Monday, November 25, 2013

Twenty-third Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!!

This week was probably one of the most productive weeks that I've had on my mission thus far.  

So many miracles are happening everyday.  

First of all, Guillermo hasn't made any more contact with us so that's good!  Brother Wutkee (our Branch Mission Leader) still hasn't been able to get a hold of him.  

On Friday, Hermana Faletau and I were trying to contact a former investigator, but he wasn't home.  Instead, we got to talk to another girl that lives there.  Her name's Yesenia and she's 14.  We taught a simple Restoration lesson and then she committed to be baptized!!  She committed to January 18th.  We're really excited to keep working with her.  She seems like she is really looking for something more in her life.  It's amazing how young she still is and wants this, but then I think of Joseph Smith and how he was only 14 too... :)

We had Zone Conference this week!!!  Zone Conference was, like always, amazing. I went with some pretty specific questions in mind; including: How can I help Linda want to progress more and keep her commitments? How can I feel like I'm being a successful missionary even though I haven't had any baptisms yet? What can I do to set a better example for Hermana Faletau? Every single one of these questions was answered in one way or another. My biggest concern was the baptisms and whether or not I was being effective. President Castro addressed it right away in his  opening remarks, even though he went into more detail later, I teared up. I know without a doubt that he's called of God and knows exactly what he needs to say to help us. For the longest time, I've been struggling with feeling accepted even though I know what Preach My Gospel says and what people have been telling me. Looking at it in the way that the investigators will always remember who first taught them the gospel or who first showed up on their doorstep helped me a lot this week. I also really appreciated the background behind his conversion story. He talked about how Elder Redd will always be his missionary even though he wasn't even there when President got baptized. Everything at Zone Conference is helping me see everything in the greater picture. 

I also got to see Elder James at Zone Conference!  It was good to see him and talk about our investigators :)

This week I've had the opportunity to go out with Sister Heslop a lot to help them out with their work. Although it took away some time from the Branch, so many miracles happened when I was with Hermana Faletau. Every time we went to an appointment or to a visit, the person was always there and we were able to teach them. I remember talking to the Sister Training Leaders about how they still manage to get work done in their area even though they go out and help others a lot. I'm starting to understand. The Lord loves all of His children and wants them to be able to hear the gospel no matter what. On top of that, I feel like I was able to be a lot more productive overall because of those miracles.  It's also a bonus that I get to go see investigators and members from 1st ward!

Thanksgiving is this week!!  I'm really excited, but at the same time not.  We don't have a member's home to eat at, BUT we're going to Denny's and we're going to baptized the whole staff!  It'll be great!  I'll tell you all about it next week (along with news for transfers...already!)

I was reading in my General Conference issue of the Ensign in May and found this really cool quote which helped a lot this week: 

"Whether or not the invitation is accepted as you invite others to 'come and see,' you will feel the approval of the Lord and, with that approval, an added measure of faith to share your beliefs again and again."  Elder Neil L. Andersen

Thank you so much for all the love and prayers!  I'm grateful for the opportunity to be serving here and wouldn't want to be serving any where else.  I can't believe that transfers are next week again, but I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me.  

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

I'm Gansta!  :-)

We're having too much fun!  :-)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Twenty-second Week in the Field

Hola Everyone! 

This week was absolutely crazy with all sorts of weird things happening.....

First of all, President Castro was at our district meeting this week!!  He walked in during the opening song and none of us were expecting it! He's is such an inspiring man who is most definitely called of God.  During our role play portion, he chose to sit in on mine and another Elder's.  He gave so much advice on how to help Linda, one of our investigators, continue to progress.

