Sorry for the super lengthy email, but there's just so much to say!
Monday night we had a bit of a rough night. It had just been a stressful day and things weren't going as planned. And we both had a bit of an upset stomach. So we called our District Leader and got priesthood blessings. Since we had 15 minutes before they met us at the church, we knelt down and prayed, then read scriptures and prepared to invite the spirit. I don't think I've ever really thought to prepare for a blessing like that, but it really made a difference. I felt so in tune by the time I was given the blessing that I was able to really focus on what my Heavenly Father might want to tell me. And He did tell me a lot.
Tuesday morning we did service with a less active, Ann. We helped her and some friends do yard work at a beautiful historic house deep in the canyon that they take care of. They were all so very grateful and impressed with our missionaries, and they invited us to come work with them whenever we want! :) It was fun to work hard and get to know Ann better. She is a sweetheart!
Wednesday night I went on exchange with Sis Wolterman and Sis Suchanski because Sis Crossett went to the dinner for new missionaries. We had an amazing night. After visiting an investigator, Chevy, we stopped by a family they've been working with who are getting divorced. It was kinda heartbreaking. The mom is an alcoholic, and when we got there she was in the garage, packing up the last of her stuff. She was sitting there drinking, with her two-year-old boy on her lap. You could tell she was super tired and had had some alcohol already, but then the dad came out and I realized why we were there. The mom got up and told the guys with the truck to go ahead and leave, then she handed the little boy, Cody, over and picked up the last couple things. There were two older kids in the house, and as she got ready to drive away I realized that we were there to keep the peace just by our presence. She didn't say anything too nasty, but it was not a kind goodbye when she drove away... My heart completely broke for little Cody. He didn't even know what was happening. His dad looked a bit broken, too, but all he said was, "I hope she's ok." It clearly hadn't been a super happy home, but I think those kids and dad will be ok. They promised to be at church on Sunday, and they really meant it. My heart was broken and hopeful all at once. I know the gospel could heal them.
Thursday we visited the Cevallos sisters in our ward, they are hispanic and older. One is housebound, so the other two take care of her. They don't speak much english, but they understood enough for us to share a scripture or two with them. Then we sang "I am a Child of God," because music is universal. They are so kind. We love them, even if we can't speak spanish. Before we left, they surprised us with ice cream and cookies! I was so touched. These 80 year old sisters who are just taking care of each other and can barely understand these little missionaries, cared enough and were so happy to have us come that they had ice cream and cookies waiting for our visit. Sometimes miracles are small, but sometimes they taste like strawberry ice cream :)
Then an even cooler thing happened. We had a window in the canyon on Adkinson Rd. But when we got there, turns out that Adkinson Rd is just a driveway to nowhere hahahaha we were so confused why Heavenly Father would bring us there. But then we remembered a less active part-member family that lived close by, so we decided to try them. We've been trying to see them again since meeting them a few weeks ago, and as we walked up we found Kevin, the dad, playing outside with Harper (their 4-year-old girl) on the driveway. We were so excited! We talked to him for a while and learned he is from Clemson, South Carolina. (I could totally hear it in his voice. Just like Sam.) He works on the power lines, so he works really long days every single day, but he had come home early that night to spend time with Harper. So we just happened to catch him at home. :) It was the strangest thing talking to Kevin. He has a really strong, gentle presence, like being with a priesthood holder, even though he's not a member. All we could think was that he is someday going to be a priesthood holder in their home. Then we went to go down the street behind the house to another less active, but on the way we ran into Cheryl, the mom. She had been out for a ride with their horses while Harper was playing with her dad. It was the most unbelievable miracle. I can't count how many times we've tried to catch them at home. She stopped and talked to us for a good 20 minutes, and she told us she does have a testimony. She wants so badly to come to church, but it's so hard for her with Harper by herself because Harper is SUPER shy and scared of people. But she told us that she wanted really badly for her family to be sealed in the temple, and we were all crying by the end of the experience. The Spirit was so gentle, but present. That family is going to be eternal. And I don't think it's going to be a long time coming. We are praying so hard for them, and we hope to keep visiting more regularly and maybe teach them about family home evening.
Friday we visited Sis Sessler and had a wonderful lesson with her on 2 Nephi 31. She promised to read the Book of Mormon every day! Later we visited Sis Salzer and she shared a lot with us about how she's trying to work on family history. We are so excited to help her. :)
Unfortunately that night Sis Crossett's eye started bothering her a lot and it got really red so we went to the doctor and she had pink eye. So we weren't allowed to go out at all Saturday which made us soooo sad, but Sis McConkie was so sweet and brought us dinner and I literally scrubbed every reachable inch of the kitchen and bathroom with bleach. Not kidding. Inside and out of pretty much everything. Even the fridge got cleaned out. So we tried to use our time as wisely as we could and got a new map and directory and organized things and studied and did roleplays. It turned out to be a really good day, and we were so tired and so happy by that night. It was so good for my spirit. Deep cleaning is like therapy for me. :)
Sunday it was back to work! YAY!!! Nothing super special happened, but Sis Crossett got to meet a lot of people at church, and we had a great ward council and ward correlation meeting. We learned a lot during studies, too! I am so thankful for this opportunity to train, because I truly am learning so much as we focus on the basics, study preach my gospel, and practice getting better and better! I can't think of anything else I'd rather do with my last two transfers.
So, the highlights of the week: Our apartment is shiny-clean. (Not joking) Sis Crossett's pink eye is gone. And we are working harder than ever!!! :) Miracles will follow.
I love y'all so much!!! Just keep swimming.
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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