Monday, February 8, 2016

El Gran Consuelo -- February 8, 2016

Transfers are an up and down experience. Elder Cuadra and I were sitting in our house enjoying some cheese, crackers, and Frutop when my phone rang and a little voice whispered in my ear, "There is to be a new district leader in Consuelo. Pack your suitcases. You're being sent to the furthest corner of the mission. Punta Cana. Thank you for your service in Consuelo. Have a nice day." Ah. Ah. Ah. Are you KEEDING me??? Ahhhh!!!! It was a strange moment. I felt like crying.
Then I felt like throwing something. And then, Elder Cuadra grappled me from behind and we were throwing it down yelling things like, "YO SOY EL JEFE EN CONSUELO AHORA!!" "NOOOO!!! SOY EL CAPITAN HOY Y PARA SIEMPRE!!!" "SOS EL CAPITAN EN LA COCINA DE TU MADRE!!!!!" And then we calmed down and everything was good.


It's been a pretty good P-Day anyhow. We learned our lesson about wearing skinny jeans as a missionary. Friendly tip- If you need to put a shopping bag on your ankle and then grease it to get your foot through, DON'T PUT ON THE PANTS. Haha and our colmado guy told me that he's sorry to see me go. I believe it. I was his best customer. He said he reckoned that in four months, I probably bought fifteen pounds of cheese. And. Well. I don't doubt it. 

Anyway, my new companion's gonna be a gringo with about six months, Elder Hafer, and I'm going to Punta Cana, also known as Verón! It's the farthest area in the entire mission, right along the east coast. It's also a total resort area and half of the weekly church attendance are tourists. Oh, and the colmados also sell root beer, the apartment is in a nice walled complex, and it even has a lovely pool that I can't swim in! Hooray!

I'm actually very excited to go to Verón, but it's bittersweet. I love Consuelo so, so much. I cannot begin to describe how blessed I feel to have been able to serve here. I was able to witness the Lord's hand in our work as we went about teaching investigators, strengthening the members, and working with less-actives. I feel a love for all of these people that I've never felt in any other area. Let me tell y'all. Yesterday, a previously inactive member who we'll call José came to church for the third consecutive week.
He'd been the branch president twice before and was one of the strongest members of the branch, but later on fell into temptation and went inactive. He hadn't been to church in over two years when the Lord led us to his door. We testified to him and he felt the spirit, and yesterday, he stood with his wife and bore his testimony of the Holy Ghost and eternal families. If I was the crying type, which I'm not, I would've cried. I almost did anyway. 

Wearing this tag is so weird. Because I have this tag on my chest, I get let in to the houses of total strangers to talk about their deep and intimate family problems. I get to have simple but profound conversations about the governing principles of human existence on the way to the grocery store. Old ladies offer me smoothies. I get a license to meet, get to know, and love like they were my own family people who I've only known for a few short months.
And it's all done in the knowledge that everything is gonna be taken in one phone call. It hurts to leave. It hurts so bad. And I love it anyway. I love it because when you're a missionary, your relationships aren't restricted to this life. The blessings of your ministry extend into the eternities. And although the Lord has now indicated that he needs me in Verón (and surely that I need Verón in me), I know that all of us who worked together in the building of the kingdom of God in Consuelo will one day meet again. Will it be in this life?

You got me.

Elder Dallin Johnson

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