Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Catching up - Letters from 1/19 and 1/26 (LONG)

1/19 - It seems like I JUST emailed you....so I don't have much to write about...just kidding. We've had some pretty amazing things happen this week.

Thursday we had dinner with a lady from Chile. She made us a Chilean dinner. After that we had a lesson with one of our investigators who is 13 and is currently being adopted by his aunt & uncle who have 2 kids. He's pretty much their son, just not legally. So we're waiting on the government to further the adoption process along, then he'll be baptized! 

Friday after weekly planning, we had a lesson with our recent convert, M and her girls C and S. They just moved out of our ward, so we have to meet with them at the church because they'd rather meet with us than with the elders in their ward. Who can blame them, really? ;) After that we had dinner with the Cs. They're an older couple in the ward who actually were in the MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) a while ago. This was the first time I had dinner with them, or even really talked to them. Not gonna lie, seeing them at church, and mostly in choir intimidated me. They took us out to Applebee's and they're actually really nice & cool. Brother C served his mission in London & they decided to get married after his mission, and she wanted to fly out to London to marry him. He told his mission president about those plans, and he didn't think it was a good idea, but he told him to talk to a member of the first presidency(who was in the area at the time) about it. Long story short, Sis. C ended up having an interview with a member of the first presidency & she talked him into okaying the marriage. So they were married in London, 2 days after he was released as a missionary! CRAZY, huh? 

After dinner, we went to visit some people. Our ward mission leader is so awesome, he came up with a ward mission plan for the members to do a specific missionary minded thing each month. January's challenge for everyone is to hand out one invitation to church. We made a deal with him that for every 10 invitations we hand out, he has to hand out 1. So we've been doing that lately.

 I LOVE Saturdays because people are actually home! And we actually get to talk to them :) My comp still wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get out of the house until about 1pm. From there we went to a neighborhood and tried potential investigators. Again, saturdays are great because doors open! Although no one we tried was too interested, we were able to hand out church invites and plant seeds. 

One super cool thing that happened was we went to visit a potential named R. In our notes it said he is super friendly and is reading the Book of Mormon but will never convert. Funny, right? Well, we went and talked to him for a bit. Really friendly guy, even gave us a home grown avocado & lemons! side note: I still think it's crazy to see citrus fruit growing on trees! It's amazing. Also the best oranges and lemons I've ever tasted. 

As we were leaving his house, we noticed his neighbor outside waxing his boat. Usually as we walk down the street and we see someone, we simply say "hi, how are you?" and quickly we can discern whether or not they're open to us. This guy didn't seem too open with us, but I thought his boat was cool & always a conversation starter. So I started talking to him about his boat & he opened up a lot and was friendly, his name is R as well, we'll call him R#2. After awhile he asked about our missions and we started talking about the church a little. He wasn't too interested, aka he took a pamphlet but didn't want to take a Book of Mormon. But I LOVE people who initiate conversation with us, because it shows their genuine interest & it just makes me happy. Remember R#2 because he has something to do with another story. 

We had dinner with the Oakes, and after we planned to go see a contact and see if he's been reading the BoM. But as we were driving we got a call from a newer member who likes meeting with us because it's a break from her problems and she needs to be spiritually uplifted. We weren't planning on meeting with her that day, so we were like "what should we teach her?" we decided on Alma 32 which talks about faith. We figured we'd start at verse 21 and go from there, but when we were in the lesson we felt like we should start from the beginning. NOW THIS IS AMAZING. The first 15 verses of so was EXACTLY what she needed to hear. It's so amazing how the spirit works. Idk, it's hard to explain, but it was a really cool experience. Even she thought it was amazing. And Brother H mentioned to us on Sunday that she "looked different" at church. It was cool.

Monday! p-day minus emailing because of MLK Day means you have a LOT of time to do other stuff and spend money...whooops. I'm trying not to. it doesn't help when your companion has a shopping addiction. 

So about R#2, I thought it was so amazing how he started asking us who we were and what we did, and in my prayers on Sunday night, I thanked Heavenly Father for him and asked if we might be able to meet more people like that who initiate conversation. As we were checking out of Walmart, our cashier said "what church do you guys go to? is it Christian?" and we told her and she asked where it was. "Do you have a card?" HECK YES WE DO! I gave her a card with our number on it and asked if she's interested in learning more "yeah! I need a church to go to!" "well, awesome! give us a call sometime and we can meet with you to tell you more". As we were walking out I thought "we need to go back in there and give her a pamphlet" so we went to the car and grabbed a Restoration pamphlet. We went back in and gave it to her. She lives in Corona, which is outside our mission, but we told her if she gets in contact with us, we can send missionaries to her. She was really excited! MIRACLE! Prayers really do work. 

