I'm so glad you all had such an amazing trip. It was wonderful to hear about the sealing and everything! I wish I could have been there. Did they tell you I RSVP'd saying that I would totally be there (in spirit)?
First of all, I think it has been decided that when the new apartment opens up that the other companionship in our group will be the ones moving into it because it is on the first floor and ours in is on the second. They are on bikes, so that should be easier for them. Thus, our address should be the same until I am moved.
Okay... now about this week. It was kind of crazy and full of meetings et cetera. Like on Monday it felt like we were running around trying to figure out shopping, going to the bank to get quarters for our laundry, doing laundry, and just trying to figure everything out. On Tuesday we had a meeting for new missionaries and trainers. On Wednesday we did our weekly planning. On Thursday we had a mission conference (whole mission conferences aren't allowed anymore, but that was the day before the new mission president for the Bakersfield mission would be there, so it was technically a "southern zones" conference which included everyone who would officially be in the San Fernando Mission after the mission would be split the next day. So that conference was a one time only type thing). On Friday we had district meeting which takes over a large chunk of the day when you include still having to do all 4 hours of our studies. So Saturday was the only day we had to really do a lot of missionary work. And then on Sunday all 3 of us in our companionship gave a talk in the YSA branch. For that, Hermanas O'Hara (prounounced Oh-hair-uh) and Evans were super nervous! But they did great. The three of us had to fill the 45 minutes, so depending on how much time they each took I had to be ready to fill anywhere between 15-35 minutes ha ha! It ended up being just about 15-20 or so, but it really isn't a big deal giving a talk in Spanish anymore. I think I've given at least 4 that I remember in the past year. Here were a few things I learned and a few miracles I saw this week:
A quick story that was told in Spanish at the YSA FHE last week really stuck out to me. It was about adversity and it was about 3 men who were carrying a cross as they were journeying. It was a very heavy cross. It dragged in the dirt and you had to move quite slowly. It wasn't too bad at first, but after not too much time, the task became exhausting. The first man slowly made progress and carried it the whole way. The second man at one point decided to stop and take out his knife and cut a bit off of his cross to make it lighter. The third man stopped every time he felt how heavy the cross was and he cut off another chunk. Eventually the three men came across a gully. The first man layed his cross across the gully and was able to cross easily and comfortably and continue on his way. The second man had just enough cross left to get across. The third man came to the gully and didn't have a long enough board to lay across the gully. That is why sometimes we're given hard tasks to do. Because the Lord can see ahead and he knows that the crosses he gives us to bear are necessary for our progression. Sometimes we need to bear them rather than trying to make them go away.
The big theme for the conferences with the president seemed to be about obedience. That seems to be a huge theme I'm learning about and especially gaining a testimony about lately. There was an amazing talk we listened to in our car before we went to the temple a few weeks ago about Obedience. It is an audio recording called "The Eternal Law" and that along with general conference's theme on talks about obedience got it all started for me. Obedience is the most amazing thing in the world. I read 3 Nephi 12 and in every verse paused to see how what Christ said connects to obedience. From that I learned a few things. 1) The purpose of obedience is to get the holy ghost. It can only be with you by obedience, by obediently taking care of your past, forgiving, loving others, loving our enemies, not holding grudges, turning the cheek, et cetera. This is a necessary check point to pass through so that your heart can become clean and purified and that is possible only through the Holy Ghost. Then through obedience you effectively give your heart to the Lord. It is a heart that is clean pure, and whole. You are able to give the whole heart to the Lord not holding a single piece back. That is a sacrifice which, by definition, means that you get something better in return. Through that sacrifice of obedience and thus freely and completely giving your heart to the Lord, you are in return given a key to enter back into his presence. But the ironic part is that when you enter his presence you realize that your heart was there the whole time and your heart is who you are. The whole time you were already with God. Thus, it is also through obedience that we miraculously feel at peace and comfortable being with God because through that we are already with him. Cool, huh? That was a large part of my personal study last night. President Hall gave us a promise by the keys he holds and the spirit of prophecy that if we kneel down and covenant with the Lord that night that we will keep the Lord's commandments all the days of our mission, we will have a more successful mission. We will bring more shoulds to Christ, we will be better wives and husbands, we will have stronger marriages, we will become a different person, we will be more loving and caring, we will be a more spiritually grounded parent, we will raise children who love the Lord, we will be a part of many mighty miracles, and we will see the Lord's hand so distinctly and we will know it is because of the covenant that we made and the spirit will whisper it to us that it is because of the covenant we made. Obviously I went home and did that that night!
One more thing... our miracle so far that we've seen in this area is with someone named Daisy. I met her last November or December when we were doing zone soccer. But she came up to us the first Wednesday that we were here and she started talking to us. Eventually she invited us to come to her house to eat and to go out with us for appointments. So we did both of those things. She came with us to the small YSA branch both weeks. Yesterday she also decided to officially move her records to the branch. But the best part about it is that she has officially decided she wants to go on a mission. At dinner we each told her our experiences with preparing to go on a mission. It meant so much to her. She is getting super excited. She already comes out with us a lot, but she asked if sometime this week she can be with us for all of the day-- from studies in the morning until night. She is so great!!! And yesterday after church she took us around the other wards to point out all the YSA age people so we could get their phone number to invite them to church and activities. She is seriously our miracle. And our zone leaders are super supportive of us and asking people to send the YSA age people to us since we can't go about normal finding means. So we really are being blessed so very much!!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!