This week has been absolutely amazing!
Garrett is probably the most prepared person I've ever met in my life. We taught him the Plan of Salvation at the Jenkins home this week and it went absolutely amazing! We found out the day before the lesson that he had some other plans that he really wanted to go do, but as he was talking to his mom, he told her that having a lesson with us and going to mutual that same night were more important. For being only 14-years-old, he's definitely really in tune with the spirit. We had dinner with their family this past Saturday as well and for our message, we followed up on the commitment to create a family mission plan based on the guidelines we had left them. It turns out that they had already made a really in depth family mission plan and had already started executing it. They brought it up to us before we could ask them about it. It was really sweet to see how excited he got when he was talking about it. That same night we also found out that he loves drinking tea and that it's really hard for him to give it up. He knows he shouldn't drink it, but his mom is helping understand the importance of commitment and sacrifice for something that he wants more, which is baptism. They're both such a great support for each other and I love seeing how their testimonies are growing each day. Tonight we have a lesson/family home evening set up at the Nelson home to talk more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Otilia, one of our recent converts/less actives, is doing really great! This past week, we got to teach her the Plan of Salvation. When we got to the part about the celestial kingdom, she got really excited and asked us how she could get there. Her friend, George (a member), explained that we need to go to the temple and receive our endowments so that we can make more covenants with God. She told us that she wants to start preparing to go, so we talked to the ward council about starting up a temple preparation class to help her. I'm so excited for her because this is the most active she's been in wanting to learn more than she has been in a while.
Elba is one of our investigators that we set with a baptismal date this week! For a while, she didn't seem that interested and would keep postponing our appointments and not reading, but when we went by this past week and taught the principles behind the City of Nephi, she felt the spirit really strong and she showed a lot more of a desire to learn. She has two young granddaughters that she watches everyday, so it's hard for he to be able to focus during the lessons. This past lesson we had with her was mostly spent with me distracting the girls while Hermana Player and Hermana Wallace taught the lesson. We're trying to work on getting more members (with kids) involved the help the little girls either pay attention or let Elba pay more attention. Our ward mission leader gave us a few suggestions that we're hopefully going to be able to try this week. All in all, Elba is doing great and her desire to learn has increased a lot.
On Tuesday, we were able to go out and do a lot of less active visits with the Relief Society president. One of the people that we had the chance to visit was Celeste. She accepted the invitation to officially be on the Focus on 15 for our ward! We went back later this week and taught her the Restoration. She already knows all of the doctrine and everything, but during the middle of the lesson, she told us that she had an "aha" moment that the reason her life hasn't been going as great as it should be is because she doesn't read her scriptures everyday. She committed herself to read the scriptures everyday before we could even bring it up or commit her. She also came to church for the first time in a few months (due to her newborn baby getting sick) yesterday!
On Saturday, we were able to have a lesson with Christian. Since I've been here in Santa Paula that was the first time we'd been able to teach him. We taught him the Restoration, but through reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon with him. It was different, but I think it answered most of the concerns that he had. He's still really hung up on the fact that the Sabbath should be on Saturday and not Sunday, but we explained to him that if he gains a testimony of Joseph Smith and our prophet today, that it would make sense, through modern day revelation, that the Sabbath is supposed to be on Sunday. He's really in tune with the spirit, so we're going to try using a few different ways to help him recognize it even more in the coming weeks.
Jose is a new investigator that we found last week. When we first met him, we were kind of hesitant to teach him, but we knew that we had to. When we went back for our first actual lesson, we found out that he had read and that he had a lot of really good questions. He told us that he's not very religious, but that he's willing to give it a try for a little bit. It was such a miracle because he didn't seem that interested at the door when we initially talked to him.
We had President Interviews on Wednesday! It was a little different than normal though. Instead of individual interviews, we had companionship interviews. It was all about accountability and if we were doing what we were supposed to do. I absolutely loved the training that we received on Wednesday. Everything that President Castro said really helped me. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I only have 3 transfers left in the mission and I don't want to waste any second. Last night, I realized more fully that time was running out and that I really don't want to go home. These past 13 months mean the most to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I feel like I've grown so much and learned things that will help me for eternity.
As far as Hermana Wallace, Hermana Player, and I are doing, everything's peachy. We're still working really hard and our unity is getting a lot better. We've all been able to grow a lot together these past three weeks. Yesterday, our alarm didn't go off and none of us noticed until 7:30. We all felt horrible and rushed to get to ward council which started at 8:00. It was the most hectic morning of my life, but we've all repented and we had a really good day yesterday.
Thanks for all the love and support! Love and miss all of you!
We got locked out of our apartment! Good thing the Hermanas below us had a key. :-)