Padua is a lot more countryish than San Justo (definitely doesn't qualify as "campo" by any means, but alot more dirt roads and grassy areas than in San Justo.) And my favorite part is the ginormous, beautiful parks where all the little boys come to play soccer and all the families know each other (and the missionaries.) I discovered that having a WalMart was a rare blessing that exists in only one area in the whole mission, so that'll be a change as well, but I'll survive. :) The ward is really great. A lot more experienced and "aged" than dear little San Justo who was always struggling to catch the signal from Salt Lake and follow the manual. That being said, the ward here doesn't "need" the missionaries quite as much as San Justo needs us, and we all like to be needed, so that was kind of a sad little change. San Justo was my second family, but just like Mom said, I know that I will come to love these people here just as much. On the bright side, the wonderful hermanas here are just as faithful about giving the missionaries lunch. :)
I was blessed to come into the area just as they had two baptisms! Carlos, a young, cheeky guy who the hermanas found on the street and Estella, a 50 year-old mom gone fashion diva both got baptized on Saturday and it was beautiful to see how Heavenly Father is working and bringing this beautiful gospel to His children in ALL parts of His vineyard. I know he has many precious souls prepared in the beautiful streets of Padua for Hermana Johnson and I to teach.
Oh my goodness! I forgot to tell you about Hermana Johnson! Wow, she is soooo wonderful. Tiny, blonde little mouse who told me that she was super shy for a good part of her mission but has come such a long way and is a little firecracker now. This is her last transfer in the mission, but it is going to be one to remember! To describe her I would say: humble and kind, amazing cook (so much for learning to cook on the mission. All my companions do it for me!), and she loves Anne of Green Gables. Heavenly Father puts kindred spirits together on the mission too.
So that's the new area, full of exciting new possibilities and tons to learn I'm sure.
I had the best "farewell" from San Justo that any missionary has ever experienced, without doubt. I already knew that I would be leaving San Justo because Pres told me in my interview. And I wanted to keep it quiet, but my blessed Hermana Bird told everyone we talked to, so I shed a lot of tears, shook alot of hands, and gave alot of besos on Sunday after the baptism. My little heart ached all Sunday, but at least I felt that I had been able to say goodbye to alot of my dear ones. But then Hermano Efrain kept insisting and insisting that we have a lesson with Marco on Tuesday night before I left on Wednesday morning. We told him that we had to keep mission rules and couldn't just have a party and he kept saying, "yeah yeah yeah, I understand. Let's just have one last lesson like we always had." So Tuesday night, we went to the chapel for our usual lessons with Marco. We waited outside with Efrain, and then Marco walked in the gate with a ton of bags and we were like, "what's going on?" Efrain told us to follow him, and we went inside to the Relief Society room where members and investigators were all waiting to surprise us! The bishopric was setting up mounds of food, and everyone was coming up to give me besos and gifts! I was so overwhelmed, so embarrassed, but at the same time ridiculously happy. Hermano Efrain had organized the whole thing on Facebook, and my dear familia Velazquez was even there, with all of my favorite hermanas and members! It was a little over the top, with speeches by Marco and Diego, Bishop and Hermano Cordero, but it was all very sweet and something that my little heart very much appreciated. I love those people with all my heart and will never forget them! Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the world.