Monday, March 31, 2014

(363) UM ANO

                 31 Mar 2014
So in my last area I blamed all of the adventures on Sister Voyles coming to the area, that it was her fault all of the crazy stuff happened...but I've come to the realization that it's really just me. So many adventures this week. First of all, teaching kids is the best thing in the world. We are teaching an 11 year old preparing for baptism along with an 8 year old from an active family, and it is hilarious. the eight year old went on a tangent about how important it is that you are completely immersed when you are baptized. "Let's say your toenail kicked would need to be totally in the water so its sins could get washed away." So great.

Tuesday we drove all the way down to Soledad to exchange with the poor lonely sisters of King City... there are two sets of missionaries for a two hour radius of the greenfield ward, so they don't get up to the rest of the zone much. Hermana Quintana is on her third week so it was really fun to work with her. We were heading back through Salinas to meet up in Gonzales...when the tire pressure light came on...and we had a nail in our tire. So we thankfully made it to the tire place to get it patched, but our companions had to drive all the way up and we had a nice little late lunch with the Salinas hermanas before we could get back to Marina. So ridiculous. So then we got to do exchanges in Seaside again, which was fu, we got to bike in the rain up and down las colinas in the world's WORST bicycles, that also happen to be bright pink. must have been a sight to see.

We have had an awesome week for teaching though, we actually had some time to work in our area (crazy right), and it's been harder to find as many new investigators as we had before, but then we realized that we had amassed a list of probably thirty phone numbers of potentials that we hadn't been calling to set up appointments, so it's completely our own fault. It's been so cool to see people gain testimonies of the Book of Mormon, one of our investigators is 16 and he prayed for the first time last Sunday, and then texted us this week that he prayed about the Book of Mormon and got a "weirdly comforting" feeling (mom, the one you were praying about!). Another is super involved in his own Christian church but he's been reading and it's really been challenging his beliefs, which is really cool to watch him slowly understand more and more the importance of a restoration. (Plus he is is bible study group leader and has had his bible study look up topics that we talk about. Success!) Another absolutely LOVED the story of the first vision and was so concerned that he couldn't find his book of mormon in time for our lesson, but wanted to get started reading as soon as we were done! It's amazing how much the Lord prepares everyone we meet at different times for different things. but I know that he is preparing everyone for the message of the restoration at some time in their lives. Christ's church is back on the earth, I know that to be true! It seriously it amazing to watch people who have been unknowingly searching for something their whole lives find it. The atonement of Christ really is for everyone, whether or not they accept it.

so this week we get to go to the temple and GENERAL CONFERENCE! so excited! Plus it's officially my year that's kind of bittersweet, but I'm excited for the next couple of weeks. EVERYONE WATCH CONFERENCE!, saturday and sunday! come hear what our church is all about! have a wonderful week! (and tell buster I said happy birthday)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

(356) fechas bautismales!

                                            24 Mar 2014

this week was FINALLY a breakthrough for our area! okay I didn't even get to work in our area until Thursday afternoon...but it was a good week. I spent tuesday in Seaside, which is like little mexico, everyone is from guadalajara or oaxaca and every person you run into on the street speaks spanish, so it was SO much fun. We had some awesome lessons and I finally got to speak spanish again. I also got to go up to monterey Wednesday (had a nice two-hour overlap with my own companion at service before leaving again) and we got to meet with our investigator from Marina, and we finally got his mom to agree to allow him to be baptized! so we are really excited.

While I was gone they also found another lady, set a baptismal date with her, and then Thursday night we set a baptismal date with one of our investigators (for my birthday!). She is amazing, this is the second time that she has brought a non-member friend to our lessons, both of which have gone into the lesson being strong members of another church and come out of it crying with a Book of Mormon and a referral for the missionaries in Salinas. She even testified of the fact that our church is the only one she has studied that has a prophet and the priesthood, all of the things that she has studied about in the bible. So hopefully she will be able to come to church next week as well!

