Monday, June 30, 2014

Fifty-fourth Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week has been such an amazing week with so many miracles. We started out the week great by teaching Garrett (who is getting baptized on Saturday!) and going over the baptismal interview questions. He's so prepared to finally enter the waters of baptism. Everytime we see him, he brings it up and how excited he is to finally be able to take the sacrament on Sunday after he's been confirmed. He had his interview yesterday and passed! We're so excited to be able to be here to witness the changes that he and his mom are making in their lives. This week we're planning on doing a few "keep the fire going" lessons to help him keep feeling the spirit. His mom is doing so amazing too! She's such a great support for Garrett and even though she can't get baptized until her and Bruno get married in September, she still wants it really bad, is coming to church every week, participating in every way possible, and constantly shares her testimony. She's such a chosen spirit too!

Juan is doing absolutely amazing! We were finally able to have another lesson with him this past week after a month of not being able to see him. We were able to take Hermano Guerrero with us and it went perfectly. They clicked right at the beginning and the spirit was definitely present. Juan has such a desire to follow God and connect with him better in his life, so when Hermano Guerrero shared his conversion story and what he's been through it helped so much. We were able to sing "I Am a Child of God" for him too which made the spirit come in even stronger. He told us that he knows that we're sent from God to help him and that he wants to be able to keep feeling the spirit. We invited him to be baptized, but he was a little hesitant to completely commit though. Hermano Guerrero did a wonderful job at explaining the blessings that follow after baptism and Juan said he'd think about it. Also, he's still been sober after a month since we first met him. He's progressing so well.

Beto is a less active that we were finally able to meet this week. We've been working a little with his non-member brother, but little did we know that he was listening when we stopped by the last time. When we stopped by this week he told us that he heard the entire conversation and decided that he needed to come back to church. It's amazing too because he remembers the amazing fellowship that Brother Kurtz offered to him a few years back. He wasn't at church yesterday, but we're planning on stopping by more this week to get him to come back. He's so prepared to come back.

The Jones family is progressing so much out of no where. On Monday, we found out from a sister in the ward that they were trying to get a hold of us, but didn't have our number. We stopped by on Wednesday and found out that they were wondering if they could get a copy of the children's Book of Mormon so they could read it to their kids. They threw away all of the copies of the Book of Mormon that they had two years ago when they went inactive, but after they took their kids to church that one time a few weeks ago, their kids want to start learning more. We found out that their oldest son isn't baptized yet either, so we're hoping we can help their family get reactivated so that he can. We stopped by yesterday to drop off the copy after we got it from our district leader and they were still really welcoming. She even instituted a hug at the end when before they didn't even want to look at the missionaries. They told us they were going to be at church again next week!

Jasmine is struggling a little right now with feeling the spirit in her home. Just like she had issues with evil spirits a few years ago, their family is starting to notice creepy things around their house that are signs of evil things. We decided to randomly stop by when we were in the area this week and Jasmine just broke down crying and told us how she felt. We sang "Nearer, My God to Thee" to calm her down and re-invite the spirit. We asked her if she would be interested in receiving a priesthood blessing and she accepted! We talked to two brethren in the ward and we're working out a time to be able to stop by asap to get the blessing arranged. I feel really bad for her, but I know that it'll definitely help her and her family out. 

Celeste is doing a little better. Her back aches came back, so it's hard for her to come to church or really do anything for that matter. We had a really good heart to heart with her and she told us that we just need to be persistent with getting her to do things. She's been reading her scriptures, so of course that helps, but she's still really overwhelmed with her newborn baby as well. We're coordinating with the Relief Society to get her visiting teachers and other sisters in there to help. She really does have a very sincere desire to come to church more frequently though.

President and Sister Castro left on Friday, but now we have President and Sister Felix!  I haven't met them yet, but I'm really excited to get to know them a little better.  The Trumans are leaving tomorrow and it's going to be really sad because they've been here my entire mission too.  It's even more sad because they attended church here in Santa Paula too, so we saw them all the time!  I'm really going to miss all these people, but I'm excited for all the change that's happening and all the new things I'm going to learn.  

Thanks for all the love and support!

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

Our District

Hermana Wallas and me with the Truman's

Me with the Truman's

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fifty-third Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

SOOO... I get to stay in Santa Paula with Hermana Wallace!!!  I'm so pumped!!!!  

Garrett is absolutely amazing! Yesterday, we got to go to an open house for the Castro Family  and him and his mom were able to come as well! When we invited him and his mom to come, they didn't hesitate to say yes! They really wanted to meet you too. He's still keeping all of his commitments and is still really excited to get baptized next weekend! We're all starting to finalize all the details for his baptism and the ward has been so supportive. Everything that we bring up to have them help us with, they jump on it right away. Melissa, even though she can't get baptized right now, is still looking forward to being baptized in October. She is such a great support for Garrett and the ward has welcomed them both in just like family. I'm so glad that I'll still be able to be here in Santa Paula to see him get baptized!!

Yesenia is a new investigator that we found this week. She was a potential that we found in our records, so we decided to go see her. When we taught her the initial Restoration lesson on her doorstep, she loved it and said that she wanted to be baptized. We had scheduled another appointment for later this week, but she ended up going out of town so we couldn't meet with her. We rescheduled another appointment for this week and we're trying to get as many members as involved as we can before we go back. She's so prepared.