So then we went home to drop our groceries off, and we always pray when we leave the house, so again, I thanked Heavenly Father for meeting her and asked that we might have more things like that happen. Next we went to Goodwill, and as we were checking out, the girl said "where do you guys work?" "oh, we're missionaries!" "oh really? that's so cool! oh wait, sisters. are you the ones who can't get married?!" "hahaha oh no! we can get married" Then we talked a little more about missions. I asked her if she's interested in learning more and she said "yeah!", but she lives in Pamona which may or may not be in our mission (part of Pamona is, part isn't) so I got her name and number and told her we could get missionaries to teach her more! 

MIRACLE #2 on p-day! These things don't happen when you're a missionary in Chino Hills, let alone on p-day! Too bad neither of them live in our area, so we won't be the missionaries to teach them, but it's still amazing! It was a great morning to say the least. Then we had a sister's picnic in the park with the Rolling Ridge sisters. Then we played volleyball for zone activity. That night we had a nice dinner with the T family. We made pizzas! Then FHE with Mama B & Emma.

Today we spent 3.5 hours in urgent care getting Sister K fixed. Nothing too serious but we missed most of district meeting, then went to Let It Be to do service. I LOVE that place. It was fun.

love you all,
xoxo Sister Viraldo

1/26 - This week I really don't have much to write about because it was a slowwww week as far as missionary work goes. Sister K got orders from the doctor to rest, so that's what we did. We were able, however, to do a lot of service for the Let It Be foundation! 

Wednesday we had zone conference in Rancho Cucamonga. We had to wake up at 5:30 to be there by 8am. It was a really great meeting with trainings from the zone leaders in the Rancho A zone and the Rancho B zone as well as the best zone leaders from the CHINO CHAMPIONS zone. President talked to us as well as his wife and our Sister Training Leaders. The meeting lasted until 1, then they fed us lunch. That evening we had a lesson with the Bs, then went home until dinner with Sister M & Brad. She took us to a restaurant called Islands. Then we came home and rested. (Like I said before, we rested a lot this week.)

At 8:30 we went on exchanges with Sister H & Sister S! sister S came and stayed with me in Carbon Canyon. Thursday we had a lesson again with M and her daughters, and we taught them SOAP! S-scripture study, O-obedience, A-attend church, P-prayer. It was a really really good lesson. After their lesson, we went to Let It Be for a couple hours, then we went out and tried potentials! 

On our potentials list is usually the date that the missionaries first found them. We have dates that go as far back as 2009. And maybe one will say Jane Doe, May, 2009- knocked into her, friendy, wondered about afterlife, gave her plan of salvation pamphlet, said she'd call. And that's it. Then you gotta think, okay, that almost 6 years ago. Should we go back and ask for Jane Doe or should we pretend that we don't know who lives there and just tract into the house? It's a tricky question that I always ask. 

So we got to a potential's house, his name is G. Ahh, what to do, tract or ask for G? Usually that's when we decide "just go by the spirit". So we knocked on his door, and a girl about 24yrs old answered, and was super interested about our church! She's moving to Puerto Rico this week because she's in the Army, but we told her there are missionaries there that could teach her. AMAZING. So after we met her, Sister S and I were talking and saying it might have turned out quite different if she opened the door and we asked for G. 

We went to try a potential named R and her son answered the door and said HE was interested in learning more! Funny because I had that door, so I was the one who was mostly talking. Usually I'm pretty good at giving a short Restoration at the door, but for some reason this time I was a little jumbled and wasn't very clear on things, but amazingly enough he was still interested! THE BEST. Then we went to try a couple named R and R (WOW, a lot of Rs here), and the address we had for them did not exist! We went up to a house thinking it was theirs, but there was a locked gate in front of the door, so I said "let's go try their neighbor just to ask if R&R live there" So I knocked on their door and a hispanic man answered and was VERY friendly, like he knew who we were. I said "I have a question, do you know where R&R live?" He looked at us funny and said...."yeah, I'm R and my wife is R" WHATTT! So cool! anyway, they let us in and talked about how they know missionaries in Mexico. Not sure how interested in learning they are, but we're going back to see them tomorrow night. 

Friday we did more service at Let It Be then came home and rested. By 5 we needed to leave the house so we went out to eat with Mama B and Emma. SUSHI!! yummmmm. then ice cream :) Saturday we did a service project for Sis B. 3 sets of elders from our zone came and helped out. We cleaned up half of her backyard. Sister K shouldn't have been doing anything, but of course she did haha. Then we had dinner with Sister W. Sunday was super jam packed full of meetings, but what's new?

