Date

June 27, 2016

Area

Laguna Beach Ward

Companion

Sister Hannah Rolfson

Laguna Beach Ward does it again

Wow what a week.

Last Monday we had some fun! After emailing, we hit the local thrift shop and got some much needed shoes as well as some clothes. Fun stuff! We had a lot of fun checking out the shops we are always walking past :) There was terrible traffic, but we sang Disney songs all the way home haha and finally made it 5 miles in 40 minutes. hooray. The downsides of Laguna Beach. On the upside, there has been a beautiful ocean breeze all week keeping us cool during the heat wave. At dinner, we were at the Warner's house right on the beach and during dessert we looked out and saw dolphins!!! What!! So many dolphins! It was breathtaking. They were so graceful, barely skimming the surface as they went up and over for air. The sunset over the ocean was a highlight to our week.

Tuesday our highlight was serving at the Laguna Food Pantry. We've started making friends there and it is so much fun! All of the volunteers are super nice and we sort the food and help people who come through to get it. It's always fun when we have toys for the kids, too. It's just a little pantry, not a big warehouse, so everyone pitches in. Just a little building with a few freezers and a new walk-in refrigerator so we can collect donations from local grocery stores. Then we set out food - produce in bins on a plastic table, dry goods on wire shelves, bread on a wooden stand... there are little laminated numbers we put in the bins and shelves to mark how many of each item they can take. Then we clean, sweep, sanitize, and help sort deliveries from the stores. My favorite deliveries are the baskets of flowers to cheer everyone up.

Wednesday we visited Ieva, a recent convert, and her girls Jasmine and Llana. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and sang "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus." I felt the Spirit and Heavenly Father's love for them so strongly as we sang the simple primary song together. We also had an awesome district meeting Wednesday. We learned about contacting and bearing our testimonies, and we talked about the importance of asking questions, then we had some super fun roleplays and practices. It was awesome because everyone participated fully and we really learned a lot from practicing together. That afternoon we also picked up a new investigator - Richard! He is 74 and super nice. We just found him tracting and he and his wife talked to us for a bit. They have a lot of Mormon friends, and Richard was open to hearing about our beliefs. It was a cool little lesson. We just sat on his porch and talked to him, then shared about the Saviour and His Atonement. We testified of our personal relationship with Him and it was really cool. Then Wednesday night our car broke down. Again. *sigh* I think I scared Sister Rolfson a bit because I was just so annoyed at the car that I don't think I said a word when we finally got home after having to call people to come pick us up. I just sat on the couch and ate ice cream. Haha sometimes life is just rough. So we went to bed and figured it out in the morning. Things always look better in the morning. And we figured it out... eventually. We only went one day on foot this time, at least. So that was good.

Thursday involved a lot of walking and a lot of sun, but all in all it was a pretty good day. We met a young hispanic guy named Richard Degardo (haha so many Richards! funny) and he wanted to come to church on Sunday!! We got his number and he actually texted us back. Rare. It was awesome :) And we shouted for joy Friday when we got our car back.

Saturday we were on exchange. I went to Aliso Viejo with Sister Sabolsky, a new sister missionary who got here about 2 weeks ago. We did a lot of tracting, which was awkward, and a lot of studies, which were inspired. I think my favorite part of the day was doing 12-week studies with her. (an extra hour of study for new missionaries) We talked about the "how to begin teaching" points in Preach My Gospel and then practiced with a roleplay and discussed it and evaluated. It was so fun! Sister Sabolsky had some great insights. She is SO good at having 50/50 studies and opening up to participate. We were both fully prepared and focused, and I truly felt the way it invited the Spirit to teach us as we were willing, ready, and anxious to learn. Sis Sabolsky made me feel so loved. I was really able to feel so much love for Sis Sabolsky Saturday as I built a friendship with her. I was able to give her some advice about some concerns she had, and encourage her in so much good that she is doing. It was incredibly uplifting for me. I really got to reflect on what I have learned as I have been on my mission as I tried my best to help this sister on her own beautiful journey. It was a great day.

Sunday was one of the best days EVER!!! We showed up to church and miracles just poured out of Heaven. Richard Degardo (spelling?) didn't come, but the elders had a woman come that they contacted this week! Miracle! Then a sister in our ward introduced us to her friend, Toni, who has LDS relatives but had never been to our church before and she absolutely loved her experience. We got Toni's number and she wants to meet with us this week so we can teach her more about it! Miracle! To top it all off, a less-active young woman we've been working with, Cash, showed up to church (and her mom!! woohoo!!) and brought two friends! What!! At this point we just couldn't believe it and we had to pinch ourselves. Her friends, Anna and Kalani, came to some youth activities last week and wanted to come to church. Kalani then asked us for a Book of Mormon and wants to meet with us this week, too! We were so blown away. Our members are just. so. incredible. They just get it. They get the gospel and they get that it is the BEST THING EVER. So they absolutely have no reservation telling everyone about it, because who wouldn't want the best thing ever? And because they love so truly and sincerely EVERYONE who walks in the door, people just come. They flock to the gospel and they really feel the Savior's love in that chapel. It is the most heartwarming thing I have ever witnessed.God is good. Miracles happen. He loves us. This I can promise you with all of my heart and soul.

This week as I was pondering and praying about why God has me here in Laguna Beach right now, I was studying in Preach My Gospel about how to find people to teach because our pools of people to teach were running a little dry... (clearly, God answers prayers from what happened Sunday) But this quote really stuck out to me: "Wherever you are assigned to serve, remember that the Lord has 'suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in [Him] for the salvation of souls.'" (Preach My Gospel page 156 and Doctrine & Covenants <https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/100.4?lang=eng#3100:4) I really felt the Spirit testify to me that the Lord needs me here, and it is for His purposes - "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/1?lang=eng Moses 1:39) He knows how to do His work, and He is the one in charge. I'm here because He wants me here and He has a work for me to do here to help Him with His work. I know that is true of each one of us, wherever we may be. "God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth." (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/26.37?lang=eng#36 Alma 26:37) The Lord knows us, remembers us, understands our strengths and weaknesses, and recognizes our abilities. He will lead us where He needs us, and "Where the Lord plants us, there we are to stand" (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-lorenzo-snow/chapter-14-with-god-all-things-are-possible?lang=eng&query=where+the+lord+plants+us+there+we+are+to+stand#4-36787_000_14 Lorenzo Snow). I know if we trust Him and follow Him, we will get where we need to go!

I love y'all so much and I have to say a HUGE thank you for all of your support, love, letters, and prayers. They mean so very much to me.

Love,Sister Heather Bambas
--
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
<a href="mailto:heather.bambas@myldsmail.net" target="_blank">heather.bambas@myldsmail.net</a>




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