This transfer meeting was a tender moment for me. First as they announced who I was training, you could see him stand up in front of the 100 missionaries, looking around, and up pops me from my seat in the back with a big smile on my face (a big guy training a little guy), and I run over and give him a big hug. Everyone, when they found out that I was training him, was in awe and they got pretty loud. It was a very tender moment.
Then, the final testimony by President Smith really stuck deep within my heart. When he gets spiritual, he gets really quiet and soft and gentle.... and he was talking about the missionaries going home. He was like, you never "die" on the mission...you will continue your service for the rest of your life....and when all of you go home, and life moves on, I hope every time someone mentions New York City, your heart skips a beat, because you think to yourself, "Those are my people....they are my family. And that place is where I came to know God. That was the place I came to know my Father, and I found them." Tears flooded my eyes when he said that because that is truly how I feel. I have come to know how to love out here on my mission. My heart has gotten a lot bigger out here. I just think of my heart skipping a beat later on down the road when I am caught up in business, in the rush of life and having a family, and I think back to this solitary time where I came to know my family. Where I put everything I had into finding them (that includes President Morgan and President Smith, all the missionaries I have been able to grow extremely close to, the people we teach, this place... everything). I couldn't help but cry. The spirit was so strong. President calls Christ "my Jesus"... and his wife explained why. She said that he calls him that because he feels like he found him, and once we find him, we should call him that too. I tear up just thinking about it. Words are so limited as to what I truly feel about God now.
Anyways, I just thought I would share that with you guys. I love this experience. It is extremely hard, but at the end of the day, when all the hard sorrows fade away, I am left with the feeling I just described and with me personally knowing my Heavenly Father. What more could I ask for?
I love you so very much!
I love you so very much!
Elder Austin Celaya
p.s. BTW, I am going into the chiropractor tomorrow (there is a chiro here that treats the missionaries for free) because I have been experiencing really bad neck and back pains (from when I injured my neck at the gym before I left...the gymnastics type of gym) ...so hopefully he will be able to help me.
Transfer Meeting (I'm in the back left)
Meeting my new companion
Training Elder Wadsworth (from Lehi UT to Harlem NY!)
Goodbye Sister Smoot! (with Elder Nelson)
All the trainers for the new missionaries