Monday, September 30, 2013

Fifteenth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!!
This week has been an interesting, hard, uplifting, and who-knows-what-else one. 

This week, unfortunately, Shan-Shan told us that she didn't want to be baptized next month because she doesn't feel ready. She's going to be in San Fransisco for the next few weeks and we're going to be unable to talk to her about it. At first I was really upset (I still am a little), but as the day went on, I was able to think about the upside to it. I realized that a "no" is just a "yes" that takes longer. She's so ready to be baptized and has a strong testimony, but with time we'll be able to figure out why she doesn't feel ready. I'm not going to stop until we know how to help her best.

In addition to Shan-Shan, Pauline (another investigator with a baptismal date for next month) told us that she's too busy and doesn't have time for this for the next few weeks. We were also disappointed, but we thought about how she still has really good friends that are members that live right next door to her. This week we're going to have them reach out to her a little bit more than usual and listen to Conference just for her.
So yeah, there's been a few punches in the face, but there were so many good things that happened too!
Firstly, (random) we had dinner with the Smith family in our ward this week and found out that their son was Tyler Hawes trainer in the Phillipines.  CRAZY!

This week we were able to set another investigator with a baptismal date!  Her name's Linda and she speaks only Spanish!  We really excited because she has such a strong desire to be with her deceased son someday.  She gets that through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end is the only way that she can accomplish that.  She's really excited! We are too!!
Our lesson with Denisse this week was a whole lot better than the one last week!  She apologized for her friend and how rude she was.  She knew that the Spirit was not there last week because of the contention.  We also apologized for Brother ________, but she said we have nothing to apologize for.  She has such a sweet spirit and desire to do what's right.  She's still struggling a little with accepting the Book of Mormon, but we committed her this week to only read out of the Book of Mormon and not from other sermons she's found.  This week we're going to talk about the difference in her week and her feelings about the BOM.  Even though she may be a little stubborn at times, she's trying to do what's right.  She told us that we may be completely right, but she wants to be completely sure of it before making any decisions.  She knows that this decision will not only effect her salvation, but her daughter's salvation. 

On Friday, we got to receive some training from the Sister Training Leaders (Hermana Coleman, Hermana Bartschi, Sister Bennett, and Sister Burwell (my "grandma" on the mish :D)) and we finally got to have interviews with President.  I love President Castro so much!  He knows everything and how to help anyone.  I would seriously die for him.  He gave me a lot of good advice, but then he told me that he's really proud of the work I'm doing.  He told me that I'm performing as well as some of the other missionaries that are in their last 6 months or last few transfers.  It really meant a lot when he told me that he could trust me with anything, but more importantly the Lord could trust me.  He told me that the Lord showed mercy on him when He sent me to this mission.  In his words, "Heavenly Father wanted to give a break!"  I laughed a little inside, but was really touched by what he said.  After a pretty rough week with Shan-Shan and Pauline, this made me feel a whole lot better. 
On Saturday, we had the chance to go to the Relief Society Broadcast!  It was amazing!  I loved how much they talked about being able to be available when the Lord needs us.  It made me think about what I could do better to serve those around me and not just focus on myself.  I love our investigators so much and want them to see that not only do I love them, but Heavenly Father does too! 
So...I'm so excited for General Conference this weekend!!  I love listening to the prophet and apostles and receiving guidance and direction from them.  Everyone should try to watch it!  It's at 10am MST and 2pm MST on both Saturday and Sunday.  Watch all four sessions if you can!! 
I love serving here in Moorpark, but I especially just love serving my mission!  I love the people here and want everyone to know that.  I love all of you and want you to know that I pray for you everyday.  Thanks so much for the prayers and love!
Yo se que vive mi Senor y El quiere lo mejor para nosotros!  Nuestra Padre Celestial and Jesucristo nos aman mucho!  Yo se que esta iglesia es verdadera y que esta obra es lo mas importante en el mundo.  Les amo!  (Lo siento por no tuve la opportunidad para hacerlo.)

Con Amor,
Hermana Halliday
PS: Shout out to Sean Fisher for getting his mission call to the Brazil Curitiba South Mission!  He's gonna rock it!

