Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looks like I am staying in Agoura Hills!

To my lovely Mom and Dad,

It has been another great week here in Agoura Hills! It has been really great to work with only Sister Randall this week. We work really well together because we are laid back but hardworking missionaries. It has been such a pleasure to spend a whole week with just her at my side. I love and respect her so much.We have learned so much this week because we didn't have Sister Di Liberto to always show us where to go or what to do. It was a wonderful learning experience and I feel like I have gotten to know this area so much better in the last week. This has been a week where I feel like I have genuinely felt like I have gave it my all. I feel like I have gave all my effort to serving the Lord and talking to as many people as possible. 
We got this ginormous Book of Mormon for one of our investigators
who cannot see very well. hahaha it is the hugest thing!
We started visiting this less active member this week. She has a slight mental handicap and says that because of this handicap she is unable to feel spiritual things. We met with her this week and tried to teach her and help her develop a testimony of a Heavenly Father who loves her and cares about everything that is going on in her life. We were also able to see Chris and Pam (our recent converts remember?) a few times this week. Pam had injured a muscle in her leg recently so she is basically stuck on the couch in a full leg brace. She doesn't let that stop her though! She has been working so hard on her family history work and she has fallen in love with it! She loves to show us how far her family line goes back and we sometimes hear her calling her relatives to show them or ask them for  information so she can do more family history work. Chris and Pam volunteered to have us over for dinner this week and Pam even signed up to go with us on splits later this week. They are such giving people and are becoming missionaries already!

Last Sunday we had a miracle. A member in the Agoura 2nd ward is dating a nonmember and brought her to church. Last Sunday she just walked up to us and introduced herself and said, "I want to know more about this church. I would love to meet with you." You would be surprised how often people just show up or are brought to church in Agoura Hills and tell us that they want us to teach them. Every time that happens I have been shocked and amazed how prepared some people are. We had a wonderful lesson with this woman. We found out that she has already been to the temple visitor's center and has already started to read The Book of Mormon. She is such a great person and was soaking up everything we taught her. We committed her to be baptized on August 31st and she said yes! I really can't wait to meet with her again this week because she is such a nice person and sincerely wants to know if this church is true. Miracles happen every day here!

Sister Randall and I love our new chairs!
Hey, we've seen that expression before. Maybe she just REALLY loves chairs!
 Last Tuesday we had to move apartments. It seriously took Sister Randall and me all day to pack everything up, move all the way to just the next apartment building over in our complex, and unpack/organize everything. We moved from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom apartment. It is HUGE and we have 2 showers. We lucked out, plus when they helped us move, they have us two comfy chairs and some extra things! Sister Randall and I eat cereal in those chairs every morning and use them to lounge in during our hardcore nightly planning. Seriously, I am so blessed every day! Could it really get any better here?

Yesterday I gave a talk in church about letting your light so shine and being an example. Of course I tied that into missionary work and how all the members need to be examples to their friends and invite their friends to every activity. All they have to do is invite and we do all the teaching and bring up all those awkward conversations they don't want to have in the first place. Remember that!

Sweet Sis. Mahterian, our mom away from home
Today Sister Mahterian took us to lunch and grocery shopping. She is seriously the best! Mom you don't have to worry, she and many other people in the ward are taking great care of me. We went to this old Jewish deli cafe place called Agoura Deli. It was so tasty! Their daughter Erika is going back on her mission tomorrow (she had to go home between the MTC and Chile because she had to get a tumor removed and wait to be cleared) so I am so sad to see her leave!  I love her so much. She is the funniest and just such a great person.

Erika Mahterian and me
Tomorrow we are having transfers! I am staying in Agoura Hills and getting a new trainer named Sister Casper. I have seen her around because she is in our zone and I have heard she is just a fantastic missionary! I am so happy to be staying here!!!!! I feel like I finally know the area here and I love love love the members and people we are teaching. I just can't wait to see what this transfer has in store for me!

Sister Mason

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Ciao" Sister Di Liberto!


It was another great week in California! We were so lucky to get to go to the temple this week! A member in our ward drove us to the Los Angeles temple and did an endowment session with us. It was absolutely amazing. Let me just tell you I have fallen in love with that temple. It is so beautiful and the spirit is so strong. I loved it!

