So fun to go back and read this letter in August and to read her enthusiasm over meeting Venus since I now know she will be spending lots of time with her in the coming weeks.
Last Monday we started teaching a new investigator! Her name is Venus, and she is a friend/referral from a lady in Live Oak Canyon. She is a single mom, and super ready for the gospel. She was so excited to start reading the Book of Mormon, and was very receptive to the lesson. She has a 7 year old son named Daniel.
That is 3 Mondays, a.k.a. P-days, that we have picked up a new investigator! We’re going to call them Magic Mondays! It’s been really cool, since Mondays are often not the most productive time.
So, funny story about that. We got out of the lesson with Venus pretty late, especially since we just stopped in to contact her, and weren’t thinking she’d actually let us in. So we leave, and she lives at the end of this really long street where a lot of Hispanics live, and there is no parking ever. So we had to park down past the intersection of the main road, about 3/4 of a mile away, and we had to get back to our car quickly so we could get home, which was a 15 minute drive AFTER we got to the car, so we had to run back to the car. We got super hot, I was wearing a pencil skirt, and we almost got sprayed by a skunk since it happened to be near where we were running.
We also got a mission wide text on Friday morning, that there had been 3 earthquakes in the last 6 hours, which was “unusual” so we had to go over our emergency plan, and both of us and our roommates were talking about how unsafe our apartment is in case of an earthquake, as it is set on a hillside. It’s not really that unsafe, though. We were just having a good laugh over the image our apartment sliding down the hill. Then we were thinking that if we had an earthquake that maybe we’d be in danger of a tsunami, so we went over that plan, and talked about where we’d go if there was tsunami warning. Nothing happened, though. :)
I am also not losing my companion this transfer. For the first time in like 7 months I will have a companion for longer than 6 weeks. :)
I’ve made it to the June 6th letter! Slowly, but surely making progress. Our girl is serving and loving and growing in her relationship with God. It’s a beautiful thing.
It has both been a great week and a hard week. Our new, basically golden investigator from last week will not be meeting with us for lessons anymore because her husband decided he’s not ready to hear about Jesus yet. But she wants us to come by and see her whenever we can and she was really excited to read the Book of Mormon we personalized for her. So we’ll keep seeing her and maybe something will change.
This week the zone was really pushing to get 70 contacts in every companionship. This area, of course, is really hard to get contacts in, so it was a little intimidating, but we decided we were going to do it. Sister Wright planned out carefully how many contacts we could get each day so we could make the goal, based on how much time we had available to contact, which was amazing. Some days we got behind, and we were trying to make it up as we went. We really prioritized contacts above some things we normally do. Saturday rolled around and we knew this week our Sunday was booked and we would have no contacting time. We had 17 more contacts to go, had breakfast with a member, a meeting in the morning for temple tours, lunch, and then a district blitz in LH2 for an hour before we could make it back to our area. It was super hot, and we were tracting for the blitz, then we had to run to a window, where we were tracting for another hour, in which we only talked to 3 people out of the 20-something doors we knocked. So we were super hot and only had 3 of the 17 contacts we needed, though they were pretty great contacts. We had an hour before dinner, and we would have very little contacting time after that, so we were getting worried that we would not be able to make that goal. We ran to contact a referral we’d received, then went tracting for the last 40 minutes before dinner. We were super hot and still had 11 more people we had to talk to after dinner, so we ran to the park hoping that by some miracle there would be that many people at the park. There were more people there than usual. We got down to 3 more needed contacts to make it to 70. Up to this point we had seen no miracles from all this contacting we had done all week, and no new potentials from it, so Sister Wright was thinking we probably wouldn’t see a miracle from all this work, aside from the fact that we actually made the goal. We went to contact these last three people who were in this group together, and we got talking to the guy, and found out he was a former investigator from when they were reorganizing the mission 3 years ago, and that his wife and mother had just come from China. So we got his number and address. So we saw a miracle from it, and it wasn’t until the 70th contact. We thought that was pretty cool.
There’s this couple in the ward that are having some health issues, and so we went to leave them sticky notes. We showed up at like 10, and there was some guy painting their house, so we decided we’d come back later, since we were trying not to get caught. So we came back at 2, and he was still painting the house. So we come back at like 7, thinking surely he must be done by then, but nope, he was still out there. So we went back the next morning, and stuck them on the fence. The guy was still there, but he was in the garage. So that was fun.
