Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm Going to Be Like Mormon

Dear Family,
I can email friends now!!! I can also email all family members. So if someone doesn't want to write, they can email :) And thanks for being mindful of us and my friends. We get to go to the temple next week, Wednesday, so I'll put her name in as well. I'm so excited to go to the temple again!! Expect a letter from me Wednesday then, not Monday.
Okay, here we go for the miracles and daily update:
Monday, March 4, 2013: We found an amazing trail around our home in Devore, and explored big time. It was so fun to hike and go on a walk--a refreshing alternative to basketball. Then we were able to have a fun dinner with the Ewell's, whose son is leaving on his mission this week to Boliva. He gave an amazing, spirit-filled talk on Sunday. It was one of the best meetings I have attended.

(*pic of us going down a creepy water pipe thing on our hike last Monday)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013: We taught Paula and Narisse today! And Sister Ewell and her daughter, Emma, who is Narisse's age, were able to come and participate, as well. Paula is so prepared! As we taught the Plan of Salvation and talked about what it means for our families, you could tell both of them got it. They believed and accepted what we taught. And Narisse loved my scriptures. At the end of the lesson she asked her mom if she could have a set just like mine, so cute! Later that night, we had dinner with Christy Andrews and we were able to watch "The Restoration" (the long version). It built my testimony even more of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He went through so much for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and never let go. If this church wasn't true, he never would have endured such torment. We all felt the Spirit that night.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013: Though it wasn't planned until later because we thought Narisse would be going to mutual, we went to the stake center to meet her there. Though Narisse didn't show up, we met the young women's president from the 1st ward, and she told us she wanted us to help out with a mission prep lesson for her young women's group later this month. There are two investigators who go regularly to that young women's group, and one of them is in our ward boundaries. Maybe we can gain her trust and get a new investigator :) It was no coincidence we went to the stake center that night and met Sister Cabral.
Thursday, March 7, 2013: We had another lesson with Paula and Narisse, and this time we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, they were super receptive. We felt prompted to invite them to baptism during this lesson, and we did so. Both committed to pray about being baptized. Narisse even wrote down their homework (we will check to see if they did it at our lesson in 30 minutes). Paula told us that she was sure that she would get the answer of yes. And she testified that, since meeting us on Sunday, she can tell she is changing, and in a positive way. Her patience is increasing, she feels more love, and she is happier. What a wonderful testimony! We just love teaching them both, and we got to know each other better afterwards too. Sister Laalaai has some funny stories about getting lost her first transfer (she and her trainer almost made it to Disneyland one time). But if I had to cover the whole valley, I would probably get lost too. Later that night, we had a lesson with Christy Andrews, and our 2nd counselor taught again. The plan was to teach her about the restoration, but the Lord knew she needed answers to her questions from reading. She has been pretty faithful about texting us her reading. We haven't heard from her in a couple days, so that worries us, but we'll keep texting and praying for her. We talked about testimony, and the importance of bearing it. She is thinking about it...Also we taught true principles of the Godhead. It was so cool to see PMG in action--we do teach people, NOT lessons.
Friday, March 8, 2013: Not a lot happened today, but our miracle was we got to see a less active, Jamie Grant, and her husband actually came out and talked with us for like 3 minutes. He isn't a member, and not super interested. Seems he likes Elders more. What the heck?? Just kidding.
Saturday, March 9, 2013: Sister Mills didn't die...we tracted for six hours total, 2 in the morning, and 4 straight from 3 to 7 pm. Yeah, like a boss we made 38 contacts. And two families are potentially interested!!!
Sunday, March 10, 2013: Great Sacrament Meeting, learned about courage and being a missionary. Also, we finally saw Randall Russell again. Since he is moving and not very stable right now living-wise, he doesn't want to be taught yet, but he promised to call us. We know that he is sincere and wants to learn. All in the Lord's time I guess. And we finally got planning done for the week :) Oh, and regarding another less active woman we teach and want to fellowship more--we talked with another woman in the ward who is around her age and has a daughter with autism as well. Little did I know Stephanie Ortiz was this woman's visiting teacher! She is so excited to go with us to visit her this week. And since Mariah, (the less active) likes to crochet, we are all going to bring our crochet needles and make stuff. I still have to practice, but I plan on making a beannie for one of the Elders, and flowers for me :)
And today, we had an amazing P-DAY! Got to run!!!!!!!!!!!  It was around a dirt track-just like old Riverside times, ha ha. Oh it felt good. And we played ultimate frisbee with the zone. Our team, the Kitty, won  :) always and forever!
Sister Allison Mills
Letter to President:
Dear President,

