Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 2016

Dear Family,

Hello my beautiful family, I miss you all so much.  I think about every single one of you daily.  It’s sad for the missionaries who don’t have any homesickness, because they don’t have good families back home, but they’re kinda lucky too, because they have no homesickness!  L  I miss you guys tons and tons!  Thank you for all the letters, emails and packages you send!  You don’t even know how much they mean to me!  I’m sorry first of all to say this letter is going to be freaking long!  But this week was an eventful week, so don’t give up!  It’s worth the read!

So, starting with Monday.  We had our regular studies (personal study @ 8:00 and comp study @ 9:00) we did laundry, it’s nice because we combine our loads since we both don’t have a whole ton of laundry.  By the way did I ever tell you guys our apartment has 2 bathrooms, so we each have our own bathroom!  Which like never happens, most companionships share a bathroom.  So that’s really nice.  Anyways, back to explaining…so then we went shopping, I got all the supplies I needed, and food.  Then we had lunch, and the sisters from the silverlakes ward who are in our zone came over and had lunch with us, that was good, they’re our good friends. J  Then we emailed, I’m sorry I still really such at emailing L and I wish we had more time.  Then I went to the post office and sent a package home, then we had to go to Walmart, then came home and chilled until dinner.  Which by the way it rained SO MUCH!  I totally used my rain jacket, and they were so right when they say it floods up here.  The roads and everything flood so bad even if it only rains for a half hour.  It was ridiculous!  But it dries really fast.  Then we had dinner at the Maiavas, super cute family.  You guys would be so proud of me.  I will eat ALMOST anything now, I don’t always love it, but I eat it!  Then after dinner we went over to try Marlene W.  Our ward mission leader asked us about her the other day; we’d never med or heard of her, she was a former investigator, so we went to go try her.  We looked at all her past notes from other missionaries.  We went there and she was happy to see us, said she missed missionaries coming over and they haven’t had them in a long time.  She has 6 adopted children like ages 6-10.  We got to know her a little bit and scheduled to come back on Thursday and asked her to read the Book of Mormon.  It was interesting.  Then we tried a few people who didn’t answer.  Then we went and met with Brother Blood, he’s not a member, he and his wife aren’t members, but their daughter and son in law are converts who just moved out of our ward, so we would visit with them when visiting their daughter.  They love us so much and always tell us to stop by if we need anything or want to share a scripture.  They’re Pentecostal, but they love our church and really respect it.  We went, Sister Blood was asleep, but Brother Blood let us in, we visited with him, he showed us his garden, and we shared a scripture.  Then the last visit of the night was to a less active family, the Alfaro’s.  They have like 5 kids, two boys older and moved out I think, and a 12, 8, and 4 year old at home.  We visited and the day before they had just gotten back from a trip up to Utah to visit people, and while they were there visited Temple Square and did all the tours and stuff.  That was good to hear.  This day just throughout the day I just learned over and over D&C 121:7-8, mine adversity, this hardship for me, is but a small moment, I just have to endure it well.

So Tuesday we had studies, and then District Meeting like always.  It was a good meeting like always.  With transfers the day before, we got 3 new Elders in our District.  Then we had lunch.  Then we went out to go see lots of people.  We tried lots of former investigators and some potentials.  A lot of people not home, a few people just we got a different person we were looking for, so told us to come back another time.  We met a guy, in his driveway, he didn’t live there but he was super nice and enthusiastic to us, we gave him a card.  We went to try Marquis and Shantel, husband and wife both former investigators, and Marquis was out on his porch.  He said he remembers missionaries teaching them before, he was very happy to see us, super nice guy!  He said his wife was inside getting ready to leave to pick someone up; she came out as she was leaving and said hi.  But it was good we talked with Marquis for a while, talked about the church and told him a little bit about the Book of Mormon.  We read him some verses, and he really loved it, we gave it to him and he said he’d read and we could come back Friday.  That was really good.  Then we went to go try a less active who doesn’t care for the church anymore but doesn’t mind us coming by, Sister Hunter.  Her neighbors were in their driveway so we decided to go talk to them.  It was an older man and he saw us walking up and he asked “what can I do for you ladies?”  My companion said “well, we’re the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are you religious at all?”  The guy just looks at us and says “Girls, I’ve been through 5 wars, seen so many children, women, families and innocent people die terrible deaths, there is no God.”  It was kinda silent for a second and he said “I know there is no God, and you’re not going to convince me.  Are you really wasting your lives away doing this?”  We kind just simply said okay well you have a great day or whatever…it’s so sad; death and illness isn’t the end!  It’s not eh worst thing that can happen to you!  But nothing we could have said would have changed anything for him.  So then we went and saw Sister Hunter.  We talked with her, gave her a scripture thought.  Then we had dinner at the Echegoyens, the Bishop’s house.  They’re from El Salvador, but have lived here a long time, I love them, his wife is super cute, and they have a 21 year old son still living with them.  They’re practically vegan, mostly Sister Echegoyen, but they make great food.  After at their house was a Relief Society recipe exchange.  Lots of ladies came over and brought even more food.  It was nice.

Then Wednesday we had studies, and then we had to go to Pep boys Auto to get our windshield wiper replaced.  That took a while.  We had to wait inside until they finished.  Lots of pop music was playing the whole time, and it made me think of all the music I loved to listen to back home, it drove me crazy, it made me really sad, I had a hard time.  Satan was really making me miss home.  Then we had lunch, and 4 people we tried to make appointments with weren’t available, 3 investigators.  That sucked.  So we went and had time.  I always love time.  I organized all the talks on my USB, watched videos, did stuff on my missionary portal, etc.  Then the Lents took us to dinner out at Chili’s!  So good!  They are so awesome!  Then we went by the church to see if there was a bible study class, there wasn’t.  Then we tried lots of people, weren’t home, so we went home and updated our area book.  I learned a lot of patience this day…

Thursday we had service as always at the Homeless shelter, and then we had lunch.  Then we went to this guy Charles’ house, he is a member, he’s 29, he goes to the YSA ward, but his Mom is a member of our ward, he’s active and she’s not.  We go over there occasionally to give him a lesson; we went over to help him with service.  We re-painted their house number on their curb.  Was easy.  He has some disabilities.  Then after we went home and changed, we went to go try lots of people.  This day was pretty full of seeing people.  So it started out we tried a few people who weren’t home, or had moved and didn’t live there anymore.  One house who the family didn’t live there and the new family wasn’t interested there were some guys out in the driveway next door.  As we started to walk up to them one of the guys came to meet us halfway, he was super nice, asked who we were.  He said he lived right next to a “super Mormon guys” in Hesperia.  He said they were good friends and talked about our religion a lot.  He said how he wondered which churches were true and there were so many but said ours was good and he thought it was interesting, and we asked him if he’s ever prayed to God to know that and he said “Haha, well actually…I don’t believe in God so…Haha.”  We were like ohhh well then there’s the problem.  Haha.  We told him to keep talking to his friend and gave him a card.   Then we tried a lady on our potentials list, but she didn’t live there anymore, but the lady there was super nice, accepted a pamphlet, said she’d read it and told us we could come back.  Then we tried some more houses, people weren’t home.  This one house of a potential the door opened a crack and we saw a lady’s face and she said “yes?”  We asked for the name, she said “that person doesn’t live her” so we proceeded to tell her we were missionaries, and before we were even done saying it she just shut the door.  Okay, cool, thanks.  But her neighbor in his garage was getting ready to leave, we told him who we were, that we had a message, explained it a little bit, and asked if that would be something he’d like to learn about.  He said “yeah I don’t see why not.”  Then said “but I’m getting ready to leave, do you have something to leave with me that I can read and you can come back whenever?  But I’m not home much.”  So we gave him a pamphlet.  Then we went to a house of a potential lady, her probably 17-21 year old son answered the door, said she was sleeping but asked if we had something to give her and we could come back.  Then he told us he thinks he’s been to one of our churches before and he’s seen missionaries, thought it was cool.  Told us to come back.  Then we went to try another potential—a woman named Nikki.  We were walking up to the address and there were like 5 thug looking boys in the garage.  I was thinking to myself, oh no.  We went up and said hi, the boy who lived there said hi, we asked if Nikki lived there still, and he was like, “Oh Haha, that’s my great Aunt, and she’s actually in jail right now…” hah, awkward.  He was like “she gets out next month if you wanna see her. “  So then we asked them if they were religious, the one said yes, another guy said “well not really religious, but we’re believers,” and then we just started talking to them.  They were asking us questions about our missions and one was like, “Yeah we’ve seen the guy missionaries a lot, but they never come up to us probably because of our appearance” Then the one guy was like “I wanna ask you guys your opinion on the rule your prophet set of children of gay parents not being able to be a member of your church.”  Oh boy, that was super fun.  He was lie “How can he do that, that’s judging the kid because of the parents.” And kept going on about it, no matter what we said he still just kept going.  And then one of the boys was like “I just have one thing to say, you guys are really awesome for what you’re doing, especially because you’re just doing it because you love God and I’m sure people turn you down all the time, but you still keep going, so don’t give up!”  It was nice to hear.  So we asked the one that lived there if there was a time we could come back and teach them all a little more.  He said yeah we could come back on Monday, they’d all be there.  Haha, so that was interesting!  Then we went to Sister Wolfe's for dinner she’s so awesome, she always feeds us every other Thursday.  She’s so sweet.  Then we went to have our lesson with the former investigator, Marlene, now she’s an investigator again.  We went and taught the whole Restoration lesson, probably her 3rd or 4th Resto lesson.  But she seemed to really like it and she seemed sincere about listening and reading and praying about it.  She was happy to hear about church being at 1:00 pm, so hopefully she’ll come.  After our lesson with her we wanted to go try some people but it was late and their lights were off.  So we went home.

Friday was weekly planning.  So we had studies, planned for a few hours, ate lunch, and then planned for a few more hours.  Then we went out and tried the new investigator lady again, no answer, sad, she seemed kinda sincere.  Then we tried a few people who didn’t answer, one former investigator told us no thanks, one former investigator told us to come back earlier in the day.  Then we went over to our investigators, Clay & Brittany’s.  Brittany wasn’t home, but her sister and Clay were, so we didn’t want to do a full lesson without Brittany, so we just talked with them and shared a scripture.  We asked him if they’d be at church and he said he always wants to but Brittany won’t always.  So it seems like he wants to progress and she doesn’t care as much.  Then we went over to Marquis and Shantel’s, the former investigators, who are now investigators again.  Shantel was out on their porch when we got there, she said Marquis never told her we were coming but yeah we could totally stay and talk, she said he was taking a nap.  We talked a lot with her, she’s super cute and awesome, asked us lots of questions, told us lots of things, she was so fun to talk to.  She asked us a lot about our missions and our church.  Then halfway through Marquis came out, he was happy to see us and he said so sorry he totally forgot we were coming.  So we talked a lot with them, shared a little bit of the Restoration, and gave them a Book of Mormon, gave them a chapter to read, and explained how we wanted them to pray to know that it’s true.  They both were super enthusiastic about it and told us they would and we planned to come back Wednesday to teach the real first full lesson, so that was really good.  Then we had dinner at the Millers, super cute family, love them.  Then we tried a few people who were busy, and just came home and updated the area book.

Saturday we had all our studies.  Then we were supposed to go see Sister Hearan, but she called and wasn’t going to be home.  So we tried a lot of houses and no one was home, or the person we were looking for wasn’t there.  Then we went home for lunch.  On our way home we saw this lady on the side of the road with a big tent selling food or something, we see those things all the time, we decided to stop.  So she spoke Spanish, we couldn’t really communicate, but we gave her a thumbs up.  I guess she just had fresh fruit in her thing; she cut up lots of pieces of different fruit and put it in a big plastic container for us.  Super random.  There are also these guys who walk around with shopping carts selling what I think is corn on a stick with some weird condiments on it.  They walk around and honk a horn to get people to come buy, so many people do.  It’s weird.  Anyways, after lunch we tried a lot of less actives we have never met, none of them were home.  Tried a few potentials that weren’t there.  These two old ladies just moved into the ward, they are sisters, both widows, so they came to live down by one of their daughters.  They came from Barstow.  We stopped by to see them because we wanted to get to know them; they were super sweet and talked a lot with us!  Then we had dinner with the Lewis family, super cute, love them.  Then we went by to see one last less active family who always texts us that they’re busy.  They have 4 kids over 8, only two are baptized, so we’ve been trying to get them baptized, but we want them active.  All the kids were in their rooms mostly, in and out, the Dad was around, we mostly talked to the Mom, super nice family, and they just don’t come to church.  We talked a lot with her and shared a scripture we asked if they were coming, they asked at what time, cleverly dodging the question.  Then we went home.  Oh another funny thing on Saturday, we were about to leave our apartment and our doorbell rang.  It was 2 little black girls and one said “can we take your trash out for a dollar?”  Haha, uh sure.  So we gave em our trash and 4 quarters.  Alrighty then.

Sunday—today, we had studies of course.  Then we had to run to Brother Lent’s to get him a paper for ward council.  Then we called Sandra, because we haven’t seen her, she’s been gone.  We convinced her to move her baptism date to May 7th because she would be confirmed on Mother’s Day and that would be very special.  So she’s still so excited!  That makes me so happy.  Then she told us she was going to set aside Sundays so she wouldn’t miss church, so no matter what, she’s going to be coming!  So happy!  And she and Jen came today!  Then we went to see David Love, less active.  And he was in pain and tired and just didn’t want us there…then we had lunch, then went to church.  There were tons of people there for a baby blessing, and we had 3 investigators there! Sandra, Jen and Marlene!  We had no idea Marlene was there but bishop told us she came in late and sat in the back.  Then we had class, taught Gospel Principles, and then Sandra asked for a blessing.  She’s been having trouble sleeping and she doesn’t want to rely on sleeping pills.  So Brother Waters and Brother Cammack gave her a blessing.  That was good, and she stayed for Relief Society.  Oh I love her!  Then we tried a potential Jennifer, she invited us in, but they were making dinner.  We met her two daughters and her husband Able.  They knew some Mormon people, they asked us a few questions, said they haven’t found a church since they moved that they liked, they might try ours, and said we could come back!  Then we had dinner at the Waters after trying a few more potentials that weren’t home.  I love the Waters!  They just got back from trek—youth conference last night, they were dead but still fed us.  They told us all about trek stories.  Reminded me of our trek and how bad I didn’t want to go, but how glad I was that I did.  They are so awesome I love them!  And now their married daughter and son in law live with them, even better!  Then we came home.  And now I’m here.

Sorry it’s so long!  I’m still doing okay.  I miss and love you guys!

Love, CourtneyJ