Yesterday, we had such a miracle! Earlier this week, we were looking for a potential, but he wasn't home. Instead, we talked to his dad who didn't seem interested, but out of no where, his friend, Reuban popped up. He only heard the end of our conversation, but he asked us what church we belonged to and if we had anything, such as a magazine or pamphlet, that we could give him to look at. Without hesitating, we gave him a Restoration pamphlet and tried to start talking to him, but he was too busy right then. He told us to come visit him at his house on Saturday so he could learn more! Of course, we were so excited, but when we went to the appointment, he told us his wife (Sandra) wasn't home so he wanted us to come back yesterday around the same time. We were a little bummed, but over thrilled because he wanted his wife to learn more. When we went to the appointment yesterday, not only were him and his wife there, but his mother-in-law (Celia) and his sister-in-law (Nancy). They all sat there so intently during the entire lesson and asked really good questions. The spirit was really strong the entire time we were there and we could tell that they were so ready to continue hearing more. At the end, we felt prompted to invite them all to be baptized. Celia and Nancy said that they weren't ready, but Reuban and Sandra both said they would! When we tried to commit them to a date, Reuban said that he wanted to learn more still and continue reading the Book of Mormon before he made any commitment, but Sandra said yes right away to December 28th! We were so excited and when we left their house, we felt like we had no idea what just happened. They are so ready for the gospel to be able to bless there lives. Hermana Faletau and I have already offered up so many prayers of thanks for what happened. We've been struggling a little with keeping our investigators interested or having the desire to continue to progress. This was an answer to our prayers for new investigators.

So, Linda isn't doing as well as we thought. We had planned to have a lesson with her later that day after not seeing her for about a week and a half. When we went by, no body was home, so we tried the next day and the next. Every time we've gone by she's never home, which is really unusual because she's always home at the times we've gone. We tried calling and we talked to her husband a few times who said she wasn't home, but when we tried calling yesterday before church, it said that the number was incorrect. We've called the same number multiple times and have always had success. We're starting to think that she's trying to avoid us even though the last time we'd met with her we had such a great lesson. We're constantly praying for her because we know that she's ready.
Hermana Faletau and I had a really interesting experience this week. Late last week, we had been looking for a potential investigator when we met her sister. We were talking to her when a guy in his early 20's (Guillermo) comes and sits down on the couch outside the front door. As we were leaving, he asked us if he could have the same card that we had given to the other woman. Of course we gave him one and then he told us that he used to meet with missionaries last year and was wondering when he could meet with us. We were so excited! Another answer to our prayers! We exchanged numbers and set up a return appointment. Up to this point we thought everything was going to go really well and we'd end up having a new investigator. This is where it started getting a little weird. Later that night, we got a really strange text from him that didn't make any sense, so we thought that he was trying to text someone else. We asked him, but then he started sending a lot more texts that weren't very appropriate. He asked us if we could go out and starting complimenting us and telling us that he couldn't control the way he felt. We were supposed to meet with Guillermo the next day, but we decided to change the appointment so we could find out more information about him before going back to his house. We didn't end up finding anything out, but we still went back to the return appointment. Everything went great and he didn't seem like he was trying to do anything. We committed him to a baptismal date of December 21st too. After the lesson, he sent us some more texts though. We got a little weirded out, so we talked to Elder Watts about it. He then talked to the Elder Eastman and Elder Bate about the situation. Right now, we've been instructed to not make contact with him and have our Branch mission leader meet with him and figure out what's going on. That's where we are on this situation, but I'll keep you updated next week. We just want to make sure that he's able to having a spiritually rewarding experience and not because we're sister missionaries. 
On Monday, we got to have dinner with the Parra Family.  The branch president and his family are probably some of the sweetest most loving people that I've ever met.  They're also some of the most funny people I've ever met.  Dinner was great and then we got to talking and they ended up telling us practically their entire life story including how they met, when they dated, how he proposed.  The whole shebang!  It was really funny how into it they got.  Their kids are little angels.  There's Joshua who's 9, Jessica who's 7, and finally James who's 5.  James is practically a little Mexican version of Ben.  No big deal. :) 

Yesterday, during church, was the primary program for the branch.  I felt like the luckiest person alive to get to go to two with a few months of each other!  Little children have such a sweet spirit about them.  I wanted to kidnap them all and just take them home with me. 

Maria is still doing great, she wasn't at church on Sunday, but her lesson went really well and she prayed for us!  She even specifically asked God to help her know if January 25th is the right day for her.  It was one of the most sincere prayers that I've ever heard given.  I really hope she decides to go for it!  (Not only because I want her to be baptized, but because that'll be the one year mark of when I opened my mission call!)

Hermana Faletau and I are having a blast here in Moorpark!  It stinks that we only have 2 weeks left of the transfer, but who knows what'll happen.  I feel like I'm going to leave, but I really hope not.  Everything here is so perfect and the work has picked up so much this transfer.  I really want to be here to see the results of all the hard work we've been doing.

