Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm Off to Simi Valley!

First of all, I'm being transferred to Simi Valley! It's just north of Agoura Hills. I am really excited to reunite with Sister Proctor. We shared an apartment (and a car) about 6 months ago in Agoura Hills. She was being trained by Sister Casper and I was training Sister Mapa. She and Sister Casper served in the other Agoura ward. I am so excited for her to be my companion because I knew her very well, and I am really excited to see how both of us have changed! She is still waiting for her visa to Brazil. It will be sad to see her leave this mission! Simi Valley will also be so exciting because they just opened that city for sisters a few months ago! In the past it has been an all elders zone!

The 4 Agoura sisters! Sister Proctor, Sister Casper, me, and Sister Mapa

This week has been basically a week of service. We had the opportunity to help a member with her tree, help out another woman who had had a bad accident lately, and plant flowers with one of our investigators. I have really come to appreciate service opportunities here because it is hard not to feel happier and accomplished after helping someone with something they desperately need.

We had a lesson with an investigator couple this week and it was very interesting, to say the least. It was basically a whole meeting of the husband showing us examples of why Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and how he taught differently about the nature of God than what it says in the Bible. That was a treat! But later in the week it was great to spend time planting flowers with the wife. We were able to get to know her better and talk to her more about of our beliefs and how they relate to our everyday life.

There are SO many avocado trees here. I love it!
It seems like almost everyone has an avocado tree in their yard.

We had a wonderful lesson with T this week at a member's house. The husband was able to give him a blessing to quit smoking, and that has really brought him extra strength this past week as he is trying to quit smoking and give up coffee.

We were able to meet with him again with a wonderful ward missionary and it was INCREDIBLE to have her there! She has had a really rough past, but she is such a great example to him. She was able to give him tons of advice about how to quit any addiction and the things that helped her get to where she is right now. She was a huge help and it was so great for him to see that there are other people in the ward that have been through some of the same things that he has been through. He is still trying to quit smoking and hopefully this week will be the week!

Sister James, Me, Sister Hegstrom, and Sister Bartschi at the baptism!
It has honestly been TOO fun sharing a ward with them in Ventura!

T also really enjoyed the baptism this week! He was telling everyone there how excited he is for his baptism and that his baptism is coming up next! Plus, the baptism was SO powerful. It was incredible to just be able to be a part of that! Sister James and I did end up singing at the baptism and it went well!

Sister James and me with a couple of great elders from our district!
(Elder McKinley & Elder Leavitt)

D is still doing great, and she is so excited for her baptism in less than a month! We had a wonderful meeting with her this week as we read the Book of Mormon with her. We also read chapters of the illustrated "Book of Mormon Stories" book that corresponded with what we were reading, and then continued to read in the Book of Mormon. The pictures really helped her visualize what was going on when we were reading out of the Book of Mormon, and she really enjoyed it! It was so great because that will be such a great help to her as she continues to read and can now understand a little more of what is going on!

We were also able to meet with another investigator, and we had a great experience with her! She has been having a really hard time healing from a recent surgery, but she is really doing great! We talked to her more about Conference this week, and how it can bring her so much peace through this hard time, and she was so excited for it! We invited everyone we could think of to watch Conference, so I am excited to hear about all of their experiences!

Sister James and me with our California shirts!

General Conference this weekend was absolutely wonderful! I feel like it ended way too soon! (I did love all the references to the Gilbert Temple dedication and celebration!) I really liked W. Craig Zwick's talk about communication, and all the talks about showing more love towards people! I feel like I love others easily, and I realized that it's easy for me to be affectionate, but it's been harder to show my love in other ways, like giving others my time or really deeply caring about others' progress.

There were just so many talks that really touched me! I basically wished that every less-active and investigator was watching Lawrence E. Corbridge's talk about Joseph Smith and Marcos A. Aidukatis's talk about finding truth. Those two talks alone could answer so many people's questions and concerns about this gospel! It was an incredible weekend and I am so glad for the strength that Conference gave me!

Happy Birthday Daddy, from Sisters James & Mason
(This picture came in Dad's birthday card)

My time in Ventura has been a little insane. Honestly, I have never heard so much "anti" material until we got here, or talked to so many people who've tried to tear down Joseph Smith. That was very interesting, but I am glad that I was at least able to experience that.

This transfer we have been really focusing on temples, and helping people get to the temple. That has also been such a great experience for me! Having the temple as the focus for everyone has made such a difference. We have had such great experiences teaching about the temple, and the blessings of going to the temple.

Some of the beautiful views here in Ventura!
Can you see the ocean in the background? Too gorgeous!

I am absolutely so lucky for the short amount of time I was able to spend here in Ventura with Sister James! We really worked perfectly together. I am going to miss it so much! She is really an incredible missionary and so easy to get along with. It was a little crazy because we really would read each others' minds. I have never had it where I was really fully "one" with a companion until her. We were really hoping to stay together here another transfer, but I am still excited to go to Simi Valley! It will be sad leaving paradise but I am so excited to see what Simi has in store for me!

Tons and Tons of LOVE,
Sister Mason

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