Monday, July 28, 2014

More Exchanges and Miraculous Things Here in Simi!


This was another great week in beautiful Simi Valley! Sister Snow and I am more than excited for M and L's baptism tonight! We had another great lesson with them this week to finish up the lessons and to get them ready for their baptism. We taught them about missionary work, callings, and service, and they just loved it.

They talked about how their family has been really hard on them for changing religions and wanting to get baptized. They said that it has been really hard on them, but they just can't deny the Spirit they felt that told them that it is true. They told us how they have gone to many churches, only to continue to feel like something is missing, but now that they are here they feel complete. They are so strong to be able to stand up to such opposition. They have strong testimonies and it seems like there is nothing to shake them or make them deny the witness they have that this is true! 

We also gave them the Restoration video to watch and they told us that they both watched it about 6 times. They loved feeling the Spirit as they watched it, so they would watch it over and over in Tagalog and in English. 

This is M and L's precious little girl. I love her so much!
  I love just playing with her during our lessons with them.

We also had some great exchanges in Moorpark this week. I got to stay there and go on exchange with Sister Evans. She and I worked on using "How to Begin Teaching" in every setting where we interacted with people. She did such a great job! She gave out her very first copy of the Book of Mormon when I was there. She did so well about being bold and sharing her testimony with everyone. 

Sister Evans is so sweet and she really wants to do the best that she can! She was a joy to be around and her love for this work is just contagious! She is very new to the mission, I could just tell how excited she is to be here and how she wants to learn as much as she can.

[By the way, Sister Hardman, who went on exchange with Sister Snow in Moorpark this week, is another blog fan! She told me that she loved reading the blog before she went out on her mission, and she was glad that she finally got to meet me! Hahah. Good job again you two!]

Me and Sister Evans

I also had an awesome exchange with Sister Thurgood here in Simi. Her goal was to ask questions to see if people understood what we taught them. We worked on teaching for understanding and that was great. We saw how God placed a variety of people in our path that day. We had the opportunity to teach many children throughout the day, along with people of all other ages. That was neat to see how we really had the opportunity to teach everyone according to their understanding and in a way that would relate to them. 

Sister Thurgood and me

The VERY best part of the whole exchange was at dinner. We had talked to this less-active woman E  a week or so ago, and she said that her friend J (who lives outside our area) was really interested in the church. We purposely set up a dinner on the night we would be on exchange with the sisters in J's area. 
We had such a great dinner with them. We were able to answer many of J's questions. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and has been getting a lot out of it! We were able to teach her the Restoration, and the spirit was so strong! E was tearing up at one point as she saw her friend really accepting the gospel and have a desire to know that it is true. Sister Thurgood even invited J to be baptized, and she said yes! Sister Thurgood and Sister Woodland (her companion) will now be teaching her.

It was such a powerful dinner in so many ways. It was honestly the perfect use of an exchange. We were able to have dinner at a less-active member's house, and she invited her best friend, who actually lives in Sister Thurgood's area. There really could not have been anything more perfect than that!

The Little Free Library. There is a little place in a neighborhood
here where you can leave a book and take a book in return.
Of course we left one of our favorite books in there!

We also had such a wonderful lesson with one of our investigators D. She has had a really rough time lately with tons of health issues, but she is staying really strong considering. Last week we were able to go over there, read the Book of Mormon with her, and answer some of her questions from what she has read so far.

One of her questions was "Well, how can I know that the Book of Mormon is true?" We had such a big smile on our face as we flipped to Moroni 10:3-5 and shared with her exactly how she can know it's true. We shared with her about truly reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, and she was really excited to try it out. She admits that right now she is really searching, and she is willing to give this gospel an honest try!
Paletas! When in Moorpark, I just HAD to get a pina colada paleta
(ice cream) from the paleta man! Mmmm :) Plus I got to steal Sister
Hardman's sunglasses all day while I drove their car around Moorpark.

This week was such a treat because we started working with our recent convert Gianna on her Young Women Personal Progress. We have really been wanting to keep in contact with her, and be able to help her in any way, so we decided that we would work on her Personal Progress with her! 
She was so adorable because she was so excited for us to come over! She set up their dinner table with drinks, snacks, and even name tags for where Sister Snow and I would sit. She also had her personal progress book and her scriptures out for when we would come over. She is so precious and I love her! 

Sister Snow and I were able to do some
service this week painting brick columns.

One miracle was that one of our investigators B finally read the Book of Mormon for the first time! We have been teaching her for about 4 months and she has never read it! We went over and read a little with her and her husband, and she loved it! She is finally making some great progress, and she is loving what she is reading! 

We also had a lesson with one of our investigators L. I love her! She has been taught by missionaries off and on for a very long time. She has had a hard time because she feels like everyone always tells her "Oh, just have faith" instead of giving her real answers. We were able to really explain things simply and in depth this time. She was so excited because she told us that she felt like this was the very first time that she has gotten some real answers to her questions. She also said that she has really been the happiest she has been in such a long time, and she is now really wanting to be baptized. She is just happy about what she is learning and is soaking up the Spirit!

CAITLIN. Oh my goodness, I love this woman! She is in my
ward here in Simi and she is one of my very best friends. She is
getting married in the temple this weekend and I am very excited
for her, but it just breaks my heart that she is moving away!

There are so many wonderful things that are happening in this area! Some of our investigators are making great progress. Our weeks have been so crazy because of exchanges and the many things happening here! It has been such a blessing for me to be able to serve the sisters in this mission, and to also be a part of so many miracles happening in the lives of our investigators.

I Love You, I Love You, I Love You,
Sister Mason

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