Jenny is progressing nicely! She's definitely starting to recognize the faith that she has, but hasn't quite recognized it completely. This week we were able to watch The Testaments with her at a members home. The spirit was really strong and she told us that the message was pretty strong from the movie as well. Sister Morales (the member) was a really great support as well. She bore a really strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Christ, which I think helped Jenny even more to understand that this gospel and church really are true. We're working with the Relief Society to get even more sisters involved so that she'll be more comfortable at church.

Naomi is the non-member daughter of a less active member. Their family has been going through a lot right now, so they absolutely love it when we come over. We didn't know that she wasn't a member until we went by this week. She's starting to show more of an interest in going to mutual and maybe even coming to church. There are so many recent converts that are in this ward that are all her age, so it'll make it a little easier for her to make friends. One of them, Sandra, lives right around the corner, so it'll be really good for both of them to have someone near. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak in church! I love doing this because then the members can see how much we want to work with them to hasten the work. I spoke on doubt and Hermana White spoke on fear. As I've been studying for this talk all week, I came to the realization that the main sources of doubt are that people don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and they don't have a testimony of the Atonement. While I was speaking, I was prompted to talk about all of the health problems I'd had and how once I decided to study the Atonement more and study the Book of Mormon more, that was when the headaches starting getting a little better. I never realized that until this week. I never realized that I was doubting the Atonement in some aspects. I KNOW that the Atonement is so real and Jesus Christ did it just for me. I have no doubt about that.

I'm so sad that President and Sister Castro are leaving next week!  However, I'm so grateful for the wonderful things that they've done for me and for this mission.  I love them so much!!!  Anyone going to BYU-I needs to take a class from him....he teaches religion classes!

Thanks for all the love and support!!

Con amor, 

Hermana Halliday

Me with Hermana Linford

Me with President and Sister Castro

Me with Hannah

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fifty-second Week in the Field

Hola Everyone!

This week has been so great!  There has been so many miracles! 

Garrett is still doing so great!  He's been keeping all of his commitments and is loving learning about the gospel.  This week we were able to set up all of the appointments we're going to have with him up until his baptism.  The members are so willing to help us out and offer their homes.  We found out this week that even though he had an issue with drinking tea in the past, he hasn't drunk any for about 10 weeks.  We were thrilled when we heard about this.  Him and one of his other friends in the ward are trying to work on one of their other friends to take the lessons from the missionaries.  He's one of the best member missionaries I know and he's not even a member yet.
The Garcia Family is starting to show a little more interest again.  The mom isn't really interested in herself, but she wants to help her kids get a stronger foundation in Christ to help them in their lives.  We taught them how to pray in Spanish this week and they loved it.  We have another lesson with them this week and we're trying to get them into a members home.  So far it's not working out because they won't respond, but we're going to stop by this week to schedule that before the actual lesson.

We had a chance to visit the Rodriguez Family this week again.  They're doing great, but they brought up Jasmine's past again.  It freaked us out a little, but it's really neat to see that they're trying to come unto to Christ to have him help them.  Jasmine apologized for not coming to church last Sunday because she was sick, but we found out this week that she actually was already baptized a few years ago.  She doesn't really remember a whole lot, but she told us that she remembered a little when she came to church a few weeks ago.  The youth are great at reaching out to her and she loves the warmth that they provide.

Vanessa is a new investigator that we found this week.  She was in our potentials and when we stopped by, her and her sister, Janessa, were really open to listening.  They gave us luke warm responses at first, but when we got to the first vision, they started paying a lot more attention.  They, especially Vanessa, paid even more attention when we talked about how God would answer their prayers.  She almost couldn't believe it, but she wanted to.  Her face lit up and it was really neat to see how her faith was growing.  I don't think their home life is the most ideal, so the fact that they have a loving Heavenly Father who will answer them meant a lot.  They're going out of town this week, so we don't get to go back for two weeks, but we're going to try to set up some member fellowship to come with us.

Robert was a miracle lesson that we had.  He's so prepared.  We started talking to him and we found out that he's been through a lot of things in his life, but he found God through overcoming them.  He wants the same for his daughters and so he told us we could come back.  He said he'd read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and pray about it. 

Alfredo is also another miracle investigator.  Last week, Hermana Wallace, Hermana Player, and I found his dad when we were trying to contact a former investigator.  When we went back for our lesson yesterday, we met him and his mom as well.  It turns out that they are so prepared to hear the gospel - they lost a son not too long ago, they have family that lives in Salt Lake, they've visited Temple Square, they're Catholic, but don't practice it too rigorously, and they want to have more peace in their lives.  When we were teaching the Restoration, the spirit was so strong.  I haven't felt it that strong in a lesson like that for a while.  It was especially to see that during the First Vision part, they all were so focused.  They're going to Mexico for about two week, so we're not going to get to see them for a while, but we're looking forward to seeing them again.

The Jones Family is a less active family that we just barely met last week.  Apparently, in the past they haven't been the most open to having people from the church come over, so when we stopped by, they weren't the most welcoming.  After a few minutes, they opened up and let us in after we asked them some questions about their dog.  We were there for a good hour, which was a miracle in and of itself, but we didn't mention anything about coming back to church.  Then, out of no where, yesterday, they came!  The whole family came!  They even stayed all three hours!  We're going to stop by again this week and talk to them a little bit more about how they liked it and if they had any questions.

Sadly, this week, Hermana Player had to get emergency transferred to Simi Valley.  I'm pretty convinced that I can't go a single transfer without something different happening to me or my companion.  It's all good though.  She's loving it and life's good.

Thanks for all the love and support!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday