Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from La Canada. I hope everyone is doing well! Maddy and Jakob are almost done with school! What are the vacation plans (besides Jakob traveling the world)? If you go to Utah or wherever be sure to tell everyone hello for me.
Something funny happened this week. Sister Fleming told me there was a Fjeldsted contact in our mission phone and I thought she was crazy but sure enough there was. Then a few days later I ran into someone at church that told me she knows Paul and Courtney (I can't remember her name....) and then she said that they used to be in La Cresenta (as far as I know she's right) and our phone used to be in that area. We are also in the La Cresenta stake so I'm right where they used to live, if that source is accurate. But I thought that was pretty funny I'm right where they used to be. I also met a lady in this ward who served in Minnesota! She actually served in Anoka which is funny because that's now our stake back home. Her name is Sister Milum (I'm not sure how it's really spelled). She told us some crazy stories of serving there about crazy Minnesotans on their farms and it made me laugh because I knew what she was talking about.
The work here has been going to say the least. I have a hope and faith that things can and will turn around but as of late we've had a bit of a dry spell. We're only teaching a couple people and they haven't been coming to church so technically they aren't progressing. I love them all so much though but there will always be that element of agency and they will on their own have to have that desire increase in themselves to lead them to action. So planning is hard because when there's no one to teach what do you do? Find efforts on our own haven't been much of a success either. It's the same thing every time. We knock on someone's door and tell them who we are and that we have a message about Christ for them and then they just kind of look at us like we're crazy and then proceed to tell us thanks for all we do for spreading the word of God but we have a church we go to and we're happy there. It's like they have a script or something it's the same every time. We know there is a much better way to find that is more effective and productive and that's through the members. The Sunday before last we had stake conference and they made a big push for missionary work. The Stake President did a great job and President Becerra and his wife (our mission president) spoke which was also great. But now it's a matter of them taking it into their hearts and applying it. It's great to talk about but until we actually do something- invite our friends to church, invite friends over while the missionaries are over, talk to people about the church- then nothing can happen. Sister Fleming and I have continued to fast and pray about ways to get the work going and to get the members excited and actively involved in missionary work and I have great faith that something good can come from this.
I had a few really neat experiences this week. The first was when I went on exchanges with a sister in our district. She came to my area so my companion (who's a sister trainer) could be with her companion (who's training) to help give guidance and direction and help her in any way. So I was holding down the fort in our area with a brand new missionary and we saw some great miracles that day. I find that God is so merciful to each and everyone of us. The experiences that sister and I had that day probably gave her greater hope and enthusiasm for the work and the Lord provided a path for that. That sister and I were able to have several lessons in one day which is more we sometimes get in several days. A really cool experience I had was right before an appointment we had a bit of extra time so I figured we'd just go through the ward list and visit either a less active member, part member family or something would be a good use of our time. I went through and found one that looked good to me and asked my companion for the day what she thought and pretty much said yeah sure since she was kind of just along for the ride that day. When we got there I realized that sister Fleming and I had actually tried this home before but no one answered so I figured we'd just try it again. At first no one answered but then a maid came to the door and answered (pretty much everyone in La Canada has gardeners and maids). She answered the door and said sorry I don't speak much English and somehow I just naturally responded in Spanish "It's okay. Do you work here?" She was a little surprised I spoke a little Spanish then respond that she did. We had a great conversation in Spanish about the church and I told her that we were missionaries. She told us about all her extended family how most of them were members of the church and how she has a nephew that is about ready to leave on a mission. My Spanish has been very rusty this past year from not using it much and at that moment that I needed to use it, it wasn't so difficult anymore. It was pretty funny because she offered us water since it was hot that day and I said sure we'd love that and as she walked away sister Denny just looked at me like what just happened who are you and how do you know Spanish like that. I kind of laughed and told her honestly my Spanish is really rusty and I'm not that great at Spanish. The Lord has a way of blessing us in times of need to recall things we need to know that will help us to bless the lives of others. It's not like I just started speaking in tongues and I didn't all of a sudden know any new big words or anything but what I did already know was brought to my remembrance. It's almost hard to explain. The maid (Victoria) would say something and it wasn't like I just all of a sudden knew everything but as soon as she finished each sentence everything fit together in my mind of what she was saying and I remembered things. Honestly, if I just tried to have a conversation with anyone out of the blue in Spanish it wouldn't have been half as decent as my Spanish was then. It was a great blessing. We saw some other miracles along the way this week but I don't have too much more time. I'll have to write more next week! Oh one last thing I can't remember if I mentioned this but sister Fleming and I had the opportunity of teaching Young Woman's combined and it was so funny thinking I'm only like a year and a half older than some of these girls. It's humbling experiences like that where you know you're not adequate or completely qualified on your own but with your call there is great power and authority you can't deny. We taught on personal revelation (through prayer and scripture study). Teaching doesn't seem so hard anymore once you're on a mission because you just teach who you are and what you know through the power of the testimony you've gained and through the power of the scriptures and ask inspired questions and there you go, you've got a lesson. We're also teaching gospel principles this Sunday which will be a great opportunity. I've grateful for the experiences I've had so far to learn and grow and stretch me. God is very merciful to help me grow and learn while I am on my mission when I haven't found anyone yet to be baptized. I am doing everything I can though and I know he knows that and when we are obedient he will bless us (D&C 82:10). My assignment for you this week is to find someone to serve or someone's spirit you can lift but- you have to go out of your way to do it. It has to be sincere and require a little sacrifice on your part. They will be grateful to you. The greatest law is to love the Lord and the second is like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself (or something close to that, I think I worded it a little off) and by doing so you'll do both. I love you all. Have a great week and a fabulous summer! (: