Well, welcome to the first day of the rest of my mission. Today pretty much everything changed. New companion, new home, new rank, new responsibilities, new role. New feeling. We had lunch today with one of the two new American Sisters, a one Sister Elizabeth Chan from Washington, D.C. She and her MTC companion, Sister Crowther, are the first American sisters to come to Pusan mission since Sister Ogelvie came, six weeks after me. It's been eight months. And over lunch, I found myself saying to her all the things that Sister Beckstead and the other now-long-gone sisters said to me when I was that jet-lagged bewildered greenie. I'm a co-senior and a sister rep. I'm a leader now. And the funny thing is that I don't feel incompetent, I feel secure. I have a new companion, Sister Pak Min Jeong, in whom I have much confidence and with whom I can communicate as much as I need to. I am going to an area with a great reputation--but more importantly, I am leaving Taegu with a good reputation. When I got there last summer, no one liked Taegu. Too hot. Too cold. The members aren't helpful. The people are mean. There haven't been any investigators for months and months. The leadership only cares about stats. The sisters' house is tiny, dark and filthy. I think the only thing I really changed was the dirtiness of the house, but I've watched investigators spring up, support from the members increase, a new and wonderful bishop be called. Taegu is a more desireable place to serve in now than it was when I arrived. I didn't do it, but I watched it happen, and because of that I am well-satisfied. I feel good about my mission today, and that's a big change. But I like it. Let's keep that up.
So I feel like an acceptable missionary. I feel optimistic, as though the best is yet to come. And I don't feel panicked, discouraged, or overwhelmed--I can't tell you what a relief that is.
I've also started to think about The End, and After. And I'm finally starting to "get" the mate straws, the steak knives, the waffle iron, the little po-dunk Argentinian restaurants in Provo, the alfahores*. Your mission never really lets you go, does it?
I love you,
*RoseE's Dad went on a mission to Argentina, and brought all these things back with him (except the restaurants in Provo) and they are treasured items.