Wednesday, May 28, 2014

(419) las familias puedan ser ETERNAS

                26 May 2014


Okay. Monday I was looking on the upcoming baptism report and saw that a 12 year old girl from my first area was getting baptized on Tuesday! We had visited their family often; the dad was less active and the mom had been baptized but felt pressured into it, so they fell away from the church when a situation arose that was offensive. So sad. but the mom really wanted the kids to choose to be baptized, so we were teaching the (then 11) year old. We had the most amazing experience with them watching the Testaments movie, and when they came to a baptism and she felt the spirit for the first time, but things didn't work out for them to come to church for awhile. Fast forward to now, the younger brother is now 8 and they felt ready to all come back to church! But this is back in San Jose, and the baptism was the next day at 6 pm, and we already had appointments lined up. So I told my companions to take pictures and pass on my congratulations but that I wouldn't be able to be there.

Tuesday morning we go to service and come back for lunch, and everyone texts us and ALL of our appointments cancel. All of them. We had joked that our backup plan was the baptism...but we didn't think we could go, but we called a member and she was willing to take us, actually really felt like it was an answered prayer, so we got to go! It was amazing, both kids got baptized and the bishop bore his testimony afterwards of the power of families. I miss los alamitos SO MUCH. They are preparing to be sealed in the temple maybe next year! 

We had a great rest of the week, we FOUND Shelly, the most amazing person I've ever taught, and she is going through a lot of horrible diagnoses, so she took some time off for herself and we hadn't been in contact with her for a few weeks. but she still has a strong testimony and a desire to get baptized, so hopefully I'll be able to come back for that soon :) We also had another miracle with meeting a woman named Rhonda, who we met last week and ran into just at the time she needed us, and then we ran into her AGAIN while we were on her street. Turns out she was in the hospital, so it was a totally viable excuse for missing our appointment.

On that note I am getting transferred tomorrow, which is always sad but I'm excited. I love Marina to death but it is a really small place to be in for 9 months....with the same companion for 9 months...I'm ready to fall in love with another area. Even though I'll miss the beach, but that's okay.

We had an amazing baptism on Saturday of Chanel, who was so ready to get baptized, and while our entire ward did NOT show up to her baptism, it ended up being a really sweet service that was all about her family. The zone leaders did save our lives by coming and being the witnesses...and then we got to save theirs by playing the piano at their service that they totally forgot to ask someone to do, and both baptismal candidates showed up 20 minutes late to their own services but it worked out perfectly! We had quite the week of baptisms, which was really fun! 

So, on to new adventures! Who knows what area and what language...maybe I'll go to Tongan for a change, or go back to an old area...with an old companion...who knows at this rate!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(412) strawberry fields forever

                                              19 May 2014

This week was amazing! So busy! I think I spent two days in Marina, but that's okay. We hit our monthly miles it's been quite the trip. we had to plan our STL skit for our specialized sister's training (because sister's retreats aren't technically allowed, they changed the name), so we got to go up to the mission office last Monday to come up with it, which actually turned out really fun. The theme was "your true identity," so we had a musical skit about disney princesses finding the gospel. I got to be Rapunzel of course, it ended up being really cute. so that ate up our whole Pday, and then Tuesday we had zone conference in Morgan Hill, where it got to over a hundred degrees this week. 

Marina had crazy weather too apparently, but I never found out because I got to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Santa Cruz, and we had the most amazing day. We got to meet with their baptismal dates (on the hill up from the pier...while the sun set and the moon shone over the water....I so hope I get transferred there next week).On Wednesday a member took us out into a branch that is up in the Santa Cruz mountains that the sisters have never been out to before, and it turned into the craziest day! We got to pet a horse and hold a new puppy, and basically spent the afternoon getting to know the members.

We are struggling to get people out to church again, especially the family that we are working with now, but the older sister is coming home from san jose for the summer so we are going to work with all of them to get to church, and two of them are praying about baptism in June. We are hoping it all works out! We have also been teaching Chanel, who is so amazing, she is getting ready to be baptized this saturday. and I just found out that one girl that we taught from a less active/part member family is getting baptized tomorrow in Los Alamitos!

