Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bilbao Baggage

Bilbo Baggins- a hobbit of no small reputation chosen to fill a vital role in the quest of a lifetime. Though hesitant at first, he embarks on the journey, kindles the spirit of adventure, and does a lot of good. His adventure is something he looks back on much throughout the rest of his long life.

Bilbao- a beautiful city by the river, iconized by the Guggenheim museum, Basque culture, and the  cleanest little city I've ever seen.

Baggage- can be emotional or literal, and with transfer calls, it's usually a little bit of both.
Hermanas Een and Randall
Hermanas Randall, Een, and Wiseman

Fancy church we always saw on the way to our humble little "bajos"

Bilbao Ward
This week was a full one. On Wednesday we had a wonderful and inspired Zone Enfoque [Focus] preceded by an in-depth leadership meeting (while still in a trio with Hermana Wiseman, I might add) in which I was asked to do an emergency intercambio with a companionship of struggling Hermanas before the end of the transfer... in 4 days. With that in mind and weighing on my heart I completed an already planned and regularly scheduled intercambio with Hermana Schmidt (4th one with her, just how things work out, but the first one where we stayed in my area). Thanks to a member, a mini missionary, a willing and competent companion, and the convenient return of Hermana Wiseman to Bilbao that following Friday night (to pick up Hermana Roggiero from the airport) I was able to do that extra intercambio, becoming a trio for a little less than 24 hours and working like crazy to try and see miracles with them.

It was a sacrifice, it was inconvenient, and it meant that for the last week of the transfer the only full day I had with my REAL companion was Sunday, and at times I wondered whether it was worth it.  But after a contact I made one of the Hermanas turned to me and said "Wow. You're so persistent. I wish I could be like you."  So I know it was worth it. And although it was a little last minute, I know we were able to make a positive difference.

On Saturday afternoon we were reunited and taught Manuela the Plan of Salvation. She really GETS it, asks all the right questions, and really wants this for herself and for her family. It's downright inspiring. We let her know that one of us would probably be leaving and promised to call her after we received the transfer call that night. She promised to come to church.

Transfer calls. They happen every six weeks. Usually when I think we'll stay together, we do, but guessing what will happen when something HAS to change.... I'm usually dead wrong.
And well, this was no exception.
When our district leader called that night and told me that I would be leaving to serve in Lleida, I didn't believe him. I had him call back and double check, but there was no mistake.  I called Manuela and a couple of members. It was hard, and continues to be so.
"Mean Mugs" at the Elder's request
 I thought for sure that I would be the one to stay this time, especially after Barcelona. I was frustrated and looking for answers. I found them in a familiar hymn, "I'll go where you want me to go." I realized that I had promised to go. I promised that I would go and keep going until I had been to all the places He needed me to be. And right now, I guess that's Lleida.

I'm still a Sister Training Leader, my new companion's name is Hermana Ingram. She was trained by Hermana Stilson, fun side note.

Coming to Bilbao was for me, like Bilbo Baggins' adventure, an unexpected journey. Looking back, I can see that it has also been a treasured adventure, a great growing experience, and a blessing for me and many others.
Bilbao farewells
Manuela came to church that Sunday (having taken a taxi to get there on time) and happened to be  wearing a bright orange blazer (my favorite color). She loved the services and thanked me for  everything, promising to continue in this path and to nurture the seed that I had helped plant. She's a real special lady.
A Bilbao goodbye hug

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.
The front door in Bilbao
 "Faith Brings Hope" (translation)

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