I don’t know where to even START!!!!
Let’s start with Brittlyn… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I am so happy you are my sister and thank you for all of your e-mails and pictures! I hope you have the BEST day ever!!
So want to know where I am? Well let’s just do a little rewind of my mission so far…
Once upon a time there was a missionary named māsa galagera. She served in a MAGICAL town called Liepāja for her first 2 transfers. She fell in love with the members. She fell in love with the mystical sea and the perfect beach. She fell in love with the old buildings. She fell in love with the cobble stone streets. She fell in love with the markets selling fresh juicy strawberries and vegetables of every kind. She really couldn’t have been happier. Then she was transferred to Imanta to be with a Russian companion and to open up the area to sisters. She fell in love all over again and had the most amazing transfer. Imanta totally stole her heart! After one hilarious and awesome transfer there (shout out to sista Hanks! Love you!) she came to Riga.
It was a hard change at the very beginning, but her love for Riga was just as immediate as the other 2 areas. She was SO blessed to serve in Riga for almost a year! The members there are her family. The YSA (young single adult) there are her best friends. She can find her way with her eyes closed to any place in center city. Her area was HUGE there. (compared to the other areas) and she had a lot of people to take care of in her area. She had the craziest and most fantastic investigators during that year. She changed a lot and learned a lot. Riga is hers. Her life and well, most memories from her mission belong to Riga. Transfers were coming up and every one that knew her including the members were all sure that she would stay in Riga. “It’s just where you belong” as members and missionaries say…. No one… especially her was expecting to leave….
Well God had different plans. President Boswell called on Tuesday morning and said, “Well sister Gallacher…. the only thing I can do to change your life more upside down is to make you wear your shoes on the wrong feet. You are going to go open Liepāja back up to sisters (white wash), train, and be the sister training leader. (see details on sister training leader below). Imagine my SHOCK!!! I didn’t know what to say! I was leaving in 2 days and I had not been expecting this!!! Although I was heartbroken to leave my family here in Riga, I couldn’t help but smile. I was going back to LIEPĀJA!! I hadn’t been there in so long and I longed to go walk those same streets and smile at those same people. It’s strange how my heart was so broken to leave Riga, and yet, so healed to go back to Liepāja. Maybe it’s because every time I leave an area my heart breaks just a little bit..,coming back to Liapāja healed that part that had been broken last year when I left.
So here I am. Back in Good old Liepāja!!! It’s been a CRAZY first week. We got here and the elders hadn’t really thought anything through so they didn’t have a phone for us…. or an area book… or anything really. THANKFULLY we actually have a native on a mini mission who is going to spend a week in all the areas serving for one transfer. (ZANE PLIHA is the BEST!!) She served a mission in Ukraine and works at the MTC in Spain so she is going around doing training to all the missionaries. She had a phone… so that was a miracle because Yes, I could remember how to get from the bus station to my old apartment… but the code to the door… no clue. It had been a year. And I’ve memorized oh so many codes. We would have been totally lost if she hadn’t had a phone to call people. (Especially to call a taxi from the bus station so we could get all of our stuff home. (We had 6 suitcases!) So she was our angel and her phone was our miracle.
Our first day was dazzling. It was my birthday and no one knew it was until I mentioned it to my companions. haha. We didn’t have time for any kind of celebration but walking on the cobble stone streets, smelling the familiar smell of the church building here, and running into 2 members on the street was good enough for me! I actually forgot it was my birthday and when an elder or someone would find out and say happy birthday I would be confused for a couple seconds and then remember that, “oh yeah! It’s my day of birth! Happy birthday to me!” We contacted lots and I just couldn’t help but smile the whole day. I thankfully remembered the tricks to opening the church doors, and the way to the grocery store since we had NO food in our house when we got there. We’ve been figuring everything out and it’s going alright.
My trainee is sister Woodland from Idaho. She is a dancer, actor, and singer, and is loads of fun with lots of energy! We are having a great time, although it’s weird being a trainer not really knowing everything about my area and where everything is. (like where to buy a bus pass. The place we did it at last year is not there anymore… oops) She has been a trooper and is easy going so I am thankful for that. I see so much of myself in her. She wants to speak the language so badly right away and gets frustrated and down on herself when she can’t. That was me. I remember being so frustrated and thinking ” I should be able to speak this language!!!” in my first week. So silly of me. It is LATVIAN and it is extremely hard! Patience really is key on your mission; patience with yourself. I keep reminding her that no one expects her to be able to speak fluently so not expect that of herself in the first week.
I still struggle sometimes! It comes slowly and one day you wake up and Tada! You can speak. We are learning each other and having lots of fun learning Liepāja together.
Church practically brought tears to my eyes seeing all the members and seeing their joy to have sisters back in the branch!! I was just hugging people all day. I just love this little branch so much and feel so happy and honored to come back and serve here one more time!
Interestingly enough when we were leaving for church I saw a package of kleenex and I thought, “I should bring that today” Then I thought, “why? I never use those….?” but I put it in my bag. Then after sacrament meeting an investigator here who I had talked to (her name is Daina and her daughter Oksana got baptized a couple weeks ago…. Daina wants to get baptized but she has to get married to her boyfriend. They’ve lived together for 14 years and have 2 little girls together, but he doesn’t want to get married) We were heading to Sunday school and she started crying and motioned for me to come over. We talked in the hall (with my trainee standing by the door of the class while our other comp taught Sunday school.” The three-some watch” is what we call it so we can still be in sight and sound. haha. I talked to Daina and listened to the terrible news she had about her boyfriend cheating on her and she had just found out. She was so distraught and we talked for a while. I tried my best to give comfort.
The elders are passing most of their investigators over to us because they are women and it’s really hard for them to get members to help them on the lessons. So I will be teaching Daina from now on. So use number one for the kleenex. Then later a member came out of a meeting with the branch president and she has some problems of her own and I went over and gave her a hug and there came the use number 2 for kleenex. God really does work through other people and even when it’s just a small thing like me having a kleenex to hand he prepares you to be ready to help others.
I am happy to be in Liepāja, and my heart is a little broken from being taken from Riga. I didn’t get a chance to say bye to anyone there. BUT Since I am the sister training leader I will be up in Riga practically every week doing exchanges with all the other sisters! So I will get a chance to say bye to some members later. I am happy to be in Liepāja and I know that I have so much to learn here. I already have learned so much and it’s only been a couple days!
Ah I have so much I want to say, but I will leave it at that…
So the end of ‘her’ story is still not written, but She is so happy to be ending it in Liepāja!!!
I love you all! Have a wonderful day!
Sister Training Leaders
Some sister missionaries should be assigned as sister training leaders to help train other sisters. These sister training leaders are responsible to conduct companion exchanges with other sisters. They serve as a vital part of mission leadership. Sister training leaders:
- Are members of and participate in the mission leadership council.
- Are experienced and exemplary missionaries who serve in a companionship with another sister training leader.
- Are responsible for the training and welfare of sister missionaries assigned to them.
- Maintain a vibrant proselyting area in addition to working regularly with other sisters.
- Conduct 24-hour companion exchanges every six weeks with each companionship of sisters assigned to them Report directly to the mission president on sisters’ issues (an average of two exchanges per week).
- Are assigned to a specific zone. However, depending on mission geography and the number of sisters in the mission, the mission president may assign sister training leaders to train sisters in a single zone or in multiple zones. It is not necessary to have a companionship of sister training leaders in every zone.
- Function as members of districts and of zones and assist the mission president, zone leaders, and district leaders in training meetings and zone conferences.