Here is how I started my email to President Orgill this week - "I'm thinking of where I was last week (only a week ago, wow how can so much happen in a week!) as far as my testimony and the progress I've made in fulfilling my role in the work. Both trying experiences and miracles have helped me become stronger, as they always do for me." or in other words, it has been another week in the mission field.
Starting in Wood Canyon.
Patty (less active) is old and being taken care of in a home. She really misses her husband who passed away a few years ago so coming to church without him is emotionally trying for her. We've been visiting her for some time now but this is the first time she opened up and expressed how grateful she was for our visits and that she loves us. We were a little taken back but now we see a little better the importance of the little things that are adding up to help her.
April (less active) came to the music devotional last night, and she loved it even though she wasn't feeling well.
Sister Nielson (RS President) came with us to visit Julie (less active). That was so great! We gave Julie a skirt so she can come to church, she's slowly opening up to the idea. She wants to take us out to eat sometime soon to a place called "Texas BBQ." We continue to read the Book of Mormon with her, and Sister Nielson helped so much to make a connection with her.
Belinda, Viviana, and Kristin all 3 different less actives that we were able to contact this week who have been out of touch with The Church for years. We got their current cell phone numbers which is a huge step! A lot of reactivation efforts are alive in this ward, and most responses have not been so great (we have contacted 66 this week between the 2 wards) but it's been worth every minute to reach those who are even a little responsive!
Moving to Aliso Viejo.
Joy went less active only a few years after being baptized, so a lot of the reason she isn't active is because she didn't get far enough into the Church to be retained in activity, so she hardly realizes she's less active let alone what that means. She is very giving, a little too giving. We've been warned if she ever takes us out to eat she'll order the entire menu. Upon meeting her for the first time last week she welcomed us in, invited us to join her in painting pictures (Kynsie, you would have loved it!), made us hot chocolate, and brought us Ugg boots to keep our feet warm. It was a little weird, but she talked and talked with us like we were her favorite nieces and wants us over more regularly.
Susan (less active) answered the door and said to come back because it was a bad time then. So we went back, we thought she wouldn't answer or it'd be another bad time as it usually is, but this time there was a note on the door for us. She was expecting us and looking forward to our visit, but she didn't want to miss us so the note said to come on in through to the back where she was. And she is definitely a talker. She's another one we'll visit with often.
Carol (less active) wasn't feeling well this week, but she wants us to come back when her throat is feeling better because she loves to sing and wants me to play for her.
Gabriela (less active) is incredible. She said she'd be at church yesterday and when she wasn't we went by last night to see what was up. She was almost in tears when we came. She had wanted to come with her daughter Alexis, but work kept her again. So she worked out a way to not work Sundays so she could come. She told us her life story and she has had to fight her ex-husband for custody of her daughter. It's settled now, and has been for a while, but for a long time she and Alexis went through so much that they wouldn't have had to were it not for her ex-husband. But anyway, Alexis turns 18 this week and Gabriela wants to take us out to dinner with her the night before to celebrate (we've made a fun, close connection with Alexis). We also have a gift for her and we're making chocolate cake. Gabriela asked us to help her get a temple recommend again, so we have plans to work with her and the bishop to help her and Alexis.
FINALLY set another appointment to meet with Jennifer. She's no longer seeing Fernando (who introduced her to the Church) but she lives in different ward boundaries anyway and told us she still wants to come to church just not to his ward. Which works perfectly! It's still the Church that she's interested in, it's normally hard to transition converts to their own ward when they're fellowshipped in another but now that's taken care of before she's even baptized, and we still get to teach her because she's a single sister and there's no sisters assigned to her actual ward.
A member came up to us at church and just gave us a referral. I wanted to hug him for it (I didn't, that'd be weird). We're going to try them tonight.
Kayla just came to church. She's not a member, she's 18 and has been living on her own for a year because she had to escape her abusive parents. She's looking for money and work opportunities, so she called the Church and they sent the referral to the Elders. We got her info, a member brought her to church, and she explained she was there for temporal help. We gave her a bunch of employment opportunities in the area for her field of interest, then we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she agreed to meet with us Tuesday night to learn more about it.
On another note, a few random things.
Landon - my companion says hi and wants to now if you like radishes.
I have been forgetting to bring this up ever since Christmas but are one of you missing the cowboy boot that goes to the texas ornaments we got this year? There was one in the bag you got me.
Our meeting times Sunday have changed from 7:30 to 7am all the way through finishing church a little after 4. It is quite exhausting.
HALF of this week was in a constant rainstorm. 3 and a half days. I thought California would flood, break off and sink into the ocean because of how unusual that is. It's been pretty cool.
Dad, the member that was supposed to send your birthday present a month ago has been swamped and totally forgot :( and she's in my previous ward so I've been trying to get a hold of it. So it will probably come as much more of a surprise and a failure on timing, but it will come. It's too good to not send now.
Funny story - since I drive, Sister Phinney usually has the cell phones (one for each ward). But she has this habit of just reading texts to me without telling me who they're from. We texted a few people the other day around lunchtime. One of those was Brother Denton, we were asking him when we could come by and meet with him because we had a few questions. Meanwhile, we asked Elder Medina in another text how to tell when a mango is ripe (he's from the Philippines and we really wanted to eat our mango during lunch). After she sent that, our phone vibrated and she read to me "Good question, let me ask my wife." So it sounded to me that that came from Elder Medina since I had forgotten about Brother Denton. We were in tears laughing, and haven't told Elder Medina about it though. He never did respond.
Ponderizing scripture this week:
"For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands."
1 Nephi 2:1, 19-20.
Love you all, let's go get another week!
- Sister Shumway