Saturday we had our sister's training, and Sister Elaine S. Dalton came to speak to us! She is so sweet, and she gave a great talk about how "one virtuous woman, led by the spirit, can change the world," I've always loved that quote. and it was really fun because we were "her" young woman, she was the young woman general president when we were all Laurels, so we all got to meet and hug her. It was a really good week! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

(405) "shorter distance"

                                                     12 May 2014

well another crazy week in marina. but it was amazing! the highlight of course was Thomas getting baptized. I went on exchanges my first week down here in Monterey, and met their family, his mom lives in the Monterey ward and we found out that he spends half his time with his dad in our ward, but hadn't been baptized. We started teaching him down in Marina as well, and nothing was progressing until I went on exchanges again to Monterey and we were on track to see the same family. The mom had a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of reasons to hold back the baptism, but it was amazing to hear her testimony and to feel Heavenly Father's love SO strongly in that room. She consented for him to be baptized and we picked a date. His dad and stepmom thought that he wouldn't be able to be baptized until he was 18, but when we were able to talk to the mom and validate her feelings and concerns, we were able to find a solution that would work for everyone. To see the humility of everyone at the baptism coming together was incredible. Everyone including Thomas was crying! SUCH a good day! (sorry I forgot my camera...I'll send a picture next week!)

some highlights from marina:  we are teaching a family that we have found pretty sporadically. This week only the 13 year old was home, but he had read all the way to 1 Nephi 5 and we had such a good lesson with him! so adorable. We stopped by later in the week and met another sister, who had been praying that morning for direction and guidance, and then we knocked on the door! We had an amazing lesson on the restoration with her and got to refer her over to Sister Voyles in San Jose :) so many miracles.

Other than that our week was pretty all over the place, we had back to back exchanges with King City and in Salinas, which was so much fun, everyone speaks spanish. All of the signs are in spanish before english and there are people absolutely everywhere (dream come true). We also had a little adventure when we went up to santa cruz for zone training meeting and had to drive all the way down to Soledad..and it turns out our gps was on "shorter distance" instead of "fastest time" it took us quite a while longer. Life lessons, right? This week we have two trips to san jose and one to morgan hill for zone conference, sister's training, and a meeting to plan sister's training. Plus another trip to santa cruz...should be a blast as always! It's President Watkins' last zone conference, he heads out next month, which is crazy. It's going to be so different!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

(398) highway 1

                                                  5 May 2014

This week has been super nostalgic, not sure why. I keep having flashbacks to my first transfer, which is so weird! I can't believe it's been almost a year. Probably because the weather has been warming up, it has been so hot this week. Okay only like maybe 80 degrees. We are so spoiled..our area seriously is beautiful. We've managed to time it just right so we've been driving home from Seaside right around sunset, so we get to drive back on the highway and see the amazing sunsets over the ocean every other day. so gorgeous.

We had a really great week! It was harder to get people to teach, but we got a lot of things set up for this next week and found some new people, we've just had such a hard time getting a hold of everyone and getting things set up. So we have a ton of investigators that are interested, everyone just works or goes to school or does both and it's easy to forget that missionaries are weird and just have all the time in the world to meet with people. Our members have been amazing this week, they've been inviting their friends over for dinner with us, and even though we aren't officially teaching any of them we've had some amazing discussions and planted a lot of seeds, so we are waiting to hear how a couple of them go! It's so easy to just have some friends over just so they can learn more about the church, just let the missionaries know ahead of time if they are interested in "the lessons" or just in a spiritual message/learning more about the church. they can do either! Some of the best lessons I've had haven't been with those investigating the church. Try it!

We had a pretty packed week, I went up to watsonville (and had dinner in one of those mansion beach houses south of Santa Cruz...sooo nice), and fridaywe spent allll day in San Jose for mission leadership council. Which, not going to lie, I love meetings so it was really fun. even though my companion spilled the beans and everyone sang happy birthday at lunch so that was embarrassing but oh well. This transfer is going to fly by, we have zone trainings this week and two exchanges...and then next week zone conference and "specialized sisters training" (sisters retreats aren't technically allowed so they just changed the name), and then it is the last week of the transfer! plus I have become the most pro weed-picker since all of our service now is mom and dad you will be happy to hear that I have learned to love it. Your years of coercion and bribery and forced labor have finally come to fruition, congratulations. Talk to you SUNDAY