Monday, March 24, 2014

"Let the Book of Mormon do all the heavy lifting"

Mom and Dad,

This was another great week here in Ventura! I truly love it so much here! This week was a little sad because two of our investigators with baptismal dates dropped us. One told us that he no longer wants to meet with us, and that he wants to go back to his Roman Catholic roots. The other told us that he doesn't have enough time to meet with us anymore. It was sad.
Besides that it was a pretty great week! Zone Conference was such a blessing this week! It really hit me how important the Book of Mormon is in this work, and that we are really in the middle of gathering Israel. The whole Zone Conference was based on the Book of Mormon, and using it more effectively in our missionary efforts. One quote from President Castro was that we really need to "let the Book of Mormon do all the heavy lifting." Also, it is the greatest "sifter" for finding sincere investigators. We also need to let everyone we meet FEEL the power of the Book of Mormon. It was absolutely a fabulous day and we left that meeting so excited to go out and try everything we had learned! 

The Ventura English Zone

We met again with sweet D this week. We had the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon with her. She really has been learning so much lately and is still excited for her baptism. She is really the perfect investigator. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day, comes to church every week, and attends mutual. Sometimes I wish that everyone we teach was like her!
The other day we saw some sweet little girls selling fresh squeezed orange juice.
Of COURSE we had to stop and buy a glass. They became our little best friends!
They wanted to know what we were doing, and if we were really sisters. Too cute!

We met with L again this week. Last week I told you about how we miraculously showed up at her house exactly when she needed it. We came by again and it was a little strange because she didn't remember anything about the last time we came over. She must have been in so much distress.
We were able to have a short lesson with her and then set up a time for us to come back. We came back and she was so precious because she told us that she had been looking at the clock all day, waiting for when we were coming over. We had a lesson with her in her backyard and she was so happy because it was the first time she has been outside in a few months (because of her back surgery).
Before we left she asked us if there was any way to tell the missionaries in Santa Maria to go visit her sister who is going through a hard time. We told her that we would be able to forward that information to the missionaries there. She was so excited because she said that she really wants her sister to listen to the missionaries because they have brought her so much peace throughout the years, and she just really wants her sister to be able to feel that too.
Only in California do you see murals like this!

This week we had two more lessons with T! We went over the Plan of Salvation with him and it went really well! The best part was that we had planned on meeting with him at the stake center last night (Sunday). On our way there we noticed that he had called, and showed up 45 minutes early to our appointment. We were a little worried that he would be really bored waiting around, but when we got there we found him hanging out with the young single adults at their potluck. He said that they invited him to join them (because he is single). So he had dinner with them and made some new friends! It was perfect that he ended up coming early because he told us that he really enjoyed himself there! Our  meeting with him was really great and he told us that he has been able to cut down his smoking almost in half!
At church yesterday we introduced him to an investigator "I" that Sister Hegstrom and Sister Bartschi are teaching so that "I" could give him some inspiration by sharing how he was able to quit smoking. It was really great to introduce them to each other, and T was much more motivated to quit smoking after that. What really is holding him back is his smoking addiction. We are praying that he will be able to quit smoking really soon so he will be able to make his baptism on April 26th!
It was also great when we met with him because we talked just briefly about why we have temples and what ordinances are done there. After we shared that with him he was really excited and told us that his brother had died when he was really young and he didn't think that he had been baptized. T shared that he would really want to be able to go to the temple so that he could be baptized for his brother. That personal connection was so sweet because it put the whole Plan of Salvation into perspective for him, and he really wanted his family to have the blessings of the gospel like he has had. He tells us also that he feels like a completely different person and he thinks about his baptism every day!

This marque just kills me! This is something that Dad would come up with!

We were also able to spend some great time with a few less-actives. We were able to do some service for one of the families by helping them clean. We also met with this really sweet woman who is 94 years old. She is the cutest and sweetest lady, but she can't really leave home. We were able to spend some time with her and bring the spirit into her home.
We also met the sweetest man P this week! We met him in his neighborhood as he was taking his daily walk around the block with his walker. He is 94 years old and his wife is 93. He told us that he had met with missionaries many years ago and that we were always welcome to come over and teach him. He completely made our day because earlier that day we were doing a lot of tracting and weren't having any success. Sister James had a prompting to talk to this one man working outside on his lawn. That man wasn't really interested but then, because we went this certain way, we were able to meet P! It just shows me that Heavenly Father is so aware of the little things we need, and that he put this sweet man in our path just to give us a little hope and brighten up our day!

Welcome to Ventura!

Everything is going just great here in Ventura! I absolutely LOVE Sister James and we get along so well. She is really so easy to get along with and we teach well together. It has definitely been easier training this time around because Sister James is willing to go outside her comfort zone, and she is just easy to be around. I have definitely learned more and more each time I've trained. I have learned how to take it a little more seriously and work a little harder each time.
Our two investigators with baptismal dates are staying strong and I absolutely love this ward. Really, life is so good out here! I honestly can't believe that I am half way done! It seems like time goes so fast out here! (Well, it goes pretty fast except for some days where we don't have any appointments and the day seems to last an eternity!) I can't believe that I will be home in just a few months. Some days I just don't want to think about that!
Much Love,
Sister Mason

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