Monday, May 26, 2014

Forty-ninth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week has been full of miracles! I absolutely love it here in Santa Paula. I miss Oxnard, but great things are definitely happening here.

First of all, Hermana Player and I are training Hermana Wallace!  She's super sweet, from Arizona, plays the cello, sings, loves life, and has such a strong testimony.

On Tuesday after transfer meeting we were able to get straight to working! We were able to go meet Benny, a former investigator that is showing more interest. She has three small kids that behave really well, so when we taught her a little bit about faith, she had no problem feeling the spirit. We went and stopped by later this week to check up on her and even though she hadn't had the chance to read the reading assignment we gave her yet, she still showed interest. We have a return appointment with her on Tuesday this week.

Derek, another one of our investigators, is so great! He had only had the chance to meet with missionaries a few times before in the past, but when we went over to teach him, he soaked it all up. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and used the visual. Hermana Player said that he had never really paid that much attention before, but he seemed a lot more invested this time. At the end, we invited him to be baptized on July 12th and he said yes! It wasn't just a casual yes, but he thought about it for a little bit before he responded. The spirit was so strong and all three of us could tell that he was trying to recognize it. He's currently living with his girlfriend (who's never home when we're there), but we're going to try to see if we can start working with her too. He said that he was going to come to church on Sunday, but he didn't end up making it. At least he thought more about it this time than he had in the past.

Sandra is one of the recent converts that we've been able to work with. She is super sweet, but very shy. We had planned to reteach the Restoration this week, but she was in a hurry, so we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" with her. She absolutely loved it and told us that she used to sing with the other Hermanas that prepared her for baptism. Hopefully this week, we'll get to meet with her more and be able to study with her a little bit more in depth. It's been a little hard for her to come to church and stay active because she doesn't really have any support from her family. None of them are members and aren't really showing any interest in wanting to learn more. When we sang though, they all kind of stopped what they were doing and listened a little. Maybe that's the key to getting them to listen more.

Jenny is one of our progressing investigators. She has a few issues with her confidence and acting on the faith that she already has. She's been through so much in her life (used to drink a lot) and wants to change it. She's doing everything she can to stay sober and she loves studying with us. She's been ready a lot in the Book of Mormon and wants to keep reading. Apparently, she attends the Book of Mormon class that the other Hermanas in our ward teach every week, but this week she wasn't able to make it. She's also really shy, so coming to church has presented a little bit of a problem. We're trying to extend her circle of aquaintances by bringing different people to lessons, so hopefully that'll help.

Robert is another recent convert that we've been working with. He's also been through a lot in his life, but has definitely found the gospel to cling on too as a stronghold. The sisters in the past normally just read the Book of Mormon with him each week and answer any questions that he has about the doctrine or plot. They made it to Alma 36 before Hermana Wallace and I got here and when we read with him this week we read up to Alma 40. It was perfect because he ended up giving a talk on Sunday about those chapters. He has a lot of faith and is doing great.

The Ibarra family is super great, but we're struggling a little with how to help them the most. Everything we share they turn into something they already do or that complies with something they already believe. We were going to have a drop lesson with them this week, but it didn't seem right, so we're going to keep teaching them. Obviously there's a reason that we need to keep seeing them. Hermana Player brought up Family Home Evening with the Castillos (a family in the ward) and they really liked the idea of it, so maybe that'll be what helps them.

Angel, in the past, had avoided the sisters, but this week he actually let us teach him. We had a really good review of the Restoration and he opened up a little. Hermana Player said that that was the most she'd ever really seen him talk and respond to anything that we had to share. We still don't know him that well yet, but I'm excited to get to continue working with him. He has a lot of potential.

Mario was such a miracle this week! Yesterday, we were walking down the street when we decided to go knock a few apartments in this one complex. The first door no one answered, but when we got to the second door, it was wide open. Normally I love this type of situation, but it was a little awkward because there was a man sitting on the ground right next to the door that wouldn't respond to us at first (he thought we couldn't see him). We decided to knock again, but right before we could, another man came to the door. I think we scared him a little at first because he didn't hear us, but then we started teaching him and it turned into an amazing lesson. He didn't really know that much about the church, but he grew up in Arizona surrounded by members. He listened intently as we shared the message of the Restoration and asked really good questions. He asked all those questions that we hope investigators ask, but never do. The flow was so natural and all three of us taught pretty well in unity. At the end, we invited him to be baptized and he agreed to be baptized on the 5th of June. He understood that he would need to know that the Book of Mormon and church was true before he did though. It was such a perfect lesson! He's super awesome and has a lot of potential.

