Monday, March 31, 2014

Forty-first Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

So much has happened this week that has kept us busy!

It all started out on Monday when we were able to visit the Galvan family. We decided to make Restoration cups with them so they could practice teaching the Restoration to each other and help their oldest brother, Bryan, understand the reason why we need to have a prophet here on earth again. He, unfortunately, wasn't there, but we're going back again tonight, so hopefully he will be then. We found out that they didn't answer the door when their ride came by to bring them to church, so there's more going on than just a miscommunication with the Hermana that was going to come pick them up. We're going to address that tonight.

This week and last, we decided to start going through our former investigators to see if any of them would be ready to continue learning about the gospel and meeting with the missionaries. We were able to find a few, but one of them, Vivian, was an especially great experience. When the missionaries had first started teaching her, she was only 17 years old, so her mom wouldn't let her get baptized because they were extremely Catholic. Now that she's 19, she wants to look more into the church again and she really enthusiastic about it. She wasn't able to come to church because her mom decided to do something as a family last minute. We think the mom still may be an issue, but we'll hopefully get to meet her soon and help her understand that we're not trying to take over her daughters life and take her away from her. (That was the way Vivian portrayed it.) We went by on Saturday to invite her to the baptism that Elder Carter and Elder Bryson had, but she still wasn't able to make it to that either. She did tell us however that she really wants to be baptized. It's just her mom that doesn't approve of it. 

When we went over to visit her this weekend, she wasn't home, but we met her older brother, Rudy. It turns out that he's been looking for what the truth is and he wants something to help raise his 10 year old son in. He had a ton of great questions that all were able to be answered by the Restoration, so what started out as a doorstep declaration, turned into almost an hour and a half lesson. It was such a miracle! We were able to set up a return appointment with him. 

We've still been working with the Ruiz family. Martin (the son) is still really hard to get a hold of and we're starting to think that he's trying to avoid us. His parents really want the gospel in his life, but he's in a rebellious stage of life and doesn't want to do anything that his parents want him to do. We found him a ride for church (Danny, our ward mission leader), but he called Danny and told him that he wasn't going to be able to come this week. We're still trying to figure out how to best help him. His parent's are still great though. We've been able to teach them a lot more and they're opening up a ton to missionaries whereas in the past they wanted nothing to do with them. 

Tobias is still really depressed, but he's getting a lot better. We were able to have a lesson with him before church yesterday with Hno. Govea and Hna. Guzman, but we lost control of the lesson. Hna. Guzman got so excited about being able to help us out that she launched into her whole conversion story and why baptism is such an important step. It was a really good lesson still and the spirit was still really strong, but Hno. Govea was the one that kept it on track about keeping the commandments. Tobias wanted to meet with us again after church, so we met him at the park and found out that he still has a lot of doubts about baptism. Hna. Reyes felt the prompting to go over the baptismal interview questions with him, so we did. It turns out that his main doubt is whether Joseph Smith really was a prophet or not. We decided to reteach the Restoration and it helped him a lot. I've loved being able to work with him and see the transformation that the gospel is helping him achieve. 

We were able to go visit Rosa this week as well. When we got there, she said that she didn't have that much time, so we decided to just read Alma 36 with her, but we ended up being there for about an hour anyway. Her faith and hope in the enabling and redeeming power of the Atonement has gotten so much stronger and she's starting to seem a lot happier. She's getting surgery again this week, so hopefully we'll be able to catch her at some point if she's feeling better. 

At District Meeting on Thursday, we were able to talk a lot about what it means to be a consecrated missionary. We read a talk by Elder Callister that helped me look at it in a different way. He talked about how the law of consecration is "the law of the temple, the law of the celestial kingdom, and the law of a Zion mission." Of course, I thought about what else I could put on the altar of sacrifice to help this mission, our investigators, and myself reach our true potential. 

At the baptism on Saturday, Hna. Reyes, Hna. Taylor, Hna. Player, and myself were able to sing "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" while Jhon was getting changed. Once again the spirit was really strong as we were able to share our talents and our testimonies of the Savior. 

The General Women's Broadcast on Saturday was so good! I loved how much they focused on being covenant keepers and how everything we do should lead to the temple. I also loved how much they focused on the concept that "the errand of angels is given to women." It just made me be more excited to help investigators enter into the covenant of baptism and to one day be a mom and help my kids do the same. 

Thanks for all the love and support! I can feel it everyday as we're out working!

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

Me and my comp!

 The Galvan family!

 The Galvan family!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fortieth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week was definitely a week of miracles! 