Me and my sisters at the LA temple!

The beautiful LA Temple
We meet each week with a little family for a Family Home Evening. This week we didn't know what to teach them. They are both doing really great and progressing towards baptism, but they have had the hardest time quitting smoking. It seems as if they have tried everything to stop. We didn't really know what to do to help them because it seems like that is the only thing holding them back from getting baptized. Luckily, someone in our ward mentioned that there is a addiction recovery program by LDS Family Services. We were able to get a couple copies of the handbook and a CD that goes along with it. This week in Family Home Evening, we decided to introduce that program. We also showed them a picture of a temple baptismal font and had them visualize themselves there and what they needed to do to get there. I think that helped and they were really excited to go through the twelve steps in the addiction recovery program.

This week we had a little miracle on Saturday. We called one of our investigators to remind her about church on Sunday and she told us that she was really upset from reading The Book of Mormon and didn't know if she wanted to continue meeting with us. We decided to go over to her house and meet with her right away to address her concerns. She said she was reading a part in The Book of Mormon and she didn't like how it talked about how the wicked would burn in hell. We were able to talk to her again how we believe in different degrees of glory and not simply a heaven and hell like most religions do. We also taught that along with the doctrine of Christ lesson and she felt much better. It was great because we were able to teach her more and resolve her concerns.

I found a flower as big as my head in a member's tree

This week felt like kind of an odd week. We ended up not having as many lessons with investigators and a lot of lessons with less-active members. I felt like the lessons with less-active members this week were very important though.

Our district! (Sister Randall, Sister Di Liberto, me, Elder Atkin, Elder Watts, Elder Wilson, and Elder Eastman)

I absolutely learned so much at our Zone Conference we had this week. It was just one big spiritual fest. Honestly, we had about 8 hours of talks and lessons and it was incredible. It definitely taught me many ways I could do better and be more effective as a missionary. I learned about how happiness and fun is only a temporary thing and that giving yourself in service is one of the only ways you can achieve pure joy. I also learned how important it is to know our purpose as a missionary because then everything else falls into place. Every mundane things falls out of our life when we focus on our purpose and even companion relationships are better when both companions (or in our case all 3) are focused on their purpose.

All the sisters in the Newbury Park Zone and Camarillo Zone (at zone conference)
Our Newbury Park Zone shirts

Overall it was a great week! I still feel blessed to have two great companions and I am sad that Sister Di Liberto is going back to Temple Square today. They both have taught me so much already and I am thankful for their examples to me. It is going to be weird for it just to be me and Sister Randall until transfers until next Tuesday.

The Mahterians took us to this super tasty Italian restaurant for a
combined birthday party and going away party for Sister Di Liberto!

Can you believe it? I have almost made it though a whole transfer in California! Time flies out here!

Much Love,
Sister Mason

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Verses to Song “As Sisters in Zion”

Inspired by the wave of sister missionaries, LDS songwriter Janice Kapp Perry has written new verses to the hymn “As Sisters in Zion”. The new song is called "The Sisters of Zion". She said it was done "to inspire sister missionaries regarding their important place in the missionary work force." 

It was first performed at the MTC in May 2013. Sister Perry said, "I told the MTC sisters we were going to play the soundtrack and they would be the first ones to ever sing it! It’s hard to describe the depth of my feelings about what happened next, as they spontaneously rose to their feet and sang "The Sisters of Zion" with great fervor. The spirit was electric—a moment none of us will ever forget." 

One sister missionary said in her blog, "Now, imagine 1,500 sister missionaries singing this at the exact same time....when we got to the part that says 'We are as the Army of Helaman", we all sang 'We are NOW the Army of Helaman'. It was so powerful! And it truly testified to me of the importance of missionary work!"

Unfortunately, Melia was not at the MTC for this occasion. She arrived a few weeks later.  

(Below is a link to the article on ldsmag.com, where you can read more about it and listen to the song.)

