This may be the longest email you've ever gotten. Or at least with the most things to talk about. That's how awesome this week has been.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW KYNSIE!! Email me some dessert. :D
Update on the work first:
We were able to get one last dinner with the Galbraiths (less-active and part-member family), when they found out I was being transferred they wanted me over for the 'last supper'. It was really good food and so nice of them to have us over. I hope they keep seeing the missionaries.
We picked up 3 new investigators this week!!! Randalyn was passed to us from the Costa Mesa Elders in a lesson on the Doctrine of Christ. We invited her to come to the YSA ward since she was found and began taking the lessons in the family ward, but she already has a baptism date set for November 5th, so we will finish off the last 2 lessons, get her baptized, and start on the recent convert lessons with her now. She came to church yesterday and is right on track for baptism!
Sierra belongs to a part-member family. She has 2 older brothers and a few younger sibilngs, her mom is less-active and her dad is not a member. One of her older brothers is less-active, the other isn't a member either. Their dad has a rule that the kids can decide to get baptized if they want when they're 18. Sierra turns 18 this saturday and came into church last week saying 'baptize me!' She's also taking the lessons, and once she talks to her parents we'll set a date with her too.
Brenda texted us asking if we were still planning on dinner the other night, and we were, and she said she was having a friend over too! So we prepared a thought to share but we weren't really sure what to share, and we've had pretty much no practice teaching together as a companionship and we didn't know the friend she brought so it was a little shaky and scattered to start off, but turned out well because the friend, Tanya, was asking a bunch of great questions. It's really interesting because she kept saying 'don't get your hopes up on converting me!' even when we directly asked her to take the missionary discussions, which she said yes to, because she was asking all the right questions. We have an appointment to go back and teach her the restoration this week. Brenda is a natural missionary! I thought she was a RM but she's actually a convert, and is so excited to help us with Tanya.
Tara took the lessons last year, had a date set, was coming to church, everything was solid, and then she dropped off the face of the earth and we don't know why. Then she just showed up to church (the same day Sierra did, right before I got here) saying she wanted to be taught again. She came to church again, met with bishop, and asked us when we could meet again before we had the chance to ask her! Last week we met with her and invited her to be baptized. She said she wanted to, and we had a good discussion asking her questions about what to expect and where she stood spiritually about it. We're meeting with her tonight and planning on setting a date for next month.
Tiffany started coming back to church! (actually a little bit before I got here, but she came again and is pretty much set on being reactivated) She also brought a friend to institute, Sara, who's planning on coming again this week. We are planning on inviting her to take the missionary discussions when she does. Tiffany is awesome for coming back and bringing a friend with her!
Ashley is less-active, and comes to the institute building to study every wednesday afternoon. She's super nice and loves missionaries, she's really cool and fun to visit with. We're practicing the lessons with her starting this week, she agreed to 'help us out' so we could practice teaching. I think it'll be good though since we're already great friends, I'm hoping she'll respond well.
Lucy is amazing. She has been a member for only a few months, and sober from alcohol not much longer than that. All she wants to do is serve and reach out to others. She just got a calling and her patriarchal blessing recommend, she's always texting us about good things that're happening in her life and the success she's getting at school. It's so neat to work with her and be there for her.
Sarah had us over for lunch, she makes really good stuffed peppers and showed me how. She's a recent convert, and we're going to start reading the Book of Mormon with her because she wants to better understand it and love it more now that she's had all the new member lessons. She's so nice and loves missionaries. :)
Tess also loves missionaries, she's been baptized for a few months and takes us out to dinner all the time. She's awesome.
Every thursday Brother Andre (the institute and mission prep teacher here) has a free lunch that he provides with a Mormon message spiritual thought. So about an hour before the thought, we go onto the school campus across the street and invite everyone to it. We had out cards for it and usually get about 200 invites out, and this last thursday we had about 8-9 non-members come! They were super nice and a few of them are coming again this week! Leslie, and Cynthia, Sharlene, James, Brent and Christian, and a couple others. Some of the members come too and talk with them, and invite them to more activities! It's such a great tool, especially in finding YSA aged people.
We talked to someone who was not a YSA on the street, she said she was interested in hearing more about our message because she's been thinking a lot about God and the purpose of life since she just had a baby 3 months ago. That was a cool conversation to have.
During weekly planning, we were looking at out list of potential investigators and decided to give 2 particular ones a call. Right before we picked up the phone, Sister Ferrel had the idea to pray first. So we did and specifically prayed that this would go well (I think we asked for more specific things but I forgot...). Then we gave it a try and Raven answered and set an appointment to meet with us! We then said another prayer, thanking Heavenly Father and then asking for the same things we did for Raven, gave Craig a call, and he answered and set up an appointment too! We cheered after hanging up the phone and said another gratitude prayer.
We got a call in the middle of Relief Society yesterday, and missed it but the voicemail said, "Hi I'm looking for the Sister Missionaries, my name is [couldn't understand it...] and I'm interested in taking the discussions. Give me a call back, thanks bye!" What it the world. I'm so excited!
We also have another 3 referrals to contact, and one other potential investigator who recognized us from the last time we went shopping where she works. There's just never enough time in the day. It's GREAT. :D
So that's the work, here's more on the week -
Crushed the elders in pool last week. Best way to leave my mark in the zone right before getting transferred.
Tuesday was the best day ever! I taught seminary in Las Flores, got transferred that afternoon, and went to institute that night! Seminary AND institute in one day!!
Sister Weston is incredible. She is the definition of a consecrated missionary. She was Sister Edgar's companion and we took her to the airport wednesday morning. I've never even served in the same zone with her and I miss her! She is so good at helping people feel loved and happy. And a super star missionary that this mission will never forget.
Sister Edgar and Sister Ferrel are the best companions I could have asked for. And I'm in a zone with Sister Phinney! Sister Ferrel is from Maryland, near D.C., went to BYUH for 2 years before coming out, and has hit the ground running and has so many great ideas on how to do the work, even though she's been in the field only a week. She's always pointing out the best things in every situation and in me and Sister Edgar. And she's so happy! It's contagious. Sister Edgar is the sweetest companion I've ever had. She's a convert of less than 2 years and the only missionary in her family. And she's from Denton, TX! She's been out for 3 months, just finished her own training. The 3 of us have fun together and work so well. I couldn't have asked for a better situation for my last transfer, I believe that Heavenly Father was really listening to my prayers before this last transfer.
Here's a cultural thing i can tell you about - they're now having me drive a 2017 Chevy Malibu. It had 16 miles on it just last week when it was driven off the lot. o.o
Mission prep was so fun! And we go every week!! I got to work with a girl who is getting ready to leave for her mission in... dang it I forgot. And another girl who's finished her papers and waiting for her call. Mission prep is the best, it gets you so motivated to go out and implement all that you learn and practice.
It's rained harder today than I've seen in over a year and a half! It was pouring this morning. I was in heaven it felt so good. Now it's overcast but constantly drizzling. I love it.
President Frances (spelling-?) came and gave a fireside last night. He was just released as Mission President of the New York Rochester mission this last summer. We went because we're in YSA now :D and also Brother Andre asked me to play a musical number (I played piano, Sister Ferrel sang, and Sister Edgar played Clarinet, another reason this companionship is inspired:). The best part was when he was talking about the sacred grove and the Hill Cumorah pageant, I thought of you Landon and Ty the whole time!!
We got such a big week coming up. So many set appointments and plans, I have wayyy too much to thank Heavenly Father for. It's the best feeling.
Love you all!
- Sister Shumway