Like always, thank you so much for all the love and support! 

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

PS:  two weeks ago I got my ears pierced...finally!  I'll send a pic.
PSS: Oh! and also last week we got a new car!  super nice!! It's a 2014 Chevy Cruze!  I absolutely love it and it's definitely nicer than any other car that I've ever driven.  :)  I hope you're all jealous!

Ezra in part of his Halloween costume.

 Fun with glow sticks.  :-)

 Good bye old car... We're getting a new one!

I finally got my ears pierced!  :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Twenty-first Week in the Field


This week was great!! Like always so many miracles happened and we got to see the hand of the Lord work in our lives. 

We got to have exchanges with Hermana Coleman and Hermana Linford this week (on Thursday) and, of course like always, we saw so many miracles. Hermana Linford and I had an amazing lesson with Linda. We got to talk about the importance of the baptismal covenants we make and how the Sacrament plays an integral part in renewing them each week. She cried and the Spirit was really strong. Although she didn't make it to church, we know that the Spirit touched her and that her desire is stronger than before to get baptized. We reset her with a date for December 14th and trying to do everything we can to get her be prepared for that date.

During exchanges, Hermana Linford and I were also able to teach the mother of a former investigator here in Moorpark. We ended up looking for him at night, but she was the only one home and let us in. We taught her the Restoration and invited her to be baptized and she said yes! We haven't been able to set her with a date yet, but our next lesson is with her on Tuesday. I was able to work a lot with Hermana Linford on inviting people to be baptized during the first lesson or even on the doorstep. I've been reading and studying a lot about the importance of baptism and helping people realize this importance. This week, I'm honestly going to try to invite as many people as I can to be baptized. I want to be a better missionary and the best way I can do that is to invite people to come closer to Christ through baptism.

On Tuesday, we got to go to choir again with the branch.  Best branch ever....I have no other words... :)

President Parra told all four of us hermanas that we've now entered the "twilight zone" and that this is the craziest, yet most loving and faithful branch we'll ever get the chance to work in.  I completely agree!

On Saturday, Hermana Faletau and I were trying to find the non-member parents of a less active member in the branch. We had tried to knock there before and get a hold of them, but they were never home. This time they answered! We were thrilled to find out that Sister Rivera wants to come to church more, but her husband doesn't want to. We got Sister Parra (branch president's wife) to pick her up and take her to church every week. I love it when miracles happen.

Yesterday, because Sister Appel still isn't feeling good (she's been having really bad headaches for about 4 weeks now...her companion (who's new) has had to stay and study almost everyday all day), I got to go on exchanges with Sister Heslop (her companion) for a few hours. It was really interesting to get to see some of the less active members of the ward again with her and let her get some more application and practice in. When the sisters told us that the zone leaders said we could do that, I was really glad I could help out. I know Sister Heslop really appreciated it.

Pablo is the best.  I really have no other words to describe him.  He got to bless the Sacrament for the first time ever yesterday and it was absolutely adorable.  He was really nervous throughout the week when he was practicing the prayer with us, but when he did it yesterday, it was perfect.  He couldn't stop smiling afterwards either.  His faith is growing stronger and stronger everyday.  He only has 6 months left until he gets to go to the temple.  He can't wait to be sealed to his wife for eternity. 

Everyday gets better and better being out here in the field.  I feel like I'm constantly learned so much and becoming a better missionary.  Thank you so much for all the prayers and love that you've all given me!  It really helps out!  Esta iglesia y Jesucristo son lo mas importantes en mi vida y yo se que el evangelio es la unica manera que una persona puede regresar para vivir con Dios para siempre.  Si uds no tiene una copia del Libro de Mormon, por favor, pida por una de un miembro o de los misioneros. Es el libro lo mas correcto en todo el mundo.  Les amo todos Uds. 

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

 Sister Linford and I on Exchanges

Monday, November 4, 2013

Twentieth Week in the Field

Malo e lelei!

This week has been a really great, but kind of a bummer too.  So, originally, we had two investigators with baptismal dates (Tivursio and Linda).  Tivursio still is on for the 30th of November, but Linda isn't on for the 9th anymore.  We're having some difficulties in getting her to come to church and keep some of her commitments.  Even though Tivursio still has a date, we didn't have the chance to see him or Gloria this week at all.  Apparently, Gloria got really sick and they haven't been able to meet with us.  Please pray for all of them!