Watch Out World! Here Come the Sisters of Zion! (ldsmag.com)

The Sisters of Zion

Words and Music by Janice Kapp Perry 

The sisters of Zion are called to God’s labor
We willingly serve Him with spirit and might
We go to the nations with truth everlasting
We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ

We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us
We trust in His words and our purpose is clear
The angels of heaven are walking beside us
We’ll share our glad message with all who will hear

We go forth enlisted with Helaman’s Army
In numbers much greater than ever before
With power and spirit we’ll faithfully witness
The heavens have spoken, and truth is restored 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Surprise Picture from a Member

This morning Amy woke up to a sweet surprise on her cell phone. A member in Melia's mission sent a text message, along with a picture of Melia and her companions. 

The text message said "Hi Amy-Your sweet daughter is in our area. We love her!" 

It's great to see that others love our daughter and are making her feel so welcome.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Interesting Church Statistics

Here are some interesting Church statistics relating to California and the places where Melia and her companions are from. Sister DiLiberto is from Italy and Sister Randall is from Utah.



Monday, July 15, 2013

A Week of Learning and Growing


This was another great week! I had my first exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders this week. For some reason I thought that there was no way I would be left alone on the exchanges. I mean, I thought that I would probably be with one of my other companions and one Sister Training Leader. That wasn't the case. I stayed by myself with Sister Bennett in Agoura Hills. I was so nervous to stay alone and in our area because I barely know the people here and I have no idea how to get around. It ended up being an amazing experience and it wasn't at all like I feared! I was afraid that I would have the hardest time trying to read the maps of the area and we would get lost, but that wasn't the case. I was definitely put in the situation that would test me the most but I absolutely loved it! I learned so much from Sister Bennett. She is such a great example of how to be friendly, bold, and persistent. I have learned that I am fairly bold and friendly, but that I often just take no for an answer. If someone doesn't want to talk to me I usually just say "Okay, here's a (mormon.org) card and call us if you have any questions or need service" and then walk away. She taught me how to be much more persistent and that is something that I desperately needed. I realized that Jesus Christ would be more persistent in sharing this priceless gospel. I have realized that since I act in His name, I need to treat people like He did and especially teach like He did. I learned so much on this exchange and I specifically learned how to listen and be persistent.

This week we taught and saw a lot of people, but I want to talk about three of them. This week we saw an investigator named David. He is in his 60's, he is Jewish, and never lets us in to talk to him. He has talked to the missionaries for about 6 months now and we meet with him every Friday and talk to him on his porch. He has been somewhat difficult because he refuses to pray, have faith, or come to church. We try to teach him but he usually just asks us question after question about things he has heard about the church. We met with him again on Saturday and he seemed different! He was more humble this time and seemed like he was letting what we were teaching him sink in a little bit. He said he would be at church the next day and guess what, he came! We were so excited to see him because we knew that if he came to church, he would be able to feel the spirit and get some sort of answer. He showed his faith by coming to church and it was the perfect sacrament meeting for him to be at. The messages in that meeting were wonderful and the spirit was so strong.  Even though it was just a baby step for him to come to church, it was a step in the right direction!

We also met with a lady named Rose. This was the first time I have ever met her because we have been trying to visit her for a while but she has never been home. We just stopped by her house and she was home so she let us in! We taught her about The Doctrine of Christ and invited her to come to church on Sunday. She really liked the lesson because she said that it really wasn't any different that what she had learned growing up. She came to church too! She has met with the missionaries a few times but this was her first time at church. She is just a sweet, wonderful lady and we are excited to see her again this week.

We also saw an investigator named Betty. This was the first time we have met with her and it went really well. We had ran into her before on our way to an appointment, talked to her, and gave her a Book of Mormon. We finally were able to meet with her and it was a great experience. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel and she told us "I just feel really good.". We told her that that is the spirit telling her what we are teaching is true. She is another great woman but the sad thing is she is bilingual and would rather have the lessons in Spanish, so we referred her to the hermanas and we probably won't see her again.. :(

Shannon, her husband Logan, and her son Jacob. They are such a sweet little family!

It was also Shannon's baptism this Saturday!! We were seriously so excited for her! She is such a wonderful woman and has made big changes in her life! She seriously has the cutest family and is such a sweet person. It was sad because so many people from the ward were out of town this weekend so not a lot of people were able to make it. The baptism was perfect though and it was so sweet that her husband Logan was able to baptize her! It was another completely amazing baptismal service.

Mom, this one's for you!