Melissa is absolutely amazing. We haven't had the chance to teach her since I've been here, but I was going through her teaching record and she's so golden. She started reading the Book of Mormon on her own and wants to get baptized. She's dating a member and her son is also interested in getting baptized. They come to church every week and she participates in everything. The only barrier is that she's living with her boyfriend, but hopefully they can decide whether or not they want to get married soon so that she can get baptized. It looks pretty likely, so I'm really excited!

The ward here is absolutely amazing and loves helping us out with missionary work. They've been so willing to drop everything that they're doing just to help our investigators. For example (one of many), Tony (a member) left church just so he could pick up Christian (an investigator that I hadn't met until Sunday) to come to church because his tire's got slashed right before he was about to leave to go to church. The bishop (Bishop Lee) and our ward mission leader (Brother Ennis) are both incredibly focused on the work and have such strong testimonies of the power of the gospel in people's lives.

I absolutely love working with Hermana Player and Hermana Wallace. They're both really good missionaries. Hermana Wallace seems like she's been out in the field longer than 6 days. Her spanish is really good and she's not afraid to try new things. She was a little hesitant at first to speak up much, but soon she was hopping in without any prompting. She's really amazing. Hermana Player is still so super sweet. I loved being around her in Oxnard and now I'm thrilled that I get to work with her here in Santa Paula. She knows her stuff really well and she's really good at training. She does it in such a way that it's not pushy or forceful, but loving and caring. She's very quiet, but when she speaks she's powerful. I know she understands her purpose out here in the field.

I've enjoyed so much getting to know the area and studying the area book. It's been kind of wierd not white washing (since that's all I've done my entire mission), but I love it and I'm learning so much from both of my companions everyday. One really nice thing is that we do a lot of singing in lessons because we all sing!  I love it!! :)

Thanks for all the love and support!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

Monday, May 19, 2014

Forty-eighth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

Soooo.....I'm leaving Oxnard.....I'm kind of bummed, but....I'm going to SANTA PAULA!  I'm really excited.  I feel like almost all of my companions have served there, so now I'll actually be able to meet the members and investigators that they've talked about.  I'm going to be with Hermana Player (she was here in the same ward with me last transfer) and I'M TRAINING again too! Another tri-pan!  I'm really excited!

This week has been full of miracles. We've been trying to work as hard as we can so that we can "jump out of the jar." Even though we didn't reach the goal of 40 lessons that the mission set for each companionship, we've seen so much progression with our investigators. 

On Tuesday, we were able to go teach the Medina family again. This time we were able to bring not only Gabby, but we were also able to bring the Relief Society President's daughter, Briana. They're both amazing! They both want to serve missions, so they love coming out with us to appointments and they've been such great fellowship for the Medina's. We were able to talk about the city of Nephi with them and how they can apply it to their lives. Gabby and Briana had an experience they could share with them for every point of the lesson. It was good because even though we were there to extend the committments and keep the lesson flowing, the two girls were the main teachers. It was so good for the Medinas to see that. On Thursday, we were able to go back, but neither Gabby nor Briana were able to come, so we had to sit outside. We taught tithing and fasting and all three of them (Gladys, Kassy, and Jaline) readily accepted to live it when they were baptized. They still want to be baptized, but their mom still wants them to wait a little longer. I love them so much and I'll definitely miss teaching them. 

On Wednesday, we were able to find another family to teach. The night before, we were going through our potentials sheets and we found the Molantin family. We decided to go find them and when we met them, they wouldn't let us start off right away with teaching them, but they wanted us to come back and start teaching their son, Adrian(11-years-old) , to help him start behaving. He's been going through a rebellious period and his parents want him to have a better foundation in something to help. When we got there the next evening, not only was Adrian there, but his brother, Ramses (13-years-old), and his mom decided to sit in and listen. As we were teaching the Restoration, they paid attention the entire time and they understood the scriptures really well. Most of the time people need some more explanations, but they explained them to us! At the end of the lesson, we invited them to be baptized and all three of them accepted the date of June 21. They were such a miracle! I'm so glad that we were able to find another family to teach. The only potential problem is that both of the boys play soccer during most of the week, including Sundays, so coming to church might be a problem, but hopefully they'll start realizing the importance of coming. 

