Well, another week has come and gone, and I have officially left my Greenie area!!!
Yes, you heard that right, I actually left....
Like, I'm not there anymore....
That's so weird! That's been my whole mission so far!
It was really sad saying goodbye to the people I've come to love, but it was also very exciting that I have the opportunity to be somewhere new. My first couple days in the new area seemed like an exchange, but I'm all settled in now and working hard!
My new companion is Elder M from Riverside (specifically Perris), California. He's been out one transfer so far, so I'm finishing his training process. So, I'm still a trainer! I love training, it's so awesome :) We're serving in the Oakton stake/zone in the Vienna ward. I thought I was getting transferred to Austria at first haha.
Funny story .... Elder C ( my last companion) totally knows Shawn’s MTC companion!!
Alrighty, so I'm in Vienna now. It was pretty cool, I showed up just in time for a baptism they had scheduled. It was wonderful to meet this new convert and be a part of her process, even if it was just a small part. We're still on bikes here. It was a car area until I got here, haha. apparently, the sister missionaries needed a car. It's a small area, so it's all good, it's just a little more treacherous for cyclists... busier roads, we live next to the freeway, sketchier sidewalks that provide a nice massage, etc. haha Vienna reminds me a lot of Carmichael in look and feel, except, imagine a lot more trees that are a lot bigger. (they don't call it Oak-ton zone for nothing! It's even earned the nickname O-Zone, likely because of the amount of oxygen it contributes.... or because missionaries took the first letter of the word "Oakton" and put "zone" behind it since it's a zone in the mission.... I've yet to figure it out...)
So, funny story, My first sacrament meeting here, the bishop asks me to stand up so people can get to know my face. He asks everyone to give a welcome to the new Elder Hodgson, and this lady in the back just starts waving at me like crazy with this huge smile on her face... Whaaatt theee.... THAT'S JANNA HARGADON!!! haha. The Hargadons were totally in Vienna ward last Sunday! We also have an elder here who just went home. He was serving in Vienna ward, when President got a call from his family: "We need you to transfer our son. We'll be going to a different building this Sunday, but we're moving into the Vienna ward." So, he just finished his mission, and he's home here in Vienna now, and he's a HUGE asset to work here. He served here, so he knows a lot of people we've worked with, and he's a great missionary and willing to help with anything.
The work is going sooooo well out here! Sister Riggs asked us to open up our area books and go through our former investigators. She felt very inspired that many people in that group are now ready . She was totally right. Since I got here, we've pretty much been doing that like crazy, and we already have three new investigators who are very interesting in hearing our message. Elder M has the area organized so well in the paper trail he's created, so it's a pretty solid ship we're running right now. I've been way impressed. I'm pretty sure he came pre-trained :) He's hysterical, too. He wrote in the area book for a lesson we taught the other day: "[name omitted] may or may not have been, but definitely was, high during our lesson." haha. It was great.
Our apartment is right next to the Metro Station here in Vienna, so we're hoping for a trip or two into D.C. :) Funny story: last week when we were on our way home from that same station, we were about 100 yards down the road. We're stuck in a parking lot that's supposed to be a freeway (yes, traffic was that bad), and this guy in the van next to us looks at us, sees we're missionaries, sets a handgun on the dash in front of him and starts drumming it with his fingers!!! haha Pretty sketchy situation to be in when the traffic flow is completely stopped... :)
We're way excited too, because we're taking one of our investigators to the temple visitors center on Thursday. It's my first time taking an investigator there, so I'm excited to see how it is! We're very excited for our investigator to feel the spirit though and to have him be a part of the fantastic experience at the visitors center.
Man, I love my mission. It's so exciting waking up every day to something new that we get to be a part of! We're literally fulfilling prophecies in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon by our service here, and it's an awesome thing to be a part of. I absolutely love it. The spirit is just so strong, and the experiences and friends we make will last a lifetime. I just don't want this to ever end. When my two years are up, I think I'll just stay.
Until next week from Vienna!