Overall, life is wonderful here in Agoura Hills! It has been hard and hot at times but I surprisingly have been able to have such a great attitude no matter what. I love it here, I love the members, and I love my companions. This week has been a week of learning and growing and I absolutely loved it!

A sweet lady Sister Perryman got us some things to always remember her and Agoura Hills

Fun facts: There are so many Jewish people here it is crazy! I have never met so many Jewish people in my life. Also the Bachelor mansion is in my area. That's how nice this area is! Also, Justin Bieber and a lot famous people live in Calabassas. Our area covers part of Calabassas so maybe we can visit him! hahaha. My area covers Oak Park, Agoura Hills, part of West Lake, and Calabassas. As I always say, it is so beautiful here!

So much love,
Sister Mason

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July


This week has been another great week! This week we taught a new investigator Norma. We taught her The Plan of Salvation and it was really cool because she has been a really religious person her whole life. She kept telling us about experiences in her life and things that she has learned about prayer or about other principles and would say "tell me if this is crazy..." and then tell us a story. Every time we would be shocked and say no that isn't crazy at all that is exactly what we believe! It was really interesting and impressive to see that even though she did not grow up in the church, she still believes so much of what we as members of the church know to be true.

We taught another investigator Margeaux this week. Let me just tell you that I love Margeaux. We went over to her house and watched the talk from general conference "Lord, I Believe." She liked that talk so much that she wanted to watch more so we watched two more shorter conference talks with her. My favorite thing about her is that she is so excited when we come over and she just soaks up whatever we teach or show her. She also is so nice, sweet, friendly, ans she even invites members herself to come with her to our lessons! She also asked us if she could have some type of calling even though she is not a member of this church yet because she wants to do something to give back to the church. She is really the greatest and she is like a second mom to Sister Randall, Sister DiLiberto, and me. She always has snacks for us when we come over and this time she sent us home with a ton of fruit.

We also taught one of our investigators Shannon again and she is planning on getting baptized this Saturday! We had Family Home Evening with her and her family to show them how FHE works. It was so great to be with her family and see how much her and her family have grown in the church and really come together as a family. You can really tell that her and her husband want to do what's best. I am just so happy for her and her decision to be baptized. She has been wanting to be baptized for a while now and so we are so excited that this day is finally coming!

At our ward 4th of July breakfast

4th of July was great! We had a ward pancake breakfast and a lot of our investigators came! It was so much fun and little kids even decorated their bikes and scooters and did a little parade. We were a little bummed because we could hear fireworks in our apartment but we looked out of our windows and couldn't see anything. It was okay though, we got to go around and try to talk to tons of people that day and it was great! For dinner, the members had some people over and we had a 4th of July BBQ. It was just a great, patriotic day. By the way, we made Sister DiLiberto go all out for the 4th of July. We sang only patriotic songs for a week for the beginning of our companion study. Haha she loved it though!

A member's animal bushes all decorated for the 4th

Yesterday was Sister Randall's Birthday! It was so funny because at church I told the family whose house we were going over for dinner that it was her birthday. We basically told every one we saw at church that it was her birthday. Anyways, at dinner the little kids were so excited! They made her this little Happy birthday banner and wrapped some of their toys and gave them to her. It was seriously the cutest thing ever!  It was sad that yesterday was fast sunday because we wanted to make her a birthday breakfast. We made her breakfast this morning and went shopping for a little bit at TJ MAXX today for her birthday. We have been trying to make it a great birthday for her

We get to go to the LA temple next week!! We get to go once a year in the month of our birthday. The bonus is that we get to go for Sister Randall's birthday and then I get to go again next month for my birthday!

I love these Sisters!

I still love my companions. They are amazing. Sister DiLiberto's knowledge of the gospel and the Preach My Gospel lessons is impressive. The great thing about her is that she knows so much but doesn't take over the whole conversation. She lets Sister Randall and me have the opportunity to teach and learn. Sister Randall is so nice and reminds us all the time to be exactly obedient in everything we do. When she speaks you can tell the great love she has for everyone we teach and she always has wonderful things to say. They both are great examples to me. Seriously though, can you tell how spoiled I am here?

Twin Sisters

Mom, you would be shocked.. I now am a salad eater. I never knew that would happen to me but every night when we have dinner at members' houses I eat the salad. I know, I am a totally different person! Also, somehow I now love potato salad. What has happened to me?