Steak and Eggs!  Yum!

 Illinois License Plate (right down the street from our old house)!

Ring Pop!  Thanks Fam!

Missed call from President Castro!  :-|

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fourteenth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week has been beyond CRAZY!! So much has happened.  I'll try to get everything in that I can.  There's been a lot of ups and downs, but everything has turned out for the better!

On Monday, we received a referral from the Moorpark 2nd Ward Sisters.  His name is Justin and he's super excited about learning more. He's been to church about 5 times already and read the Book of Mormon twice! We stopped by and introduced ourselves and set up an appointment to meet with him on Wednesday.  However, on Tuesday, we found out that he's single and 23, therefore the zone leaders had to teach him because he's a young single adult.  It stunk!  At least he's meeting with awesome missionaries and progressing in the gospel!  We found out on Thursday that he made dinner for the elders.  He was expecting us so he made steak and a ton of other delicious food.  Lucky for us, the elders decided to bestow grace on us and brought us some of the steak he made.  It was THE MOST delicious steak I have ever before tasted in my life! (even if it was leftovers)  :)  We were so excited to get a new investigator, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. 

After we emailed last week, we went to a member's home in Thousand Oaks to wash our cars all together as a district.  It was really fun and really relaxing!

On Tuesday, we got to go to a parenting class that was entirely in Spanish.  One of our investigators invited us to come to talk to some of the parents afterwards about what they can do to help their kids.  It was a really neat experience.  The parents are all really nice and Teresa, our investigator, thought it was impressive that at such young ages we're able to offer so much council and advice. 

On Wednesday, we had exchanges with Hermana Coleman and Hermana Bartschi.  Hermana Smith and I went with Hermana Coleman and Hermana Faletau went with Hermana Bartschi.  We saw so many miracles.  We were able to get in contact with one of our former investigators, Terry Anne.  She recently just went into remission from cancer so her life's been pretty hard lately.  She never had the opportunity to go to church when the other sisters taught her because she was too sick, but now that she's getting better, she really wants to go! She's read the Book of Mormon and loves meeting with us now.  We're really excited for her!  We also got to talk to Shan-Shan again.  She's doing great as always!  She's still on track to be baptized on October 19th!  Our other investigator, Pauline, who has a baptismal date of October 19th ended up cancelling on us this week, but hopefully she's still interested.  Please pray for her!  During exchanges, we also got to see Amie.  She's the wife of a less active member, Chad.  She's been having a hard time lately and really opened up to us about it.  She loves meeting with us.  On Sunday, we found out that she's actually a member!! It was weird.  She was baptized in 2003, but no body knew about it.  The whole ward council found out on Sunday.

So the week's been going great right?  This is where it got crazy...

Wednesday night, we looked at the phone and it said we had a missed call from President Castro.  We started freaking out a little, but once we calmed down, we called him back and asked him what he needed.  He told us that he needed to talk to all three of us together, but after we got home for the night.  This freaked us out a little bit more.  Once we got home, we called him back.  He told us that there was a sister missionary in Camarillo that had to go home because of health problems.  Her companion, Sister Kiyotani (used to be in Moorpark!) now needed a companion.  President Castro told us that he would like Hermana Smith to move to Camarillo mid-transfer and be Sister Kiyotani's companion for the rest of the transfer!  It was crazy!  All in all, we're back down to two.  It's just me and Hermana Faletau now.  At first it was really weird not being with Hermana Smith, but then it became more normal being at two.  She's going to do a great job in Camarillo and change lives!  She told me that she was grateful to be able to be trained by me and that I did a good job.  It was really sweet!