Hello there. Hope you have had a great week. We had a wonderful week, and met and taught some amazing individuals. The most wonderful happening of this week was getting to teach two lessons with a mother and daughter, who are both very interested in the gospel. Paula showed interest in the church because of the emphasis on families, and her earnest desire is to improve her relationship with her daughter. Narisse is really nice, and as we taught them they showed interest and understanding. Both committed to pray about being baptized. Paula told us that she will and that she is pretty sure the answer will be yes. Those are some of the most glorious words a missionary can hear. It was so cute too when Narisse was thumbing through my quad and told her mom that she wanted one for herself. I hope they ordered one.

We know that these are the elect we are teaching. Sadly, some of those who were elect when we started teaching them, lost their confidence. I read "Cast Not Therefore Away Your Confidence" by Elder Holland today for personal study and I was struck by how any of us, once we have an enlightening experience, will have to face the very powers of hell to show our true conversion. Those who are only semi converted, or their seed is planted in weak soil, or among thorns, will never be able to see the rewards of enduring to the end. I feel that is what happened to Marcus and Jalen, two  boys we were teaching. The first lesson we had they had just had an incredible experience at church and desired to recieve the priesthood, and were very excited to be baptized. We warned them trials would come and Satan would do all he could to dissuade them, and he did. Sadly, at least for now, he won. Neither of them have phone numbers, and since they live with their mom every weekend, the only way we could contact them was through a member friend or on weekdays. Their mom attends the Rock church, and I feel her influence hardened their hearts. We have had to drop them because we can't make contact, and the mom doesn't seem interested or supportive. It's sad to see two souls not make those covenants, but I know that with the Mormon friends they have, and as they think about the seeds and spirit that have been planted, one day they will come back.

I'm doing really well emotionally and socially, and I really love the San Bernardino zone. I'm learning to bite my tongue more, and I am still finding I make the mistake of not keeping my mouth shut. Heavenly Father is keeping me humble and helping me to recognize my weaknesses. This time I look at it as "yay, I can improve." I hope that the two baptismal dates we set with Paula and Narisse go through, because it has been very discouraging to see 4-5 baptismal dates fall through, and each investigator become a former. I want so badly to help with the 350 baptisms, and I just wonder why the Lord is allowing it to be so hard for all of us. All I can do is keep going and not to let my confidence go. I know 350 is the Lord's will, and as Nephi declared, "the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them."
Let's never cast away our confidence!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 2 of Transfer 6