SO much love,
Sister Mason

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Am Blessed!

[We received a letter from Melia that was written the same day as her last e-mail. She had more to say than she had time to in her e-mail.]

Page 1
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The Field Is White

Dear Mom and Dad,

Guess what?  I SAW SISTER SNOW AT PEP BOYS LAST PDAY!! We had to get our oil changed and she was there getting something done on their car too! I basically died I was so happy!

Me with my MTC companion Sister Snow at Pep Boys
[Here is what Sis. Snow said in her own blog about this event:
"On Preparation Day last week I ran into Sister Mason and her companion at Pep Boys.  (We had to get our oil changed.) Our jaws dropped and we both just kind of stood there! Then we gave each other a big hug! It was a tender mercy to see her that day! I found it crazy that for only knowing her 12 days I missed her so much."]
I still love being in a trio. I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to be able to learn from both Sister DiLiberto and Sister Randall.  Sister DiLiberto is a Salt Lake visitor's center missionary and is leaving our mission in 3 weeks and then will be back at the visitor's center for just one more transfer. She is a seasoned veteran! She did not know English before her mission and I am so impressed at how well she speaks. Honestly many times I forget that she just barely learned English.  She has been in this area for her whole outbound mission here [6 months] and so she knows her way around here and basically knows everyone in the church here! Sister Randall has been out for about 3 and a half months now and she is absolutely wonderful! She is our driver of our mission car and does such a great job. Both of them have been just so great to be around. Things have been so great with them because we just laugh so hard at the many, many awkward conversations we have on a daily basis. It is crazy because it seems like with 3 of us, we push each other more and work harder. Lately, I have been observing them and trying to take note on what they do best.

My companions. Seriously, I am so blessed to have them!

This week has been great because I have been learning how to fully understand the investigators needs and adapt the lesson to them. It has been hard to jump right in teaching people because I do not know their background or things they need. I have been learning how to better get to know people in such a short amount of time and ask Heavenly Father for help with what they might need. It has been hard for me to learn but I have been working on it! 

So we live in apartments, we are fed dinner every night by members, and we drive a car around everywhere. The members here have been absolutely amazing! They are so willing to work with us and are always looking out for us. This week a family was moving and someone called us and asked us if we wanted the food from their fridge and freezer. That was so nice! We got TONS of food so we will be set for a while. We decided for our district meeting the next day that we would make food for lunch. We had a nice buffet of bbq pork sandwiches, sweet potato fries, pot stickers, watermelon, and cookies. Ha,ha it wasn't as nice as it sounds but it was so much fun and we had a feast! I will send a picture of my district soon.

This week we saw tons of people! We met with some of our investigators, less active members, and random people. It was a great week. Saturday was such a miracle though! We really wanted to reach our goals for the week and knew that some miracles had to happen for us to accomplish them. We were able to find people home who we had tried to see a few times earlier in the week. We also visited a referral and were surprised to see how nice they were and that they wanted to meet with us next week. We also went to see someone we had talked to and gave a Book of Mormon to a week or so ago. Her son actually answered the door and was curious to know what we taught and said he is open to different religions and might stop by our ward next week! We were so surprised to meet him and we are excited that we can go back and talk to both of them now. It was just amazing to see that people almost everywhere we went, people decided to let us in or let us teach them even if it was just for a few minutes. So many people seemed to want to talk to us and people were popping up from nowhere! Even though it was a very hot day (it was over 100 degrees), we weren't miserable at all. We just felt so blessed and were so excited to meet these people who were prepared for us to come.

Chris, Pam, and Alyssa dressed in white!

Yesterday was baptism day! IT WAS AMAZING! It was such a wonderful service and the spirit was so strong.  I am just so proud of Chris and Pam and the change they have made in their lives! They have come so far already and have stayed strong even when this week has been a struggle for them. It was wonderful to hear their testimonies at their baptism to see how much they have grown and their absolute love for their Savior Jesus Christ.  Their daughter Alyssa is so sweet and she honestly knows so much more than I knew when I got baptized!

After the baptism with President and Sister Castro

We are blessed every single day!

Love you so much!!!
-Sister Mason