FAMILY!!! Wow... so much to say and literally no time this week to say it!!! We have our day absolutely PACKED as we have a few appointments and other activities already planned. Here is a super quick review of this past week and the few BIG surprises that came to us with it...
I got the call this past week that I will actually be getting transferred from the Marshallese Branch.... :( I kind of saw it coming as I've been here for three transfers already (approximately 4 1/2 months) which is a pretty average time for any one area... but still I was and still am very torn up by the idea of having to leave the people and the language and culture that I have come to love SO much! I was kind of hoping that since we've had so much work going on for us over here that we could convince our mission president to keep us together or to split me and Elder Teerlink up and give us each a new companion and we could just have four elders working in the one branch because honestly we've been so busy we could use the extra help! But I suppose it wasn't what the Lord had in mind for me or the branch at this time, and so I once again find myself slowly but surely packing everything into my bags and preparing to leave another piece of my heart in another place that I have truly come to love.
I feel a bit like Voldemort leaving little parts of my soul in different places... I'm really starting to spread myself thin! Only this is like a GOOD kind of Horcrux based off of love not murder... haha! Anyway, like I told the branch this past Sunday when I spoke to them for the last time, I just can't be selfish and continue to take all the blessings of serving over here. It is someone else's turn to fall in love with the people and to feel of the unmeasured blessings that come as a part of serving here in the Waipahu 3rd branch. So I've gotta go and give them that chance. It is sad, but it will all work out in the end, and I am VERY excited someday to share with you all the wonderful people and culture here in the Marshallese branch!! :) Anyway, moving right along though....
So what perhaps surprised me even more than the news that I was leaving Waipahu was when I found out where I would be leaving to! After almost a full year and a half of being away, I will finally be returning home!!! No, not home home as in Arizona, but to my first "mission home" in good old Kane'ohe zone!!! In fact I am about as close to my "greenie ward" as I could possibly be! If you recall I started my mission in the Kane'ohe 4th ward where I spent a solid 6 months! (the longest time I've spent in any of my areas) and now I am going to be able to spend my last 3 months in the Kane'ohe 3rd ward! Literally just across the road from the 4th ward boundaries!! I am super excited!! :) I actually already know some of the members and people over there and am pretty familiar with the area as well so hopefully I won't be getting too lost while I'm there.
|Luke at the start of his mission - now he's going back to his first area|
What makes it even better is I found out that just like when I was in Kane'ohe before... I won't have a car again! haha! I know it's kind of a strange blessing, but man, believe me it is a blessing! I actually will have bikes from what I understand which will be good compared to when I was in K4 ward and I only had my own two feet, but I'm just excited to be able to get out on the streets again and really be able to talk to people and share the gospel with everyone we come in contact with and just be seen out there spreading the good word! :) Also, it will be good to help me get back into shape after a good dozen of the Marshallese parties and all of the fried chicken and rice that they feed us :P haha!
So I just found out this past week from one of the senior missionaries at the mission office that because of a change in the MTC program they will be extending the June transfer from a six week transfer to a SEVEN week transfer which wouldn't really be of any significance... except that that is my LAST transfer on the mission! Which means that while I was originally supposed to fly home on July 14th red-eye and be in AZ early morning on the 15th, I will now be flying home the 21st and arrive on the 22nd of July.
So yeah... those were just a few of the unending surprises that seem to come to us each and every week out here in the mission field! Honestly I'm sure there were more but I don't have the time to try to remember them all right now so if they do come back to me I will just throw them on the end of my next e-mail home. But now a few quick closing statements which, hopefully, will not come as a surprise to any of you back home!
Mok tata, na yokwe aolep! (First off, I love you all!) I really do! I wish I had words which would could express that love a little better but frankly I don't think there are such words in existence, at least not in our current vernacular, so I will just say, I love you! :) I hope that all of you have an absolutely FANTASTIC week and that you all will continue to find ways in which to serve other people and to continue being such great examples everywhere you go of what a disciple of Christ should be like! I wish you the best of love and again, I love you and miss you all like crazy! Have a wonderful week!! Yokwe aolep im bar lo komiro!!!
|The tree being cut down|
p.s. I was VERY sad to see those pictures and hear the news about the good 'ol tree in the front yard... I honestly don't know what I will do when I get home or if I will even be able to recognize the place because the yard will be so bare... still... I couldn't help but think of what I actually just wrote in my journal a few days ago when I got the news that I would be getting transferred and I would like to share it with you...
"I have often heard the story told by a general authority a long time ago (and I can't remember which one it was) about a man who bought a plot of land and began to cultivate it and turn it again into a thriving farm for his family. One day while working in the field he came across a very large and wild current bush whose branches reached high in the sky with pride as if to say "look how far I have come!" The gardener however took a pair of shears and began to chop away at the bush pruning it back down until it was little more than a stump. When he was finally done, he noticed at the end of each little remaining branch a small drop of sap, almost like a tear, coming from the plant as if it were crying. As he watched this he thought as though he could hear it little bush say to him "how could you do this to me!? When I had come so far and made so much growth, how could you cut me down like that?!" To which the man replied "now listen little current bush, I am the master gardener and I know what I want you to be! And that isn't a shade tree or a large shrubbery. I want you to be a current bush and I had to cut you down so that you branches would again grow tame and you could bring for good fruit." Much later and after much more care the man came out again to the little bush, still very small, only this time its lush branches were filled to almost overflowing with fruits. As he looked again upon the small but fruitful current bush, he thought as though he heard it say again to him, "thank you, thank you for loving me enough to hurt me."
Anyway, that is super paraphrased of course and not the entire journal entry, but the point being that while I was having a hard time this past week with accepting that I had to leave this area and these people after so much hard work and dedication and with so much still to be done, I remembered that even if I were to feel "cut down" at this time that I was and always will be "in the hands of the Master Gardener" and that he always knows what is best for his children and what will yield the most and the best fruits and so I just keep on pushing forward. Anyway, I know that doesn't have a ton to do with the whole tree getting cut down, but still it just kind of popped into my head while I looked at those pictures and read you e-mail about losing the tree and felt like I should share it. Well anyway, I've gotta go. We're going to be late for dinner! haha! Anyway, have a great week! Love you all again so much! yokwe eok!