My dear family,
The Lord strengthens me in so many ways. These past few weeks have been especially crazy as we played catch-up in our area since my companion was sick for a whole week and our missionary work came to a bit of a halt. This new branch that I am serving in now has just officially been combined with my old branch in Sahuaro into one ward! Lots of big changes, and we are super excited! Yesterday was the first Sunday that we had together as a ward, and the callings had all dissolved, so no one knew what to do or who to teach. All of the full time missionaries of the ward had to spread out among the auxiliaries and taught the majority of the classes without previous notice. As stressful as it was, it was actually a huge answer to prayer because one of our goals that we set together as missionaries was to do everything we can to help the ward transition with the new changes to build trust between us and the leadership. With all of the disorganization and chaos of the past few weeks, the leaders of the ward were actually really grateful that the missionaries were able to help out as much as we did.
Despite my companion's illness, we've actually been able to get a lot done. I don't even know how we've been able to do it, which is how I know that we are being blessed and divinely strengthened. While resting in our apartment, we were also able to plan (with the help of many members, of course) a wedding for our investigators, a funeral for a less active family, and a Christmas party for the combining ward. This ward is pretty heavily reliant on the missionaries to organize and teach, which can be stressful at times, but it's really more exciting and fulfilling than anything else. :)
I've noticed that the harder I work and the more I try to do, the less stress I feel and the more weight I am able to bear. I feel as if we are, in a way, carrying the burden of this new ward and being held responsible in anything goes wrong or if anyone gets left out. In any other circumstance, I think I would have crippled under the stress, but right now I feel unusually calm and at peace with the place that I'm at and the responsibilities that I have. I am grateful that the Lord strengthens me so that I can bear the weight of the burdens placed on my shoulders. I have faith that I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I love you all so much. I hope to hear from more of you soon. You are always in my prayers.
Love, Hermana Townley