Wow. What a big week. For you all and for me! I have so much to say so I promise I did read every word of you're email, and thankyou for writing so diligently each week! Every one of you!
First - thankyou for the package! I opened it with my companion yesterday and a friend in the ward, Sister Judd, she's a convert of 3 years so we've come close to her. She's awesome and was as excited as I was! I told her son, River, who's 11, that this is what he has to look forward to on a mission, and that packages for a missionary are like Christmas. And now I has a popcorn bowl!! :D so happy. It was a little ironic to receive and open it on Kynsie's b-day . . . (HAPPY 14TH FRYZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) speaking of Kynsie, I thought of you when I saw the purple spider duct tape. Was that your idea? Here is a pic of what I did with the star sticky notes. That was so so so fun. On my wall is my call letter bordered by some pics and those notes, I could tell which of you wrote which notes.
What a big week. I'm tired. It's the best feeling ever.
Some things that happened -
Wednesday we had our temple day :) We made it early enough to do a few initiatories before our session. There were some ASL Anaheim missionaries there so the session was in ASL and English, which was pretty cool. I understood most of it, but I also enjoyed reading the subtitles, I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would by just listening. Then in the celestial room I was surprised to see Sister Aussef! She was a ward missionary in the Dana Point ward and just got called as Relief Society President after I was transferred, but she was so encouraging to me during my first 3 months. I love celestial room reunions, it makes me ponder about what it'll be like reuniting with friends and family after this life. Holly Mauss is finishing her papers this week so we may get to go with her to her live endowment next month! (If we don't get transferred, which we probably won't since I'm training but it's a possibility).
Saturday we had breakfast at President Brennan's home (Stake President) with the whole zone. That was so neat. He spoke about Moroni and his circumstances as he finished the Book of Mormon. It was powerful. Bishop Hobbins also spoke (best member missionary out there). During the breakfast, Elder Fetuani (one of the zone leaders, and from Tonga) was really sick and laid down in the other room with a towel on his head the entire time. Afterward, about 2 hours later, President Brennan asked him if he'd like a blessing, he responded by saying "I have the faith to be healed." His companion and other zone leader, Elder Hook, did the anointing and Bishop Hobbins sealed it with President Brennan and several Elders. Right after, Elder Fetuani stood and exclaimed, "how did you do that??" I saw him later that night, he told me the whole day was as though he hadn't been sick at all.
Sunday we were thrown in as last second substitutes for a Sunday School class (that happens quite often) but this one was the best because it was a big class of youth. Since our preparation time was approximately 30 seconds, we spent the time opening the floor to Q&A. They asked us all sorts of things, we didn't have some answers but it was fun to interact with them. All the young women got our number and we are taking them out to do missionary work this week! And many of them have a list of referrals!! That night I was asked to play for a fireside for YSA in institute. It was really good. It was also a little weird because I was around people my age, and I thought that if I lived there and wasn't a missionary I would still be in that place at that time. Weird. Anyway, the song went well, I love playing.
This week we turned in a progress record to the ward mission leader that was 3 pages long. Seriously, we did a lot and worked so hard. I will mention just a few people.
This week we have picked up 6 new potential investigators.
Linda - we were tracting, she answered but she was in the middle of something, we asked if we could do anything for her/share a message about Christ with her/the usual questions but she answered the usual way. We turned to go, but then she said, "wait! Don't you have a book or something?" I held up the Book of Mormon in my hand and responded, "this book?" "Yes! That's the one!" "Would you like a copy?" "I can have it? Are you sure? Thankyou! Thankyou so much!" I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and what a priceless blessing it has been and is for me and my family. We got her number, texted her so she had ours, and she responded, "Thank you for stopping by, I will start reading this week, please follow up via text wednesdayish. Thanks." Sister Ward and I were freaking out and cheering in the parking lot.
Jennifer - also tracting. She answered, seemed a little distressed, and we offered to share a message about Jesus Christ. She stepped outside her door and spoke with us. We bore a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and gave it to her, she asked us to come back and teach her more.
Jason - We went to see Joanie but she wasn't available, on our way to the car Jason was out with his dog and we stopped to talk to him. He literally got excited as we showed him where Jesus Christ comes to the Americas after His resurrection in 3 Nephi 11, we gave him the Book of Mormon, a restoration pamphlet, got his number, and will start teaching him soon.
Steve - as we were leaving Jason, again on our way to the car, Steve rolled down the window of his truck as he was pulling out and called out to us. We came over and he asked what we were talking to his son (Jason) about. I was a little scared at first even though his voice wasn't alarming at all, just because I didn't know how he'd respond, but we told him all we told Jason. He asked for the Book of Mormon, I turned to my bag for one but didn't have another copy since I just gave Jason one. I looked to Sister Ward who didn't have one, we said it was in the car right over there (pointing). He said, "alright cool, I'll wait." So we ran and grabbed one. We'll start teaching him soon too!