I also love all the work with the less actives that we are doing, one family we actually contacted into, has decided to come back to church after 13 years, and the wife wants to prepare to go to the temple and they have a 13 year old daughter who has never been baptized! Looking back to my first week here and the fact that nearly all of our investigators (9 of them) dropped us in the first three days, and how much progress we've made since then, I feel like it is finally paying off. The biggest problem we have is that we accidentally scheduled two baptisms for the same day (on exchanges), which is also the same day as the stake baptisms and the baptism of the amazing family I taught in Fremont...oops. So we might have six baptisms in two weeks. We'll see.

Overall it's been an awesome week, our fridge is stuffed with leftover casseroles to last us until the next ice age, all of our contacts are in Spanish (we've become a referral machine for the other hermanas), and yesterday one of our investigators prayed for the first time in his life!! the spirit is always SO strong, it's amazing. God is so ready to answer their prayers. Hopefully this week is even better! we've got another two exchanges and leadership council in san someday I'll get to spend a solid week in my own area. haha. I love it though, it's been so much fun!

Monday, March 17, 2014

(348) "they weren't there I promise!"

                   17 Mar 2014

This week gets the award for the craziest week of all time.
Monday: we had a slow pday and just stayed around the apartment, and had a couple of lessons that ended with some time left over so we contacted around the grocery store and ended up meeting a man from Afghanistan and we chatted for a long time and taught him about the book of Mormon. Then it was time to go home...and sister monson locked the keys to the car and the apartment in the trunk of our car. the spares of both being in san we searched everything four times, and ended up calling the zone leaders because we had no idea what to do with six minutes left to get home, and they just suggested to break into the car. Long story short we prayed really hard and the keys showed up out of NOWHERE in her purse. So that was cool. Prayer! It works!

Tuesday: we were contacting and ran into a guy (who thought we were happens) who randomly stopped us and asked if we could visit his father who is in hospice, so we went and had an awesome lesson about the book of mormon. Non member referrals!

Wednesday: so this one time I forgot to change my other watch for daylight savings, so we were weeding at a part-member's home for what seemed like the longest two hours! and then we got in the car and realized it had been THREE. oops. And then Hermana Contreras fed us tongue (sister monson didn't know what it was because she told us in spanish. So funny.) It was pretty nasty.

Thursday: exchanges with Watsonville! Hermana Boyd is so awesome, so we had a lot of fun...nothing too crazy. we met with an amazing investigator that we haven't been able to get ahold of forever.

Friday: we tried to meet with our Afghani friend...but he asked if he could bring a friend so we brought a family from Jordan to meet with us, and it turned into a crazy debate because the man's friend was super Muslim. but hey, educational. Who knows what'll happen from that.

Saturday: we got to teach a workshop at a youth conference, which was so much fun, and one of our investigators came and basically was the only one participating in his class and telling us all about the joseph smith story, the irony. but we had an amazing lesson with another investigator who grew up a very strong Christian, but has decided to read (study and dissect) the book of mormon, and said he believes it all could be true, his church has been talking about all the things we have (coincidence...?) and we had such a great lesson with him.

Sunday: we were almost late to church, that would have been embarrassing, but aboslutely everything fell through and we ended up walking around, but we had some awesome contacts and everyone actually wants us to come back and meet with them! so cool!  so at the end of the day, we survived. but this week should be crazy busy as well, I'm going on two straight exchanges the next two days, but it should be a blast! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

(342) "do we celebrate ash wednesday?"

      10 Mar 2014

So everything that was supposed to be cleared up at transfer meeting, just got more complicated. The spanish sisters that were a trio are now a foursome with an english speaker on her last transfer, so they are covering Marina spanish more, but we got a call at 9:00 monday night that they will be moving into our apartment instead. So we packed up and moved all of our stuff, they came in and moved in Tuesday, and then decided they would rather cram into the other apartment in Seaside and just car share with the other sisters. So we packed up all of their stuff Wednesday and moved them back up to Seaside. At this point I'll be going on exchanges with them 1-2 a week so they can cover more spanish appointments, since the new sister doesn't speak Spanish.

