“He’s on house arrest, but he’s never home…”
Monday July 15, 2013
Hello one and all!
First, a small Mormon world moment: Today a friend emailed me to tell me that a huge chunk of his extended family live in
Carmichael. Turns out they are in my ward. And I'm having
dinner with them tonight. No big. How cool is that?! God definitely has a sense
In other news, we moved into the
apartment this week. Our housing situation with our member was just not working
out and so we moved into the apartment with the ASL sisters. It's fun because I
get to brush up on my sign language and living in a missionary apartment is a
new experience. I've always lived with members and there are definitely
benefits to both.
I can say that I truly do love the La Sierra ward. I was less than thrilled to leave the hills because I loved it there so much and I had spent a third of my mission there, but I definitely see God's hand in me being brought here. There is a lot of work to do, and I certainly love doing it.
We had interviews with President this week and it was nice to get to talk with him one on one. I always feel like my interviews are boring for him because he asks if I have any problems and I'm always fine. He asks if I have any questions, and I never do. I'm just happily moving forward with faith and that's a good thing, but I feel bad because we don't have that much to discuss haha. He did make me feel really good though when he told me how much he appreciated my positive attitude. He told me that my companion said, "She wakes up with a smile and she's just like sunshine!" That helped motivate me to continue to be happy no matter what.
At the beginning of my mission I decided that every morning I would thank God for being a missionary and then put a smile on my face. And some mornings it is really hard because there's a lot of things not to smile about. But I've found that with all the things that are wrong, there is always something that is right, and even if that is just that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and a Savior who died for us, that's plenty to smile about. President also challenged Sister Vaughan and I to get La Sierra up and running again. They haven't baptized in a long time and so much of the ward is inactive. We accepted his challenge, and so off to work we went.
This week we have visited about a 5th of the ward list. We have met so many people it makes my head spin! We've been trying to figure out why people stopped coming to church and how we can bring them back. We've seen many little miracles and have identified several people that we think we can bring back into activity this transfer. One of the hardest things for me was asking people, "When was the last time someone from the ward stopped by?" and having them answer, "I don't think anyone has ever stopped by." or "Nobody has been by for years."
Soap box moment: DO YOUR HOME AND VISITING TEACHING.
This is for me as much as it is for everyone else. It's really not that hard, but we have such trouble doing it most of the time. Why? Is it really that much of a sacrifice? A few minutes each month to stop by and say hello, to share our Savior's love with these people. So many people here have all but been forgotten by the ward and I can't help but think that this is why we have home and visiting teaching in the first place. It's missionary work for members. It is the only way to make sure no one is forgotten. We have to do it. I don't know about you, but I don't want to report on my stewardship to the Lord and have to say, "Well I was too busy and I'm sorry they stopped coming to church, but I went!" That's not good enough. The Lord doesn't ever forget us, so we can't forget our brothers and sisters.
Tomorrow I get to experience something really neat!
Northern California is having an international interfaith
conference for all the religions here. President Skywalker is representing the
church and for part of his presentation he wanted to have a musical number. He
asked me to play the piano for the sister who is singing and I'm super excited
for the chance to help represent the church and all the missionaries serving
here. Hopefully, we can help everyone there to feel the spirit and have a
positive impression of what we do and believe.
Our biggest miracle this week has been getting referrals! Everywhere we go we ask everyone we see if there is anyone who we should visit. We have a list of 35 names from this week to go and contact! That's more referrals than I'm used to getting in like 2 months! The Lord is really blessing us for working hard and loving this area. One of those families is a Polynesian part member family. She is Samoan and he is Tongan. He was almost baptized last year but it didn't happen, so guess who is headed over there with a ukulele and a baptismal invite? That's right. Sisters Vaughan and Burchett. Two very white girls with very brown souls. Our trainers were both islanders. What can we say? In Tongan they say "fakatomala peya papatiso" which means "repent and be baptized". Or in Samoan "Salamo" "repent!"
And now just for fun, the story of our former investigator named Mr. Rogerts. Mr. Rogers is on house arrest, but he is never home. How does that work? We have no idea. Maybe someone out there has an explanation, but we're at a loss.
Well, that's the gist of the work here in La Sierra. Stay strong and carry on! Look for the miracles in everything, because there is no such thing as coincidence.