So.... I'm being TRANSFERRED!!! Woohoo 6 weeks left and a brand new adventure :D I will be headed to the Laguna Hills 3rd ward (LH3) with Sister Gage, and we will be doubling in (that means we are both brand new to the ward because it was whitewashed). This one was a real SHOCK! But I am seriously excited and it will be a fun way to finish strong. I leave tomorrow. So much packing to do, so this will be a short email.
Tuesday night we taught Faith, our progressing investigator, the Plan of Salvation and invited her whole family to church! They couldn't make it because she had work, but they want to come next week :) Faith is 17 and she works at Panera, we see her there frequently when members take us out for dinner :) She is friends with several young women in our ward, and it has been such a miracle to teach her. She really lives true to her name - she has SO MUCH rock solid faith. She told us she wants to be baptized if she feels like God answers her prayer about it. She is even reading the Book of Mormon! The lesson couldn't have gone better, and she had so many wonderful insights. Devoree, a young woman in our ward, came with us, and it was a blast! We didn't know, but apparently they've been friends since 3rd grade, and it was just too much fun having Devoree share her testimony. I will miss Faith, but I can't wait for the baptism!
Thursday we visited a less active, Sis Sessler, and we talked about the power of prayer. She has been trying to read the Book of Mormon everyday again, and she committed to start praying every time she reads, too! We are so excited - this is a huge miracle for her. CPR. Church Pray Read. It works. ;) She even said an out loud prayer with us kneeling before we left - a HUGE breakthrough for her. The spirit was so strong, and I teared up as she prayed so sincerely for us by name, thanking Heavenly Father that we were there to help her and asking for our safety. I really love being able to be a part of the journey for so many precious children of God. It is the most incredible blessing, and I could never say thank you enough.
Saturday we had fun doing service at a Boy Scout camp where they were having a Halloween carnival for little kids. We got to help set up and run game booths, and the kids loved it! We helped troop 707 set up their rubber band gun booth where little cowboys could shoot down toy aliens. Then Sister Crossett and I became the official gun reloaders while Sister Gage (aka Sheriff Jane) corralled the little boys and kept order in the range. It was too much fun working with the parents and troop leaders, and the troop invited us to eat tacos with them for dinner. They were so thankful for our help, and it was awesome talking to some of them about why we're here serving. Our thumbs are a little sore from the rubber bands though, haha.
Sunday our ward (and stake) had a visitors' day at church! Of course visitors are always welcome, but it was fun having a super easy opportunity for everyone to invite their friends. So many people brought friends and family, and the speakers and classes were all careful to make sure the visitors were welcomed and understood everything that was being talked about. We even had a little meet and greet with refreshments in gospel principles class :) Everyone had a wonderful experience, and we are so excited to talk to the members about their friends that came and see how we can help them continue sharing their love and testimonies. What an inspired idea! (haha we all thought it was awesome when Elder Oaks shared the same idea in his talk in general conference, because our stake had been planning this for several months already... we all laughed)
I think what I will miss the most about Live Oak Canyon, though, is Sister Crossett. She truly is basically the same person as me, and I have been so eternally grateful to serve with her. I have never served in such unity and love as with Sister Crossett. She is an incredible servant of the Lord, and I will greatly miss her. We decided this week that she is Zach and I am Wheezy from Dragon Tales. (that moment when you start deciding what kids' cartoon characters you are...) I love her!
This morning was a little miracle itself. We woke up to RAIN!!! So of course we turned on Christmas music and got hot chocolate and opened the porch door to watch the rain :) Rainy days here are literally blessings showered down from heaven.
I can't explain how much I am grateful to be here, serving the Lord in Orange County. It is literally a miracle every day. I know this gospel is true. I know from my heart that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God on the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that He loves me and every single person who ever lived or ever will. I know that through His Atonement we can each be made whole and clean by having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting (changing), being baptized, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us continue in faith throughout our lives. I know that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore the fulness of Christ's gospel to us, and I know most of all that we are all, each and every one of us, children of a loving, living, Heavenly Father. He loves you. He is here with you, and He wants to be close to you to help you learn and grow and find peace and joy. You can pray to Him and come to know Him personally. I testify that He will answer your prayers if you will pray with faith - it may be in His way and with His timing, but He will give you the light you seek. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/james/1.5?lang=eng#4 James 1:5-6) I share this in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love y'all so very much! Keep the faith and keep on going!