Sister Ward came pre-trained, we have hit the ground running this transfer. She is my best companion yet. Sounds like everyone is doing so well, doesn't it feel good to be tired? (did I just say that?) Sometimes we start our first prayer of the day before we leave that we will return tired.
OK! Yes mom, it's ok that you used my scripture to ponderize, but I'm giving you all a break this week. Mom Earl and Dad Earl sent me their ponderizing scriptures :D Their email this week felt like a warm hug, as did yours (it always does:). Anyway, ponderizing that scripture is almost like praying for patience. Saturday we walked around our area for about 6 hours but no one was out and we had no appointments, we talked to 8 uninterested people that whole time. It was also 100 degrees. That's probably when the scripture was on my mind the most, but I did think of it throughout the week. I love the part where it says "ye must", thinking of it that way makes my choices, especially the small ones, so easy. Virginia (my roomate from this last fall semester at BYUI) surprised me and emailed me telling me that she was planning on submitting her mission papers, her email was also very sweet and uplifting, and she emailed me her scripture too. I told her I had grown to love saying mine like this "Wherefore, I must press forward with steadfastness in Christ, I have a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if I press forward, feasting upon the words of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus said The Father, I will have eternal life." (I hope I didn't mess that up... I don't have a B of M in front of me at the moment). One of my favorite things is when the Spirit can bring to my remembrance, in times of need or simply throughout the day, the things that I study or listen to or learn.
Last Monday, after emailing you, I drove Sister Ward down to the border of San Clemente and Laguna Niguel and we rode the Pacific Coast Highway up to the temple so she could see the ocean and the beach for the first time (as close as we're allowed as missionaries). That was so fun! We talked and listened to music and stuff, it was great.
That night we had a FHE with the Cheney family, it went so well that they have all invited friends who are planning to come to the primary program this sunday the 18th, then on the 19th we're having another FHE with them and their non-member friends.
We met Charlene Reese for the first time since we've been trying to contact her in the last 2 months (less-active), she is so so busy with work but she had an oral surgery recently that was very painful and may not be all the work that needs to be done. So we brought her a smoothie and she said we could come back this week.
Jean Salzer is also less-active, she's a convert and her husband and kids are not members. She wants to be active, but her husband has grown a little more stubborn about it since they got married. But she wants her parents' temple work done since they've both passed away in the last few years and she's interested in getting more into family history especially since she's the only member in her family. She's particularly interested in becoming reactivated and endowed so she can take her mom's name through the temple herself. It's all a process of course, but she realized her husband doesn't even know about The Book of Mormon, so we are all praying and working and fasting for her husband's heart to be softened and the right opportunity to arise when he could possibly start meeting with missionaries. This all started with a phone call from Jean, she took the initiative in the first place after weeks of us leaving notes on her door and phone calls offering service.
Randa Negrete is a new move-in. She's less-active, her husband and 5 kids (ages about 6-15) are all non-members. She loved the response the ward had to helping her move in, especially last minute, and wants to have Sister Ward and I over for lunch sometime. Super sweet and welcoming, just trying to get in contact with her, but we have been specifically encouraged by the Bishop of this ward and the ward they moved from to open that door.
Lori and Sandy are doing well, this week Brother Hobbins gets back in town and we will then have a member present lesson with them and get them to start progressing again. We keep working with them and being their friends outside of missionary stuff.
Allie Machii is a less-active who was put on the 'do not contact' list by her ex-husband. Turns out she's not a DNC, we visited with her for 2 hours the other day and she is having us over for dinner Wednesday! She doesn't seem open to coming back, but she has kids and loves her Mormon friends so we fellowship her and love her. Her story makes me especially sad though because she grew up in and loved the church and everything about it, but Satan deceived her and though she knows these things are really true, she cannot accept an imperfect church that has committed a sin of omission against her. In a way, my testimony and love for the Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, and all the other fundamental truths including Keeping the Commandments has been strengthened through the experience of meeting her.
Joanie Conyers is our new investigator! She is Elder Everett's grandmother, I'm pretty sure I may have mentioned her but Elder Everett was in my district in the MTC and is serving in Newport Beach right now. He is an exceptional missionary, and everyone that has even met him would second me on that. He baptized his mother just a month or 2 ago, and Joanie is very interested and ready to learn more. We taught her twice last week and she is reading the Book of Mormon. She loves us and treats us like her adopted granddaughters, calling us every now and then to make sure we had a good day and are safe. Her son, Michael, has a mental illness, the doctors have been trying to work with his medications to help him become more stable and we have him in our prayers everyday. But he told Joanie when she first met us that he hopes we will come back and see her again, though I have only seen him once or twice briefly and he has not been able to listen in on a lesson (yet). If she progresses like she has last week, she will most likely be at church Sunday with a baptismal date. (anything can happen of course, but Sister Ward, Joanie and I all have faith!).
Yesterday we got a call from a member in a neighboring ward that she has a referral for us, a 16-year-old girl named Liz in our ward boundaries. She's been to camp, YW activities, and knows Samantha who is part of a part-member family in our ward. We tried contacting her last night but she wasn't home, we will try again tonight. We also have a 14-year-old girl who is a potential, also going to contact her tonight, we helped her decorate her yard with Halloween stuff, and we gave her a B of M and she gave us her number.
Sister Kinnison and 2 of the Young Women all have more referrals for us that they are setting up times for the missionary lessons this week or next.
We are meeting with the Elders and the Bishop regularly to comb through the ward list and get rid of our Do Not Contact list. There should be no such thing. Between the 3 of us, we are going to get to know everyone in the ward.