Transfer 2: check. Onto 3!
Hello everyone! Thanks for all the letters and support! I'm so glad the family and everyone has been doing terrifically. Thanks for all the quotes all the time, mom! I add a lot of them to my Preach My Gospel. My goal is to make Preach My Gospel mine by the end of my mission. It is well on it's way with highlights, quotes, thoughts, inserts of talks, et cetera. I love it! That makes me laugh so hard that Max can climb out of his pack and play now! How funny. And I can't believe that Mia only has 5 more weeks of cooking. The time has really flown and it is hard to believe because Sarah was still normal size when I left. But I hope you all have fun at the baby shower! I'll be there in spirit :)
Holy cow! Can you believe it?! It is already transfer 3!! This is going to be a great transfer... during this one we will have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and also I'll hit my 6 month mark of being on my mission. I can't believe it. That means that after this it's like my days are numbered. I will have less than a year to learn, do, and become everything that I want to on my mission. I don't want to waste a single day or it will already be over basically.
We had a conference of all the missionaries in the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday and from that I was extremely inspired by President Hall. I am seriously so lucky to be a missionary exactly right now. Think about it. This is a time when everyone is asking questions about who the Mormons are. Between politics (a presidential candidate in one party and the senate majority leader in the other major political party), popular culture (Book of Mormon: The Musical), and media (the "I'm a Mormon campaign, mormon.org, radio, documentaries, interviews, et cetera) everyone is asking who are the Mormons? For centuries missionary work has been predicted (in Isaiah) and today is the most significant moment in the history of the world for missionary work.
D&C 88:72-73 says:
72 Behold, and lo, I will take care of your aflocks, and will raise up elders [and hermanas] and send unto them.
73 Behold, I will ahasten my work in its time.
That is exactly what the Lord has done! I am the fulfillment of prophecy right now! There are currently about 58,000 missionaries in the world. President Hall was doing some simple math and it is possible that in the next year or so that number will soar to almost 100,000 missionaries with the new announcement of the minimum age of 18 for young men and 19 for young women. And I am a part of it! I'll probably be the trainer for several of these new 19 year old women in the field. I am so excited to be a part of this work!! Not only that, but to be out here right here and right now.
President Hall said that in our mission we have been having about 500 baptisms here for many years. Well after praying earnestly about it, we are setting a goal next year to double that number and baptize 1000 people. And I will be a part of it! By making changes of being more obedient to the missionary rules, being more obedient to the spirit, praying more fervently, working harder, and studying better I know that that goal is possible. We'll make it. And I'm a part of it! I am also so lucky to have such a great mission president who is turning this mission even more fully into a Preach My Gospel mission. I know he was meant to be my president.
Anyway, let me talk a little about this week. I guess my first announcement is that we got our transfer calls on Saturday night and Hermana Hansen and I are staying together for another transfer. She was sure she was going to leave because it is somewhat rare I guess for people to stay with their trainer for 3 transfers. We know that in transfers the president has to think several transfers ahead to get people into the right area so they can have certain assignments given, so Hermana Hansen thinks it is because I am going to become a trainer next transfer. Who knows if that is true. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
This week was also such a great week. As of last Sunday we had 2 baptism dates planned, but in the last week that number has soared up to 5. And it doesn't feel like we've been doing anything differently. They have just been happening. The Lord blesses us so much. Sometimes I don't feel worthy for those blessings. But maybe he has hope in me so I will do my part to become a better person to become more worthy for them. But anyway, some of those baptism dates were these. Stephany's baptism didn't end up happening because she wanted more time. But when we rescheduled it, her sister Priscilla who has just recently finished nursing school is now available to receive the lessons and so we were able to set a date with both of them. When we were visiting a less active sister in the ward, her mom was out and so we taught her a simple lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel and invited her to be baptized. She said "porque no?" She is almost 90 and had 22 children and never before had been that receptive or eager because she's lived a very hard life. But it is never too late. She still has a lot of mental capacities and was telling us that she knows that the story of Joseph Smith is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. Another one of the dates is from a member referral. She came up to us after church and asked us to go to her house that night to teach her neighbor and he accepted the invitation to be baptized and he really wants to learn more and go to church. They are just so great!! Hermana Hansen is so excited to stay here with me for another transfer to help all of these people out to learn more. It is the greatest thing ever!!
I also prayed this week to be the answer to someone's prayer and that absolutely happened. We were trying to visit a non-active member for the young single adult branch and she was absolutely not interested. But while we were leaving we saw a neighbor (who happened to have the same name as that member ironically) going into the elevator with her arms full of clothes. We were like, "would you like some help?" and she was like shocked out of words for a second then was like "actually yes, can you help me?" She was moving out and had been doing so like all day. Her roommate didn't pay the rent one day so she had to move. There was supposed to be a ton of people to help her out but all of them didn't show up except one. They were almost done so we were able to help get the last few things down to the truck. She needed to get to work at 6 so she could pay for the truck and the storage facility and so that one guy was going to have to unload it all by himself. The storage facility was in Santa Barbara. She said she would pay us 20 dollars to help unload it all. (Santa Barbara is outside of my mission so it was like one of those moments where it was funny because it was like at conference... hmmm... will I sell my soul for $20? Do I want to get sent home for leaving the mission for $20? No thanks haha.) But within 3 phone calls we were able to get a hold of the missionaries in Santa Barbara, so she was going to have missionaries waiting there to help her out. That is how cool the church is. Maybe we couldn't go. But because there are missionaries everywhere, the missionaries there could help out. She said she had been praying for help and right then we came along and asked if we could help her out. Hopefully that planted a big seed and the missionaries in Santa Barbara will be able to teach her.
I guess another thing that was fantastic was that this week we had the absolute best lesson in the world on Monday. There is a less active member we teach and his non member wife. We taught then a normal lesson on the Plan of Salvation. But it was in the discussion afterward that it got really cool. We were talking about how now that we know this plan, what does that mean to us? What things does that change? He was giving us excuses for like 5 minutes about how he knows he shouldn't drink but he only does it sometimes when he's around his coworkers etc. We listened. Then after he was done I explained, "we are disciples of Christ. And as disciples of Christ, our invitation to you, Lyc, is to be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God." Then I turned to Juan Carlos and said, "and our invitation to you is to become worthy to baptize your wife." That is what changed everything. When he realized that he had the aaronic priesthood so he could baptize her, he was humbled and explained that that would be so sacred and special. Then later she opened up more too. She started chocking up with tears and said "it's okay, keep going on" and we were like "no, you're crying. What's on your mind?" and she opened up and they talked about how she's always wanted to be a mother but that since they've been married for 2 and a half years they haven't been able to have any children. Hermana Hansen and I both felt the impression so strongly in our hearts, so we promised her that if she starts on this path of baptism, her righteous desires of wanting to have children will be able to happen. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. Then afterward we asked her to pray and she prayed the most sincere prayer I've ever heard an investigator say about how strongly she wants to know it is true. She started crying again halfway through and her husband took her into his arms and there she finished the prayer. So when we opened our eyes they were there in each other's arms. It was the cutest thing ever! But I just loved it and the spirit was so strong there. We love her and hope that she'll listen to her heart and work toward baptism. That was one of those lessons where it wasn't us teaching. It was completely the spirit. And I was honored to be able to witness being there while the spirit was teaching.
So yeah, pretty much last week was like the best ever! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me this week! This is the best work in the world. And it still hits me all the time... I'm a missionary. I'm in California!! This is so great!
May the Spirit be with you!