Hmm. This week is now a big blur in my brain. I really hope I can remember some highlights...
We had a great evening on Tuesday in our area, We had dinner with the Seipp family, and they are wonderful. Sister Seipp is the classiest lady and she always gives me tips and we have "beauty" talk. I love it. She has some fashion magazines from the olden days and I love looking at them. And then of course we have spiritual talk too :) They are so fun. Then we had a family home evening with our Part member family... The dad is still not super interested in learning more and taking the lessons... He is definitely inching toward it though! Pray for him. His family needs to have their Dad have the Priesthood so badly. It would just bless them in so many ways!
Thursday we had Zone Conference and it was AMAZING. President talked a lot about obedience and how important it is to be obedient. Sis Baker (president's wife) talked about the Law of Chastity and a talk (one of my favorites) by Jeffrey R. Holland called "Of souls sacraments and symbols" (or something like that... can't remember). It was a REALLY powerful talk. The law of Chastity is a huge problem here in LA among our investigators... she talked about it in such a way as to note the beautiful importance and responsibility of creating life. It was really neat. Semi-awkward at times being in a room with a bunch of 19-20 year old missionaries, but nonetheless really great. We had a lot of training about getting along with our companions and the importance of that, the importance of member-missionary work and asking for referralls, and faith.
Oh that word...
FAITH. What IS faith, anyway, right?! And HOW can I have MORE of it so that these people who I love and care about so dearly will do the things that I know will bring them happiness. The thing about faith that is difficult is that it can't REALLY be measured. It's not like I can just check off "had faith" on my daily goal checklist (thanks Johnny!) because how do I know if I really had it? If I would have had it would that person have not slammed the door? If I would have had it would I have received more referrals at the visitors center? The Lord always tries our faith that it might be strengthened. So here is my faith-building story for the week.
Lois Barry. Is. Impossible. To. Get. A. Hold. Of. You might not remember Lois barry but Sis Browning and I ran into her on the street and she was VERY interested in learning more. She cancelled 2 appointments and then we kept trying to call her and she never ever answered. But for some reason I kept feeling like I should try to call her everyday. SO I have done that, rather obnoxiously to be honest, and dialed her number every day to get an answering machine. SO was my acting on that prompting showing my faith in that prompting to call her? Maybe. It was also discouraging to call everyday with no answer. I became rather Jaded and would just WAIT for the machine. Now THAT is NOT faith.... Anyways. So I called and called for about 5 weeks now. On Friday night it was POURING rain. And I HATE walking in the rain. So I was just mad. But we were trying to find all of these people who were once interested in the church. We contacted a referral and the other sisters who apparently thought he was interested must have been very confused (or maybe faithful) because he did NOT want to talk to us. Sad. Anyways so our 3 back-up plan was to try to break into Lois Barry's apt complex. An IMPOSSIBLE feat, let me tell you. To even get into the stairwell you have to have a key. And the elevators. And no call box... Ridiculous. So I was really not excited about trying to get in because I had ZERO faith. There was an elevator at one end and the stairwell at the other. So we waited by the elevator for someone to come, and then someone went to the stairs. So we went to the stairs and then once we were there someone went and used their key to get on the elevator. At this point, I'm ready to go because I thought we were wasting our time and I was REALLY bugged with Sis Cass for not agreeing with me. (im very prideful). So we split up and I stayed at the elevator while sis Cass waited by the stairs. I had no faith. But luckily my trusty companion did. I said a little prayer and said "Heavenly Father if you want us to see Lois Barry (part of me really wanted to see her so I could tell Sis Browning that she was black. Because when we tracted into her it was dark and she had a hat on and when someone asked us to describe her, I said she was black and sis browning said "No shes not! She is WHITE!" SO part of my desire to see her was a vendetta. P.S. She is black. Well she has black heritage, but she's lighter skinned... BUT still black.) So we waited in the garage until someone came to the door to go inside, he looked at Sis Cass and said "you look suspicious" but he let us in! So I ran over to her and we took the stairs up to Lois' apartment. And she was HOME! And we set 2 appointments for this week! And I need to have FAITH that those appointments will be wonderful and that they will really happen. Lois even said to me "I am so glad you kept calling and didn't forget about me... Everytime I heard a voice message from you it warmed my heart." What a testimony that the Spirit really does prompt us to do even seemingly-silly things sometimes. Her husband is recovering from a heart transplant so she has been in-communicado for a while. She is so cool. And definitely black.
Sis Hurst. Oh Sister Hurst. She is a less- active in our ward who just has had a lot of problems. She called us friday morning and said "Sisters I need help. I can't quit smoking and I don't know what to do. I am a total mess..." So I studied the Word of Wisdom at the Visitors Center on and off all day... just trying to understand it more and how to follow it more.... I got some good insight about taking care of our bodies and why we even have the Word of Wisdom. Sis Cass and I decided to give up something too. So I am continuing on my no sugar and sis cass gave up chocolate. Sis Cass knew about this cure-all for cigarrette addictions where you empty the nicotine into a cup of milk and boil it, strain, and then have them drink it. It apparently makes them so sick that they never want to even look at another "ciggy" (as Sis Hurst calls them). Sis Hurst drank it (after we stomped on her ciggy's... sounds funner than it really is... nothign really happens when you stomp on them haha.) and it really did have a huge effect. She was like "Ohoooohhohoh thisis baaaaaaaddddd.... I neeever want to smookkkeee aggaaaainnnn!" And it's worked thus far. She has 2 daughters who HATED that she smoked... it will be a huge blessing if they can see their Mom overcome something like that. Moral of the story: Don't smoke. It's just gross.
On Saturday we got to have 2 mini-missionaries again. So much fun. I had Clara Johnson and she was awesome. We had an interesting experience while door-knocking where a guy talked to us about Extra Terrestrials and UFO's for about 15 minutes... (watch out, they are coming by the way) but we were able to at least testify and tie his rambling to a Gospel Principle. And then we actually had another follow-up lesson with the Hursts and the oldest daughter who REALLY struggles came in and even turned off watching Keeping up with the Kardashian's to listen to the lesson (very unlike her... miracle!) and it was really neat to see her be effected by these 2 girls about her same age, testify abouit prayer. The Hursts committed to pray together, even the eldest, Hayley. Such a neat experience.
Yesterday at the VC I got to talk to a Priest from a Christian Orhtodox church in Orange County. Father Paul was very genuine and we had a great conversation (he even helped me try to figure out how to stop my biting around my nails... being that I had bandaids on my fingers I thought I should tell him why... and then he told me he used to do the same thing. Haha. The things I share with people...) and it was neat to get to show him pictures of the temple and talk to him about it. Especially because I am reading the Old Testament and have learned a ton about the history of temples and things so I was able to relate that to him and we had a nice discussion. He was black robed, gold cross around his neck and all. Kind of intimidating at first, but then just an amazing, faithful man. He came from Egypt and is just really great.
Well thats all I have for the week. The Young Ambassadors are performing this morning at the VC so I am excited to see them... Should be fun!!!
I love this Gospel with all of my heart and I love the Lord. I love learning how I can be more like him and I love his tender mercies when I fall short.
Love and miss you all!!