Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Investigators and Indian Food

Hello family! 

I hope things are going well for you. I am doing well in San Jose. We had a really good week this week. For FHE, we played a bunch of improv games. It was fun.

On Tuesday, we had service at Veggilution. That was an adventure! While there, I caught a lizard! There was a lizard chilling inside one of the pallets we were moving and I offered to catch it. Elder Crawford got a picture of me holding it. I really need to remember to take my camera to Veggie. It is a farm run by interesting people so there are plenty of things to take pictures of! There was also a black widow in one of the pallets but we didn't touch it! :) We then had lunch and came to the Institute so Sister Bliss could figure out her stuff for BYU. Registration opens right before she goes home and she couldn't work on it on Monday because it was a holiday. So, she worked on that and I provided moral support. We then had a lesson with Linda. We then met with the Laytons to talk about some branch things and then had dinner with John and Vivekk. John made us calzones. It was really yummy! We then had a movie night! We taught Sam The Restoration (using the new way we learned how to do it at Zone Conference) and then we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. Apparently, there are two versions of that movie! Because the one we watched was not the one I saw years ago!

On Wednesday, we had district meeting and then went to lunch. We then came back and helped the Laytons prepare for Institute Dinner. We then worked on our new way of finding people. We are going to contact with a survey. We are going to have people take a fast Religious Interest Survey and leave us their information if they are interested. It should be great once we figure out how to approach people with it. We then did some training before meeting with two new investigators! When I was on exchanges last week, Hermana Sinclair found two guys named Elio and Arnab. We called them up and set up an appointment to meet with them before dinner. They came and they are so solid! They are really looking for the truth and we are so excited to teach them! We then had institute dinner (tacos!) and taught Ali. We were going to teach Kyle and another new investigator (Kelsey) but they never came. 

On Thursday, I went on an exchange with Sister Hill and Sister Jessen. It was my first time in a trio. It was a little weird. Before the exchange though, we went and did service for Brother Merkley. We went and painted a fence. Brother Merkley lives on a mountain, so when we were painting the fence, we were having to paint and go uphill. I got paint all over myself! I got it in my hair, on my pants, and on my coat! Brother Merkley fed us lunch and then we went home to clean up. After that, I was on exchanges. We tried to visit some less-actives in the wards, but no one was home. We then went home to make some more plans and then we were off to dinner. Dinner was great. A sister in one of the wards and her son took us to Sweet Tomatoes. I really like that place. So yummy! We then went and visited the Donavans, another family in one of the wards. They have the coolest house! Anyways, we talked with them for a while and taught about baptism. Brother Donovan is not a member, but his wife is. It was a good lesson. I hope that someday Brother Donovan will get baptized. 

On Friday, I went with Sister Hill and Sister Jessen to clean a dance studio for service. It was fun, but man was it cold in there! After that, we went to lunch with Sister Bliss and Sister Card and exchanged back. Sister Bliss and I then went to practice the song she is singing for the outgoing fireside next week and then we started our weekly planning. After weekly planning, we waited for Sachin so we could have MCM. We then met with Linda and her boyfriend, Anthony! It was a really good lesson. He seems interested (whether that is because he wants the gospel or to continue to date Linda remains to be seen). All four of us taught him (Elder Ball, Elder Methvin, Sister Bliss, and me). We also decided to have the elders teach Anthony from now on. So, they have a new investigator! :D We then went to the Rogers for dinner. Vivekk made indian food and a decent chunk of the branch showed up! It was super yummy and so much fun. They also watched a Bollywood movie, but Sister Bliss and I left before that. 

Saturday was Sister Bliss' 18 month mark. So, after service, we went out to lunch with Sister Hill and Sister Lytle to celebrate. It was really fun. Sister Bliss says that it doesn't feel like 18 months! She's also really stressed about going home. This week will be crazy! After that, we did visits. No one answered the door, but that is okay. Maybe some other missionaries will have a chance. :) We then did training and had dinner at home. We also finished our weekly planning. We have good plans for this week! 