We also finally have a progressing investigator! We haven’t had one the whole time I’ve been here, but Amy has started reading the Book of Mormon!
I felt pretty badly last night. I was feeling like I wasn’t making a very big difference and was down on myself for some things I haven’t been doing so great on. I feel like I could have been a better companion for Sister Wright. Even though we haven’t had any problems, I still feel like I haven’t done enough for her, and for the Lord. I think I’m a good missionary, I hope I am, but I want to be great missionary. Anyway, I decided to read some from the Book of Mormon and see what I’d find, and I ended up opening up to 2 Nephi 3, and it was talking about how out of our weakness God will make us strong. Then I read in chapter 4, and it was just what I needed, because the feelings that Nephi had of his weakness and struggles were just what I was feeling, and it was cool to know that even someone as great as Nephi still felt that way.
This is her letter from May 31! I have so many to catch up on posting! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH, how did I let this happen? Well, at least I am into the summer months and since it is only August that I am posting this that means have about 12 more to go. Love this girl of mine! It is so fun to reread her letters as I post them.
I cannot believe that it is week 5 of this transfer! I still feel like I don’t know the area. Wow, the time goes so fast!
So last Monday we got in to a Potential investigator that they have had for a while. She’s just let them come and given them water, but this time her husband let us in and we taught an awesome Restoration lesson! They had several questions and we were able to have a really great discussion with them. We are going to see them again tonight.
I had an exchange with Sister Bambas that was great! We had a lot of fun getting to know each other. We both really like books and we talked about all our favorites. It was awesome! We also did lots of missionary work. :)
Yesterday we talked to another potential. She’s in high school, and they haven’t caught her at home for quite a while, and weren’t sure if she was still interested, but we finally got to talk to her, gave her a Book of Mormon and she invited us to come by later today. She’s super sweet. :)
We went to the memorial service for Gloria’s husband this week. The military service was pretty cool, but a little intimidating. He was a Green Beret, and we had to walk up between these two files of Green Berets to get there. The service was cool because it was all about our trust in God, and the origins of our country. Something I didn’t know was that they give the wife three empty cartridges from the 21 gun salute, and they represent God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We will be seeing Gloria tomorrow to see how she’s doing.
I’ve been keeping a journal called “questions for God”, as suggested by one of the mission presidency. I write down my question, then write the answer God gives. It’s been a really cool experience. You should try it!
I love it when she sends long, newsy letters! She is having a wonderful time serving and spreading the message of Jesus Christ’s love for each of God’s children. I got this letter when I was in Mexico receiving stem cell treatments and was only a few hours from her.
Also, do you remember Joanie from back at the beginning of her mission? She got baptized! And Elder Everette, her grandson, was able to baptize her!
This week has been great! It’s been a little crazy, but lots of good stuff. We had a really successful window yesterday, and we talked to this guy for quite a while. He knows a lot about other religions, not too much about ours, and had a few questions about it. He was very open and was really excited to have a Book of Mormon. He suggested that HE would like to come to church and check it out and that he would like for his 16 year old son to get into the boy scouts with the ward! :) He was pretty awesome.
We had a funny experience this week. There’s this one less active lady who’s a little older and we’ve been knocking on her door the whole time I’ve been here. We went to put some cute little sticky notes on her door with some cute little notes and scripture references and right when we got to the door, before we could even get there, she throws open the door, says she only has a few minutes, but she’d love to visit with us for a minute. Now, we weren’t even planning on knocking, and we just had these sticky notes in our hands, so we tried to keep them out of sight. We also had not brought our scriptures, and we were very taken aback, as you might imagine. So we go in there, and we talk, and she tells us about this party she’s going to, and we were trying to act as if we had totally expected this, and we get to when we’re supposed to give a spiritual thought. Luckily Sister Wright had had the idea to write out the whole scripture, instead of just writing the reference for it, so she just pulled it out, and read the scripture, and it was great. So then we just sticky noted someone else. :) We also went to sticky note another less active lady who we see a lot. As soon as we got to her door, her dog started barking, and so we hurried and stuck them all on, and ran away. By the time we pulled out, the lady was standing on her porch. So we just turned around, and had a good laugh with her.
