This week was packed full of so many amazing miracles!
The Jones Family is doing absolutely amazing. After being totally inactive and on the do not contact list for a few years, we were able to sit down with them on Monday and talk to Chris and Justin (their oldest two sons ages 10 and 8) and talk to them a little bit about baptism. They both said that they wanted to! Their parents are totally leaving the decision up to them and they both seem like they really want it. On Thursday, we were able to have a lesson with them and teach them the Restoration. At the end we set them with a date of August 9th. The ward has been really good at reaching back out to them and including them in many of the activities that are going on. It's even better because they've already been to church twice. They weren't here this past week, but we're stopping by tonight to see how they're doing.
Juan is progressing so well! At the beginning of the week we had a scare that he might have been interested in learning more because he was more interested in us, but when we had a lesson with him on Friday, he definitely seemed very sincere. We were able to bring different members with us that time and when one of them told his conversion story, the spirit was so strong and Juan could feel it. He's still on track to be baptized on the 2nd of August, but he wasn't at church this past week. He's only been once, but he can still make it the next two weeks. Everything that we've been doing with him has helped the members in the ward that only speak Spanish feel more involved and useful. It's really neat to see how this is strengthening their testimonies as well.
Vanessa was a miracle. We were trying to contact a potential investigator that was in our area book, but he wasn't home, so we knocked on his neighbors door. It turns out that a less active member and his girlfriend live there! They moved to Santa Paula about six months ago from Fillmore. She had been meeting with Elder Carter and Elder Soubie when they were serving there, but when she moved, she lost contact with the missionaries. Her boyfriends parents are very active in the Fillmore ward, but they didn't want to push learning more on her since she's 7 months pregnant, so they didn't tell anyone where they lived. The visit got even better because she asked us what we wanted to study after about 15 minutes of talking. We felt prompted to read 2 Nephi 31 all about the gospel. At first, I was a little hesitant because it was all about baptism and repentance and the consequences of sin and we didn't really know her interest level yet. After we finished reading, she looked up at us and told us that that was exactly what she needed to hear and that she really wants to be baptized. We were so shocked and didn't know what to say for a few seconds. She is so prepared. She told us that she wanted to get baptized before they moved, but the main reason was that she was a heavy drinker before and it was hard for her to quit. When she got pregnant, she quit cold turkey for the baby. She also knows that she would need to move out or get married to Jared before she could get baptized too. She has a such a good understanding of what the gospel means and I can tell that she really wants this.
Hannah is progressing really well. We were able to bring Daisy, a recent convert, with us to teach her. Hannah's been reading the Book of Mormon and coming up with specific questions to ask us. She's been marking up the copy we gave her and is really interested in learning more. The only hang up is that she told us that she'd come to our church if she didn't go to any other church this past weekend. We've been working with the young women's to coordinate more fellowship and involvement in the ward.
Luis was another miracle that we had this week. We were walking back to our car when we were prompted to talk to him while he was working in his garden. As we were talking to him, we found out that just like Vanessa, he had met with missionaries in the past. He told us that one thing he loved about the "Mormon Church" and the missionaries is that we were always so happy and had a light in us. We explained to him that it was because we had the Book of Mormon and the truth of the restored church on earth (including a prophet to continue to lead us and guide us). He loved the idea that we had a prophet here on earth again. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and set up an appointment later this week. When we went back, he had already read the introduction, all of the testimonies, and chapter one of 1 Nephi. He's so prepared. He told us that he would come to church this past weekend, but he didn't end up doing it.
We were finally able to get a hold of Christian this week! It had been a while and we didn't know if we should drop him or not, but when we talked to him, he told us that he was still interested in learning more and finding out if our message is true. As we were teaching him, he had a lot of questions and doubts about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We ended up just being really bold with him and asking him if he's actually prayed about the message and the Book. He said he hadn't and we responded by telling him that that is the only way he's going to know. He finally understood that he needed to actually pray and ask God for himself before coming to a conclusion. Progress!
Garrett's been at Youth Conference and Scout Camp this week, so we haven't been able to see him, but as far as we know, he's doing great! Melissa wasn't able to come to church this past week because she hurt her back, but we stopped by yesterday and got to talk to her and Bruno for a little bit. They're still both so amazing and want to continue progressing in the gospel.
Exchanges this week were great! I got to work with Hermana Cannon. I was so happy because I've always wanted to get to know her better and learn from her. I learned so much about what it truly means to love those you teach from her. We were able to talk to so many people and get a few return appointments.
Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting, the translator was going to be late, so one of the Hispanic brethren asked me if I could translate for the first part! I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it really was a first, but it was actually kind of fun!
Thanks for all the love and support!
1 Nephi 13:37
Si se puede street
Exchanges with Hermana Cannon
Me with my beautiful companion!