On Sunday, we had Branch Council and then Church. Michelle came and we were super excited to have her with us. She is a language nut like me (she is a french major and speaks multiple languages) so I gave her a sheet of paper with instructions on how to pray in French. She was so excited! After church, we had a lesson with Hana, a less-active member of the branch. She was really struggling and we gave her a quick lesson about how God loves all of us. I think it helped. We then had a meeting with Sachin and the Elders to plan our missionary activity this week! On Friday, we are having personal pizzas and game tournaments (air hockey, pool, ping pong, fooseball...). It is an activity for people to hang out with the missionaries and with investigators and recent converts. It will be so much fun! We then had a lunch/dinner before going to see Ceidy. She is doing fairly well. We then went and saw Colin. We taught him about the Spirit (we are reading Preach My Gospel with him) and it was a really great lesson. We then came home and did training before the end of the night. 

Today, we did our laundry and went to the store for groceries. We also bought me a coat because my other one was covered in paint. It has been a pretty successful day so far. We have dinner with Carolyn, a member of the branch, and then we are going to FHE. It should be a good night. 

Have a great week!

Love, Sara

Monday, January 19, 2015

My First Zone Conference


Hope things are going well for you. This week has been a very interesting week. Let me just tell you...

On Monday night, we went to the Branch FHE. We split into two teams and built temples out of legos. I was on one team building the Las Vegas temple and Sister Bliss was on the other building the Hawaii temple. It was so fun! The elders came late, so we made them judge. Elder Ball voted for Las Vegas and Elder  Methvin voted for Hawaii, so it was a tie. It was so much fun.

On Tuesday, I was on an exchange. Sister Bliss and Sister Hill did an exchange with two sisters in our zone, so I was with Sister Lytle again. We did a lot of service, and we also saw some people. It was a good night. 

On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference. Sister Lytle and I drove their together and then I was back with Sister Bliss as soon as it started. It was incredible. President Mella has made a lot of changes. We used to have Standards of Excellence. These were numbers that we needed to reach for the week, or you really felt like a failure. Some of them even focused on things specific to the mission like contacting and baptismal invitations (things not in Preach My Gospel). President Mella got rid of the Standards of Excellence and declared that we are a Preach My Gospel and White Handbook mission! You know what this also means? We're not getting up at 6:25 anymore! We're getting up at 6:30! :D So, we still have Standards, but it really isn't so much about numbers anymore. We also really don't need to worry about contacting as much! President wants us to do other things to find. So, we can still use contacting, and we really should, but it isn't as big anymore. We are also using a new method of teaching. We are to use the pamphlets and teach more simply! It is tricky to learn, but I am excited! :D
San Jose Zones
 Zone Conference was from 9:00-5:00 (they fed us lunch), so we went straight to the Institute after that to set up for dinner. At Institute, we taught Sam (a recent convert), Alan (a member of the branch), and Kyle. We then went home. What a day!

On Thursday, we went to the mission office and called our referrals. We then taught Michelle. Something happened and now she is really interested in learning again. She is not at the point where she wants to be baptized (she just wants to learn) but her heart is changing. Who knows, maybe she will want to be baptized in the future? We then had lunch and service. A lot of our service this week has been trash-tacting. Going out with trash-tactors an d cleaning up around town. People love it when we do that! We then went and saw Manny and Christina. We taught them about the Spirit. We then had to go to Milpitas to meet up with some other missionaries before dinner with the Chandlers. It was really fun. We then went and taught Anna (a member of the branch).

Friday was a weird day. We had our study and went trash-tacting with the elders before going to lunch with Alan (he fed us and the elders). We went to a Chinese place that was really weird and then went and got donuts at Psycho donuts. The place looks really creepy, but the donuts are awesome.
Afterwards, Sister Bliss and I felt so sick! We then had to go clean our car and take it to the mission office. Sister Nedreberg (the vehicle coordinator) wanted our car to go into the shop and get the bumper fixed (from our little rear-ended incident in November) so we had to go with her to take it in and pick up a loaner car (another companionship's car; they weren't using it). We then taught Christina at the Institute building before leaving for Milpitas to have dinner with the Rogers (the Branch President and his wife). It was us, the Laytons, and the elders at dinner with them. After dinner, we went back to San Jose to teach Sam. It was just a weird day. 

On Saturday, we did a lot of service. We went trash-tacting and then helped Ali set up for her boyfriend's sister-in-law's baby shower. We then taught Carmina. That was a great lesson. I was teaching her about the sacrament and I realized that I needed to ask her a question. A weird question came to me and it came out. It turned out to be just what we needed to ask! We found out why she hasn't been coming to all of Church! Looking back, that was totally the Spirit.
Something I have come to learn, is that having your mouth filled doesn't mean that you will understand what comes out of it. I feel like I "spiritually puke" on people and they totally get it and it was what they needed. Even though I had no idea what I said! The Spirit also pokes people and says "Yeah, what she said made noooooo sense, but she meant this." I really appreciate it when he does that! Another thing that I find hard is that I do A LOT of learning "on the job". Oh well. I am learning to just go with things. 
We then had dinner at a yummy mexican place that Sister Bliss and I had never been to before. They don't charge missionaries, so President Mella has set a rule that missionaries can't go there all the time or in huge groups. So, we went there because we didn't have a dinner and we wanted to try it (My Spanish is sooooooooo bad XD). We then came home and I helped Sister Bliss plan before we did weekly planning. 

Sundays are very busy for us. We get up, get ready, and have a little bit of study before going to Branch Council. After Branch Council, we have Church and then we meet with people after Church. We are at Church for a looooooong time. This Sunday was very good. Linda got confirmed! :D After Church, we met with Colin and then with Linda and Sam. Linda was so funny. She was feeling so happy and excited and she had no idea why! We explained to her that that was the Spirit and she felt better. We then went to dinner at the Parker's. It was really fun, and I ate a lot of good food. We were then able to meet with Chris (a less active). He came to Church today and we talked about why he came to Church and what is going on in his life.

I think that is all for here. SJSU starts up this week so all of our people will be back! :D

Love you lots! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Linda got Baptized!

Good morning! Well, by the time you get this, it will probably be afternoon...

Let's get started shall we. It has been a busy, crazy week. 

On Tuesday, we did a lot of service. We were still waiting for people to come back, so we scheduled a lot of service. For service, we go to places that need volunteers and volunteer. In our case, we also do service for the Laytons too. After service, we had lunch and went contacting. We then took care of some things for the branch and then we had dinner. For dinner, we fed the missionaries! Our dinner cancelled, and the elders were supposed to eat with us, so Sister Bliss and I made dinner for us and the elders. When we were grabbing ingredients from our apartment to take to the Institute to cook, Sister Bliss looked at me and said "Sister, we're feeding the missionaries! We're going to get blessings!" It was fun. We then went and saw Ceidy and then did some training before planning and going to bed. 

On Wednesday, we didn't have District meeting because of the special visitors to the mission. We used that time to train and contact before grabbing a bite to eat with Christina, a member of the branch. We then had lunch and did service for the Laytons. We then had a lesson with Samantha. After that, it was time for Institute dinner! We had dinner and then a former teacher at the Institute (Dr Hegstrom) gave a great presentation on the Church in the Middle East (we were able to stay and see it because Linda was with us). We then had a miracle. Kyle came! He came in late to the presentation. We were so excited to see him again. After the presentation, we invited him to have a lesson and we had a lesson with him. We plan to see him next week. 

On Thursday, I went on an Exchange. Sister Bliss and Sister Hill had a leadership meeting, so Sister Lytle and I got to run around in their area. It was fun. We did service at Roosevelt (have I told you about Roosevelt? It is a community center where we help them put on a lunch for the elderly. We help serve and then wash the dishes. After lunch, while we do dishes, the people who had lunch start dancing. It is so fun to watch these older people do these old dances that they grew up learning when we are going in and out of the kitchen!). We then left to meet with an investigator named Rufus. We then met with another investigator named Arianna. We then went contacting at a strip mall. I ended up inviting a guy in Spanish to come to Church with us. Why do I always have to use my Spanish when I go to their area? :) Anyways, after that, we exchanged back and Sister Bliss and I met with Linda. We prepared for her baptism by writing down what she wanted done and having her try on jumpsuits. It went well. We then had dinner with Ali. We went to Johnny Rockets. Did I tell you about Johnny Rockets? It is a fun diner that looks like it is from the 50s. They have really yummy food and I love their shakes! After dinner, we then met with Colin, a member of the branch (he is preparing to go on a mission). 

On Friday, I had a doctor's appointment and we spent a lot of time taking care of things related to that. We also had lunch with the Sister Hill and Sister Lytle. We went to Olive Garden for soup, salad, and breadsticks. I had Zuppa Toscana! :D We then had weekly planning before going to see Linda. Linda had her baptismal interview and she was feeding us dinner. She passed her interview and fed us and the elders. It was fun. 

On Saturday, we had service and then had to get ready to go see Elder Quentin L Cook! We had to get there early because Sister Bliss was singing a musical number with some other sisters. Elder Cook, Elder Nielson, and Bishop Causse came to speak to us at the meeting. When they arrived, our area seventy stood and told us that Elder Cook, Elder Nielson, and Bishop Causse wanted to meet us and that we all needed to line up and shake their hands! So, I shook hands with them! :D :D :D The meeting was really great. They had a Q&A and then they all gave short testimonies/messages. Elder Cook also left a beautiful apostolic blessing with us that put my heart at ease. We then went contacting at the mall and taught a couple of lessons. We then went to set up for the baptism. President Rogers also wanted to make a last minute change to the program (he wanted to change who was baptizing Linda) so we needed to fix that too. 

On Sunday, we had a great meeting with Bishop Causse. I also saw my friend Bryce from my mission prep class! I was shocked! We talked for a minute and then he went to sit down. We were then going to have Linda's baptism, when someone in the Branch told Bishop Causse about Linda and he wanted to meet her! So, we went with her and stood back while she talked to him. I was so scared she was going to throw me under the bus and tell him that I speak French! D: Thankfully, she didn't. We then had the baptism. It all went well, except for the five seconds of sheer terror when I thought that President Mella and Bishop Causse were going to the baptism! (They didn't come). The baptism itself went really well. :D We then went home and had lunch before meeting with Christina. She is really struggling. Sister Bliss then had a meeting and Sister Lytle and I went contacting. You meet some interesting people when you contact! We then watched the Young Adult Fireside. It was so weird to see BYU Idaho and President Baron conducting and someone I knew in the collegiate singers! It was soooooo weird! After that we had dinner with the Jepsons, did some more contacting, and went home. 

Today, we have been able to get a lot of our P-day errands done already (yay!) and we should have time to relax. For the Zone Activity (we have one every P-day) we are going to play games together. It should be really fun. Also: Jose is supposed to be coming back from his trip this week! We have to move his baptismal date, but he's coming back and he still wants to be baptized! :D 

Love you lots,

Monday, January 5, 2015

We made it to January

Hi family, 

We made it to January! We survived the holidays and the frustration of having no one around to work with! The new semester at SJSU doesn't start until the end of this month (22 Jan) but the people who we teach are going to be coming back or not so swamped in work that they can't even breathe, let alone see us. This week is going to be a crazy week for the mission! On the 6-8, we have people from the missionary department coming. They will be going out with our Zone Leaders! We also have Elder Cook speaking to us on the 10th, and Bishop Causse speaking to us on the 11th! Let's dive into last week though...

After I emailed you on P-day, we went to Golfland and played Lazer tag. It was my first time, and I had so much fun! We were also in charge of FHE again. We had a lesson about New Years and then played Apples to Apples because there were so few of us there.

On Tuesday, we went to breakfast with Alan. Alan also invited the elders, so they came too. It was really fun, but we always eat ourselves sick! We then had studies and took care of some things before going to lunch with other missionaries. We then met with Linda and taught her about the temple. She is doing really well! We then went out to eat with Carmina (and the elders) to a place called Sweet Tomatoes. It was fun. 

