Well, words cannot express the tide of emotions I have had this week. President and Sister Bullock gave their final round of Zone Conferences. Today they are at the mission home reading missionary e-mails as they come and doing some final packing. Tomorrow, the mantle falls upon President Preston, he and Sister Preston spend some time with the Bullocks, and then off they go.
As you know, President and Sister Bullock have meant something so dear to me and I almost feel as if I'm being separated from the family all over again! Except I can write you and I won't be able to write them.
I was blown away by the spirit I felt at Zone Conference on Wednesday especially during the opening hymn. "The Spirit of God like a fire is burning..." and it did burn through my veins. The Lord has accepted the Bullocks' sacrifice; I know it. I was blessed enough to be serving in Manchester South Ward at this time, which is their home ward, so I got to hear them speak one last time yesterday. The ward also asked them to do a Q&A during Sunday School (a little extemporaneous, but that's England for you). It was such a joy to see how much the saints in England adore and honour the Bullocks as well. I felt so lucky to be there to see it. Afterward, right before they left, I gave them a final good bye and a thank you letter that was literally bulging out of the envelope. I should have considered just binding it, it was so long!
I can't express what an impact they have had on my mission and my life. I will always love them.
I have been spending all of this time and energy thanking them because I know I will not see them for a while, and it just made me realise how much I take our family for granted. I am sorry I don't tell you more often how much I love you! It seems like it never comes up just because I know I can always write it next week. The three of you (and of course our extended family) have affected me more than anyone in the world! Heavenly Father put us into this team and I know we are all together for a reason. Just like a companionship, we can help lift and strengthen each other. We each have unique talents that make up for one anothers weaknesses. Together and united, we are unstoppable! I feel like I'm part of the best team on earth.
Well, I have exciting news! This week was wonderful for Sister Lovell and me. I was finally back on the road (literally and figuratively) after my recovery. Monday evening, a former investigator, requested a lesson and agreed to a baptismal date! He will be baptised next Saturday. The transformation we have seen in him this week has been magnificent. His testimony has blossomed and he cries in every lesson. He told us, "I've been secretly crying in my house all week. I cannot keep back the tears of joy!" He is truly humble and truly ready for this covenant. Along with progressing spiritually, the Lord has helped him to overcome some of his physical incapability. He's also improving socially. He was so excited to tell everyone at church about his baptism. He stood at the front doors greeting the ward and handing out invitations. He told us "I want to make a special effort to talk to the disabled members of the ward (we have a fair amount in wheelchairs) because sometimes they look lonely." Heavenly Father is blessing him, and I know that with the Gift of the Holy Ghost, those blessing will continue to flow. I literally care for his well-being so much, I feel like I'm watching my child learn to walk. It's a joy!
The YSA ward continues to grow in strength. Yesterday, one sister brought two friends to church and we are eating tea with her and teaching one of them tonight. We found out that I will be moved in three weeks (President always likes to spoil transfers) so we are doing a lot of work in the two wards to build member trust and make the transition to the new sister smooth. Sister Lovell is concentrating on learning the area and members so that the work will not halt. We feel a great urgency to lay the proper foundation for the YSA ward, especially. I really and truly want to leave Manchester better than I found it! [NOTE: This is one of our Davis Family Principles] I have come to love these people so dearly. I also love my companion so dearly! The way I feel about Sister Lovell is not that she has blessed my mission, but that she has truly been a blessing in my life. I consider her friendship to be a gift from the Lord.
Other than all of this love stuff, the work continues forward! We still receive opposition and we still experience disappointment, but right now the sweet is definitely overpowering the bitter. Which, in the end, is our choice, isn't it? I thank the Lord for how I have grown.
I love you! I know this work is divine!