Another funny thing that happened this week was on Thursday night one of the lead Sister Training Leaders (basically girl AP’s) came on an exchange with our roommates, Sister Hunter and Sister Baker. Well, at about 10:45 we hear someone talking in the hallway. Now this is obviously past curfew, so I was a little confused. So we were like “Hello?” Come to find out that Sister Hunter was sleep walking! Yes, for real! She just really wanted to go downstairs and “turn the lights off,” and she would not believe us that they were off. Eventually we had to let her go downstairs and we all just sat there. It took like 15 minutes to distract her from turning off the lights that she couldn’t find. Then we just talked about random stuff and tried to get her to go to bed, but she just kept saying that she’d go to bed at 10:30 and wouldn’t believe us that it was past that. We couldn’t leave her alone because she’s opened the door and gone outside before. She also talked about the light of Christ. :) You know you’re a missionary when you talk missionary stuff in your sleep. It was pretty hilarious. It took us over an hour to convince her to go back to sleep, so Sister Weston (Lead Sister Training Leader) and I just looked through our giant dictionary for a while. (It was awesome. I want to keep it. It’s super old.)
We have two four hour temple tours shifts now. :( The absolute minimum time that it takes out of our week is 10 hours, between the shifts and driving to and from our area, and that’s if we are super on time, with no holdups, and traffic often makes it take longer. Pretty crazy!
This week is the memorial for Gloria’s husband. She is so exhausted between work and planning for this and everything else. She was so tired when we saw her last week.
We had a dinner with a somewhat older couple in the ward this week. He’s a Jewish convert. He talked about how when he came here, that everything was so logical, and how he’d felt the Spirit, and how the message we carry is the most important in the world. He pulled out these little cards that he has. It has 3 Nephi 27:27: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” Then it has a quote from President Ezra Taft Benson, “Christ, then, has set us the example of what we should be like and what we should do. While many men have admirable qualities, there is only one man who ever walked the earth who was without sin… Christ is God the Son and possesses every virtue in it’s perfection. Therefore, the only measure of true greatness is how close a man might become like Jesus. That man is greatest who is most like Christ, and those who love him most will be most like him.” Then he said that he fully believed that we are those who love him most and that this quote applies directly to us. It really touched me. I don’t think I’m all that, and I’ve been seeing a lot of my faults. I have a ways to go, and I’m not what I want to be, yet, but it was wonderful to see how sincere he was, and that he saw in us representatives of Christ.
We were trying to contact a Potential Investigator in the more Hispanic pert of our area. She wasn’t home, and we were about to leave when Hermana Garcia turns the corner. We were excited, of course. She said she’d had a prompting to turn left instead of right, and there we were. They needed some copies of the Book of Mormon, and we had some, and we talked for a minute, then we went to sticky note a less active right near there, and just as we were walking away the Potential Investigator walks up! So because Hermana Garcia talked to us, we were still there when the PI got home. :) Pretty cool how God makes everything work.
WAHOO!!! A special baptism! I am so, so happy she was able to experience sharing the message of Jesus Christ with Sarah and that she accepted Him all the way in to her heart!
Sarah’s baptism was wonderful! She was super happy! Sarah was baptized on Saturday! She was super excited. Brother Greiner baptized her. She brought several family members and they were great. A lot of the ward showed up and it turned out really well. I was so excited to be able to go! It was awesome! It’s an amazing testimony builder to see not only how the gospel changes your life, but how much it changes another person’s life! It is incredible. If it can change someone that much it must be true. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” She has truly found the strength that Christ promises us if we are faithful. She exemplifies Ether 12:27, “…and weak things will become strong unto them.”
My new area is great. It’s interesting though. It’s one of the especially wealthy sections. Our boundaries include Nelly Gale, which is incredibly expensive/super fancy. The people in Nelly Gale have agents for their houses, as if they were actors, and people come to film stuff at their houses. It crazy! I’ll have to get some pictures.
Sister Wright is super funny! It’s been fun getting to know her. I’m excited! It’s been really good.
My bed is pretty uncomfortable. I mean, I used to sleep on the ground with no pad, but the bed is still uncomfortable, but oh well, comes with the job. The shower is pretty awful, too. It barely has any water pressure. One of my roommates said it’s like getting spit on. Luckily our roommates’ shower is better, so if I just shower at night then I can use that one. :) The funny thing is that this apartment is probably super expensive even with all it’s problems.