On Wednesday, we had our district meeting and then went to lunch. We went to the greek place and got gyros again (yuuuuuum!). We then met with Michelle. Michelle is a girl that Sister Bliss met before she became my companion and I have only met her once. She wasn't progressing and she didn't seem interested in the Church at all. We stopped trying to set up appointments with her, and she texted us! We invited her to come to Church on Sunday. She is a French major and she speaks multiple languages (she is currently studying Farsi). I offered to teach her how to pray in French. We then met with Ali (a recent convert) and spent some time with the Laytons before going to dinner with Carolyn (a member of the branch). We then had a lesson with Vivekk (a member of the branch). Afterwards, we went with a bunch of missionaries to Cream to get a treat to celebrate the New Year. For the New Year, President said that we could stay up untilmidnight and have sleepovers, but we had to still be up by 6:25. We stayed up till 10:45, watching a car accident outside our window. 

On Thursday, we went contacting and then did service. Contacting has been hard with everyone gone and we set a goal of ten people. We then prayed and told the Lord our goal. We ended up contacting twenty people! Miracle! :D All of our service has been closed for the holidays, so we have had to come up with ways to serve. Lately, it has been picking up trash in different areas. After that we had some training and saw Manny and Christina (less actives). We were talking with them when Chris (a less active who we have been struggling to reach) just showed up! It was a miracle! It was a whole day of miracles, really.

On Friday, we went to service at a place that was open and then to the mission office to pick up some things. We then went to my podiatrist appointment in Fremont. We then went to dinner with Shane to this awesome pizza place. They make super big pizzas and you can put almost anything you want on it! We got one that was one third pepperoni, one third hawaiin, and one third pepperoni and jalapenos (Elder Methvin and I were the only ones to touch that part of the pizza!). It was so good! We also met with Linda. She was having a hard day so we taught her about how the Lord is always with us. 

On Saturday. we did more trash cleaning. This time, we got most of the zone to come to downtown and pick up trash. We had a wind storm on Tuesday, so there was a lot to clean up. Sister Bliss then had a song practice. She and a couple of other sisters are singing at our missionary meeting with Elder Cook. We then had MCM and then went to dinner at the Packards'. She made Shepherd's Pie because Sister Bliss LOVES it. It was good! :D 

On Sunday, we had two investigators at Church! Linda and Michelle! :D Church went well and then I went on a split after church. Sister Bliss had a Leadership meeting, so one of the members of the branch (a sister who recently returned from her mission) was my companion until Sister Bliss came back. While Sister Bliss was gone, we taught Linda. We are almost done with her lessons, and her baptismal interview is later this week! After Sister Bliss got back, we went home because she wasn't feeling well. We ended up staying home the rest of the night and did Weekly Planning. We also had a miracle that night. The elders stopped by and Elder Methvin was holding my nametag! The one that landed in the dumpster! Apparently, they found it stuck to a pole. We think that Tin (the man who goes through our dumpster) found it and put it there so someone would find it! I was so excited! Miracle! :D

Here's the update on our investigators:

Jose: Still in Mexico. He is coming back this weekend, and we may have to move his date to the 24th. because we don't know if we can finish the lessons with him by the 17th. As far as we know, he is doing well. 

Kyle:We haven't heard from him in weeks. We are giving him the benefit of the doubt with the holidays but we will be getting in touch with him this week to see if he really wants to learn. His girlfriend went back to school so now we will see if he was really learning for himself or for her.

Linda: This week she has made so many changes to prepare herself for baptism. Sister Bliss and I are so proud of her! She is getting baptized on Sunday, the 11th at 11:30. Shane, one of the recent converts in the branch, is baptizing her. They have become good friends. She also got up and bore her testimony in Sacrament Mtg yesterday! It was so good! I love her so much!

Michelle: All of the sudden, we can count her. She has been enjoying learning, but she's not quite looking to convert. We will see. I enjoy nerding with her about languages. :D

Elsie: We haven't been able to meet with Elsie over the break. We hope to see her this week.

Well, I think that is all for here. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and an even better week.