Monday, May 19, 2014

Baptisms! Baptisms! Baptisms!


So first of all, I can't believe you visited President Castro!! [see the previous post] I love President and Sister Castro with all my heart, and I respect what wonderful people they are. I am so glad to hear that you got to spend quite a bit of time with them! I am so glad that you now know what I am saying when I tell you they are absolutely incredible. PLUS, AGOURA! We basically lived at the Habit Burger there. Didn't you just love Agoura? It's so beautiful there!

This transfer I am staying in Simi Valley and training another new missionary! I am really excited because so much in going on in this ward! The work here has really taken fire the past two weeks! It will be such a great place for my new companion to start her mission!

ALSO, I have such great news! One of our investigators in Ventura, D, was baptized last week. Sister James sent me this picture. 

This has been another incredible week here in Simi Valley! We had a great lesson with G and we were able to plan out everything for her baptism this Friday! We taught her about tithing, fasting, and obeying and honoring the law. She was a little disappointed to hear about tithing and fasting, because it sounded like it would be hard for her to do, but she is already determined to live both of them! On Sunday she was so sweet and showed us that she has already filled out a tithing envelope with a few dollars and change that she could give to the bishop. She is just a great girl and we are more than excited for her baptism in just a few days!!

We took a trip last Monday to Vallerta, a Mexican grocery
store (like Rancho Market back home). I got some really
tasty enchiladas and some watermelon juice, of course!

Yesterday we had a great lesson with two of our new investigators M and L. M is a cousin of a member in our ward and she has had many LDS friends. She is really interested in religion and had so many questions about why we need prophets today. She and her husband are both from the Philippines (about 4 hours outside Manilla). M has already read the Book of Mormon once in Tagalog and she has started reading it in English.

They both came to church this week and stayed for all three hours! They are really loving what they are learning! M's cousin and her husband have already talked to her a lot about the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost, and baptism. In our lesson they asked how many lessons we teach and how long it takes to teach them before their baptism. We explained everything and then set them both with a baptismal date for July 13th. They are such a wonderful little family and they have been searching a while for the truth! I am really excited to see how things go with them! 

Magnus. He even let me hold his "secret cross" in the picture.
He holds it every time we pray. He is the best!

This week we also had a lesson with a recent convert. He is such an incredible person. We taught about temples, family history work, and eternal marriage. I was really impressed with his absolute love for the gospel! His wife is a member of the church who is recently reactivated. The whole time he just talked about how excited he was to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, and then in a year to be sealed to his wife. 

He also talked about how excited he is to do family history work so he can bring the gospel to all of his family that never had an opportunity to hear about it. He is truly an inspiration, and at first wasn't really interested in the church. Now he is doing so well and has such a strong testimony. Sadly, he is moving to Utah this week to go to law school, but I am so happy to see the wonderful changes he has made in his life, and his great potential!

Laurel. Ah, I just love her!

We also had a great lesson with L. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, and she absolutely loved it! She is still a little nervous about baptism, but she has really come a long way! She has a date for July 5th, so we are excited to see how she feels as that gets a little closer. She came to our stake women's conference this weekend and she felt right at home! She was there chatting with all the members, and she loved the things that she learned in the classes. She is making a lot of progress and she really likes all the ward activities and all the things she is learning.

At the women's conference, women from the stake donated handmade quilts.
They made 167 quilts for the women's shelter. They were anticipating
50 or 100 quilts, but they ended up with much more!

This weekend we also met with J and B. We were able to have a lesson at a member's home, and they are such great fellowshippers! The husband and J have both been in Vietnam and have had the same health issues. The wife and B are both teachers. They are so sweet and they all are a fellowshipping match made in heaven! We had a lesson on the Word of Wisdom, and even though it is hard for them they are really excited. J told us that he has really wanted to stop smoking, so he is excited to start now. They are both doing really great and J is excited for his baptism at the end of June.

Joseph and Brenda

We met with some great less-active members this week. We have been going weekly with members from our high priest group to visit some people who they home teach. That has really been a great opportunity to meet many active and less-active members in the ward. 

This week we were able to meet with a woman who is incredible. She is the only member in her family, and she has only been a member for about 3 years. And she is obsessed with aviation. It was great to go with the high priests so they could introduce us to her, because I do not know when we would have had the opportunity to meet with her. She is so friendly and is open to us coming back to meet with her!  

We also met another less-active sister. She AND her husband both work for Disney. She is in marketing and her husband is the fire chief for their movie sets. Their house was completely decked out in Disney items, and I was absolutely in heaven! 

Also, we even had the awkward experience of catching a less-active sister smoking! Hahah, she looked horrified when she saw us walking up the street, and ran to put her cigarette out. (That was a treat.) But she is such a great woman. We talked to her and she showed us all her crafts that she works on!

I'm really going to miss Sister Proctor!

Really, Simi Valley is incredible! There are so many things going on here. Right now we have 8 investigators with baptismal dates. I have had a really great transfer with Sister Proctor and we have been able to see so many miracles! The best part is that we know that none of these miracles and upcoming baptisms had to do with us. The Lord prepared these people and we just happened to be there at the right time. 

I am loving every minute of it here in Simi Valley and I am so excited to be able to stay! Simi Valley is basically "me in the form of a city", if you can imagine that! I am serving in one of the best wards in the whole mission! I am excited for another transfer here and I am so excited to meet my new companion tomorrow!

Much Much Much Love,
Sister Mason

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