HAPPY BIRTHDAY NAOMI!!!!!!! Wow...12 years old! I cant believe it. Have a great time in young womens!
This week was transfers. We got the news that....me and Elder Cottrell are staying together in Santa Barbara! We are really excited because this week we have found a lot of new people to teach. We have one baptism date with Ishmael. He is 21 years old and his uncle just died a few weeks ago so we have really tried to help him. He is a lot different from when we first met him so that is a good sign! He is going to get baptized on the 30th of this month so we are really excited for him. He has come to church for 2 weeks in a row now and likes it a lot. I have noticed a lot lately about how the Spirit literally changes peoples' lives/hearts
One example of this mighty change of heart is with Susana, another investigator of ours, who is the mom of Susan (20) who was baptized about a year and a half ago. (Remember, Susana- mom, Susan- Daughter) Susana just told us the other day that when the missionaries were teaching Susan, she was always fine with it, but she never really felt comfortable participating much with them and her daughter. Ever since me and Elder Cottrell got there we have always talked to her and shared about the gospel with her, and something just clicked in her mind or heart or something, because she began to change all of the sudden! The last time we went over there she was trying to explain it to us....she said that before she never felt that she had a purpose in life, and now ever since we have shared with her she is happy and joyful. She said that in the last couple years when Susan has had this same change, she has grown to envy her more and more, until now she knows that she is soon going to have to do the same (referring to the amazing change that came with her conversion) Meaning that she soon wants to get baptized so she can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we were having this lesson with Susana, Susan was just sitting there in shock that her mom was saying these things. Saying that she wants to follow the same path as her daughter and get baptized. It was so cool to watch! We asked Susan what she was thinking and she basically bore her testimony so strongly to her mom!
I am really bad at telling stories...but just know that this experience was amazing! Sorry if it doesnt make very much sense. Ha ha. Moral of the story- I KNOW that the Holy Ghost is real and that it can have the biggest impact on our lives if we let it. In the 6 weeks I have been here, I have seen Susana change completely.
We also had a really neat experience with Luz and Pancho. They are a couple that are about 56 years old and they are inactive members that are reactivating slowly by slowly. In the past they were perhaps the most strong family here in Santa Barbara....with 5 children who were also members of the ward. Now a couple things have happened which pushed them away...but now they are coming back. We had an amazing lesson with them yesterday. Pancho is a really good man. He is a hard worker and he is really sensitive to things of the spirit. We taught them about becoming like Christ and perservering till the end. Because that is what we need to do. They both shared with us stories from the past when they have seen miracles or when they have been able to help other people. They know that its all thanks to this gospel that these things happened. I know that a tiny bit of faith really does move mountains.
I read a scripture the other day in Matthew- For men, this is impossible, but for God, everything is possible. That is so true. I know that for the mind of a natural man, giving up ten percent of your income is ridiculous! Giving up one day a week for the Lord to go to his church doesnt seem like it would benefit you much to a natural man. Giving up two years of your life and spending all of your hard earned money doesnt seem very smart....but that is for the natural man. For God, everything is possible. He told us that He would pour out blessings...even more than we would be able to contain. I know that is true. "If we keep the commandments, we will prosper in the land"
On Friday, I was able to do interchanges with Elder Burch. He was in my district in the MTC, so it was really cool to be able to work with him for a day! I went to the area called German Avenue (Avenida Alemania) in Los Angeles. This certain area is really really RICH..so we were basically tracting trying to get in a bunch of mansions. We actually were able to get in 4 houses! It was great. We had some really spiritual lessons and we found one specific lady who was one prepared from our Heavenly Father. She is really alone and doesnt have friends other than her husband. Toward the end of the visit she broke down and started crying and crying about how alone she is and how happy she is to talk to us....she said she feels something really special when we are talking to her. (this is someone we met like 15 minutes before!) I know that missionaries really are set apart as representatives of Christ to teach his gospel. My testimony keeps growing about how there are SO MANY PEOPLE in the world that need the gospel....they just dont know where to find it. Everyone at first tells us "I'm busy, sorry" when we knock on their door...but if we bug them enough to get in, 100% of the time we become their friend and they want us to come back. Its just about getting over that initial shock of "AHH, MORMONS!"
One regret I have from before I came here is not sharing the gospel enough when I had the chance. And now the chances are gone! Dont let these precious opportunities pass by. Dont be like me.
Tender Mercy- Answers to prayers. There have been a few times lately where I felt really tired...I mean completely-physically-wiped-
Another tender mercy is that this week, we went to Quilaco a couple times....a tiny town that is about a half an hour walk away from Santa Barbara. We got out of a lesson a little late and we barely missed the last bus for the night back to Santa Barbara, so it looked like we would just walk. The only problem is the danger of the road to walk back on and the rain and the pitch blackness and the coldness. We started walking back...and after a little while another bus came by, it was the bus to take workers up to an electrical plant that is getting built in the mountains...its not a bus that takes normal people back and forth places. And on top of that, the driver was done for the night, but he stopped and told us that he would take us back without charge. So that was a huge blessing!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I love you all...I continue praying for you. Pray for me...in this freezing cold town out in the middle of Chile! BYE!
-Me getting ready to go hunting.
-Me with "krac"
-Me with my zone here in Los Angeles
-Ishmael and the horsie. Ishmael is our investigator who is going to get baptized on the 30th.