On Friday, we had a lesson with Denisse that went the complete opposite direction of where we wanted it to go. She ended up inviting her very passionate/antagonistic friend to the lesson and we invited a brother from the ward to come and talk about the Book of Mormon and how it's such a big miracle. Instead of having a powerful, spiritually uplifting and prepared lesson, it turned into a huge Bible bash between the brother and Jamie (Denisse's friend). The spirit was not there and Denisse looked like she was about to cry. She still wants us to come back though, which is good! We need to back track a little with her. When we looked back at the experience, we realized that we didn't do as much as we could have to prevent the situation. We should have at least stopped the brother from being contentious to preserve the spiritual view Denisse has of the church. Brother Seguine shared 2 Nephi 25:23 with us yesterday at correlation. It talks about how grace can save us even after all we can do. He told us that we prepared the lesson the best we did and even it didn't turn out well, Heavenly Father will make sure that every thing will turn out in the end, even if it means the Denisse doesn't get baptized any time soon. The definitely helped boost my confidence. 
After her lesson, we were kind of down in the dumps, but we were able to go teach Ezra, the almost 9 year old.  He told us that he wants to be baptized on November 1st and be confirmed on the 3rd.  We're so excited for him and his decision.  I really hope I'm still here next transfer to be able to see the baptism. 

On Sunday, for Sacrament Meeting, it was the Primary Program!  I'm convinced that it's the best week of the year!  I love watching the little kids bear their testimonies and setting such great examples for their friends.  It made me miss home a little bit, but I know that Zach and Ben are being great missionaries too!

This morning, before we came to email, Hermana Faletau and I got our eyebrows threaded!  We found this threading place right behind our apartment. It's about time I got my eyebrows done!

Thanks so much for all the love and support that you all give me!  Every bit helps!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

On P-Day at a member's home washing cars and playing on the sports court!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thirteenth Week in the Field

Hola everyone!!

Well....transfers were this week and I have another companion!  Her name's Hermana Faletau and she's from Provo, UT.  She's originally from Tonga though.  She's 21 and is so excited to be here in California finally.  She went to the Mexico MTC and then came here!  At first I was realy jealous, but then she was telling us about what it was like and decided I'm grateful that I went to the one in Provo.  She's super fun and loves teaching the gospel. 

Transfer meeting was really neat and spiritual.  I thought I was going to see Hermana Romero there, but she's follow-up training for the first time ever, so I didn't get to :( We still keep in contact though!

We were finally able to get a hold of Pauline (one of our investigators with a baptismal date).  We haven't been able to make contact with her since Hermana Smith and I got here last transfer.  We taught her the resoration again and she told us that she still really wants to get baptized on October 19th! Her, along with Shan-Shan, were both going to get baptized on October 5th, but we realized that that was General Conference weekend. So, we bumped it to the 12th (MY BIRTHDAY!), but we found out that that's Stake Conference weekend.  Therefore, we have to wait until the 19th.  That would have been the coolest birthday present ever!  Oh well, they're still getting baptized a week later!

Denisse is still doing well, but still a little stubborn in regards to only reading the Book of Mormon.  She compares everything she reads to the Bible and studys sermons given by Joseph Smith in more depth.  We keep trying to tell her that she's not going to be able to understad the them if she doesn't first gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.  "Line upon line, precept upon precept."  In personal study this week I was reading in 2 Nephi 16:10.  It was perfect for her!  It says, "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes - lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed."  It's so important that we focus on how we feel and what we hear rather than expect some miraculous manifestation or logical thing to happen. 

We started teaching a eight year old boy, Ezra, this week.  His family is less active, but they want to start coming back to church.  He's so adorable!!  I told him that I have a nine-year-old brother at home that I miss a lot.  He told me he could be my little brother in California while I'm on my mission!  How cute is that!  He's really excited to be baptized and wants to be before he turns nine next month. 

One of the recent converts in the Spanish branch lives in our area, so we get to teach him.  His name is Pablo (I might have mentioned him before).  This week, he was telling us all about how he used to box and was trying to show us some moves.  He's in his 70's so it was hard for him, but he loved doing it!  He get's kind of lonely sometimes, so he loves it when we come and talk with him.  He helps us with our spanish and we help him with his english.  It's amazing because Hermana Romero was the one that taught him and what there when he was baptized.  He talks about her all the time and how much he loves her.  I miss her a ton (along with Hermana Higgs), but they're both doing great in Paso Robles still. 

Thank you so much for all the love and support that you give me!  You're all in my prayers!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday