Thank you for the emails... sometimes it is so wierd being out here and being away from the rest of the world, and then finding out how much things change while you're gone. A lot of things happen that you don't expect. For some reason I thought that when I'd come home everything would pretty much be the same. Hearing about Bro McLay really sent me for a loop for about a week, I've come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to not think about it, and I know my father in heaven has given me the ability to put that in the back of my mind and find peace, so that my testimony can burn brighter than ever while I'm fufilling my responsibilities as a missionary.
Hearing about Liz today is another one of those things... I wish that I could be there for her funeral. This doesn't really seem real. I'm just thinking about all the great memories I've had with her. Spending so much time at work with her and the connection we both had with the Boyds made her always feel like family to me... I'm greatful for the plan God has for his children. I wish I could be there with all of her family and friends to honor her memory.
Even before that, this week has been pretty crazy. Sister Townsend, an older lady in the ward that I'm very close to, nearly died this past week. She went to sleep one night last week and woke up in the ICU. Two firefighters came in and found her hanging in her home. She has bruises all over her body and intense rope marks around her neck... Her husband, who has a history of being abusive, claims that she did it to herself. From what we've heard, she decided to go along with that so that Henry wouldn't get charged with anything. Sis Townsend herself has a history of being suicidal. It's all a very interesting and unfortunate situation, but Bro Floyd called us last week and told us her situation, and said that she called him and wanted him to bring me and my companion down to the hospital to visit her. She was worried that I was going to be transfered while she was in there and she wanted to say goodbye.
We went to visit her, and I was able to give her a blessing. She said that I've been on her mind, and she thinks it's because she knew I wanted to be a firefighter, and she kept thinking about the 2 firefighters who saved her the other night. When we were there she told us the story, and then she looked at me and I told me she knows it's my calling to help people, just like the paramedics helped her. It was a neat experience. Sister Townsend is kind of like my mom for this area, she's always checking on me and lifting my spirits. I have a lot of respect for her... and she's been through so much, but she keeps pushing forward. She has definately strengthened my testimony in being diligent through the trials we face in this life. Her health is improving and she should be out of the hospital sometime this week. I think her and her husband are going to be seperated for a while. It's a tough situation to descirbe, because they both have such a radical history, but I think things are going to work out for the best from here on out.
Ronnie Jackson also ended up in the hospital this week. He got really sick with pnemonia. We got to go visit him with Keisha one night. We were able to give him a blessing in the hospital, and he's diong a lot better now too. What's really cool is that Ronnie and Keisha have come a lot closer together since he's been sick. She's been taking care of him, and they are acting like they love eachother again. It makes me so happy, lol, cuz I've been trying so hard my whole mission to help those two out.
To get to some more crazy news. Wednesday morning Elder Badger came over to our apartment before transfers to say goodbye to me, because we knew he was leaving, and figured it'd probably be over the river, so I probably won't see him much through the remainder of my mission. They went to transfers and we just finished up studies because we weren't getting transfered. Like an hour later I get flooded with texts from missionaries telling me congrats on going District Leader. That was a surprise. Elder Lester went Zone Leader and I'm the new District Leader of the Memphis 1st District. Elder Badger however, my mission dad, got released from Zone Leader, to be called as Presidents new Assistant. That was a surprise to like the whole mission. Elder Peay got released to go train, so Elder Badger took his spot. So my Trainers an AP now.
I didn't think I'd be training and get Leadership at the same time. It's double duty. I honestly was not expecting it, but for some reason it happened. lol. My first District Meeting is tommorrow, wish me luck. and now I get to call and make sure every one is in and safe on time, and hold them accountable for the work that they do in their individual area's. Our District is actually the biggest in the mission. It's 5 companionships, which I didn't think was that big, but most Districts in this mission are 3 or 4 companionships. What's really colol is we have 3 missionaries in the District who are brand new and being trained, so they have that MTC fire. One of them is from England. He sounds like he's straight out of Harry Potter, lol, and black people in the ghetto think it's awesome.
I am greatful for all the letters I receive. I enjoy reading them. Thank you Kylee, and Alyssa, and Sis Boyd, and everyone else who has written me recently. It's nice to hear from people. I'm sorry that I don't write back. I have given up on writing letters. Quick E-mails I can do. But I really don't have time to write letters, especially now that I'm in Leadership as well as training. There's a lot I have to worry about, and I need to set the example for the new missionaries, and just like it states in our white hand book, I'm striving to limit correspondance with others and focus on the work at hand. Many mighty miracles will be wrought in this land, and the more I focus on my mission and the less I think about home, the better I will be able to be all that the the Lord wants me to be.
There are 2 different ways we can become. Diliberatly or accidently. We are creatures of change and we change every single day, either becoming stronger or weaker. We can decide to become, by making diliberate choices to reach our potential. Or, we can go with the flow and become whatever life makes us, never reaching our full potential. I am striving to make the choice, of choosing what I become.
I love you. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. It helps me keep going. Have a good week, you'll be in my prayers.
-Elder Justin LeBaron