We had quite the busy week here in California. Lots of craziness going on with Christmas and New Year’s Day coming up. Of course nothing’s much different for us missionaries but rather for pretty much all of our investigators.Christmas Eve and Christmas day were both quite interesting and filled with miracles. The whole week was actually filled with miracles as a matter of fact. Elder Varela were actually quite successful this week in terms of finding and teaching new investigators. We taught 6 new investigators this week with little to no experience with missionaries! That number’s huge considering how small our area is. But I’ll get into that a little later.
I wanted to start off on this past Monday. After a normal preparation day (never P-day, because it never says that in the Missionary Handbook), I went on a mini-exchange with our Zone Leaders. Since they’re in a trio it was me, Elder Speth, and Elder Wall. Elder Varela went with Elder Searle. But our exchange was awesome. I went with the Zone Leaders to their area, which is essentially the projects of Canoga Park. It was seriously so cool haha. First we had dinner with a member family and after shared a small message from the Book of Mormon. The Zone Leaders asked me to take the lead on it so I just shared 1 Nephi 3:7, one of my favorite scriptures. We killed that lesson. I explained to them basically that God only gives commandments to men if it’s possible for them to accomplish it and that all of the commandments solely exist for us to return to live with God and receive exaltation. Then bam, the other Elders started testifying of the things I said, then we just built and built upon each other and it was amazing. The family loved it. At the end when we asked us for a referral, the wife actually gave us one! Supposedly it was the first time she had ever opened up to sharing the Gospel with one of her neighbors. So we set up another dinner appointment where they would invite the woman also (she lives alone so we can’t enter her house without another man). The experience was so amazing we left and immediately said a prayer of gratitude. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson that they felt it and opened up to us! Sometimes I simply can’t believe how the Lord works sometimes. It’s beyond our understanding but I’m so grateful for His help.
Also on Tuesday, we had a cool finding story that leads into our new investigators. It had been a long day without much success, so later in the day when it was starting to get dark while we were on our bikes we decided to stop for a minute under a tree to talk to some people on the sidewalk. Under that same tree we found 2 new investigators within a minute of each other! The first was Melisa, a girl in her 20s that was raised Catholic but recently hadn’t been going to church as much because she had just recently moved in. She is seriously so awesome. Right from the second we contacted her she sounded really interested. We set an appointment for Friday, and when we met with her we taught her the entire first lesson, the Restoration. She took it really well, accepted a Restoration pamphlet, a Book of Mormon and committed to read them both! She told us her mindset is to always do what Jesus Christ wants her to, so when we asked her to be baptized she said yes! Well, sort of haha. We also asked her to pray about this message to know of its truthfulness which she agreed to, and she told us if she feels like Christ is asking he to be baptized she would totally do it. How amazing right? Elder Varela and I are super excited for her. She has a lot of potential for sure. We’re meeting with her tomorrow to see how she’s doing! The other contact was a man named Jose. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to contact him yet but I imagine it’s because of the Holidays. But he was open to hearing our message with his family so we’ll see how that goes.
I’ll go ahead and get to the part I’m sure you’re all waiting for, Christmas of course. Don’t get too excited, it was pretty much a normal day haha. In fact, more or less a less normal day. We opened presents in the morning, fun stuff and all that. I’ll put some pics below. Then the rest of the day was weekly planning haha, which we do every Thursday. But we did have some fun in the evening! Skype was great. I honestly had planned nothing to say because I was so distracted by planning for the week but it turned out great anyways. Good to see the family and some of the cousins and such in Utah! Looks like everyone’s doing great and I’m glad for that. At night, after our Christmas dinner (chicken, rice, and like 10 tortillas haha) we went caroling as a District! We went to the Hermana’s area since they were both totally new to it at the beginning of transfers. We had our Chistmas miracle during it! We came up to this one house after someone else had recommended it to us. After singing Silent Night we discovered they were a less-active family! They loved hearing us so much they set up a return appointment with the Hermanas! We couldn’t believe it. Seriously so cool. Elder Varela and I also actually had a Christmas Eve miracle as well! We met with a less active man who lives alone. Because of the Christmas time of course we showed him the “He is the Gift” video. The change in his countenance after watching it was seriously visible. He told us after watching the video it had reminded him of the feelings he had after his baptism but had slowly lost over time after not going to church. He always felt so guilty and shamed that he couldn’t make himself come back. I asked him if he would like to come back to church this week in order to feel that Spirit, the same one at his baptism, again. He said maybe depending on his work. We didn’t see him sadly on Sunday (church attendance is still a struggle but that’s another story), but we do have another appointment with him this week. That He is the Gift video is seriously so great. Every time we show it to someone they feel the Spirit so strongly and all we do is build upon it to teach a Gospel lesson. The people who created it were undeniably inspired.
So that was my week! This new one coming up is looking to be a tough one because of New Years. Almost all of our appointments are either Tuesday or Friday with not much in between because everyone is going to be partying it up haha. But no time for such trivial things for us missionaries! The work must press forward. I hope everyone has an enjoyable New Year! Set some good goals (not resolutions, those are useless) and then follow up on them! I’ve gained a strong testimony of goal-setting as a missionary. It’s always good to see how much you’re progressing over time in accordance with your goals. And make sure your goals are reachable! And then the last important part is to write them down and put them somewhere you can see them every day and assess your progress. I promise to you all if you do these things your lives will improve exponentially.
Bednar minute of the week: “How can I have faith when going through a hard trial?”
Answer: another very interesting one. He told us that we shouldn’t pray for more faith, but rather for adversity! He made a sweet flow chart with his words. Essentially, Atonement of Christ–>agency (ability to choose between good and evil)–>action (exercising you agency)–>power (choosing good, or things of God, gives us strength)–>overcoming of adversity. It’s one of those “you will only receive a witness until after the trial of your faith” things. And he stressed that the trial of your faith happens daily! Keep that in mind everyone. We shouldn’t just be proving ourselves in times of hardship. In good times as well.
Have a good week everyone! Be safe, have fun as always. Until next time!