On Friday, we were able to teach Freddie again. We had a more in depth Restoration lesson with him and were able to invite the spirit. The only problem is that he was having problems feeling the spirit or even recognizing it. He's been having a lot of issues with his family, but he wants to fix it. He read everything that we've already given him, but he didn't have the chance to come to church this past week. I'm going to miss teaching him too, but I know he'll be in good hands. 

Yesterday, we were able to have another lesson with Mayra and Jose. It was a little crazy because all of the kids were there, but it was really good at the same time because we were able to get a recent convert and her son there. We just talked about the 10 commandments briefly, but after the lesson Mayra came up to us and told us that she really wants to be baptized. The only thing that's been holding her back is that she's living with her boyfriend still (who's a less active member). She wants to get separated from him so that she can be baptized with her son! I love her so much! She comes to church almost every week and pays tithing even though she's not a member yet. Everything that she does, she does it to help her kids gain their own testimonies. She's so strong and such a good example. 

Also, this week we were able to talk to the daughter (Ana) of one of our less actives (Alma). She's only 14-years-old, but she has a desire to come closer to Christ. We shared Helaman 5:12 with her and were able to help her see the importance of having a strong foundation in her life especially at her age. We also talked to her about Girl's Camp and she said that she might be interested in going. 

Every person that we were able to talk to this week has been so prepared. I know that we got to see miracles because we were trying to extend our vision and do what the Lord has asked us to do. This has definitely been one of the most productive weeks of my entire mission. 

I'm going to miss Oxnard a ton, but I know that the Lord has things in store for me to do in Santa Paula.  Thanks for all the love and support!  I can feel it every day.  

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

Monday, May 12, 2014

Forty-seventh Week in the Field

Hola Everyone,

This week has been such a good one, but also full of a few struggles.

We didn't have our car until Thursday because it was still in the shop, so we had to walk everywhere! Literally everywhere. We walked so much that our feet were blistering and I got bruises on my feet even though I wore my really good walking shoes. On Friday, the side of my right foot started hurting really bad and it was hard to walk, but now it's all better. We have our car, my feet don't hurt as bad, and everything's peachy.

So last P-day, we were able to visit the Galvan family again and teach them about the City of Nephi and the principles that we can learn from it. They loved the visual that we showed them and the committed to start having family scripture study every night. They've already been praying together, but we're helping them take one more step to being more unified. The four youngest children came to church on Sunday, but Michael and Brian didn't. We're starting to think that Michael is losing the fire that he once had and is listening more to his brother. He's the only one that has the priesthood in the home, so we're going to start working more with him just so he doesn't fall away and will want to continue keeping the priesthood covenant. The other children are getting more and more excited about coming to church, but they're having problems understanding exactly why we need to go. We're going to be talking about baptism and confirmation with them tonight and reviewing the sacrament prayers to help them understand that we need to renew our baptismal covenants. We think it'll help especially since Tony is turning 8 next week and is preparing to be baptized.

Gladys and Kassy are still doing great and still love learning. We were able to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week as well as the 10 commandments. They still accept everything that we have to say and teach them, but they talked with their mom and she wants them to wait a little longer before getting baptized. We definitely understand, but we're hoping with time she'll want to learn more as well. We found out this week that some of the young women in the ward are texting them, reaching out to them, and trying to get Gladys and her cousin (Jalene) especially excited about going to Girl's Camp. They really want to and we know it'll help them to feel the spirit even stronger. We were talking with Gabby (the young woman that normally goes with us) and she said that Girl's Camp was how she knew she wanted to be baptized. She explained this to the girls and the spirit was really strong. She such a good example for them. It also turns out that she knows their other cousin (Janessa) from school. It was perfect! They weren't able to come to church this week because their family was celebrating Mother's Day, but they said they'd come next week because they loved it before.

