Monday, July 21, 2014

One Year Down

     It's weird writing again so soon after having written only 4ish days ago. I feel like the same old routine things have happened. But I'll try to scrounge up some details for your reading pleasure.
Thursday was my 1 year mark. Weird. It was just like any other day except we went out to lunch (for another sister's birthday). We did weekly planning, which seriously takes a large chunk of the day. But we see miracles coming from planning this new way, so I won't complain too much. We went to our elder's quorum president's (Brother Spear) home for a lesson with Jason. A few weeks ago Jason mentioned about how he keeps all of the 10 commandments except the 4th one. So we taught him about keeping the Sabbath day holy. You know the cool part? He kept telling US why keeping the Sabbath day holy was an important commandment! And the whole time we were teaching and he was answering questions, he kept talking about how it's strengthening his relationship with God. Which is HUGE because Jason for the longest time has been struggling with knowing for sure that there is a God. So it was awesome to hear him say that :) He went out of town this week to head to L.A. It turns out he grew up in Simi Valley and went to Big Springs Elementary until 4th grade before moving! So he said he'll be heading there to show his 7 year old son where he used to live and go to school. I'm trying to talk him in to heading to Simi on a Sunday so he can go to church in our home ward! We'll see what happens though. He hasn't even been to church here yet (because he works on Sunday). But how cool would that be??
     We went on split's and taught Pat Price again- who said she feels like she's ready to try coming to church again finally! She's really feeling the spirit more in her life and is craving it now. So our next lesson we're teaching her in the chapel- hopefully that'll get her comfortable enough at church to come the following Sunday! Oh, while planning out split's, I felt prompted that Sister Haynes and the woman she was with should try Bre and Mike (the random referral/ less active who let us in and the son calls us the "mission girls") Well, she went and they talked to them both and they said they're open to us coming back AND they want to go to the Pioneer Day festival this Saturday because it brought back happy memories for her and she wants her kids to have those, too. How cool is that??

     Friday was pretty standard. Dinner at a member's home, a few lessons here and there, nothing big. But my favorite lesson of the day was with this girl Breanne. She's 23 I think. Her parents are active and she used to be... then she fell away, got into drugs, was homeless for a bit... I mean she's really been through heck and back. Well, she got pregnant and moved home. I had met her a few times and she was pretty stand offish. But then a miracle happened. She had her baby premature, had received a priesthood blessing, and her heart has softened. Having this baby has really grounded her. She decided she wants her daughter to grow up with the values she was raised with, and to develop the relationship with God she has. She has an INCREDIBLE testimony of prayer. Well she started coming to sacrament this last month. We approached her about teaching her the lessons to try and help strengthen the faith she has and help her gain a testimony in the restored gospel. She accepted and we went over on Friday to teach the first lesson. She was upfront and said she wanted to go slow, maybe only meet every few weeks. But she has a desire to learn and to really better her life and give her daughter the life she deserves! It was a powerful lesson. I absolutely love working with less actives and helping to rekindle the fire. It's been incredible to see her 180 degree change in just the 4 short months I've been here!

     Saturday we did a lot of service. We helped a part member family weed their garden for a bit. We also went and helped a single mom of 5, Sister Aballay, clean her kitchen. Honestly, it was so gratifying to just help relieve some of her stress. I couldn't imagine raising a family on my own- she's a strong woman, so we were surprised when she accepted our offer to help. But I can always feel the spirit so strong while I'm serving others! Mosiah 2:17 is true! :) We also did some impromptu service while on our blitz in the Belle Terre ward. We had been contacting the people they wanted us to and talking to people on the street. Then I felt prompted that we should try some members and ask for referrals for them. The first house we find is a less active's home but we tried it anyway. The woman opened the door and was frantic. Their basement was flooded and she was home alone with her 20 something year old special needs daughter. We threw down our bags and got to work! We were shop vac-ing it, carrying things outside to dry, and jumping on towels to get the water up. Part of their ceiling had collapsed from the broken pipe and the place was a mess. We helped her for about an hour while trying to contact her home and visiting teachers. Her son eventually came to help, and by then we'd gotten things under control. She thanked us profusely and we told her that we were divinely inspired to come to her house. I pray that this situation will soften her heart and she will be more open to hearing what the missionaries have to say...

     Sunday was good. Meetings, church, studying, the usual. We had a lesson with a man we'd never met whom the sisters found when they were blitzing in our area. Yeah, he was not interested. He gave us the Book of Mormon back that they had given him. But we were still able to teach him a little bit and commit him to pray on his own. It really was weird- but okay in the end. We had a lesson with Shannon (an eternagator) who came to church again for the 2nd week in a row! She has been taking the lessons for years and her 2 teenage sons are members, but less active. She has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and her only hurdle is to stop smoking. The hard part is that she's stubborn, so she doesn't want any help or to go to the addiction recovery program that's offered. We have really established our purpose with her and she's making steady progress in other areas.

     The highlight of Sunday comes from one of our all star member missionary families in our ward, the Demars family (think of the Pinkston's). Just a short side note- Taylor just got back from his mission and his parents went down to pick him up and stayed with a part member family that he'd taught and baptized. There was one daughter who hadn't accepted yet. His parents had a lot of talks with them while they stayed there and his mom ended up challenging the one daughter to sincerely pray about being baptized that week. She prayed for days and got her answer! So on this elder's last day in Brazil, they got to go to the daughter's baptism and the family is planning on getting sealed in January! Anyways, their oldest son just returned from his mission in Brazil and gave a fireside for the youth. His family invited TONS of non members to come and he was basically teaching and testifying of the gospel the whole time. Their were tons of youth from the whole stake there as well and he talked to them about how they can prepare for missions and be member missionaries now. At the end, he has everyone there write down a referral for us! We got about 15 for our area, 10 for other parts of our stake, and some for Seattle and Boise! So awesome! We got to talk to a bunch of their non member friends and one agreed to meet with us and some others agreed to come to church next Sunday. Afterwards he came up to us to give us all the referrals and was talking about all these ideas he has to get the members more involved and missionary minded. He's awesome!

     Whelp. That was the rest of my week. We go on exchanges tonight and have some great lessons, service and activities planned for this upcoming week. We also get to help out at our stakes 5k fun run for Pioneer day this Saturday. It'll be great :) I love you all. I promise to share more about the things I'm learning in my studies next week- I always forget to do that. But if you haven't read Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage- do it! I'm learning so much more about the life of Christ and I'm only 2/3 through it!

     Keep praying. Keep reading your scriptures. Go to church. Go to the temple. I love you all and want you to receive the blessings that WILL come in to your life from doing those things consistently.

All in!

Sister Metcalf
 Cow in the road! Who'd have thought this would happen in Washington?
Can you spot the cow out the window?
 Lunch at Noodles Express on my 1 year mark with Sisters Woodfield, Gardiner, Gosdis, McWilliams and Haynes
Things that I thought would last a year, but didn't

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