Ok everybody. I think it's about time I give you a real email again. Lol it's been a CRAZY transfer so far, but we are already on our last week! Here goes number 7! The next transfer will be 7 weeks as well, but after that we will (hopefully) be normal again.
Also, yesterday was my 7 month mark. There seems to be a pattern here.
Wow. how to even start... um...I will try to do this chronologically. No promises.
Last Monday we had this crazy cool p-day activity, completely by accident. Apparently there is debate about whose zone the park we like to use is in, ours or San Clemente's, so they randomly showed up while we were playing soccer. We all tried to figure it out, shrugged our shoulders, and began a double zone party :D a huge zone vs zone Frisbee war began while I went with some other missionaries up to the volleyball court and we played sand volleyball and knockout basketball. It was a blast!! I even won a game of knockout for the first (and let's face it probably last) time in my life :) I had a little help... but I am a pretty reliable shot provided that I am within a 3 foot radius of the basket above me. lol. We had a lot of fun and then went for frozen yogurt with the other sisters before heading back to our areas.
Tuesday was crazy. If I'm remembering what happened on what day right, I not only put a table together for a less active woman we visited on Tuesday, but we also climbed onto Sam's roof and helped him rake the leaves and branches off! Yes, all of this in a skirt. Because we're sister missionaries and we have super powers. ;) Dad, you would actually probably be pretty proud of me for figuring out the whole table situation. Sister Kenworthy basically handed me a table top, a drawer, a shelf, 4 legs, 4 screws, 4 wingnuts, 4 washers, and a screwdriver. But I figured it out!!! :) It did end up requiring a level, though because the table was so warped (it was an antique) that one leg had been cut off a little on the bottom so every leg had to be in exactly the right corner for the table to sit flat. Frustrating, trust me. But Sam's roof was the real adventure. There's a staircase behind his house that we climbed up to get to the roof, but apparently we went the wrong way (hard to explain without a picture) and we were level with the roof, but two feet away. Sam was like, just climb down and go this way, but Sis Siaosi decided to just go for it and jumped lol so I figured why not, handed her my scriptures and *carefully* hopped across. Don't worry we went down the easy way.
Wednesday we had a worldwide training from Salt Lake. It was incredible. Elders Nelson, Bednar, and Anderson were part of it, as well as Sister Oscarson (yw gen pres), Elder L. Whitney Clayton, and someone from the presiding bishopric (and a few others). It was so cool to hear Preach my Gospel (a manual youth and members use to learn how to share the gospel) trainings straight from the apostles. It was mostly stuff we'd been told before, but taught in a very inspiring and direct way, and I think it was to help all of us just remember the basics. My favorite part was when they talked about how our job is to "teach repentance and baptize converts." It was a pretty clear and simple summary of our calling. We're not here to make sure investigators can recite the outline of the plan of salvation. We're here to help God's children come unto Him through repentance (using Christ's atonement to change), and as a result, help them be converted to the gospel. This will in turn give them a desire to be baptized through His authority and that is what this is all about - not just a one time thing, but the start of an eternal path of covenants that will help them return to their Heavenly Father.
Thursday we got to go to the temple! I love the temple so much. I didn't have really any profound experiences, but I really enjoyed just feeling the peace and safety and comfort of being in the Lord's house.
Saturday we had a CRAZY INSANE exchange!! I had kind of a half exchange with Sis Weston (one of the lead STL's) and Hermana Warner. Hard to explain, but I was supposed to be spending the day with Sis Weston, but while I was with Hermana Warner for a couple hours for a meeting, two of the sisters in my zone had an emergency. Sister Phinney (my MTC comp) and Sister Shumway got in a bad car accident. They are both ok! But they were both a little beat up, sore, and Sister Phinney had some cuts and scrapes. They had to go to the ER because she had a bad headache, but they seem to both be ok and we are so thankful for that. Someone had hit them pretty hard and the airbags went off and the car is totaled, but Heavenly Father was looking out for them!! Anyway, I ended up going on a long adventure picking them up from the hospital and getting them to their appointments, and they are figuring out the car situation soon.
Yesterday was awesome for many reasons. First, because I got to be a part of a stake high council/mission correlation meeting with all the bishops, ward mission leaders, and the zone leaders and STLs. Our whole mission presidency was there to do a training on how to help investigators and recent converts progress more quickly towards the temple, and how to get the members of the ward (especially the ward council) more involved so that we all work together as a team. That is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary - I would never get to see near as much of the behind the scenes and how those types of priesthood type meetings work and really just how the church works at every level if I weren't here. I love it! I love ward council meetings, correlation meetings, and especially meetings to coordinate with the relief society president and ward clerk to talk about individual people and families and their situations. I love the church! The Lord's hand really is in all of it - even the administrative stuff. It gives me a new appreciation for Elder Uchtdorf's talk, "It Works Wonderfully!" from the October 2015 general conference. The church really does work wonderfully, because it's His church. It's incredible to see the way that every calling and role in the church is specifically designed to help us best serve those around us. They are not positions of authority so much as opportunities to humble ourselves and serve the way He did. Some look at the church as a hierarchy, but it is so much more. It is more like a reverse hierarchy - with the struggling or most vulnerable at the top. The lambs that need feeding are the most important, and then it goes down from there. I don't know if that made sense, but I hope you can understand what I'm saying.
Yesterday was also really exciting because we got to return and report to our RS president about a lot of sisters in the ward that we've been trying to help find and visit and we also gave a lot of updated information to the ward clerk. It felt so amazing to know that those people won't get lost or forgotten because we were able to update their records.
The other big exciting thing yesterday was that Sam set a baptism date! March 4! :) I know it's far away, but we feel good about it because his family will have a month to come, settle in, figure out the wedding, and maybe we will be able to have several baptisms in March :) How awesome would it be to have the whole family be able to make that covenant together!!
Ok you're probably bored now lol... but I love you all and thank you SO MUCH for the sweet letters! Especially the stories of your own missionary opportunities! It really gives me so much joy to hear you tell me about how the gospel is blessing YOUR life, too. Love y'all!
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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