Monday, February 10, 2014

Another Averagely Wonderful Week in Santa Maria

Mom and Dad,

One of the best things that happened this week is that two of our investigators, M and R, who are sisters, came to an 8-year-old's baptism in our ward this weekend! We were able to meet with them before the baptism to teach them a little bit more about baptism and about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. During the baptism they had so many questions, but they absolutely loved it and felt the spirit. R just kept saying, "So that's all I need to do? I want to get baptized!" and M also said that she just felt so bubbly that she wanted to giggle during the baptism.
After church on Sunday R came up to us and asked what she needed to do to get baptized. We told her that she needs to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and talk to her parents more about it. She really loved church yesterday and was excited about many of the Young Women's activities coming up!

We were also able to meet with a new investigator C. She is incredible! She is a young mom and just very calm and intellectual. She has studied many religions and all sorts of religious texts, and has even researched much about the LDS church. We were mostly able to talk to her about her expectations and about the different books in the standard works. We are really excited to meet with her again this week, and even more excited that a member that lives just a few houses down from her is able to come with us this week!
Notice my scripture cover. My brother Blair had it made for
 me while he was serving his mission in El Salvador.
It's one of my favorite treasures!

This week we met with a few former investigators that invited us to come over after just texting them to see if they were still interested at all in the church. One man we met with was very interesting because he is a very strong Catholic. We were able to teach him the Restoration, but it turned into all of us explaining the differences in what we believe. It could've easily become contentious but I was really pleased that we were all very nice and respectful, so it didn't turn into anything over the top! He is a very energetic and nice man so we were thankful that we got to meet with him and that it ended up being a pleasant meeting.
The lessons with the other people we had texted were good but did not seem to really go anywhere. That is okay though because they still may not be ready, but I am so glad that we were able to meet with them again and share a little bit of the gospel with them!
The Santa Maria Sisters! Sister Blanchard, Me, Hermana Brown, and Hermana Eastman.
I just love them all so much! It has just been too fun being able
to spend another transfer all together!!

We had a few great Focus 15 lessons this week too. We were able to have a little Family Home Evening with a little family. The mom is less-active and has two little children who haven't been baptized. Sadly, her husband refuses to even come sit with us when we come over and meet with them. It was a great meeting. We sang "Love at Home" together and the mom just started tearing up. It was precious! It is very hard to keep the attention of the kids, but we were able to have a short lesson on The Plan of Salvation and do some activities together where they colored pictures and did other activities from The Friend.
One meeting that was kind of sad was that we met at another family's house with a member who is single. Our lesson was about temples, eternal families, and the priesthood. We really tried to take the member into consideration and not make it a lesson to make him feel bad about not being married. When we told him what we would be teaching he said, "That WOULD be the topic of tonight." It made him feel bad because he is having a hard time dating. Gah, we tried so hard to avoid that!
 We were also able to meet with another family, and the 7 year old was just too adorable! She is getting really excited to be baptized in a few months. We have these props for The Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson where we have a cut-out of a person and of heaven and then these big stepping stones of things that we do to help us get to heaven. She was just so excited about all of it and she basically squealed every time we talked about a new principle/ordinance and she got to move her little person to the next rock. I wish we could teach people who were this excited all day!

Mountain View Pride - even in  California!

This Sunday we were really excited to see M at church. We hadn't heard from her in a few days. We had asked her if she would be coming to church, but she didn't respond. We were surprised to see her show up to Sacrament meeting yesterday all on her own!
The really sad part was that she wanted to meet with us after church. We went over to her house to talk to her and she said that she really doesn't think she should be baptized and she basically doesn't feel comfortable at church. She says that she has been praying a lot about whether she should be baptized and she thinks that she has gotten her answer that she shouldn't. She also told us that church (especially Relief Society meeting) reminds her of group therapy because everyone shares their feelings.
That was really sad to hear but Sister Blanchard really talked to her about how she needs to keep reading the Book of Mormon and know for herself if it is true. She hasn't dropped us completely, but that was really so sad to hear from her. I have seen many sad and discouraging things in my days on the mission but I have also seen incredible miracles to make up for it!
It's been a little rainy in good old Santa Maria, but we have been loving it!

Here's a little miracle from this week. One day it was rainy and we were in Los Alamos trying to contact many potential and former investigators. We had knocked on this man's door and he invited us to come in. We started talking to him about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and he told us that he felt bad for us for walking out in the rain. He said that what we are teaching must be true because of the sacrifice we were making to share it with other people! We were so thankful for the rain that day and especially that we were able to see miracles because of it!
We started doing service at an old folks home this week and we just spent time coloring with some of the women and talking to them. It was really sad because many of them couldn't remember much, but we were able to help them for a little bit and just talk to them.
We were also able to volunteer at the food bank a little, and we worked with another woman the whole time. She wasn't very open to talking to us very much, but we were able to have a great time together sorting donated food together.

 It has been an great week overall and I really have been learning so much! Sometimes I wonder if all other missionaries learn this much about the gospel and about themselves in the process. I have come to the conclusion that they probably don't, and that I'm the only one. Haha :) 

Much Love,
Sister Mason

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