We are working with lady named Gloria and a younger couple named Amy and Anthony right now. Will update next week.
We were able to FaceTime with Blythe during this week, which was clear back on Mother’s Day. And she sang to us with her ukulele and share her adorable self with us. It was so, so lovely to hear and see her!
This week has been great! I really like the new area!
It was awesome to FaceTime my family yesterday! It was kind of sad, because yesterday’s call was really short, but it was so fun to see you! I was super excited! It’s weird to think that I haven’t seen you in 7 1/2 months. It definitely doesn’t seem that long. I love you guys!
This week we had a surprise Luau for President and Sister Orgill, for their goodbye party :(. It was so awesome! We stood in a double line through the gym so they would walk between us, and people put leis on for them. We sang “Called to Serve.” Instead of just walking through though, they both went through the whole room and hugged each of us. There are at least 160+ missionaries, but they took time to come around to everyone. They are so wonderful! It just really showed how much they love us. Each zone did a song for them and gave a Mother’s Day card to Sister Orgill. It was super cute. At the end we sang “God Be With You till We Meet Again” and “Aloha O’e.” We were crying so much we could barely sing.
Love you all!
And then in her personal letter to me, she gave me a gem!
If I didn’t have you as a mom, I would have chosen you as a friend.
Oh, my stinkin’ heck, I cried my eyes out when I read those precious words. Blythe and I have always been close, but we haven’t always gotten along. There were some days we didn’t like each other much at all. But we both stuck it out and kept trying to behave in loving ways to one another. And the love eventually won.
Sooooo, I have been incognito all summer. We have played hard and worked hard and had a lot of heartache and a lot of wonderfulness all at the same time. My computer has been broken for months and after all was said and done, the hard drive and a whole host of other parts needed replaced. I just got it back last night and I am trying to recover some lost programs and make it totally functional again. So, now I can blog again.
I am going to try.
My hand is still in a splint. But it is the only body part in a brace of any kind and that is fantastic.
And drumroll : : : : : : : : : : : : :
Last night I rode my Elliptigo OUTSIDE!!!
I’M BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in shock. I’ve only been here 2 transfers, and with Sister Shober for 1. They normally leave YSA missionaries in for like 6 months! I am so confused!
Anyway, Sarah is being baptized on Saturday and I will not be there for the last lessons! I’m super sad, but I will be able to come for her baptism. She is doing awesome! She finished the Book of Mormon and loved it! Bro. Greiner, the institute teacher is baptizing her and she is just stoked!!!! She’s starting the New Testament. She is AMAZING! And her family are being very supportive.
We taught Nina again this week, and it was awesome. We brought a member, who’s name is also Nina, who is convert from an Indian background. She shared her testimony and experience with Christ knowing her individual circumstances and how He has shown His hand in her life.
We’ve had a few awesome people fall into our laps this week, who are really prepared, but I will not be here to see it. So sad :(
I am sad to be transferred and am striving to live by these words this week from 1 Nephi 3:7.
I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the things which He commandeth them.
Trying hard to catch up on these mission posts! My hand injury got me so far behind and I am just starting to get back on top of my life. Her never-ending use of the word “chill” cracks us all up…and now she is calling Gladys Knight “super chill!”
We just hit week 6 of this transfer! That is insane! Inconceivable! :)
This week was pretty weird. I was in my area the whole time, though, so that was good. We didn’t get a ton of lessons, but the ones we did get were really awesome! We met with Sarah and I finally got to meet the referral from the other elders for the YSA girl. She’s pretty awesome and we’re super excited to keep teaching her.
I have been trying really hard to love these people here. I don’t know why, but it has been way harder. In my last area it was so natural, and that’s never really been a struggle for me, but I’ve been feeling like my heart is closed lately and I couldn’t figure out why. My first transfer in this zone there were problems going on in the zone that I didn’t really know about, but I could just feel that it was not as unified as RSM. I was really feeling like an outsider, and I missed feeling like I had real friends here. And I was having a hard time loving both the members and investigators, which was so odd for me. I was praying about that the last few weeks, and finally just asked to be able to have the love He has for them, and the next lesson we had I just felt so much love for that person. The zone now is a lot better, and we are pretty much as close as RSM was, and I have felt a lot better about it. They really feel like my family now.