On Monday, we had the chance to visit the Ruiz family again and to teach Martin (the son) about the Restoration more in depth. He opened up so much and told us that he wanted to increase his relationship with God. After we finished the lesson, he accepted a baptismal date of April 19th. We talked to him more about what he would need to do reach this date and what else we still needed to talk to him about. We invited him to mutual and he went on Tuesday! We ended up finding him a ride from one of the members and when he got there, the young men welcomed him right in. Hermano Juarez, the young men's president, talked to him a lot about the program and scouting and For the Strength of Youth and all sorts of other great things about the gospel. We were so excited that he was able to make it and we hope that he'll want to continue coming in the future. He wasn't, however, at church on Sunday because he was mad at his parents and knew that it would upset them if he didn't go. Other than that and working with him on trying to remember to read the Book of Mormon), he's doing so well though! We went back yesterday to teach them again, but Martin wasn't there. Instead we talked to his parents and found out that the only reason Hno. Ruiz doesn't want to be baptized was because he didn't want to pay tithing and that a missionary many years ago told him that if he wasn't baptized, their house would be condemned and they would have a lot of trials. He was obviously offended by this and didn't want anything to do with the church for many years. He's finally opening back up to wanting to take the lessons again and he has a lot of good questions. At least we know what his main concerns are now!

On Tuesday, we had so many of them. It all started out in the morning when we were contacting a potential investigator. She wasn't home, but we were able to talk to her mom, Irma. It just started out as a doorstep lesson, but then she invited us in and we had a really good lesson on how to help our kids keep good standards in today's world. We tied it back to the Restoration and how Heavenly Father really does look out for us in these perilous times. It turns out that their family isn't really practicing any religion currently and they're starting to look for one to hold to. Irma really wants something that can unify their family and give her kids a really strong support system. The spirit was really strong during the entire lesson! After we left her home, Hermana Reyes and I made it a goal to find a family to teach before the end of the transfer whether it be them or another one. Seeing Irma's desire to help her family strengthened our desire to help other families have the blessings of the gospel in their lives. I'm so excited to keep working with her. 

Later that same day, we were contacting a less active who ended up not being home. Instead, we talked to her cousin, Anika. In short, she was looking for a church to join and was thinking about being baptized, but didn't know how to go about it. When we invited her to be baptized after a short doorstep lesson, she told us this and readily accepted a baptismal date of April 26th! She's really hard to catch, but we're really excited to keep working with her in the future. 

Thursday night we were able to go over to the Galvan's home and teach them the Restoration using the cup visual. They loved it! They loved it so much that all the kids wanted to make their own, so we're going back over tonight to have a noche de hogar and make the cups with them. The kids, unfortunately, weren't able to make it on Sunday because they weren't ready when their ride got there, so we're going to talk to them about that tonight as well. All of them are so cute and I can tell that they love learning about the gospel. We still haven't been able to see the oldest, Brian, since we first met him, but we're working on having the kids give him encouragement to come back to church. 

The Macias family is doing so well! They had some issues that they had to work out with the Bishop that we were able to convince them to talk to him about, but when I went by with another Relief Society sister on Thursday, they were a lot happier than they were last week. I love being able to see the power of the Atonement work in people's lives and the happiness that it brings them when they're trying to follow Christ and do what's right. 

On Friday, we were finally able to meet with Tobias. He's still really depressed with his whole legal situation that he's dealing with, but when we were talking to Bishop, he told us that we just need to be bold with him and not let him "fester" in his bad circumstances. We just need to tell him to look at the bright side and see that he has a lot of other good things going for him. Tobias also came to church on Sunday, so that helped him feel the spirit a little bit stronger and help him feel better about his situation. He still has his date of April 19th and is coming to church faithfully, but he still doesn't have the conviction that everything we're telling him is true yet. We've been praying for him everyday multiple times, so I know that he'll be able to feel a difference in his life. 

We were also able to meet with Rosa. We retaught her the Plan of Salvation and emphasized the power that the Atonement can have in our lives. She feels really guilty about some past things that she's done, but she told us that when we told her that she can be completely cleansed and forgiven she lit up and told us that she felt a little better knowing that. I don't think that she still completely understands that Christ loves her enough to suffer just for her, but hopefully in this coming week we'll make progress with her in that regard. 

Saturday was also a day of miracles! We were able to go to our wards Relief Society activity and we were able to get Myra(I) there! She really enjoyed it and so did all of the other sisters that went. Lunch and a service project were included.  

We had the chance to have zone conference this week as well!!  Of course it went amazing!! In short...
1. we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon as our main source of teaching
2. our new christ like attribute is VIRTUE
3. we talked a lot about the Atonement and how we're all children of God
4. we found out that ELDER NELSON is visiting our mission on the 19th of April!!!  I'm pumped!!!

Thanks for all the love and support that I've gotten this past week!!  I love all of you!!

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

On exchanges with Hermana Siddoway

 Me with my companion, Hermana Reyes

 Super Target with underground parking

 Hermana Reyes and I with Hermana Bartschi and Sister Hegstrom

 Photo Booth!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thirty-ninth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week has been so full of miracles that have helped me realize that the Lord's hand plays a part in everything.

