It has been a very interesting last couple of days. This week I had a much better week than the week before. We picked up 2 new investigators. But first, I need to tell you about transfers. I was thinking that I would be all set for Christmas in Woodstock with Elder Steimle. I also thought that if I were to get transferred it would be to a new area knowing that the possibility of serving in an old area was very slim. So sure enough I woke up to a pleasant surprise yesterday morning. I am being transferred back to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia for Christmas and I will be serving in a trio with Elder Quinton and Elder Dooley.
So I can't exactly say I saw this one coming. It is not common for missionaries to serve in an area twice on their mission and especially when they served in that area for 6 months. On top of that, the possibility of going back to an area you just left 4 months ago is very remote and unlikely. Elder Steimle described it best in a conversation we had last night. He was making a whale noise and then I said:
Me: What was that?
Elder Steimle: That was a whale in our hallway.
Me: That is very unlikely.
Elder Steimle: If it's unlikely for you to go back to Bridgewater and it's unlikely that a whale could be in our hallway, then there could be a whale in our hallway.
Me: Haha! Very true but hey I'm not the one that made this decision.
Elder Steimle: Not only is it unlikely that you could go back to an area you already served in; it is very unlikely for you to go back to an area you just left 3 transfers ago.
I have had all sort of thoughts run through my head ever since I read the transfer letter. "Why am I going back? Who am I going back for? Am I going back to baptize somebody I began teaching? Am I going back to reactivate a less active that I was working with? Am I going back to began teaching somebody I tracted into and said no and now they are ready for me?" It is clear to me that the Lord has a special mission for me in Bridgewater. I have prayed about this transfer and I have received a witness that this transfer was inspired of the Lord. Time will tell if I find out why I got transferred back to Bridgewater.
So for two Christmas' in a row I will be in a trio. Elder Quinton is a really nice guy. I served around him for a while at the beginning of my mission and he was actually my district leader when I was in Bridgewater the first time. So he knows that this is my second time serving in Bridgewater. He is also a really good missionary. He is a very fun-loving, dedicated, energetic missionary. I don't really know much about Elder Dooley. But from the interactions I've had with him he seems very humble. I have no doubt the three of us will get along just fine. With me having already served there already and it being a completely new area for them, I know they will be expecting a lot from me and I am preparing myself to take the lead in the area.
With transfers in general, this was a huge transfer! There were a lot of companionships affected. This was easily the biggest transfer President Pratt has done since he got here. There will be 3 trios in total of Elders and 2 trios of Sisters in the mission as of Thursday. Being in a trio can be challenging sometimes and they require sacrifices from all three. I like to compare it to the "Big 3" from the Miami Heat. All three of them are very talented but they had to sacrifice some of their playing time and some of their talents in order to best help the team win games. It is like that with trios on a mission. Each of them has to sacrifice some of their skills and their own personal desires in order for the companionship to be united and best help the work move forward.
Lost in all this is the fact that I am leaving Woodstock. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this area. I have picked up a lot of leadership skills here. The work was slow-paced and frustrating at times and the area wasn't exactly the most organized area I've been in. Investigators not being able to cross the border was also a challenge. But I got through the adversity and I built character here. This was after all the bible belt of the mission and the people wanted to bash with me at times but I held my ground and testified of what I knew to be true. I have learned a lot more about the bible here.
The branch has also been good to me. Although we had few dinner appointments here, they still cared for us. Some of my favorite members have been the Seaboyers. They were like parents to me. They even made me my favorite meal for my birthday. Of course I can't forgot the time when I burned my white shirt for my one year mark. The Hann's were also great to me. I loved going over there and Brother Hann was so hilarious. They are an awesome family. Sister Hann was a native of Southern Alberta so I connected with them really well.
We went to a baptism on Saturday. It was the Sister's baptism. The lady had her name taken off the records a while back and the Sisters began teaching her again and she decided to get re-baptized. It was a good baptism. She is very out-going, very friendly. She seems very intent on staying the course this time around. We had the opportunity of taking part in the confirmation yesterday.
With transfers this week I get to go the temple for the first time since March on Thursday! I am so excited about that. Have a good week! Enjoy the Montreal Temple Re-dedication!
Elder O'Brien (the older)