Wow how to start... This has been one of the most eventful weeks of my mission. A new companion, a car situation, surprise meetings, minor injuries, and major miracles!
Let's start with saying goodbye. Sis Siaosi left for San Clemente Tuesday, but Monday night we had a little goodbye dinner with the "C family", a family we've been working with. They are super cool! We pulled up and hadn't even gotten out of the car when Aaron (I think he's 7) ran up and exclaimed that he had made a picnic for us! He was so excited and happy to show us his "picnic" on the dining room table which was covered in a race track checkered table cloth with bowls of apples, chips, and other fun finger foods to go with the fried chicken. It was AWESOME! Usually no one is that casual with us, and it was so fun to just have a simple meal so much like home! Aaron had completed the table with a matchbox car race track running between the bowls... and lots of race cars so we wouldn't be bored during dinner. Haha we had so much fun with the C's and we played a game called Pie Face where you spin to see how many times you click this little contraption that may or may not fling whipped cream in your face... kinda like that uno game where you have to click the button until cards shoot out. So hilarious! Go youtube it!
Tuesday I got a new companion!!!! Her name is Sister Alexandra Brown, and she is from San Antonio, Texas. She is super outgoing and positive and she rocks my socks off :) We are working together so well and I love her so much already... It's going to be a really fun two transfers. She is super good at piano and she spent a year and a half at BYU doing music and percussion. She is upbeat, cheerful, and ready to work. I have really appreciated her great attitude this week. And lots of laughter!
Wednesday we had lunch with our RS president, Mama Nielson, and coordinated a bit. She always makes me feel inspired to be a better missionary. She gives us challenges and helps us learn and think of new ways to do things better... She is just a really big role model for me. Then later that afternoon we visited Sis Kenworthy and put some tables together for her (lol it was a lot easier than last time) and we went to see Cassie and Tammy, two less active women (daughter and mom, respectively) who we met recently. We went prepared to share a message about hope with Cassie, who is 21 and just trying to put her life together. We didn't think Tammy would be home, but it turned out that it was her day off and both were there! Our thoughts about hope turned out to be mostly for Tammy, who broke into tears and told us about how her cancer has come back (she battled stage 4 ovarian cancer last year) and we sat, stunned, but so grateful that the scriptures we had prepared were inspired, even if it wasn't in quite the way we had first thought. The elders were able to go give her a blessing with a brother in the ward on Thursday.
Friday was mostly filled with meetings... we had a surprise visit from the area authority! He had a short conference where we talked about a lot of things, but one that stuck out to me was that he talked about what repentance means. It's not a negative thing. It's a positive experience, turning ourselves back to Christ. He used an analogy of if his whole life he was working toward getting through this door (he pointed to one across the room), and he was just walking towards it, he didn't even know what was on the other side but he wanted so badly to just get through it, but then he learns about Christ, or even just learns more about Him, and realizes he isn't walking towards Christ. He's wandering on His own. So he has to turn a different direction and walk towards Christ, and he may have to leave some stuff behind like whatever is behind that door, but he can now move forward, seeing the path ahead that leads home. He knows where He is going and He is happy on the way there.After the conference we had a really cool MLC where we talked about desires of our hearts, and how we can have the faith to make them happen. I left with several important questions in my mind and (thankfully) in my notebook, but mainly, "How can I gain the desire and faith in my heart to change the circumstances I am in?" meaning, "How can I have the faith to ask for and receive miracles?" I have put a lot of prayer and even fasting into this subject this week, and I have learned a lot already. I've learned that we don't have to be afraid to ask for the desires of our hearts, because if we ask with the spirit, then the spirit will help us to know what to ask for so that our will is aligned with His and we don't have to worry about whether the thing we ask for is right. (D&C 46:30) I learned that He can help us have the desire in our hearts as we pray and seek the spirit. (3 Ne 19:24) I've also learned that if we have faith in Christ, then miracles can and will happen, because God's purpose and plan for us is to return home to him with immortality and eternal life, and that hasn't happened yet, so He will continue to do whatever it takes to bring us unto Him! (Mormon 9) Most of all, I learned that when we seek with faith and real intent, God will help us find answers to our questions. He led me to Mormon 9 over and over this week. Go read it!
Saturday was the most crazy of all! We noticed a light that said "service battery charging system" come on Friday afternoon, so we were planning to take our car into the shop Saturday morning, but on the way Saturday morning it broke down! The light came on, then a minute later another, then another, then it said, "service power steering system" and the power steering went out!! AAAAAH! It was so scary! I have never driven without power steering - way hard. Everything just sort of started shutting down - even the radio system and finally when we stopped at a light (we figured it was closer to keep going than to go all the way home and there was help ahead so we drove really slowly with our hazards on) the dashboard turned off and the car just completely died. Apparently the battery wasn't recharging right so everytime we drove it was just slowly draining. But it wouldn't jumpstart either, so it had to be towed after the elders pushed it to the side of the road for us. Lol we looked pretty sad just standing on the sidewalk at a streetlight shivering in the early morning waiting for help as our car sat there at the intersection, but we figured it was safer to stand on the sidewalk than to sit in the parked car-turned-roadblock. So we are without a car for a little bit while it gets fixed! Saturday we went all day without rides or a car, we walked so much my feet were all swollen when we finally made it home. Luckily the trolley runs for free up and down Laguna on the weekends, so we were able to take it home. Life saver!!! But we had a great day full of contacting and miracles. Our very first contact, Kyle, let us teach a whole lesson right there on the grass at Seal Rock park. We even borrowed a guy's binoculars and saw some seals out on the rocks!!! Way cool! We also found a few potentials, Chrissie and Adrian, while we were tracting! I will tell you more about them next week. We were exhausted as we finally climbed the hill home that night, but it was the most wonderful feeling in the world. It was like when you've spent an entire day walking at Disney, except without the ice cream and roller coasters. But we got to talk to so many wonderful people, and we sang hymns as we climbed that last final hill to get home. By the time we finally reached the apartment I was blistered and limping, but it was so worth it. And the next morning we woke up feeling tired, but so ready to start all over again. Hopefully we can get our car back soon, though, but even when we do, we are committed to using it less and walking way more. But it will still really help us get up the mountain, and get home since we don't live in our area.
Last thing I promise! Last night we had dinner with the "P family", and we had to call them and ask them to pick us up because we didn't realize how far it was lol, but they loved every minute and by the end of dinner, they asked us to help them teach their inactive daughter and her kids! We were so stoked! They trusted us so much after seeing how hard we were trying. And it was awesome! We felt so pumped after that, especially when they admitted they hadn't trusted other missionaries before, so we knew the Spirit was helping us. A lot. They even drove us home later when we weren't sure how we would get back. Miracles!
I just want to bear my testimony of the power of the atonement. Through the atonement, we have grace, or the strengthening power Christ can give us. I know that this applies not only to hard emotional, mental, or spiritual trials, but to physical ones as well! I definitely had some angels giving me strength this weekend. I know that Christ is right here with us in every battle we face, and that God's love can never be too far away. I love y'all!
Until next time!
Sister Heather Bambas
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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