First of all, transfer news...I'm leaving Santa Paula :( BUT I get to go to Ventura (same zone) and work with Hermana Brown in the Branch! I'm really excited to be able to be companions with her since we worked together in the Branch in Thousand Oaks. Hermana Wallace is staying here in SP, but is now only going to be doing Spanish work. They're bringing in English Elders to take over all the English investigators.
This week has probably been the one week where I've seen the most miracles on my mission! The people are so prepared here in Santa Paula!
The Jones family is doing absolutely amazing! Chris and Justin are still really excited to get baptized next weekend and their family has been really supportive. They're still reading and praying and everything is wonderful. On Friday, Natalie called us in a lot of pain and asked us to find someone that would be able to come over and give her a blessing for the sick and afflicted. She's been having some health problems lately, but it's wonderful that she's reaching out to the ward family to find that support. She's been doing a lot better and really enthusiastic about the baptism this weekend. Chris (dad) is still really supportive as well and is still planning on baptizing the boys! It'll be kind of sad to miss the baptism, but I'm glad I got to be here to see their growth as a family and help them progress in the gospel.
Monique is doing so great too! We were able to have a dinner with her, the Relief Society president, and a family in the ward. For the message, we talked about fasting and the purposes of it. She had some questions about it at church, so the lesson helped. She even committed to fast next month on Fast Sunday. The ward is doing such a great job at including her in everything that we're almost doing nothing. She constantly tells us that the church and the gospel are helping her so much to find more peace and joy in life. She really wants to be able to continue learning and help out as much as possible. She even fed us on Thursday!
Vanessa and Janessa are all of a sudden progressing really well. We haven't been able to teach them in a while, but when we went back this week, they were really receptive. We reviewed the Restoration and at the end, they committed to be baptized on September 13th! They're really excited about it and they're reading the Book of Mormon and praying to receive answers! They were supposed to come to Stake Conference yesterday, but they ended up getting back late from LA, so they were exhausted in the morning. They called us though which is a really good sign. We brought Daisy with us when we went back later this week, so they could start having some member interaction as well.
Alfonso is doing really well at remembering to read and pray. We were able to have two lessons with him this week and bring members to both of them! This was the first time that members had ever been able to come and meet him, so this was a huge step. He knows what he needs to do to keep progressing and he loves increasing his faith.
Nancy is a new investigator that we found this week who is so amazing! She lives with Otilia (a member) and we met her when we originally went over to just meet with Otilia. She's about 7 months pregnant and is looking for ways to increase her faith. Otilia is such a good member missionary and has been talking with her about the gospel and sharing her testimony. We watched the Restoration video the second time we went back this week and, after, Nancy agreed to be baptized on September 13th as well! She even prayed at the end, very specifically, to be able to know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true. She also went to church the past two weeks and has loved it! She's just amazing!
Juan is struggling a little with keeping his commitments. We had a lesson with him this week where we talked about the 10 commandments, but emphasized keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. When we brought it up, he felt really guilty and said that he was going to talk to his boss to get Sundays off. I think it's a good sign of good intent, so we'll see if he actually does it.
At district meeting, we talked a lot about how even though we were building "sugar cube castles" in relation to our zone goals, the things that we were doing to build the castles were what was really building us. It was a really powerful meeting and it was even more powerful when the zone leaders brought in the final composition of everyone's buildings. It turned out to be the LA Temple. Even though there were holes and imperfections, it was amazing to see all of the successes that we had had in building ourselves.
Thanks for all the love and support!