Good news!!!! I am staying another transfer here in Proctorville with Sister Maddox! I'm dying of happiness! I could not have gotten any luckier! Except I did! Because both sets of Elders in my ward are also staying together! We'll have Halloween and Thanksgiving together with our little Huntington missionary family! I'm so happy!
We taught a lesson on top of the mountain this week. We were actually looking for a less active family. The address took us WAY the heck out to the county line and out into the sticks. I wish you could have driven with us. The day itself was beautiful, and it's fall, REALLY FALL out here now. I hate to break this to you, but y'all don't even know what fall is out there in Utah. The hills are on fire. The yellows and reds and oranges paint every hill you see. Even the air is on fire, with gorgeous yellow and red leaves swirling through it. The air is starting to get cold; the sweaters and jackets are coming out, and the smell. I don't know if it's the humidity or what, but smells here are deeper and richer... and maybe a little more alive. You can smell that it's fall everywhere you go. The air is heavy and chilly and everything smells like leaves and autumn.
I can't help it, but it takes me back to Ashland a year ago. My heart and soul were in a very different place at this time a year ago, but my feet were walking the tri-state area just like I am now. I miss Ashland sometimes, the people, the good times, and really, I miss the hard times. I had never felt feelings so deep and real and intense as I did then, even when they hurt. There's something beautiful about FEELING. No matter if it's pain or joy. I guess it's all part of being alive, and on this beautiful earth. Opposition in all things you know?
Anyway, we drove out to this less-active member's home and knocked on their door as the sun set over the hills and made all the fall colors even that much richer. No one answered so we went to the house next door. It was down the road a bit, so we walked along the highway until I heard a familiar sound. I've heard it so many times. It was a deep smacking sort of sound, almost like a gunshot far away, but you could tell that it was close.
The sound reminds me of my childhood, with the family in the back yard, and it reminds me of rendezvous, and all the time spent with Yance and those boys I love so much on the archery course. I immediately recognized it as an arrow connecting with a target. We walk a bit more and see a man shooting his compound. We wave and the man walks over to us. He's older, and his quiver is at his hip. I already fell in love with him before any of us opened our mouths. We talked to him first about his neighbors and then we got talking about who we were and what we did. As we began into the restoration, we could tell this man was very familiar with his bible, and that he was sincerely listening to what we were saying. The lesson flowed beautifully that evening as the sun set, He asked perfect questions and the spirit gave us the answers. As we parted that day, I breathed in that Appalachian air and watched the sun go down while we walked away, and I had never felt so ALIVE. We would be going back.
God knew what he was doing when he sent me here. I'm convinced I already knew these people, and I was specifically prepared to meet and love each one of them. My mission was planned years in advance, much before I even thought of going on one. And then, as if my heart could handle any more happiness, I had that thought, the one that comes so often on my mission---it came almost as if a whisper---and it said... "You're exactly where you're supposed to be."