That's so fun that we are (or were, at least) in the same state! Only about an hour or so away! J Closest we've been in a year and a half, ha-ha. No worries about Heather's parents. I don't think I need to send anything home anyway. It should be fine. I mean I could, but I don't think I will go over on luggage or anything. I just figured I could send home some books or something like that, so my stuff isn't so heavy, but I don't want to be stressed about trying to coordinate a pick up or anything like that either, so it's fine. I don't know the Copes. Sorry.
My companion is....(drum roll)......Hermana Williams!! She's so great J she was trained in Temecula (where I was trained!), by Hermana Sheffield (my favorite compita!) and we get along just swimmingly. Hermana Painter went to Escondido (different area from where I was at) and is serving with Hermana McBride (who came out and goes home with me - though we never served together). It might be a little bit of a challenge for Hma Painter, since they have very different and both have dominant personalities, but I'm sure it will all work out. Elder Olvera also left and also went to Escondido and is now her Zone Leader down there, so she was happy about that.
Elder Cordery is now our District Leader, which I think is great!... but some of the other Elders aren't as happy about it because he is so young in the mission. His new companion is Elder Gonzalez, who served in my ward when I was in Escondido and was just over in Temecula with Hermana Williams, so they came over together. He is from Oxuaca, Mexico (not sure if I spelled that right) and a convert of about 2 years. Fun changes and everything is going great here with Hermana Williams! She is a fantastic missionary and I am excited for this transfer to serve with and learn from her. She is a little quiet with members and in lessons, which can be tricky since I am so talkative, but we're working it out just fine. Plus, we think so much alike. In studies, we pretty much always study the exact same thing, and come up with the same ideas for lesson plans, it's pretty funny. We’ve got lots of comp unity already. J
The biggest thing I've learned (or maybe re-learned) this week is how very involved the Lord is in this work and why things always work out the way they do...it's all for a reason. Yesterday we had plans and everything worked out differently than we planned, but it worked out just the way it was supposed. Because our 7:00 canceled, we were able to see a less-active family that we've haven't seen in months, and because our 7:00 canceled, we asked the member to accompany us to our 8:00 instead, and she only came because our other member (whom we originally invited to the 8:00 lesson) was unavailable. It ended up being a very strange situation at our 8:00 because it was with our "golden" investigator who has a baptismal date. As soon as we got there it was so off-feeling. She didn't come to church yesterday and we weren't sure why but she told us it's because she had a horrible day and couldn't sleep all night because her neighbors were up yelling at her and harassing her. She started venting to us and telling us everything they were saying and she just didn't seem like herself - cussing and yelling and using all sorts of vulgar language and when we would try to pull it back to the positive she just went back and kept repeating herself, cussing and yelling. It was so strange.
I decided that I didn't know what to do or say, but probably because it wasn't an environment that the Spirit could be present in, so it was almost impossible for us to receive inspiration. I told her we needed to leave, but we wanted to pray with her first. She agreed and we knelt down and I prayed. After the prayer she started crying and apologizing for being so ugly and worldly with us. We talked a little bit more, and then sat back down and read a few verses in the Book of Mormon discussed how the Lord will support us in our trails, but not take them away, only give us the strength to overcome them. She then prayed and the member who ended up coming was also exactly who needed to be there and was able to give a lot of support and comfort and was able to relate a lot to her, as a convert of only 2 years. We left and set up an appointment for tonight, which we will be having in another member's home to help her feel more calm and peaceful and the other member will also be joining us.
At this point we're not sure exactly what's going on with her situation. She has claimed to have spirits in her home which we believe is probably true (Hermana Painter said that she felt them, but I'm not good at feeling spirits, I guess), but then we're also not sure if she really does have neighbors that harass her, or if that's bad spirits too, or if she may be a little mentally unstable. It's hard to tell. We may be inviting our mission president out to an appointment with us soon to seek his counsel on her situation. She is still reading and praying and promised to come to church again next week, but we're not sure how big of a situation this really could be.
Anyway, being a missionary sure is fun. J I love it. We also started teaching David's parents this week, and David continues to come to church and progress, but his parents may be a little tougher to work with. They are in their 70s and are sure they are too told to change. I think they both know it's true (David's grandparents were converts so they had gone to church in the past with them), but don't want to make a lifestyle change. We will be seeing them tonight so, so keep us all in your prayers. Sadly, there’s no real update on the Martinez family. They want us to keep coming back and are asking us not to give up on them because they know they feel something different when we come, but they just aren't progressing at this point and it's difficult to work with their schedule, but we continue to (TRY to) pray and work with them.
That's so exciting that Marita and Nick are getting married! Haha that's crazy!...and weird. If all goes my way, I won't be getting married until I'm 25 or 26...but things never work out my way, only the Lord's way, so we'll see. I'm excited to see them at their reception though before they run off. Will they be living in our ward boundaries after the wedding or moving else where?
I loved the pic that Chris sent me. J So fun! Sounds like you had a great study this Sunday. We had our Branch Conference, which was great, but I felt bad for our members. Our Stake Presidency doesn't really understand the concept of speaking slowly so that the translator can keep up. Poor things. It'd be nice if they would write out their talks and give us time to translate them, or at least slow down a tiny bit, but overall it was a great Sunday.
For General Conference, we all go to the Stake Center. There is a room for Spanish, but we can watch it in English if we want. We do everything we can to get investigators there with us, but it is definitely not a requirement. It is only a requirement that we watch all the sessions, with or without an investigator. We were planning on having a baptism that Sunday, in between the sessions, but we'll see how that goes.
We are having a District Activity today at the park. The Elders wanted to go fishing in the pond, but Hma Williams and I don't like fishing, so we're just bringing some bread for the ducks. J We're also having a picnic lunch together. Should be fun!
Well, I feel like I'm out of things to say...so I'll just wrap it up. Tell Grandma and Grandpa that I love them and I hope they both feel better from surgeries and epidurals. Keep on keepin' on! Tell the whole family I love them too - Even my siblings and cousins who never write me.
Happy birthday Chase and Happy St. Patrick's day! Yes...I forgot to wear green. Oops. Oh well.
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante