Sounds like lots of exciting things are going on this week. I didn't know Betsy and Renee and Adrik were home! So fun! Did you all get to do anything fun? How long are they going to be there for? And Uncle Bruce came/ is coming?! Tell him hi for me and give him a hug!!! I miss and love you all. I am really grateful to be a missionary. This week has been one of the best, or the best, so far for us.
We started the week really really well by getting to set up an appointment with an investigator we haven't taught in a long time. His parents and sisters are all members of the church, and he knows that it's only a matter of time before he joins the church too. His sisters are even planning on going on missions at the end of the school year. We'll be teaching him tomorrow!
We had a really really great lesson with one of our investigators, Imelda on Tuesday. We brought a recent convert with us who is really amazing. We were teaching Imelda about faith and how if we have faith to let Heavenly Father help us, He can help us with our challenges. Having Lolita there was really powerful. She has a really firm testimony of the Gospel and it really helped Imelda alot to not just hear it from us, but from her (Lolita, our recent convert) as well.
We met a man this week, named Alvi. He works in construction and knows a ton of members from La Canada from working on their homes. We were talking to him about religion and the Church. He was talking to us about his faith. His beliefs seem to coincide alot with ours. It was really really interesting to hear him talk. He mentioned how there is a Mayan holy book that talks about how a white holy man with scruff/ beard came to talk to teach them, and he also mentioned how unafraid he is to die because he knows that even though his body will be in the ground, his spirit will be in heaven, etc. It made me so excited to teach him, especially to talk to him about the Book of Mormon and to share an entire book about the people in the America's experience with God, and with the visit of the Savior! We have a lesson with him and his family this week and we're really excited.
We were able to contact a lot of people this week and are really excited about teaching some of them. We had an interesting experience the other day as we were inviting a former investigator to a Halloween party. We went to drop off the invitation and she had a friend there. Her friend was very anti Halloween and told us that we were not Christian if we celebrated Halloween. It was really interesting and I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that, she was very persistent on that. Her friend (the one we went to see) defended us a little and was really sweet. We decided to leave before it got too weird so we set up a time to come back. Ironically, we ended up setting up the appointment for Halloween day... ha!
We also met a boy named Ben this week. He's about 18ish and we talked to him about the church. Originally, we had scheduled to do a church tour, but that didn't happen. However, when we went to confirm the tour the day before, we met his dad. Well, his dad is very passionate and started talking about all kinds of Bible references, etc. and talking to us about how we don't believe the right things, etc. It was really funny though because when we'd try to just explain to him who we are as missionaries, he'd be really nice and respectful. Well, the church tour had fallen through and so we stopped by and talked to Ben and invited him to read the Book of Mormon. It was a really good chat. When we came back and talked to him, he said that he had read some of it. We got to meet his sister, and she said that she had read some of it. His dad had even looked through it! It was interesting to talk to them because they seemed to be really curious and at least open to talking about it. I especially love that even though we had only talked to Ben, he had talked to his family about it and that they are talking about us after. They have all looked at least at the Book of Mormon. Hopefully that leads to open spiritual conversation, and not Bible bashing though.
Another interesting contact was meeting with a woman whom we had actually contacted one of my first weeks here. The first time she had really turned off herself to us, but this time, she was really open and talkative to us! we talked to her for a while about her family and her kids. she has five kids, the oldest is 13! She's 23 years old (yes, the math there is a little interesting...) and is married to a former investigator. She was really nice and we're excited to talk to her today! My companion was a little weirded out that she is her age and has 5 kids though! I'm sure there must have been something miscommunicated or something ;)
We had a Halloween party with one of the wards in La Canada this past Saturday and so we were inviting everyone we could to that. Making invites gave us a really great opportunity to start talking to people and has opened alot of doors for us. Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week is that as we were driving into the parking lot for the party, we saw one of our investigators, Imelda, getting her kids out of the car!! It was so exciting!! We were so excited and were going crazy about that! Then, later on, another one of our investigators, Isis, came, with her family. Her sister and her sisters' fiancee and their baby, Isis' mom, and Isis and her daughter!! Everyone loved the activity and had so much fun! Both Isis' daughter and Imelda's daughters won cakes in the cake walk. Imelda's sons left the party telling everyone they saw "This is the best party EVER!! We HAVE to come back next year!". When they came to a RS activity last week, they said "WE LOVE CHURCH!!!". We are still working on getting her to come to church for Sunday, but poco a poco, she is warming up to the church. Getting her to meet members has really done miracles for her I think. Before Isis' family left, her mom told me that she would really like to come to church, but she doesn't really understand English (the party was mostly put on by the English ward in La Canada). After I told her there was a Spanish congregation, she said that she' d come!
This week has been incredible. We have been seeing so many opportunites come, our energy has been up and excitement to do the work, we have continued to be a little more united as we work and teach together, and we are finding people, our planning has been so much better. It's been amazing to see the difference. Reading the Book of Mormon to try to finish it by Christmas has also been amazing. I have learned so much already and have seen little miracles in my life this week through it. It's amazing the blessings that come when we strive to have more specific and inspired goals pushing us each week.
And, icing on the cake! This week, we went to visit a family in the ward, to get to know them a little better. We were talking about their family and she mentioned that she had served a mission. She served in Argentina, Buenos Aires North. Hmmmm....sound familiar anyone?! Well, I knew that she is about 35, 36ish, so I asked if she knew any Elder LaPierre. She said it sounded familiar. Well, we came back the next day to check up on something and guess what she found in her mission scrap book?! A Picture of Cris!!!!! Apparently they served in the same zone!! Does Sister Barillas sounds familiar?
Anyways, love and miss you all. Hope you're all doing really well!