Tuesday, August 25, 2015

letter from Alyssa - 8-24-15

I have been transferred to the Rancho Santa Margarita Stake in the Live Oak Canyon Ward. My new companion is Hermana Duncan. She was originally called to this mission Spanish speaking, but is in English work for a while for the experience. She is definitely a talker, total opposite of Sister Hall. The Elders in this ward are Elder Medina who has lived his whole life in the Philippines and Elder Forthman who is also from Dallas. Elder Hook is my zone leader along with Elder Fetuani, an Elder from Tonga and a spiritual giant (who also idolizes Eric Shumway). This ward is absolutely fantastic. Brother Trantum (our ward mission leader) is the best I've ever known. He's a convert of about 5 years. The Bishop loves missionaries and youth and works hard for both, he's also very much a story-teller. We have Stake Conference on September 12th and 13th and Elder D. Todd Christofferson is coming to speak for it! As missionaries in this ward we have 2 hours to do family history every week. We also teach a class every wednesday night to the youth on Preach My Gospel. I am still assigned to do temple grounds tours 8 hours a week. Hermana Duncan and I have our own apartment so no roommates, which is nice sometimes but also not so fun. Rancho Santa Margarita is hot compared to San Clemente, but still dry heat so can't really complain. I'm no longer on the coast but we are in the middle of a pretty big canyon. I do have just as many opportunities to use piano as I have anywhere else so it's great. We have 2 investigators and 2 somewhat open nonmembers. Irma and Jim are atheists who love to have open discussions with the missionaries. They never bash or attack us, but they are not progressing in the gospel, they also aren't really interested. But our last discussion (using the Book of Mormon, Alma 34:32, to answer the question of the soul: What is my purpose?) went very well. We will see if we can help to spark their desire to have faith, if not we may drop them soon. Lori is in her late 50s, she is a foster mom to babies addicted to drugs. She is very sweet and accepting of gospel principles and has come to church for a few weeks. I met her last week and she has agreed to learn more from the missionaries and try her best to consistently come to church and keep commitments. Charlotte is 15 and comes to church and activities every week. She wants to be baptized but her parents won't let the missionaries teach her. She will be coming to the preach My Gospel classes as soon as we start them though so she can informally still learn the principles she needs so that once either her parents' hearts are softened or she turns 18 she's ready to go. Other than that, we're just getting started. Not a lot has happened in this ward as far as the sisters because Hermana Duncan's last companion was not exactly an obedient or active missionary which prevented the work from progressing for the past transfer. The Elders work hard though and are really good at working with the sisters to do more than we could separately. Members feed us every night. Our ward mission leader is in contact with us everyday. The ward missionaries are just as active in the work as we are. The bishop focuses on the individuals of the ward so well which directly involves the full-time missionaries. We are so well taken care of and the work is moving, slowly but it's moving. I am having a hard time even coming up with a reason to complain if I wanted to. 

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