Also, something funny. At the Gladys Knight thing, we were standing in line, and I suddenly saw these two missionaries walking past, and it’s Michael Francis who I trained at the carwash!!! I was like “Elder Francis?!” and we freaked out a little. I was lucky I saw him first, because he was so shocked that he blurted out my first name! :) It was pretty funny! I think he got to come, since he is in the Orange YSA, and they cover Irvine, even though it’s out of their mission. Anyway, that was pretty hilarious!
Sister Shober was asked to play the piano for the elders in the YSA in sacrament meeting and then to sing a song there. She was also asked to play for a baptism service, and there are a few other songs she’s involved with coming up, so every spare moment we had this week were spent practicing. Sunday was even more crazy than usual, with the musical numbers for YSA, and right after church we had to run to the baptism, then right after that we met with the zone to practice another song. Crazy.
This week was good though. The Gladys Knight Devotional was awesome. She’s super chill and it was just so good. We’re still waiting to see the results, but people really liked it!
We got to go the temple on Friday. It was awesome, but crazy, because we went to the later Gladys Knight devotional, and didn’t get back to the apartment until 12:00. That was weird enough, being out that far past curfew! President Orgill knew, so it was fine :) But we had to get up and leave for the temple the next morning, and we were so tired! But it was awesome. I love being there!
Beautiful flower picture she took.
Her zone at the temple…love seeing her happy and loving her mission!
Oh my goodness, I have fallen so far off the blogging wagon, I don’t know if I can get back on, but I am going to try hard to get back into the swing of things. I have two months of Blythe’s letters to post, plus a gazillion stories from our lives to share, craziness! Goal for the week, get Blythe’s mission posts caught up!
This letter was only the second one we have received so far with sad news and hard times. She didn’t mention it in this letter, but also got really sick this week and spent hours puking on one of the days she wasn’t with her companion and that was super hard as well.
On Saturday I hit 7 months! Oh my HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This week was crazy and a bit rough. I have only spent 34 hours in my area, including sleeping, meal breaks, and weekly planning. I have only slept in my bed twice in seven days. Sisters’ Shober and Whimmer have had a ton of STL (Sister Training Leader) stuff and have had to meet up every day to plan for meetings we had and to go on exchanges with the other sisters, so I have spent pretty much every day with Sister Whimmer’s companion in their area.
It was a little sad because I missed being able to take Sarah to the temple grounds and didn’t get to teach our new golden investigator we got from the Los Alisos Elders, who already has a baptism date. She is dating the less active son of a bishop in the stake. They were able to have him at a lesson with the family and her – it was great. Sarah is doing awesome. I think she’s in 3 Nephi and loves it! She is learning so much, it’s seriously like teaching a member. She is recognizing the pride cycle for herself and talked about the eternal perspective she’s gained before we could even say it. She is amazing. I’m just glad to be able to be able to see her grow. She has such faith, and she talks about how all the temptations she used to have are just gone. She has no desire for them and they have no hold on her. She has truly given her heart to God.
By the end of the week I was feeling pretty beat. My spirit was just dragging, having not been able to be in my area, and not being able to do much real missionary work. On Saturday I got very low. I was so tired and I didn’t get to go back to my area until late that night. That night I was very discouraged and I sat on the floor of our room for a very long time after the lights were out. I had been really struggling getting up and going, especially since I was so discouraged. I prayed to God, asking Him to remove that exhaustion so that I could do what I needed to do. I didn’t have any crazy spiritual experience, but after I sat there for a long time and prayed, and I got back in bed, I felt the burdens ease, and I felt more able to continue. The next morning I was able to get up just fine, and felt better than I have for a long time.
This week promises to be awesome! We don’t have to go on exchanges, we get to go to the temple, and we’re having Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices coming to the mission! For those who don’t know (’cause I sure didn’t) Gladys Knight, the singer, was baptized into the church several years back, and she has a choir, and they come to missions/stakes that invite them, and it is an incredible missionary tool. They will rock out, and it’s gonna be a little weird, because it’s in the stake center, but from what we hear, it is an incredibly spiritual experience. They carefully track every ticket and everyone who attends will receive a gift bag, with a Book of Mormon and Restoration video. There will be tons of self referrals and on average it will bring 24 new investigators to each companionship. It’s gonna be awesome!