Tuesday was our day to go to the temple and do an endowment session, and the best surprise showed up while we were there - Bill and Sally Thatcher from my Newport Hills ward! :) It lit up my heart to see them there, and they each greeted me so warmly. Sis Thatcher told me about all the happenings in the Newport Hills ward, and I sat next to her through the session. They were both so excited to see me and when Sis Bauer got there, it was like a family reunion. We happily sat on either side of Sis Thatcher in the Celestial room and quietly celebrated together. How wonderful it was to feel so much love. After they left, Sis Bauer and I agreed that Heaven would really just be the Thatchers' living room.
Wednesday morning we returned to the temple to do baptisms with Morgan for her first time. We got to do 14 family names that I brought. Sister Rolfson helped. There was a special spirit there and it was amazing to be able to be there with Morgan and see her take in and feel the love there. She has such a light about her now. That night we had a crazy night going from appointment to appointment back to back. We ended with an awesome lesson with Sascha about the gospel - faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure to the end. Two recently returned missionaries in our ward came, as well as Keira, who just graduated high school. It was so much fun, and Sascha really understood everything. He promised to pray about getting baptized and we can't wait to see him again tomorrow morning!
Thursday we had interviews with President and Sister Clark, and it was wonderful to get to know them better. We didn't have a lot of time because they interviewed all 160ish missionaries in our mission, but the one-on-one time was priceless. I still want to continue learning with them, but I do know they are strong, obedient leaders and they love me very much.
Saturday we taught Kalani the Restoration with her friend Cash, who was less active until recently. Keira came, too, and it was a party. :) Cash literally couldn't stop smiling the entire time and Kalani just loved it soooo much. This Sunday was her second time at church. Saturday night we stopped by Karen and Mario and caught up with them. They've been pretty busy the last few weeks with their business, but Karen was so stoked to see us and we love her so much! Hopefully we can teach them again soon, maybe this week.
Sunday was a crazy mix of things. President and Sister Clark came and spoke in our ward, which was AWESOME!!! Georgie also spoke in Sacrament meeting and talked about how she had learned over the last few months that God answers prayers, that He loves her, and how much the gift of being baptized meant to her. It was a beautiful testimony, and all of the young women were in tears in the hallway afterwards because that was Georgie's last day in Laguna Beach. She flew home to Australia that night because she couldn't get her visa while she was here. So sad. But she will be absolutely amazing. We went to young womens' class because we had not only Georgie and Morgan there, but Kalani and Fern, who are both young women we are currently working with. We even met Fern's dad who came to church too!! Toni had a hard weekend and couldn't come to church because her mom died and she was at her funeral this weekend. Keep her in your prayers please!
Sunday night was hard because we tried to go tracting, but this lady was so mean. She answered the door all smiling and nice but then literally lectured us for 5 minutes about how we shouldn't be knocking on people's doors at night (it wasn't even dark yet) and she was super condescending. She even said, "Or are you too young to understand?" I was soooo angry it was so hard to say nice things but we tried so hard to just say "have a nice evening!" and walk away but she wouldn't let us. We just really wanted to leave. I just wanted to tell her Ok!! I get it! I'm just trying to do my job... But some people are just miserable so they have to try to make other people miserable, too. So we got back in the car after that and I think we both silently cried a little because it really hurt. But there is a moral of this story because obviously this isn't the first time (probably not the last either) that someone has been mean to a missionary (even me). The point is, that we have choices. I had a choice of how to react, how to speak to her, how to think of her, and if I would be offended. We all will face opposition, but we have the ability to be more than our challenges. We can rise above. We can speak kindly even when people are unfair or rude. We can serve even when people don't deserve it. We can forgive when people don't apologize. We can love even when it may be hard. We can be peaceful and calm when others yell or argue. This is not the easy path. But it is the path of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Something that a woman in my ward, Ellie Newell, said this week stuck with me. She was talking about remembering where our self-worth comes from. It comes from knowing our identity as a child of God. Our confidence comes from having the Spirit with us, not from how many likes or followers we have on instagram. After all, she asked, "How many followers did Christ have on the cross?" ... not one. Not one person was with Him. Even His Father left Him, so that He would understand what it was like to be truly alone. We will never be alone. We will never face the kind of persecution, hatred, sorrow, or pain that He did for us. But we can be His follower, and we can become like Him. Remember His words, "what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/27.27?lang=eng#26 3 Nephi 27:27) This is one of my favorite videos about Christ and how because He was alone, we never have to be. "<https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/none-were-with-him-2 None Were with Him"
I love y'all so very much!!! Keep praying, keep going, keep smiling. May God be with you.
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank">email@example.com</a>