Monday, November 14, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 14, 2016

Yes Casan I am so looking forward to seeing you sing at Merry Main Street! It's scary how big you are now. Wow. :D

Alright, update on the work -

Sierra talked to her mom about baptism, she has yet to talk to her dad but her mom thinks she should expect to wait about 6 months or so even though she's 18. But she continues to come to church and do everything else like some of the most active members here, including fellowshipping our other investigators! She's solid.

Tara is doing well too. We have fun meeting with her! Yeah we teach the lessons, but we have fun conversations as friends while at it. It's great! She's about to go out of town next week, and we're going to keep her in our prayers and stay in touch to help her continue progressing so she's right on track ready to prepare to be baptized when she gets back. She's also been giving a couple rides to some of our other investigators... it's pretty awesome how they're fellowshipping each other (with the ward members too of course).

Tanya is doing better. I wasn't at her last lesson, but apparently she had gone off on a lot of random topics and the lesson seemed to go no where before my companions came home really late from it. This last one though was pretty cool. She was more ready to hear the plan of salvation lesson, and asked really good questions without realizing how interested she really is in our message. Her friend, Brenda, helps her when we're not there and has talked to the relief society about how cool of an experience it's been to watch and help her friend grow in the gospel. :)

Yessica is also on track. We're just continuing the lessons, she's golden, not sure what more to say about her haha, she came to church even though she spent the night before at a friends house. She planned ahead, packed church clothes, and had her friend bring her before she even went back home. All on her own.

We picked up a new investigator. Arely is a new move-in, a returned missionary, and goes to BYUI but she's off track right now. Her boyfriend, Mouayad, is from Syria and said we could share the discussions with him when we met them this last week. He also speaks Arabic which was really cool, we got him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic, Arely already got him one in English.

We talked to this girl on UCI campus, Jenny, and she ended up giving us her phone number to let us teach her about our message. We'll give her a call.

Funny story - Thursday we literally had 3 appointments stacked on top of each other and had to schedule splits. We planned to meet back at the institute afterwards, and Sister Ferrel was the first to make it back. So she and her companion for the night decided to cross the street and contact at OCC while they waited for us to get back too. After a few minutes, they asked to borrow someone's phone to call us and see where we were at. About 15 minutes later, we called that number back and asked for Sister Ferrel. The girl on the line, whose phone it was, told us the 'mission girls' we were probably trying to find just left. We thanked her for letting us know, and told her who we were and what we did as missionaries. She said her name was Austin and that we could give her a call to meet up with her sometime.

Randallyn may be bringing her friend, Yuki, to church sometime. :)

Sabrina just got called as a ward missionary. She and her roommate, Brittany, had us over for dinner last night. It was a lot of fun! Sierra was there too, and Julia, another member in the ward. Brittany also came with Sabrina to church yesterday and to Randallyn's baptism! We shared a message about the Book of Mormon and she tentatively said we could share more about it with her sometime.

Last week we had a lesson with Randallyn at the institute, and a ping pong tournament :D It was fun. Then Ashley (less-active from the neighboring YSA ward that we work with) came out, introduced herself to Randallyn, and invited her to come study/hang out with her every wednesday there at the institute. She's a convert of 3 years, and told her that if she had any questions she's always there. It was so cool for her to come out all on her own and fellowship her like that! And it meant a lot to Randallyn.

We met with Sarah, a recent convert that hasn't been able to make it to church because of work stuff lately. But her schedule has loosened up and she'll be able to come regularly enough to hopefully get a calling! She wants to be really involved and gave us a bunch of ideas for improving activities, sharing the gospel, etc. What I'm most excited about though is that she wants to read the Book of Mormon through and wants help understanding it. So she asked us to help! It'll be so fun.

Ok other than people some fun things happened this week -

Mom, you'll be happy to hear that we have been very well taken care of this week as far as food goes. Brother Farrar (I think he's on the high council for YSA? is that a specific high council assignment?) took us out to a chinese restaurant and ordered around 10 dishes for us to try and take home. It was really good and we took home a cardboard box full of leftovers. Then Brenda and Tanya had us over for dinner and they got Aloha BBQ, which is one of my favorite restaurants here and they give you so much food, definitely recommended. And to top it all off we were asked to help the Southcoast ward with their activity this last weekend, a cultural night with tables of food from Mexico, China, America, and Samoa. More on that later.

We had a zone conference last week with Elder Hamula and his wife visiting. It was really neat and I enjoyed it a lot, he talked about how The Lord works in a pattern and how the adversary tries to keep us away from that. He also asked - 'what does it take to achieve lasting conversion?' I have more notes but basically my companions and I were super motivated to go out and work.

The ward council found out I go home soon and asked me to speak in church AND do a musical number. It was cool, I've found though that I'm going to have to prepare my homecoming talk very carefully because it was hard to keep this last one timely, and if I don't there's no hope for that one. (Thanks for the clarification on that from the bishopric by the way Dad! Good to know.)

Like I was talking about the Southcoast cultural dinner activity thing, it was a lot of fun. Grandpa would also be proud that I got recruited last minute to cover for someone that was going to play the ukulele for someone to sing. And it turned out great if I do say so myself. :) it was a lot of fun.

Coolest thing - the Huntington Beach stake, for their youth conference, built a life-size Tabernacle like the one from Moses' time. And even though it was just outside the mission, President Galland got us to come with our institute group to go through and see it! It was awesome! I wish I had time to tell you all about it now, but I learned so much about the symbols, how it relates to the temple today, and I want to dive into the scriptures to find out more. It was complete with the courtyard, alter of sacrifice, laven (that's what it's called?) of water, holy place, and holy of holies with replicas of the menorah, table of shewbread, prayer table thingy, ark of the covenant, mercy seat, and items inside the ark. They also had some of the clothing priests would wear. We couldn't spend a lot of time there, but it was such a neat experience.

We had a lesson with Tara last night at the stake center, and right as we got there we found out that a MCO concert for the temple workers just finished. We saw President and Sister Clark, President and Sister Hobbins, Brother and Sister Shields (live oak canyon), Brother Kubat (laguna niguel stake), and several other I know from other areas actually. Then I went up and met Brett Stewart and told him I was from Dallas, and my dad and sisters sing in MCO there. He said, 'That's your Dad? That's so cool! I teach seminary!' That was a fun additional surprise! And fun to send the pic :)

So yeah. I'm officially at 18 months now. It's been a good time. Talk to you next week! Love you so much!

- Sister Shumway

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