Absolute Chaos. Not to mention the two new companionships of sisters added to our zone, so we now cover eight companionships, a third of the mission geographically, on top of the exchanges with seaside. Going to be a crazy transfer!

We lost a lot of proselyting time because of transfers (we ended up weeding for 5 hours straight to get service, stranded at the church...don't ask) and zone training meetings, but it was amazing how much work we did end up getting done! We weren't able to find as many new investigators as usual but they are still coming and a few are really praying and preparing for baptism soon, we hope!

A couple funny stories: our dear, sweet recent convert doesn't quite get everything, he was baptized before I got here, but we have been working on getting him to come to church. Last time he said he was coming, he was literally on the phone with our ward mission leader saying he was walking into church...and he accidentally went into the church down the hill. So we have lots to work on!

We had to contact a referral down in some apartments outside of the city, so we went down and Sister Monson had met some of the guys that lived at that address previously who were Not interested in the gospel, and some of them came up and started chatting with us while we were in the car and we proceed to tell them all about how we were missionaries and all about the church! so they left pretty quick, it was really funny. Yet effective.

We had some really great lessons this week though, and a ton of potential, so this transfer should be awesome! if we stay afloat that is...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

(335) "I am prepared! I'm just...wet..."

                                              3 March 2014

So Sister Monson and I have started this new tradition of Deep Doctrine Mondays where we read Isaiah and random obscure scriptures, and it's been awesome. Everyone, go home and read Isaiah so everyone can stop complaining in church, because it's the best. Today we were a little interrupted, we started studying on the bench outside the laundromat and the first guy came by (yeah! la biblia! que bueno!) and another lady who proceeded to just sit right down and start telling us her life story (40 minutes later...). It is interesting how much people like and need to talk about themselves. Not in a bad way, but just that it is human nature. We had quite the...interesting relief society lesson yesterday, and one sister in particular voiced her opinions quite candidly, which led us to reflect on how we approached things. One sister started to share her conversion story, which took a good 20 minutes, and yes, it wasn't a planned part of the lesson, but half of the sisters there just listened and really enjoyed her story, and got what they could from it. Others were not so happy. So it was a nice moment this morning to just sit and listen and get what we could from her story. It was actually really exciting, full of attempted murder and bribery, and we ended up teaching her about prayer and faith. We could have sat there annoyed the whole time about our preparation day ticking away, but we choose to listen instead, and it was really neat. So the next time you have an opportunity to listen to someone, just listen! You never know what you will learn.

Anyway, this week was pretty crazy. We finished up exchanges last week so we actually had the week in our own area, together, so that was nice. We had another epic rainstorm, which was awesome for the area....but hard to do missionary work. I have no idea what the missionaries do when it rains all the time...tract? We also had mission leadership council in san jose again, but it was all about future planning, college, marriage, etc. So our zone training meetings this week should be interesting!

Sister Monson was supposed to get transferred this week...but neither of us got transfer calls, and no one knows what is going on! They are adding two sisters to our zone, and the spanish sisters are becoming two companionships, but we don't know if anyone is getting in-zone transferred, since that would make sense if I went over to Spanish why Sister Monson didn't get transferred. We also were told sisters were going to move in, but now they aren't...but we might be in a car tomorrow I guess we will figure it all out! but for now things are staying the same, except I might have my first biking area! Which will be fun for about two days, but we will see.

Our investigators have been doing awesome, it's been a struggle for a while to get them to progress, but we finally are getting member referrals and we should have a couple of baptismal dates this week if all goes well! Miracles are rampant here, it's amazing. We've been finding less active members as well who have been wanting to come back to church, so it was a really good week. I managed to not get sick this whole transfer...until yesterday. But hopefully it goes away soon, we've got quite the busy week.