Greetings from Bend, Oregon! I am officially over the mountain! So, for those of you who don't know much about Oregon, the majority of our mission is located in what they call "the valley". That's where I've been all of my mission. I just got transferred into Central Oregon in a city called Bend which is basically in the mountains and it's what they call a "high desert". It is so different! It seriously looks like a desert filled with pine trees. It's the weirdest thing but so, so pretty.
I'm serving in the Cascade Crest ward. This is the wealthiest ward in the mission. It's been SO weird going from visiting people in teeny tiny apartments to eating fancy dinners in mansions. (As a side note, on Friday we're going to eat with a family that lives in the same neighborhood as Jack from Lost...I'm not even kidding.) I cannot even describe how weird it has been going back into an English ward. It doesn't even feel like the same mission. I feel like I literally started over and this is something totally different than I was doing before. It's been good, though. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary in English and to learn all of the skills of sharing the gospel in English.
My new companion is Sister Rosado. I knew her a little bit from MLCs but we've never served around each other. She is awesome!
Last week, obviously, included a lot of hard goodbyes, but the hardest of all came last Monday night. We had planned a FHE (Family Home Evening) with Margarita, Cinthia, and the Aguirre family. At the last minute, Margarita said she wouldn't be able to make it. We explained that it was my last night and that I really wanted to say goodbye and she said she could come. When we got there, we watched a movie about the pioneers and all of the sacrifices and struggles they went through but how, through it all, they were so faithful to God. The movie included so many tragedies, but every time something bad happened, they always bore testimony and expressed their faith and trust in God. Afterwards, Hermano Aguirre started talking about Margarita's grandfather and how he had seen him a few days before he passed away. Hermano Aguirre told Margarita that just like those pioneers in the movie bore testimony, her grandfather had done the same to him in that last week before he died. The spirit was so strong in that room as we talked about the gospel and her grandfather and I will never ever forget that night. I cried and cried saying goodbye to her, I just love her SO much. She is SUCH a special girl and I have felt that since the very first day I met her.
Here are some pictures from the past week, the rest of my goodbyes:
This is Luisito. The very first night I came to his house for dinner nine months ago, he said to us "I was going to make you Nutella banana bread but then I decided no". Ever since then, I've been giving him a hard time about it so for my last night he made it.