wow. this week. was. hot. That's the best description I can give of Rancho Santa Margarita in the summer. It's even part of our mission song, "Rancho in the summer is nasty, hot, and sticky, but hey it's south OC - we really can't be picky!" haha.
So much happened this week! We got our carpets cleaned Monday, which meant we spent our lunch break sitting on the couch in the kitchen (it was super interesting trying to open the fridge).
Then Tuesday I had the most amazing exchange with Sis. Suchanski in Foothill Ranch ward. We went to a park and handed out cold water bottles - so many people talked to us! It was so wonderful to contact with Sister Suchanski. She is so bold and we had incredible conversations with a lot of people. Then we went tracting, and we actually prayed before we started to know what doors to knock on. The first things that came to mind were basketball hoops, flower wreaths, blue cars, and red doors. So we only knocked on houses with those items - and it was amazing!!!! Almost every door we knocked on we had a very meaningful gospel conversation and we even sang a hymn to a few :) I was just so amazed by the way God can guide us when we have the simple faith to ask.
Wednesday we visited a member family (the Koellikers) and we got to tell their little boys the story of Nephi getting the plates (from 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon). I think my favorite part was when we explained that Lehi had to take his family and leave Jerusalem because it was going to be destroyed, and their maybe 5-year-old boy pipes up, "Yeah! Cuz of the flood!" haha we just laughed and went with it.
Thursday we were fasting and we saw some miracles from it! We were finally able to talk to Faith and Isabel, some teenage sisters we've been trying to teach, so hopefully we'll be able to get that going!
Friday I had Sis Clements with me on an exchange, and we ventured out into the canyon to visit Anne, a less-active. We sat down at her table with her while she ate lunch and we were asking about some craft stuff she had out. Haha she got so excited she made me try making something with her clay! Lol I made a little purple elephant named Charlie. It was a fun visit with Anne - she has decided to just become our grandma because she always has yummy food around so she's always feeding us when we stop by and she just loves talking to us and telling us stories of when she was a schoolteacher.
Saturday we had Sisters' District Meeting, and it's always so fun to hear from the sisters and be all together. We had some fabulous trainings and then ate lunch together before heading out. We had a lot of fun playing pictionary and charades with gospel topics.
Sunday we taught the Sunday School lesson for Gospel Principles! It was a lot of fun and we taught about the Sabbath Day. I think something I learned is that the Sabbath is not about a list of don'ts. It's about what we can do to make it a holy day, focused on the Savior. Sunday afternoon we had temple tours, but then we got to visit with the Ortiz's for dinner, then Sis Hulse and the Taylors. The Ortiz's mixed things up and decided to share a message with us haha! It was really cool and we all shared scriptures that meant a lot to us. Then we saw Sis Hulse - she is very ill and can't leave her house. But she has a bright smile and a grateful spirit and we just adore her! We laughed and chatted and talked about what makes Sunday special. To finish the night, we stopped by the Taylors. Turns out, I knew their daughter Chelsea in Newport! It was a fun visit. We are working super hard on our goal to visit everyone on the ward list this transfer!
This week I've been studying a lot of church history and I have been amazed at some of the stories I have read about faithful saints who gave so much. But sometimes I think we look at these stories and say, "wow they were awesome they had to walk so many thousands of miles and they never lost faith... why do I struggle so much with my little trials?" I have learned, though, that every trial or challenge we face is unique to us. God knows our abilities, our strengths, our weaknesses. Yes, we may be blessed to live in a place where we don't have to fear a mob driving us out of our homes, but we face challenges and trials every day that are just as real even though they may be different. We are those Latter-day Saints that will bring about God's work, just as much as they were! So we can't lose faith, either. We have figurative mountains to climb and there will be blizzards, diseases, and heavy burdens to bear. But our God can lift and strengthen and guide us through our wilderness just as surely as He led those faithful pioneers across the plains. They had faith to follow the prophet, to be healed, to seek miracles, to share the gospel with everyone they met. Will we have that kind of faith, too? I know we can! We have a prophet today - his name is Thomas S. Monson. If we follow his counsel and stick to the iron rod we will never fall! In "https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/18?lang=eng 3 Ne 18:12-13, the Savior explains that one of those foundations that will keep us rooted is the Sacrament. Take time this week to think about those covenants and prepare to receive that sacred blessing!
I love you!!
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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