkind because of it. She always said “please” and “thank you” and made you feel like a million bucks when she told stories or her testimony of Jesus Christ. She was grateful for what she had and never asked for more.
Compared to many, I have so much. Sometimes when I’m mad or frustrated it’s so hard to be grateful and I have to think hard of what Shurleah said to Sister M and I one day, “I love my life. I love my cats, my aids, the missionaries, my sisters. I have so much to be grateful for. And I love Jesus and I am so grateful for Him.” I am grateful for so much: family, friends, my home, job, college, my cats Scooter and Luna, and more. I’m so grateful for everything I have. I am grateful for the hard times. I am grateful for the unexpected. I am so grateful I served in West Virginia.
“Lesson #2: Always Be Yourself” will be posted shortly!