We went to an appointment earlier this week that we had with Martin Ruiz (I), but when we got there, we found out that his mom is already a member and that his dad is a former investigator. This totally took us by surprise when they told us this, so instead of teaching the Restoration to Martin, we decided to read 2 Nephi 2 with them. They apparently love it when missionaries come over, but we had no idea! We set a return appointment for this past Friday to go back and see them again. We arrainged for Hermana Rios from the ward to come with us because they had mentioned that they were really good friends with her, but when we got there, we realized that we forgot to text Hermana Rios the address of where they live now. We were unable to get a hold of her then, so we went into the appointment and rescheduled for tonight. As soon as we left the Ruiz' home, Hermana Rios called us and asked us if we were there yet. At this point, we were already almost at our next appointment, but it turns out that she got a hold of their address and still wanted to go with us even though we couldn't reach her. We felt so bad, but everyone was very understanding. Hermana Rios ended up staying there and just visiting with them for a little bit. She called us later that night and said that Hermano Ruiz wanted to start taking the missionary lesson full-time again and have us help Martin to understand the importance of religion in his life. Even though there was a lot of confusion at the beginning, everything turned out better than we expected!

We were able to go see the Galvan family (LA) this week. Last week, we had met Brian, the oldest son, and he had told us that he never got baptized or anything, but when we were visiting with Hermana Galvan, she told us that he was baptized. We were not expecting that, but it was a wonderful surprise. All of the younger kids still come to church every week and they were trying to convince Brian to come with them this past week, but none of them ended up being there yesterday, so we're going to find out why on Tuesday at our next visit with them. When we were there, we found out that Michael, the second oldest son, has the Aaronic Priesthood and passes the sacrament sometimes. It's so neat for there family to be able to have a priesthood holder as an example in the household. Every time that I talked to him, I could feel his spirit so strong. I know he's trying to be as strong as he can for the rest of his family.

On Wednesday, Hermana Reyes and I were able to go on exchanges with Hermana Siddoway and Hermana Linford. I had the chance to work with Hermana Siddoway and we saw so many miracles! We were first able to find a new investigator, Alex, at the home of where some less active members used to live. He told us that he believes mostly in science and not so much in God, but as we were testifying of Joseph Smith's experience, the spirit got so strong and he said that he'd love to learn more. We have another appointment with him on Tuesday and I'm really excited for it. That same day, we were also able to eat dinner with a family in the ward who has a non-member daughter. She was locked up when the rest of the family got baptized a few years ago and when she got out, she didn't really want to know more about the church. Lately, she's been turning more towards God for help from her addiction recovery process, but she still thinks we're a little crazy. She has such good examples from her family and especially from her brother who just got back from his mission in October. Hopefully, we'll be able to get to work with her more. I loved being able to work with Hermana Siddoway. She has a such a great spirit and such a strong drive to keep working hard. She's so loving and I felt like I was able to be edified and uplifted throughout the entire day. It was probably one of the most uplifting days that I've had all transfer. :)

On Thursday, we were able to meet with the leaders in the ward again to discuss who were some other less actives that we could visit. We've been doing so much less active work in contacting them and cleaning up the ward directory. Most of the people that we've been visiting have either moved or passed away since the directory was last updated, but at least we're able to help clean it up. As you can see from the rest of my email, we've had so many miracles happen from working with all these less active people. Another one that we were able to contact was Clara Lopez. At first, we thought her son, Omar, was an investigator, but when we went to try to see him again, it turns out that almost their whole family are members. It gets even crazier because his mom was a less active in the ward directory that no longer lived at the address listed and we couldn't figure out her new address. It was such a miracle that we were able to find her!

We were also able to visit Tobias a few times this week. He's still going through a lot of legal problems that he keeps asking for help with (which obviously we can't do), but we were able to talk to our Bishop and he talked to Tobias after church yesterday about how he can best be helped. (We were so happy that he came to church yesterday!) In addition to that, he feels like he's not really progressing and he practically invited us to drop him, but he's scared that we actually will. He told us that he can feel a difference in when we're visiting with him and when we're not. He doesn't want the spirit to go away, but he really isn't progressing that much either. We're still trying to figure out what we're going to do to best help him.

One more thing that we saw while working this week was how receptive little kids are. We were street contacting and we decided to start talking to a little girl who was playing outside. We started teaching her and she was loving it, until her mom came out and said that they weren't interested. I just wish that all people would really "become as a little child" and humble themselves to listen to our message.
There were also a lot of little random fun things that happened this week too:
- we met little tan asian kids who spoke spanish....there dad (asian) went to Argentina on his mission and learned spanish then came back and married a Peruvian woman....I really wanted a picture with them, but then I decided that I should probably wait until I knew them better! :)
- there was an earthquake this morning while we were saying our wasn't bad, just a little shake and enough to turn the power off
- we were able to eat Peruvian food (my first time) and it was really good....we ate it with the half Asian half Peruvian family
- we got a ton a food this week....Hermana Hernandez was sick, so our bishop came and brought us a ton of soup to practically last us all week, then, later at our dinner appointment, Hermana Lara gave us all the leftovers to take home, then when we were walking to an appointment, a memer from Newbury Park stopped us and gave us free "pan" (Mexican bread/donuts) was all delicious. 

Thanks for all the love and support!  I'd really love to get more mail! (especially from my own family) :)
Also, sorry if I haven't responded to your mail in a while...i'm out of stamps, but hopefully i'll be getting some soon!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday