Tuesday I had an exchange with Sis Woolley, another greenie in our zone. She is awesome! She is my "granddaughter," being trained by Sis Bauer :) We had a lesson with Morgan about reading scriptures and how we get callings in the church, then we stopped by the Dexters because they are finally back in town!! :) Nothing too exciting happened, but I learned a lot from Sis Woolley as we tracted. She taught me that miracles happen when we exercise our faith, meaning stretch it or work it! She showed me that miracles happen when you leave your comfort zone and take a leap... whether that's asking one last question before leaving someone's doorstep, bearing your testimony one more time, or running across the road to talk to someone.
Wednesday we had a weird experience tracting. We were in a neighborhood we hadn't been in before, in the very edge of our area... a place we really don't get to much. So we started knocking doors. But everything just seemed... eerily quiet and empty. They were huge beautiful mansions, but they all seemed... vacant. Furnished, but not really lived in. I don't know how to describe it. A few people answered their doors, but no one was interested. Then this one guy freaked us out because everything was dark inside and this door had a... how to describe it... frosted kind of window... the ones that look like a stained glass window but it's all clear, it just has the different pieces welded together... and anyway, we didn't think anyone was home, but just as we were about to leave this man's face all the sudden just popped up out of nowhere in the side window, staring at us. It was just super creepy. He didn't even open the door, just yelled through it. Weird. Then the next house the lady who opened the door looked shocked, like she had never had someone knock on her door before. She told us she wasn't interested, but to "be safe." We were officially creeped out by now so we left. We completely left the neighborhood and said a prayer because that neighborhood I'm not kidding just felt.... wrong. Bad. We decided not to go back for a while.
But that leads me to something important from Thursday. We met President and Sister Clark! I'll tell you more later, but I was thinking of something Sister Clark told us about. She told us about their drive here from Utah and how in the desert she saw a huge mirage. She explained how at first, even though she knew there were mirages, she didn't recognize what it was that she saw. She surprised herself by being deceived into thinking, "What?? When did they make a lake near Baker???" Before realizing that it wasn't there. The closer they got, the more it disappeared. She then related the story to a time when her father told her as a girl before she left the house not to "take any wooden nickels." Meaning, don't be fooled into something of no value. (Look up wooden nickels in the great depression - she told us some cool history!)
So I have been thinking this week about our experience tracting this week and just the strong feeling I had that although there were people in the houses, they were empty. Not homes, just houses. Sometimes in life things can look so convincing, so perfect, so fulfilling, so wonderful.... even to those of us who know better. That is why it is just so important to remember that no matter how good we are, no matter how much we know, no matter how strong we may be, we absolutely must not dance on the edge. We have to hold to the iron rod, not do tricks off it. We have to act in faith, letting go of anything in our life that Heavenly Father wouldn't want there, even if it's hard. Because it is way too easy to believe Satan's lies. It is way too easy to be deceived. I can promise you that the ONLY way to true and lasting happiness is through our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His gospel. He is the way, the truth, and the life. (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/14.6?lang=eng#5" target="_blank John 14:6)
Like I said, Thursday we met the Clarks! They are wonderful, so sweet. I can't wait to tell you more about them as I get to know them better. Sister Clark is a wonderful storyteller, and President Clark is so bold and loving, ready to work hard with us and lead us to our very best. They are so humble, and they love us so much. I know they will be such a blessing and a joy to work with.
Sunday was a funny day. Someone forgot to tell the missionaries there was no ward council, haha so we all showed up to church 90 minutes early. Oh well. We read our scriptures and I practiced for the devotional that night. In church I somehow managed to get called on to say the opening prayer for 3 separate meetings lol. It is now my official calling ;) Anyway, Sunday afternoon we got to teach Sascha the Plan of Salvation. We started with this awesome video, and he had some wonderful questions. He definitely understood everything, and it was good for Sis Otteson, too, who had questions to add as well. He agreed to read the story of the Stripling Warriors in the Book of Mormon, which we can't wait to talk to him about :) It was a joy to be able to teach him. He soaks everything up and is such a sweetheart. He really has become a little brother to me. Then we had dinner with them and Sascha updated me on all the recent developments in the world of soccer. (Messi is retiring from international soccer?? WHAT!!) Sunday night I sang at the temple music devotional, and I was so so nervous. But I prayed so hard that I could use it as an opportunity to help someone feel my testimony, and the elders brought their investigator, Connor, and it was a beautiful night. God really does magnify our talents when we use them for His work - I've seen that personally so often here on my mission.
Monday was the best P-day I can remember!!! We started with a super fun ward breakfast at Bluebird park with pancakes and friends, games and fun. So many people came, and it was so fun to play on the playground with the kids and talk to so many people I love so much, along with meeting so many friends, neighbors, and relatives! Then after the breakfast, a guy in our ward, Trenton Caserio, helped us get into the Sawdust Art Festival for free because he works there at the pottery booth. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! We got to wander around and explore, talk to so many interesting and friendly people, see so many beautiful pieces of art, and discover so many new ideas. We stopped by Donita (she is in our ward) and looked at her paintings, and she gave us each a print to take home :) She is such a sweetheart. No one has a more giving heart than Donita. So we helped her out and "tested" her new cell phone and credit card reader to make a $10 donation ;) Then we visited some painters, potters, brassworkers, and silversmiths, along with MANY others I don't even have a name fore. My favorite was the pottery. We learned a lot about how pottery gets marks and colors when you burn things around it in the kiln. But the brass doorbell booth was pretty fascinating, too. We ended the delightful day at the festival by throwing our own bowls on the pottery wheels with the help of Trenton and his brother Trevor who were working there. It was a day to remember! So much sun, walking, and laughter. Then we explored a little downtown Laguna Beach and headed out to run errands, exercise (a one hour run and walk on the trails behind our apartments all the way to the Dana Point beach and back - don't worry, no sand!), nap, and eat dinner before getting a few contacts. But we were required to be in the stake center by 7pm because of the holiday/drunk drivers, etc. So our zone had fun talking, playing games, eating watermelon, and watching the fireworks when they started. From our view at the stake center, we could see at least 5 different fireworks shows around the canyon. It was incredible. Breathtaking. And totally, completely exhausting. We slept very well last night before starting our morning today at the food pantry.What a week! What a wonderful, beautiful, crazy adventure.I love y'all so much! Make it a good one!!!
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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