Oh my heck there's so much to say I don't even know where to begin! Well if you've been counting the weeks you may notice this is Transfer week again. Leading up to it I really felt like I wanted to stay in Parkersburg, even though I've been here now for 6 months. Starting off I didn't really think much of the city. But I think my time here has been the most instructive part of my mission so far. It was almost never easy. It seemed like challenges seemed to follow each other. I had to exercise greater faith with each experience and with that grew my testimony. I've also yet again fallen in love with the people here who've treated me as though I was their own. Leaving will not be easy.
Sunday night we received a call from President Pitt. He asked to speak to me and began to explain about the new stake in our mission. I'll briefly paraphrase his explanation. Recently the Church in the Salt Lake Valley has set up several Young Single Adult (YSA) stakes replacing what were once student wards. The boundaries of these stakes overlap those of existing stakes but only include the 18-30 year old population who are single. One of the main reasons for this is now a Stake President can focus 100% of his attention to that demographic and create programs specifically for this vital age group. Out West this has proven very successful with an average of 1000 YSA being picked up per a stake where before they had fallen by the Wayside.
BUENA VISTA VIRGINIA YSA STAKE was created on April 15, 2012, the First YSA stake outside of the Salt Lake Valley. I have been assigned to the Buena Vista Area to Cover the North end of this Stake. There will also be a set in Lynchburg, and another Set in Roanoke. My companion will be Elder Gurney!! It may have been a while since you've heard that name. He was my District leader/roommate in the MTC. We came out together!! He will be a Zone Leader. The other Zone leader will be in Roanoke. At least for now. Seeing as this is a new thing to our mission part of this will be experimenting to see exactly how the area is going to work. They're still working out details with the Stake President and President Pitt. So no one really knows much of what its going to be like in terms of work yet. Luckily its summer and school will be out, giving us time to figure things out before we are overloaded with Students. Within the area are Southern Virginia University (SVU), a Liberal arts school owned by members and 95%+ Lds population. Also Virginia Military Institute (VMI), a private officer school for the Military and one other school which I can't recall. The draw back of serving specifically YSA is that we will not get to work much with Children, youth, Young families, more experienced families and so forth. So a big change up for me.
So aside from all of that I've been working frantically to pack (almost done!) and clean the apartment for the new missionaries...Elder Penn will also be transferred out and sent to Floyd, VA. In our Place will be Sister Scannel, and a new sister missionary to the Field. So We've also been cleaning the apartment pretty well. To our Credit it was not that dirty to begin with and far better than the average Elder Apartment in my opinion. We've spent the last 2 days visiting families and saying our goodbyes. Even more to go to today. I'm glad for the sisters though, We've got a good pool built up for them to teach and I feel good leaving the area with them. I've also left probably 50+ sticky notes in the area book and around the apartment to help them get up to speed.
This transfer I will also say goodbye to some of my best friends on the mission. 18 Missionaries will be going home, including my first two companions, Elder Pendleton and Elder Conger, My dear Brother Elder Moreang who I've spent these last 6 months serving around, Elder Leah, Elder Taylor and many others. I'm glad I'll get one last chance to wish them all well as they return to the Dark and dreary world.
Well, I'd better stop now before everyone gets tired of reading.
Love you all. Thank you for your Prayers. Each one is felt. :)