We placed another Book of Mormon tracting, don't know his name but planning to go back to follow up tonight.
and Liz Scott, I mentioned her last week. That appointment on Thursday fell through, she was on her way out the door (must've forgotten). But she texted us after we tried to contact her and we have another one set up for this afternoon, even though it's p-day I'm game for it! We texted her yesterday to confirm and follow up that that still worked for her and she immediately replied that she was planning on it.
We contacted Samantha, who is a 100% seminary-attendance student but 0%attendance to church and activities. Her family is less-active and I think her mom is not a member. She's good friends with Liz and is excited about us teaching her! She wants to help!! The ward council is very excited about this opportunity to let it eventually help the reactivation process of her family.
We didn't get to teach Joanie again this week, but we did get to talk with her twice. We're trying her again this week. Bishop Hobbins is going to come with us and help us with her since his profession is in mental illness and her son Michael is a cause for a lot of concern for her. Once we have a lesson with her and Bishop Hobbins she'll be baptized in less than a month (I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but we're working so hard for her).
Sean texted us this week on his own! He said he'd be out of town for Halloween but wants to start meeting with us again in November. He's one of our investigators we found and started teaching about a month ago, then disappeared for a while.
Lori was at church! Bishop Hobbins is setting a time to teach her with her brother Dennis (he's the convert of a few years who is a returning less active).
Sandy is moving to the Las Flores ward, but that's okay because we have a new move-in from the Las Flores ward, a part-member less-active family of 7 or 8! We have talked with Sandy and she wants to start up the missionary lessons once she moves, and we're in contact with those missionaries.
Charlotte came to church. She does every week :)
The Collins family has seen so many miracles :D Leslie's chemo is way better. Her appointments are down to 3 hours instead of 8-10 because they were able to get a hold of a medication that has helped her recovery efficiently and quickly, she is up and working before the day is over! The probability of her getting it was extremely low. She used to be stuck in bed 24/7. We decorated their house for Halloween on Saturday, this Friday we're going over to dress up the kids for the trunk-or-treat that they are ALL coming to, and next week we're going to start family home evenings with them! Their oldest is involved in scouts now.
We finally got in contact with the Carpenter family, less-actives with about 5 or 6 kids. They accepted the invite to the trunk-or-treat and are planning on it!
Ainsely Ranck (12 years old, middle of 3 kids, somewhat less-active family) went to the ER this week so we couldn't work on her cat's Halloween costume with her but Sister Ranck said she'd be in contact. She's in our prayers.
Sister Salzer didn't call like she said she would, we called her and left a voicemail.
This Wednesday night all the ward missionaries and a few auxiliaries are going on a blitz to do ministering visits to a bunch of less-actives with the full-time missionaries. It's going to be great! They're going to start doing it every other week starting next month.
On Wednesday night I had music study, which happened to be right after a daddy/daughter activity. 3 girls, Hannah, Molly, and Katie came to listen, they all play piano like I did at their age (9 and 10). We had fun as I played their requests and they looked through my music collection. They each played for me as well (their dads were sitting in the room nearby talking). I then let each of them choose a song and I made copies on Sunday for each of them to work on, like Marilyn did for my before we moved with If You Could Hie to Kolob. It's a neat feeling to see the kids get excited when missionaries pay attention to them, remember their names, and the parents start to trust you even more.
Ali, Devoree, Kellsie, Mallorie, and Holly are all coming to us with referrals and missionary advice and plans to share the gospel. I'm trying to keep track of it all!
Funny story - last night we had dinner at the Stephensons. One of their kids is 2 and he's addicted to juice. Wakes up at 2 in the morning requesting juice. Goes through it so so fast. Even as they're pouring juice into his cup is begging for it. It's quite amusing. His parents tried to get him to drink more water or something to get him to not freak out so much about juice so they put a little vinegar in it once. He drank it, made a face and said "spicy!" then kept drinking it. We joked about how he'll grow up telling people his parents fed him vinegar and that when he's on his own in college he'll pour himself a glass of juice and vinegar like it's a normal thing, confused that others don't do it too. And we now have a term for spicy juice.
Thank you for your prayers! Stories! Experiences! TESTIMONIES!! And encouragement! Love you all, you're the best B) Know this, and I promise it's true, I believe it with all my soul, all these miracles have come to pass in these and so many more individuals' lives because of each of YOU as much as me. Without every one of you, and Heavenly Father's hand in the details, the progression in these peoples' conversion including my own could not be what it is without your support, faith, and love. Don't you forget it!
- Sister Shumway