Dear Family,
Okay, now to the miracles of the week. I'm going to try this new approach where I go day by day and share a miracle per day:
Monday, February 25th, 2013: Today was P-DAY and we recieved 2 referrals from Salt Lake: Randall Russell and Paula. More about both of them later. Sadly, we haven't been able to contact Deborah, she must be out of town or ignoring us. Hope it is the former. And our dinner appointment became lunch, so the miracle of that was that the Becars, who were having us over for FHE, also made a delicious meal their daughter worked on all afternoon, so we were hungry for that too! The Lord works in mysterious ways :)
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013: Though it wasn't P-Day, we were blessed to walk through a musuem (a free one, as well, because it was in a less active woman's house). Her husband has a thing for themes and decor, so each wall was full of artifacts and portraits from a different era and place. There was a Chinese bathroom, an old school cowboy room, a French wall, a WWII library, an English wall, an old organ (Dad you would die), and a whole room for ships and sailing. Made me miss my students :( It was amazing to visit with Helen, and she felt the love of God with us being so excited to have a tour. She wants to feed us too! What an incredible house (next time we go, I'll have to take pictures).
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013: We had 3 lessons with less actives! Miracle! Though no lesson happened with investigators, as we were hoping for, and Marcus Jr, and Jalen are being detered by their mother and the infamous Rock Church, we were so blessed to teach three wonderful members of our ward. One family we haven't had a chance to talk to before, so that was a wonderful miracle to have that door opened to us. Hopefully, he and his wife will come back to church. Also, I recieved a beautiful card from Kiley and in it she told me some very sad news. Caleb broke up with her a while ago, but she is still suffering miserably. Mom, would you put her name on the prayer roll at the temple, please? She could use it.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013: Tonight we had another lesson with Christy Andrews, and this time we had Brother Larsen from our bishopric teach the Plan of Salvation. He answered her questions and they got along really well. We committed her to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and every night we text her and she texts us what she has read. She is on fire! I knew the impression to read the Book of Mormon with the intent to see God's love was inspired, because that is the challenge Brother Larsen gave to Christy. She is such an amazing woman and is growing by leaps and bounds. And, Semba Roberts, whom I had never met, came to ward correlation (he's a ward missionary) and determined to be active again. Keep his wife in your prayers, since she is a little less ready.
Friday, March 1st, 2013: Today we were given a few more referrals and contacted one of them. One was Paula. Her daughter answered and we taught her a little of the Plan of Salvation. She committed to read the pamphlet and to have questions ready when we came back. It was a good day, and we got to draw a sidewalk chalk outline of the Plan of Salvation!
Saturday, March 2nd, 2013: After a good meeting with Bishop, we went to contact Randall Russell. At first glance we thought, "Homeless weirdo," but as we gave him the DVD he requested, and he talked about his faith and desire to be taught, our minds and hearts were humbled and we saw him as his Heavenly Father sees him: as a son of God. He seems like he is really interested and wants to understand the gospel. This week hopefully we will have a new investigator! Also, we have the opportunity as provided by Brother Moody (WML) to teach the ward missionaries the missionary lessons so they can feel more comfortable with teaching the investigators and recent converts. We taught the Restoration and it went really well. Everyone loves the visuals we have for it and they all participated.
The most special miracle happened after our zone met for a kickoff of our zone fast to find new investiagators (350 baptisms goal is a little short). I have a cold and wanted a blessing. I asked my newly called district leader, who knows nothing about me or my struggles (unless sisters have told him). I asked for a blessing of healing, but the blessing was more a blessing of comfort. Things that Elder Werner had no idea about were brought up just for me. In the blessing I was told that the Lord is really proud of the missionary I am and the work I am doing. He knows I am working hard (that was so comforting because on paper and numbers- wise, it doesn't look like we are doing much). Then I was told that the Lord is aware of my struggles and how hard it is for me at times. Tears stremed down my face at that time, such a tender mercy from God. I was reminded of my infinite worth. The Lord has confidence in me and my abilities. It was the blessing I so longed to hear so many times before, and when I least expected it, when I am on a high, it was the blessing I recieved. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I love him so much.
Sunday, March 3rd, 2013: Fast and Testimony meeting. I felt very strongly to bear my testimony and I am so grateful I did. Also, though we weren't feeling super well, we were impressed to visit Paula, whose lesson at 1 p.m. fell through. We caught her home at 3:30 and had a wonderful visit. More details in President's letter :) She is an amazing woman and I feel as she and her daughter learn together they will want to make covenants together and their relationship will grow.
Hector had to cancel this week, but I am sure he is still reading, and he still wants to meet with us. We don't know what is happening with Marcus and Jalen, but Patrick Foley is committed to have us teach them with their mom (the stumbling block) so that she can see what they are being taught. Thanks for all the prayers! All is well though, I am well!
Sister Allison Mills
Letter to President,
Dear President,
This week picked up quite a bit, and we were super blessed with headquarters referrals. Most of them are pretty legit too! One in particular is a miracle, and if he gets baptized, his conversion story would be amazing. Randall Russell is in the process of moving and while he was going through his things, he came across a "finding faith in Christ" card, and called to get a copy. We showed up at his door the next day. He was shocked, for sure. He thought the DVD wouldn't be delivered until the next week. As we talked, we saw before our eyes a child of God, though forelorn and dirty, who has such a love for God and a thirst for the knowledge of the gospel. He told us he wants to be taught once things slow down and he is relocated. We were blessed to meet him.

Another miracle this week was also from a referral. Her name is Paula, and her greatest desire is to help her teenage daughter feel the love of God more abundantly. Their relationship is nonexistent, and it pains her so. As she told us of her struggles and tears wet her face, we were both touched to share a little about the Plan of Salvation and how the gospel of Jesus Christ does bless families. I have found that when we listen and follow the promptings of the Spirit, that is when the how to begin teaching bullet points, and other doctrines we are to teach, naturally flow. Nothing should be forced, since then the Spirit can't reside. He isn't the teacher if we force. The Spirit was really strong in our lesson, and she is excited to have us come again this week to teach her and her daughter.