This week, Hermana Faletau and I were in the room when Sister Appel and Sister Heslop got a phone call from Sister Ramirez (Ezra's mom).  She told them that she didn't want them to meet with him anymore and that they'd call when they were ready.  This broke my heart like no other.  They didn't even get a chance to meet him.  They only had met Bro. Ramirez and Kyle.  I pray for their whole family everyday and ask that you all pray for them too.  It's really hard to see investigators making so much progress and have such a strong desire and then something happen that hinders them.  It's just like the Foltz family all over again...

On a more positive note...At District Meeting, our zone leaders told us all about the zone goals that they had come up with, including, prayer/faith, sacrifice, and the Atonement. They asked us to prayerfully consider something that we could give up. For this transfer, I decided to give up sweets and snack food for the purpose of just merely snacking. As I thought about it, I realized that I spend way to much money on just snack food and sweets and that I'm a lot more tired when I eat those foods. I'm really excited to continue doing this through the rest of the transfer, so I can focus more on the Spirit and the work. I know that I'll be able to have more energy to help those around me.

On Tuesday, Hermana Faletau and I had a really neat experience. We were on our way to see an investigator, but when we got there, he wasn't there. His daughter said that he would be back in a little bit, so we decided to knock a few houses. We walked by this one house and saw a man sitting out front, so we decided to talk to him. His name is Junior and it turns out that he saw us walking by to go see the other investigator, but when we passed, he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to have us come back and talk to him about the word of God. When he told us this, I was so impressed. It's amazing how Heavenly Father will literally put people in front of us so we can share the gospel with them. It was a wonderful eye-opening experience for me. 
Last night, Hermana Faletau, Sister Appel, Sister Heslop, and started talking about the importance of the family in the gospel. Before I came on my mission, I really wanted to get married and have an eternal family, but the more that I've been on my mission, I've realized that it's so much more than I gave it credit for. Having the opportunity to teach about it everyday to those here in Moorpark has just solidified my desire. I'm so grateful for the ability that we have to establish families here on earth, but even more importantly for eternity. I really want this mission to help me become the wife and mother and person that Heavenly Father wants me to be. 
I love the branch here SO MUCH!! I loved the MP1st ward, but the members in the branch are just so loving and welcoming.  Every week, everyone has to hug and kiss everyone and say hi before Sacrament Meeting starts.  We get to be a part of the choir to help them out too!  Every Tuesday, we get to go to the church building and see almost everyone there too.  I love them so much, but (I'm sorry) they're all pretty tone deaf.  It's so sweet, though, because they pour their entire soul into what they're singing and the Spirit is always so strong.  So...because we're in Moorpark, we only get to eat dinner with members who live in Moorpark (which is like three families), BUT they're all really nice.  One family, the Aguilar's, sign up to feed us every Sunday.  When we went to eat with them yesterday, they told us that they might have two referrals for us, but not quite yet!  Their family is so sweet!  They only have one active son (Mattiew), but he has a really strong testimony and sets the example for his two older brothers.  I am so happy to be able to be serving here in Moorpark still, but I know that I'll probably end up being transferred after this one.  I really hope not though. 

I love living with three other sisters.  It's so much more fun that just my companion, but I still love her!  It just mixes up the day and daily we get to hear about miracles they've seen and we get to tell them about miracles that we've seen. 

So, my Tongan is coming along quite nicely!  The perks of having a Tongan companion are the greatest.  I can now officially bear my testimony in the language of her people! 

PABLO IS PROBABLY THE COOLEST OLD HISPANIC MAN THAT I'VE EVER MET!  He has such a desire to do what's right and help other's know about the truth.  This week, as we were picking guavas off his tree (like we do every time we go), he started singing for us!  Apparently, he used to be a professional singer after he was done with boxing.  He's so full of surprises!

Thank you so much for all the love and support that you've all given me!  Just remember to keep spreading the word and "stand as a witness [of Jesus Christ] at all times, and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9).  I love you all!

Ofa lahi atu,

Hermana Halliday

Happy Halloween!  :-)