Tobias is still struggling a little. This past week especially. We had a really good lesson with him on Wednesday, but we found out yesterday that on Saturday, he got robbed and beat up. He still came to church, but he was really depressed. He doesn't own that much and he lives out of his car, so a lot of precious and important things were stolen. He was able to talk to the Bishop and few other people and all they could really do for him was comfort him and they're trying to help him find some other people to talk to. When he told us about everything he's been going through, I wanted to cry. I know he can handle it, but we're trying to help him realize all the blessings he already has in his life.

On Thursday, we were able to find a new investigator, Norma, who had met with missionaries in the past. It turns out that she now lives where one of our potentials used to live. It was such a miracle. We were able to teach her the Restoration and set up a return appointment for this coming week.

Ever since zone meeting, we've been trying to use the 5 step formula to make sure that we don't lose any of our investigators. We see so many miracles everyday that it really is a shame to never see those people again. It's such an inspired idea. As we've been using it, we realized that we do part of it anyway, but that all of the parts are necessary to keep our investigators close. It made me wonder why I haven't been doing all of it my whole mission.

Friday was such a miracle day. We were able to find 2 new investigators that have a lot of potential (Leo and Freddie) and we have return appointments with both of them this coming week. We were also able to teach the Ruiz'. They haven't really been progressing until now. We brought the bishop's mom with us and she really helped them understand the gospel better. She pretty much said the things that we tell them all the time, but because it came from her, a friend and member, they related to it a lot better. Sometimes I forget the power of bringing members with us to lessons.

We were also able to take our ward mission leader out with us to teach. Our appointment that we had set up with Jesus fell through, so we decided to go visit a less active instead that was in the area. As we were walking there, we passed a man that was cleaning his car. We stopped and started talking with him about the gospel. As we were talking, I couldn't understand anything he was saying because he spoke super fast and quiet and mumbled a little. I tried following Hermana Reyes and Danny (WML) and everything turned out well. After the lesson, I found out that neither of them could really understand what he was saying either. We all just followed the spirit and worked off of each other. When we got to the less actives (Angelina) house, it turns out her mom (another less active) was there too, so we got to talk to both of them about enduring to the end. Angelina even prayed for us at the end even though she was really nervous and didn't really know how. We retaught her and the spirit was so strong. I love hearing people pray who haven't in a long time or at all. It reminds me of what prayer is really about, communicating with our Heavenly Father.

We were able to contact the referral that we got from Sister Baker by phone, but finally on Saturday, we were able to find out exactly where she lives. It wasn't on our maps or in the GPS, but with the help of the zone leaders and the assistants we were able to find the apartment building. At first we couldn't get in because there was a key code, but we went to the front part of the building and tried calling all the people listed in the directory for someone to let us in. No one would, so Hermana Reyes wanted to jump the fence to get in. We decided that it probably wasn't the best idea started to leave. We then saw a grounds/mantainance worker that let us into the building. When we got to the apartment number, there was an eviction notice for the family that lived there, but it wasn't Graciela (the referral). We tried so hard, but maybe she's just not ready at this time to hear the gospel.

The call home yesterday was great and my family is doing amazing. I love hearing about all of the missionary opportunities that they're given and what they're doing to hasten the work. I found out that my brother who's 9 almost 10 is studying Preach My Gospel on his own and, because I challenged my family to read the Book of Mormon again before I go home, is reading the Book of Mormon and studying it too. I love being able to see the growth that he and all of my other siblings have been making spiritually while I've been gone.

Everything's been going great and I'm learning so much from my companion. Our investigators aren't progressing as much as we'd like, but there is definitely progression being made. I absolutely love it here in Oxnard and love working with the people here.

Hermana Reyes' birthday was this week and so was my year mark. I can't believe time has flown by so fast!  Because it was her birthday, we get to go to the temple tomorrow!  I'm pumped!

Hermana Reyes also made me try Tostilocos this week....they have a bunch of yummy things in them....except cueritos....don't eat's pig skin and it tastes like pure fat....

Thanks for all the love and support!  Love and miss all of you!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

Also, if you've written me and I haven't responded yet, don't worry....I have a pile that I'm going to attack today!

My Companion and Me!

Our Granny Shoes!  We did a lot of walking while temporarily without our car.  :-)

 Me in our apartment planning.