Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Off to Neverland

Dear Family:

I got letters this week from Sister Wardle and Robbie and Jonah (two of my kindergartners) It made me sooo happy! They were all so sweet! I will hopefully find time to write everyone back today.

Make aebleskivers at the Klitgaards house.

Kolee and I
(This is a stuffed dog we sent to her)

I have so many wonderful investigators to tell you about this week! I don't know if I've given you all their background info so here goes:

Dane: Dane is about 40 years old and is partially deaf. As we were walking into our apartment complex one evening he asked if we talk about the Bible and asked if he could meet with us. We have been meeting with him twice a week now for about three weeks and he is progressing really well. He keeps all of his commitments and has been to church twice. Our greatest challenge with Dane is communication. We can't understand him very well and we're not sure he understands us. He has a baptismal date for October 12th. We believe he can be ready by this date but we want to make sure he is really experiencing a change of heart. He seems really interested in history and facts and sometimes gets stuck on one verse or concept and doesn't understand the whole picture we are trying to convey. One sister that accompanied us on a visit mentioned that she has worked with autism and wonders if he lies somewhere on the autism spectrum. Dane is very lonely and really wants a family so we're helping him to understand that his relationship with God should be of most importance and that he should come to church to come closer to Christ, not just find a wife and get married. He has great intent though and each time he reads the scriptures he writes down questions and comments. We are excited to continue working with him and we pray for the gift of communication and discernment every day to understand what he needs.

Carl: We were worried about Carl for a while when he wasn't able to meet with us and wasn't returning our calls. This week, however, we were able to talk to him and better understand what is going on. He is worried a lot about his family right now and his son, Woody, is having a hard time adjusting to a new environment. Woody was previously living with his mom, who is a drug addict, and it is hard for him to come to a home with structure and rules. Carl really just wants to be a good father and bring his family closer together. We were able to share an example of Alma praying for his son, Alma the younger, in The Book of Mormon and how the angel who appeared to Alma the younger told him it was as a result of his father's prayers. We talked about how Carl's journey toward Christ will really help his relationship with Woody as he shows him a good example. We also talked about how relying on Christ will really help him to overcome any weaknesses he may have and help to give him the peace he is searching for in his life. He chose a baptismal date of October 26th assuming the custody of Woody and divorce and wedding can all go through before then. Dawn, Carl's girlfriend and soon to be wife, is not as ready to accept the gospel and that causes a little bit of a problem in his progression as well. They are trying to be unified in their lives but Carl is so ready to join the church and Dawn is not ready yet. We are trying to help them find unity in their family and teach them as a family without holding Carl back in his progression.

Jaime: Jaime is a Spanish man who has been taught by the missionaries for years, when the Spanish missionaries in Lompoc have been able to travel down to Solvang to teach him. He has such a desire to follow Christ and really understands the importance of the covenant of baptism. We have presented him with a date and he is praying about it this week. We had a great moment this week when we shared Alma 34:30-33 and asked him why he is waiting to be baptized. Why wait to receive the blessings of baptism? He paused and said, "There is no reason." I am so excited for him to make the choice to be baptized and see it happen this transfer! His biggest obstacle to overcome is getting to church. He works on Sunday's and will have to ask his boss to have time off. He wasn't able to make it yesterday, but we have faith he will continue to progress and be baptized soon. We taught the plan of salvation to him on Friday and it was a great experience.

Personally, I was doing relatively well understanding but my confidence in speaking Spanish has diminished greatly since being in the field and not speaking it as much as I should. I didn't want to participate so I let Hermana Cannon and Brother Millett do most of the talking. I could tell a few times Hermana Cannon paused for a moment to let me jump in but I was scared and had determined to give up. I was so grateful, however, that Hermana Cannon didn't give up on me and she said, "Hermana Millet, why don't you explain the spirit world." I was terrified but I started in and was able to find most of the words. It was nowhere near perfect but it helped to restore my confidence and I was able to explain a few more concepts throughout the evening because I didn't give up. I was so grateful she gave me the opportunity.

Connie: Connie is a 78 year old woman who has been coming to church for over a year with her sister-in-law/best friend, Pat. She hasn't met with the missionaries regularly until we came into the area but Brother Nash introduced us and we were able to schedule a meeting with her about a month ago and we have been teaching her every Sunday afternoon since. She is so sweet and I love our meetings. Each lesson has been so fitted to her needs. She asked about what we believe about life after death so we shared the Plan of Salvation, and then she asked about prophets so we taught the restoration. She thinks she is guiding all the lessons and doesn't realize the questions fall right in line with what we have prepared to teach! Each lesson seems just like a great conversation. Yesterday we really explained authority and why it is important to be baptized with the proper authority. She has been baptized twice already but I think yesterday we helped her understand how important it is to receive that authority from Christ. When I asked what her concern with baptism is she explained how her brother and sister-in-law both had cancer, then her brother passed away and then she had back surgery. These challenges are all passing and I think Connie is getting close to making the decision for herself. We talked a little about real intent and how Connie needs to be ready to act on the answer she receives from the Lord. She told us how all week she has been nervous about praying in front of us but Brother Nash helped to explain how the spirit can help you and shared his experience with the same concern when he converted. At the end of the lesson she gave a beautiful prayer.

Andy: We had an awesome week with Andy! He is 36 and has been meeting with missionaries since January. We considered dropping him toward the beginning of last transfer because he wasn't progressing a whole lot but he has turned around so much! This October he will be clean from drugs for 2 years. He still smokes and drinks coffee, however. This last week we talked about the word of wisdom and read my favorite scripture about the people of Alma in Mosiah 24 and how the atonement helps them overcome their burdens and afflictions. He totally related and started to understand that his addiction is keeping him in bondage. Then he came to church and the Sunday school lesson just happened to be about the Word of Wisdom. He shared with the class his renewed understanding that smoking is hindering him from feeling the spirit and that he needs to quit. He is now going to try to be completely addiction free by October 1st! This is such a giant step for him!

We've also been teaching a lot of LARCS (less active and recent convert)

Yolanda was baptized a year ago but she has been struggling and didn't get the attention she needed. We taught her the first new member lesson this week and helped her get a temple recommend so she can go to the temple. She went for the first time on Saturday. She started to tear up the night before as we explained how each of the names represents a person that is waiting to be baptized. It was super sweet. We love her.

Toni is a less active that I found on my exchange with Hermana Bartschi. She called this week in tears saying she needs help. Her home situation isn't great and her son is really against the church. She asked if it was Sister Millet talking and said she only feels comfortable talking to me and that she feels a special connection with me. As she said this I had a feeling that I am here in this area to help her. I want her to form a connection with the ward which is most important but I am so grateful that I can be here to help her.

Shane is a man who is not all there and was baptized about 6 years ago. We taught him the restoration again to see how much he understands and he did great! I taught him like I might one of my kindergartners and it went so well. It was so fun and I had a moment of just loving being a missionary and teaching the gospel.

Our alpaca friends: Ted, Teddy, Big T and Tedster. They're our best friends. :)

I think that's about all. Today Brother Millett is taking us to Neverland Ranch (Michael Jackson's old ranch place). I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your support and love. The church is true. Missionary work is great and I love you!

Love Hermana Millet

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