SOOOO....We got the news this morning on transfers.....I'm no longer in Moorpark :(
BUT....I'm going to Oxnard and will be serving in the 5th ward area 4 and whitewashing with Hermana Rayez! I can't believe that there's four areas in this one ward, but we'll see how it goes! We'll also be living with two other companionships! It'll probably be a party, but I'll let you know more next week. :)
Hermana Shepherd's going to be staying in Moorpark (the ward and the branch still!) and serving with Hermana Romero AND Hermana Hardy!!! I have no doubt that Moorpark will be in good hands.
On a spiritual note, this week has been so incredible! We've seen so many miracles and I know that it's because of all of the hard work we've been doing. We've been focusing a lot on inviting people to be baptized within the first moments of speaking with them. It's been a lot more productive because we've been able to figure out who's really interested by helping them understand our purpose. I'm so grateful for having been able to focus on that this past week and thrilled that we were able to invite 20 people to be baptized. I'm especially grateful for our zone leaders and how much they pushed us to exceed our goals and help us understand that the Atonement effects everything we do. I feel like I've grown so much this past transfer as I've been able to understand what exactly Christ has done for me.
Earlier this week, we received a referral from Church Headquarters for a man named Ashish. He was in Salt Lake City with his mom just to check out Temple Square and see the "Mormon Temple." When he was there he became fascinated with the idea of the Spirit World, the concept of the Book of Mormon, and he wants to be able to find more spiritual strength in his life. When we met with him, he told us that he's 36 and unmarried, but he really wants to be. He wants to turn to God in this trial and be able to find answers to many of his questions. His faith is amazing and he's willing to do anything we ask him to if it means that he'll come closer to God. We're planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation tonight at our appointment with him.
We've also been able to continue teaching Charlotte this week. She is such a cute little girl who really has a strong desire to be baptized. Although she wants to do this, she wants to be sure that she fully understands what baptism entails before jumping right into it. Every time we've visited her, she's had great questions and wants to keep learning more. The only concern that we have about her is that she doesn't always seem enthusiastic about us coming over. We're still trying to figure out if she's just really shy or if her mom is pushing her a little. She did however open up more this week and told us more about herself, which was great! I love seeing signs of improvement.
The Ramirez' and Ezra are doing so great! We were able to visit them twice this week and during the first visit, Brother Ramirez told us that now that Ezra's baptized, they've made the goal to go to the temple in one year! This is the first time that they've ever talked about this goal with anyone and made it audible. I love their family so much and I've loved being able to work with them through this difficult process of getting Ezra baptized and getting them, as a family, reactivated. Their oldest son, Kyle, as been going to mutual more often and firesides with one of the families in the ward too. He even told us that he wants to start going to seminary too! I'm so grateful that the ward is starting to step up and help all of these wonderful people here in Moorpark. We've been trying to work on getting Brother Ramirez a calling so that he'll feel more needed and wanted in the ward. It hasn't happened yet, but it will soon. We've also been trying to get Sister Ramirez to become closer with some of the members so that she'll feel more loved as well.
Pablo is doing absolutely amazing! After 7 months of being here, I've loved being able to see the transformation of him from depressed and lonely to hopeful and preparing to go the temple. I've seen the Atonement play such a vital role in his life and that's probably another reason why I appreciate the Atonement so much in my life and in the lives of others. It'll be hard to leave him after this long, but I know that Hermana Shepherd, Hermana Romero, and Hermana Hardy will take good care of him.
One of our investigators, Jason, has been really hard to work with lately. He has the desire to keep learning, but keeps telling us that he's lost his faith and that he doesn't know if God really exists anymore. He keeps cancelling and the rescheduling our appointments that we set up with him, so we don't know how devoted he is to learning. We don't want to give up on him, but we've been thinking a lot about dropping him, even though he doesn't want us to "give up on him." We'll see if he shows up to his appointment on Wednesday.
Also, all four of us Hermanas were able to sing in the branch on Sunday and it went great! :)
I've loved being able to be here in Moorpark for 5 transfers. I've loved being able to work through all of the difficulties and heartbreaks that have helped me to become a better missionary. Moorpark will definitely always be in my heart and the people even more so. The relationships that I've been able to form with the members and investigators here are so strong and I hope to be able to stay in touch with all of them. I've also loved being able to be companions with Hermana Shepherd. She's taught me so much about what it means to work hard and have a positive attitude while doing it. I know that she's so converted to the gospel and is going to accomplish great things during the remainder of her mission.
You're all so great!! Thanks so much for all the prayers!
Hermanas and Pablo (CVM)
Me with the Parra Family
Me with Jessica Parra
Me with James Parra
The "TO Temple" Not really... just our church building that's HUGE!