Monday, August 19, 2013

Milagros! (AKA Miracles)


How are you all! Thank you for the wonderful letters! This week I have been so lucky to get so many. Thank you thank you! I got a sweet letter from Vicki with adorable pictures by the Ice Cream Chef (aka Matson). Will you tell them both thank you for me! I also got two from Aunt Kathy, one from Danny, and one from David and Katie. As well as a few from my wonderful parentals. :) Thank you all!

A cute heart we found.  Because I love you soooo much!
 I've copied some of my letter to President Castro and added it here so it might sound super formal and spiritual but Danny suggested that's a good way to make use of email time. So sorry if I sound all weird and missionary. (BTW funny story: A lady in the ward asked Hermana Wright why she sounds like a robot and why all missionaries sound the same haha! AH! I don't want to sound like a missionary robot! Some of the missionaries have it bad! Don't let me do it!)

This week things have been going really well. We have really focused on our district goals to get 7 member present lessons and 7 baptismal invites. With the Lord's help we were able to accomplish both of these goals. It came down to Sunday evening and we had two member present lessons scheduled. Unfortunately, one of our investigators cancelled. We knew that with faith we could still have a miracle that evening and get one more member present. We stopped the car and said a prayer asking the Lord to help us know what do to. Just as we finished the prayer we received a phone call from a member and we were able to visit a woman we have been teaching with her to get our last member present lesson for the week. Although it didn't work out the way we had planned, and we were saddened by the news of our first set of investigators, the Lord blessed us when we had faith. It really was a miracle.

On Tuesday of this week we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. Hermana Bartschi worked with me. She is so wonderful! I immediately felt comfortable with her and knew that it was going to be a great day. I had some emotions which had been welling up inside for the past few weeks and she was just what I needed.

We started out the day with some great study which really helped me prepare for the day. Hermana Bartschi was so complementary of my Spanish, which isn't coming along quite as quickly as I would like, in part because we are doing a lot of English work here in Solvang. She helped to give me the confidence and re-commitment to continue working on it during language study.

Immediately after studies we went to visit a referral we had received from Elder Nalder (our district leader) who had come to work in our area the week before. We met Maria and had an awesome lesson with her about the restoration in Spanish! Hermana Bartschi really included me in the lesson and I actually understood most of the conversation and was able to contribute which hasn't been happening much in our other lessons. We talked for a long time with Maria and she seems very intrigued. We have another lesson with her tonight and my hope is that she has prayed about Joseph Smith and will be even more open to receiving the truth.

As we continued on throughout the day, visiting less actives and teaching lessons I learned so much from Hermana Bartschi. She asked about me and about my life at home and as we talked we became friends and I felt more comfortable with her. She is so animated in her teaching and has a great balance of boldness and love. I want to incorporate some of her wonderful teaching styles into my own teaching as well.

Sister Bartschi and I found a pear tree in someone's yard that
 was just going to waste (the whole ground was covered with
 pears) so we did them a favor and took a few to eat. :)
As the night ended and we pulled back into our apartment complex we sat in the car and reviewed all that we had learned. I was able to open up to her about some of my concerns about the language, my mission, my companion etc. It was nice to feel free to talk about some of those things and know that she has been through them too and that I can still be a good missionary, even though I have had doubts and concerns and difficulties.

The rest of the week has been full of other wonderful miracles.

On Wednesday we were able to visit some of our progressing investigators whom we hadn't heard from in a while. We sat and talked with Carl, who has been going through a lot of difficult things with his health, with taking care of his son and fighting custody battles with his son's mother etc. We were able to talk to him and support him. We read some scriptures together about how the Lord can support us in our trials and he had some amazing insights and analogies about how the Savior helps him in his life. At times he seems to not understand the scriptures but at others he really shows a deep understanding about the atonement and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is so ready to accept the fullness of the gospel and I can't wait for the day when he is baptized.

We found out about some help he needed in his home to prepare for a social worker to come see their home a few days later and were able to organize a miracle service project for him. We had a few women from the Relief Society who volunteered to help clean his house, and our district leader and his companion (Elder Nalder and Elder Lee) who were in the area helped work in the yard. It was all organized within less than 24 hours and we made such a difference. We were so grateful for the ward and for the wonderful people who volunteered to help. It felt so great to be able to give service and help Carl and his family.

Unfortunately, they were not able to attend church yesterday. We stopped by and talked with him and his girlfriend, Dawn, last night and learned that she doesn't feel that she is ready to really study the gospel at this time. It is something that she wants but with so many changes and adjustments going on in her life right now she doesn't feel ready for the commitment. They are going to talk about how best to handle the situation but I know it will happen for them and their family at some point. I was so grateful that we were able to feel love for her as we talked with her and just try to show our love and support.

Ygnacio, our 17 year old investigator is still working to get his permission slip signed. We fasted for his parents' hearts to be softened yesterday and I know that with faith it will happen. Every time we stop by to check in he shows such faith and a desire to change, which helps my faith to grow. He even went to young mens on Wednesday and said he had a good time! One of our major concerns with him is being fellowshipped by the ward and this was a great opportunity for him to get to know the youth in the ward.

We've seen a few more miracles with another young man named Jesse. He has been fellowshipped by a wonderful family, the Bells, in the ward and we were able to have dinner at the Bells with Jesse and his inactive father this week. We shared a great lesson with them and his father even asked for a Book of Mormon. Sister Bell asked Jesse if he would be willing to begin taking the discussions from us and he agreed! This is a huge step with him! We have been working on getting to this point for weeks now and I am excited about the opportunity to teach him and maybe even help reactivate his divorced inactive parents.

On Thursday Brother Millett invited us over for lunch. He is SOOO sweet. His wife is kind of sick and he just takes care of her. He was such a gentleman to us and pulled out our chairs etc. He had all sorts of stuff for sandwiches out and wanted us to eat and eat. He makes freezer jam which is sooo good. Apparently you just use the recipe on the back of a box of pectin with strawberries and freeze it. You should try it. He sent the rest home with us and we got a loaf of homemade bread from another lady on Saturday so we have been in heaven. He also had nutella and we tried nutella with the jam. Yes, it sounds weird, but try it. It's actually pretty good. Sister Millett wanted to show me all about their family history. I'll send you their address and number in my handwritten letter.

Ah! Out of time! There is a lady from Argentina in our ward and we ate and spoke Spanish with her this week (well they spoke and I listened lol). There is also an amazing family that I love! Sister Williams is awesome and her 4 year old is my new best friend. I'll tell you the rest in my handwritten letter.

It's been a wonderful week full of lessons, wonderful investigators and new investigators! We are now hoping to help our investigators progress and get a few baptismal dates. I am working to become the missionary the Lord wants me to be and learn from Hermana Cannon all that I can.

Good luck at school Oli!

Love Hermana Millet

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