Monday, June 9, 2014

Drama, Interviews, and MIRACLES


This week has been a little crazy. One of the hermanas in our apartment has severe anxiety, and has lost it. It has become a huge problem and they have barely spent any time outside the apartment this week. It has gotten bad enough where we no longer wanted to leave them alone together in the apartment. Because of that, it has turned out to be a very interesting week, and a bit of a roller coaster ride. I still am so grateful that I have been exposed to a situation like this, and that I have been able to help out the hermanas in some way. 

I have turned into the mother of this big crazy family! There was tons of talking and crying going on this week. I ended up spending much of my time talking through things with one or the other of them. It has been exhausting to say the least. 

I definitely feel blessed this week because I know the Lord is mindful of all the things we have been going through, and he has sent extra blessings our way in return! We have had some really incredible experiences and lessons this week, and I know that it was just Him showing that He is with us and He loves us despite our circumstances. 

Me and Hermana Shepherd. We are just two peas in a pod.
We even share churros at Costco.

Yesterday we had such a great lesson with M and L. Our lesson was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and L really opened up to us this week! He was very talkative, which is unusual, and he kept sharing different experiences he has had. He told us that he absolutely loves coming to church. He feels like when he comes here he jut feels like he is home. He told us, " I really am just happy to be here." 

They both are doing really well and making so much progress. They came to church this week and they have still been loving it. They even brought their friend K with them! We talked to her after sacrament meeting and she told us that she really liked the service and she said "I feel the Holy Spirit here." M and L are soaking everything up, and the best part is that they keep bringing their friends to church or to lessons with us so they can also experience what they are learning. 

 In sacrament meeting there were such great talks this week, and most of them were by youth speakers. One was about the Word of Wisdom and another was a powerful talk about the Holy Ghost and receiving personal revelation. It seemed like the entire meeting was tailored to exactly what they needed to hear! 

Also, they have THE MOST ADORABLE daughter Z who is 18 months old. She is just a little joy in our lessons and just runs around and happily climbs on things to entertain herself. We sat in the pew behind them on Sunday and little Z just wanted to make funny faces and play with me the whole sacrament meeting. I was dying! She is the cutest thing in the world and I love that little girl so much!

Our Relief Society activity! I had too much fun teaching cupcake decorating!
They also had me talk a little about how I started cake decorating and
what my little business was like. It was even much more special
that it was on the exact day of my one year mark!

Click here to see Melia's on-line cake gallery, which she shared with the sisters in the class.

We also started teaching a new investigator J. She is an older woman with a few medical problems. She was a referral from a relative we talked to a few weeks ago. We've tried to visit her, but we were never able to catch her home. This week we stopped by again and she immediately let us in (which is VERY rare)! She wanted to know the main differences between the Catholic church and our church, so we gave her an overview of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. 

She thought it was very interesting and then she said, "Well, do you want to read something with me?" We were really excited to hear that and so we read with her the introduction of the Book of Mormon. She really liked that and she welcomed us back for another lesson! We were able to go back and teach her the full Restoration lesson. She was raised Catholic so she had a few questions, but she loved everything we taught her. We are really excited to see how things go with her!

Fun fact: The stake center in Thousand Oaks has its own street light
and its own little street named "Mormon Way"

We had another lesson with D this week, and it was absolutely incredible! She seems to really be opening up to us now, and she is searching for the truth. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it basically turned into one big study of that topic. She had many questions. We were able to answer her questions and also found many scriptures that helped her understand. She is not one of those people who asks deep or off-topic questions the whole lesson, but she really kept asking questions that showed that she was completely understanding what we were teaching, She was trying to apply it to what she already knows and has experienced in her life. 

I really could not help from smiling the whole time because of how quickly she understood everything, and how strong the Spirit was in that room. That was a lesson that completely lifted our spirits and made us remember the whole reason why we are here! Sister De Vries and I went out of that lesson feeling like we were floating on a cloud! D is really excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. I really can't even believe the progress she has made in just the last few weeks! 

As a present to myself I finally retired a pair of shoes that I've had for a
year, and I'm starting to wear a brand new pair of the same shoes!

We also had a "new member lesson" with Gianna this week, and we took another great beehive with us. The lesson was on eternal marriage, temples, family history work, and service. When talking about service, we ended up talking a little about missionary work and the two girls were so excited because they both want to serve missions. Gianna is so sweet! She told us "You know, I've been thinking I want to serve a mission in a few years." She still has 7 years to go, but she would be such a great missionary! 

Family Home Evening in the park with Gianna and her parents!

I really love how so many girls are now looking forward to serving missions! I can't help it, but I find myself telling everyone that even mentions a mission that it is the best thing they could ever do for themselves, their families, and all the people that are dying to hear the gospel!

Lately I've been having a mango obsession. The essential
part is the Tajin, which is lime chili powder. Mmm

This week we also had a training meeting with a few Sister Training Leaders and our interviews with President Castro. I have to say that the interview and training meeting this week was just exactly what I needed! I am excited to use many things I learned in the training about resources for resolving investigators' concerns, finding people to teach, and setting goals. 

We had our interviews in companionships, but I was also able to spend a little time talking to President Castro by myself. I was so thankful for even the little time I had to talk to him. He is the sweetest man. I can't even tell you how much I love President and Sister Castro! Their mission ends in just a few weeks and they will be missed! 

Mom and Dad, President and Sister Castro talked to me all about your visit with them! They told me that they loved the time they spent with you, and that they were so honored that you took the time out of your schedule to visit them.  They love you both and want us to all go back to visit them in Idaho.

I am excited to meet President and Sister Felix. They'll be
here in July. I know that they will be great for our mission!

I am looking forward to going back to a "normal" week and giving this area our full time and attention. Sister De Vries is still doing really well. It has been good for her to get more practice teaching, to help boost her confidence and ease any nerves she has about the work. This ward is still doing great with helping us with the work. I can't help but realize how blessed I feel here! 

I Love You SO Much!!!
-Sister Mason

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