I forgot my camera again… sorry! No pictures this week.
SO I’m in California now! It’s so great! It’s crazy hot, but we’ve got a car and our apartment (though poorly lit) is air-conditioned so we’re golden.
My companion is Sister D_____- she’s just over a year into her mission and she’s from Italy. That means Spanish is her THIRD language, and she speaks it pretty much perfectly. She says mine is pretty good too, I just need to be more confident.
We were doubled in, meaning we were brought in and replaced two Elders. So basically we didn’t know anyone except the other two Elders who work in our ward. BUT since getting here we’ve already got two people on date to be baptized- it’s awesome!
E____ is set to be baptized this coming Sunday- but it feels almost like cheating to count her. She turns 9 on Saturday. Haha. Her grandma made her wait a year to be baptized because she was “too little” and since her 9th birthday would be on a Saturday, she could get baptized ON her birthday! Originally her baptism date was on Saturday, but her mom is taking her out for her birthday so she can’t be baptized on that day. So she waited a whole year for no reason, poor girl. BUT she’s super excited to be baptized and she’s going to invite a bunch of her friends to come.
Then we’ve got R____. She has two little girls and lives with her mom, who’s a member. We came by and gave them a Harvest Blessing. (We ask them for their specific needs from God, and pray for them and their family members each by name “by virtue of our calling as missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ.” It’s WAY cool and the Spirit can be really strong.) R____ asked to be placed in the path of happiness, so in our return appointment we talked about the Plan of Salvation and how it could tie her to her daughters forever. We also talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the steps we need to take to achieve exaltation- faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). The Spirit was super strong and we asked her if she would pray to know if she should be baptized the last weekend of the month and she accepted!
To use Sister D_____’s words, it was a “bomb lesson.”
Another interesting experience- Our first day when we were walking down the street, talking to people before going to our next appointment, a man stops us before we could OYM him (Open Your Mouth- we are supposed to OYM 20 people a day as a companionship.) He asked if we were “church girls.” When we answered in the affirmative, he asked where and when we meet- he was going through some hard stuff and wanted to change, so he needed to go to church. We swapped info and set up a time to go visit him. He genuinely wants to turn his life around, and he says that he knows that God is the only one who can help him to do that! I’m super excited to see how things go with him.
Sister D_____ keeps telling me how that NEVER happens, that people just DON’T come up and ask to go to church. Haha.
One more- Yesterday, Sunday, Sister D______’s investigator from her last transfer got baptized. She got permission to go to the baptism, but I had to stay here in Moreno Valley (that’s my area by the way) with a “team-up.” So I teamed up with S_____, a 19-year-old girl in our ward who’s just about ready to send her mission papers to SLC. We had language study and read some of our favorite Book of Mormon stories in English and Spanish. It was cool- I found the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis and found a ton of ways we could apply it to ourselves (and I read it in Spanish and knew what was going on!)
After that, we went to OYM in a parking lot in front of a Hispanic grocery store. (Sister D_____ and I go there almost every day.) I OYM’ed in SPANISH! It was so great. :]
Then I lost my keys to the apartment. It was scary and embarrassing. But we found them so it was okay.
Sorry this is so long, especially to those of you with limited email time. Les amo!
Hermana Deryk Howell