Monday, July 14, 2014

Exchanges and Such

Mom and Dad,

There are so many great things happening here in Simi Valley! 

First of all, were able to meet with our bishop's father-in-law. He is such a sweet 88-year-old man. On our exchange Sister Higgins and I were able to teach him, and it was such a great lesson. He had so many questions. He kept asking if we thought he was a lost cause, and if it was too late to teach him everything he needs to know. We help telling him that he already knows so much about the gospel, and he has such a sincere heart. 

I just loved being with Sister Higgins again! It is honestly
going to be too much when we are back together in AZ

The very best part was at the beginning of our lesson, when we showed him the "How Can I Know?" page in the Restoration pamphlet that shows you how to pray. We showed it to him before we said the opening prayer and he just loved it! He kept saying, "That is so easy! I have heard so many people pray before, but I didn't know it was that easy!" Throughout the lesson he held on to the pamphlet and kept looking on that page. He was so excited about that and he told us that it was his favorite part of the lesson. Sister Higgins told him that we will give him more pamphlets, and that page is in every pamphlet. When he heard that, he looked like he was in heaven. We explained more about the Book of Mormon so it made more sense to him, and he was really excited about that too. He is such a sweet and sincere man! 

The really sad part is that his son is less-active and now very anti. His son started talking to him after our first lesson and started persuading him not to meet with us anymore. It was really sad so see how someone's agency can ruin everything, but I know that if this is the right time for him he will be able to overcome it. He seems so ready after many many years of exposure to the gospel, but this is a pretty big dip in the road for him. Right now he won't be meeting with us for a while, but we hope that things will change.

The MTC Gang all back together!

M and L are doing so great and are getting really excited for their baptism on July 28th! That is just two weeks from today. They are doing so well and they just have so much faith! They finally gave up drinking coffee completely. Right when we told them that they would need to quit drinking coffee to prepare for their baptism, they were completely ready and willing. It is a temptation for L to drink coffee at work, but he said that he now drinks hot chocolate or herbal tea instead. 

Last week we had such a great lesson on keeping the Sabbath day holy. Last night we taught them Follow the Prophet, and we were able to teach them more about Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. They talked about how they know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but they really want to learn more about him.

Last Sunday they were so sweet. They came late to church and the sacrament had already been passed. M said that she almost cried because she was so excited to take the sacrament, and she was frustrated that she was late. They have such strong faith and they are willing to do whatever our Heavenly Father expects of them. I love this little family so much and they are an inspiration to me. I honestly can't wait for their baptism in two weeks! I still can't believe that the Lord has allowed me to be there from their very first lesson all the way to their baptism. 

I feel like all the sudden the Lord has been pouring out all of the blessings for my hard work throughout my mission. At times I felt like I was working so hard without seeing any results, but now I see that it was just a test of my faith and now I am seeing the blessings! I feel like such a blessed missionary these days!

We helped our investigator get ready for his garage sale. In return, we were
able to take anything we liked. Here are some of the gems we got.
We have lovely matching Disney hats and Sister Snow grabbed
a nice Slurpee tank top. Hahah, it was too much fun!

One of my new favorite investigators is L. She has been taught by missionaries before, and I actually met her about 3 months ago. When we went over to her house I thought that she completely hated us because she was in such a bad mood and just said, "I will get in contact with you when I am ready to take any lessons." 
Sister Snow and I texted her a week or so ago to see how she was doing and if there was anything we could do to help. This week we went over and sorted some clothes for her and were able to talk to her. She told us that she really wants to be baptized, and that she knows that this gospel is true, but it is hard for her to take the steps needed to be baptized (for example, live all the commandments). 

We were able to have such a great talk with her about how we can help her and how she would like us to start teaching her. She is just such a real woman and tells us exactly what she thinks. We came up with a plan perfectly suited to her needs so we could begin teaching her and help her read the Book of Mormon. 

She told us that she wants to start taking the lessons again and that she would probably want to meet with us two times a week! She came to church for all 3 hours this Sunday and last Sunday and she just felt so good to be back in church! I love her so much and we get along really well. 

Exchange in Thousand Oaks. I was with Sister Higgins
and Sister Snow was with Sister Giambattista.

 Sister Snow and I were able to go on some great exchanges this week!

I went on exchange with Sister Higgins and we worked together here in Simi. We were able to teach many wonderful lessons together! We realized that it has been about 9 months since we have been companions and it was so great to see how much we have both changed. It was such a dream being able to spend time together and teach together again. She is such a strong missionary and knows how to not take things too seriously. She is bold but makes everyone around her feel comfortable. I am so grateful for the time that we were able to spend together and the things that I was able to learn from her!

Another Thousand Oaks exchange!
Sister Solarzano, Me, Sister Snow, and Sister Heslop

I also went to Thousand Oaks on exchange with Sister Solorzano! She has only been out on her mission for a few weeks, and she is so sweet! She loves being on a mission and she is so happy every minute of the day. We had a great time together and were able to see many miracles and talk to many people throughout the day. She also worked on asking inspired questions and connecting with people, and she did really well! I could also tell how bad she wants to be a great missionary as soon as possible. She really focuses on becoming better and better every day, and she studies over and over the teaching skills that will help her become a better missionary. She has only been out a few weeks but I am so impressed with her and her dedication!

A member's beautiful horse!

We just had so many great things happening this week! Exchanges on back-to-back days are a little exhausting, but Sister Snow and I are getting used to this new schedule! We have been seeing so many small miracles throughout the day, and also so many huge miracles too. 

We're in horse country in parts of Simi!

This week I am looking forward to teaching the Young Women about cupcake decorating! It is going to be so much fun. I love the Young Women in this ward!

SO Much Love,
Sister Mason

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