Sorry, that was all over the place, I'm in a rush. Transfers are Feb 9. Today is the first day of week 5 of this transfer! I can't believe it! I think I'll be staying here with sister K one more transfer and then I'll get transferred. but WHO KNOWS. it's quite unpredictable. It seems like there's those sisters who either have a LOT of companions and then there's those who have like 5. At this rate, I'll have 13 (one each transfer) hahaha

I'm doing good! Not too sick. Just a cold that I've had for like 4 weeks, it's getting pretty old, but nothing I can't handle! Thanks for all your love and support. And sorry for the lame letter this week, but I still love you and think about you often!

xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Excerpts from January 15 Letter

Hi mom & dad & whoever else is reading:

This week & a half has been good!

On Tuesday 1/6 we had zone meeting where we got a new program for prospective elders, finding them and reactivating them. Our job is to go to members' homes for dinner and give them the list of the names and ask what they know about these people. When members are good friends with one of them, we ask them to come with us to visit because it's more likely they'd open their doors to their friend rather than just the missionaries. Statistics have shown that every prospective elder you reactivate, on average, gets 2.5 baptisms because either their girlfriend/wife, children, and all their friends are non members. Pretty cool, huh? 
On Wednesday Sis. K was sick so she took a 3 1/2 hr nap while I studied/watched The Testaments.  I almost watched it twice...then we got out around 2 and tried visiting people but NO ONE WAS HOME. We had our weekly lesson with the B family. They're fun. They're the first people I met in Chino Hills. Then we had dinner with a cute young family, the Hs. They have a 2 year old son, L, and she is expecting in a couple weeks. She's Chilean & he served his mission in Italy. She speaks to their son solely in Spanish & he speaks to him solely in Italian. I thought it was weird at first too, but it's actually super cool. He's gonna be trilingual! They figure he'll learn English from everybody else talking to him. And he actually does talk in English more than Spanish or Italian. They have a music studio in their living room!!! SO COOL. I want one. They're both musically talented, he plays guitar, uke, piano, drums, and they both sing.

Thursday, sick comp again. She ended up calling the mission nurse and she told us to go to urgent care. So that's what we did all morning......yay. Then we went over to Chino High to do some service for Sis L, who is a teacher there. It was after school hours, pretty much we just organized and filed papers. We went to the H's for dinner. They're the ones who are letting me borrow their son's guitar while he's on his mission. Nice people :)

Saturday was probably overall the best day of my mission thus far! It started out being an ugly, rainy morning in Southern California. In the mid-to low 60's with wind gusts blowing about 30mph coming from the west. We ventured out of our cozy home to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with God's children in the Chino Hills, California area. Anyway, we visited a guy who's been on and off investigating the church for about 10-12 years now. We were able to have a lesson with him over a month ago and we've been going to his home every Saturday at 2 since then. Up until today we weren't able to sit down and have a lesson with him. We went into the lesson prepared to teach The Restoration and commit him to baptism February 7. Cool thing about missionary work is that you can (and SHOULD) have a plan for what you're going to teach, but the most important thing is to teach to their NEEDS. We went in there and started reading the Introduction to the BoM with him. He asked "where in the Bible does it talk about Jesus coming to America?" "Well, there's a chapter in the Book of Mormon that we'd like to read with you. It's Alma 11. This tells of Christ appearing to the people of ancient America and teaching them." He started reading/skimming out loud to himself. I stopped him and asked what he understood about what just happened. He explained. We read on, stopped again, he understood what was going on and was starting to accept it. We read on, etc. 
From there we got onto the topic of faith. I mentioned how last time we met with him he said how he admired our faith in Jesus Christ, said he doesn't have much faith, but he wants it. (THIS IS THE COOL PART) That morning we had been thinking of a scripture to send to someone else and I thought of Alma 32:27 "behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" GREAT SCRIPTURE. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes a HUGE claim. We claim to be the ONLY true church. WOW. So what that means is that the Church of Jesus Christ was either restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, or it wasn't. It's either ALL true or ALL false. Why not find out for yourself? Why not jump head first into something that could potentially be THE GREATEST BLESSING EVER. (I mean think about it, if Jesus Christ was living on the earth today wouldn't you want to be a part of it?) Well, here's the cool thing, His church is on the earth today & he leads and guides it through living prophets and apostles! The Heavens are opened and God speaks to His children!
Fast forward to this lesson: "How do you get faith?" He doesn't have faith. He wants faith. BOOOOOM BANG BAM. (that's the spirit hitting me with Alma 32) "THAT'S SUCH A GREAT QUESTION AND I HAVE A SCRIPTURE THAT WILL ANSWER THAT FOR YOU" (it's in all caps because I really was excited and probably yelled a bit.) We read Alma 32:21,26-28 with him. He understood that he needs to experiment on the word and by doing so his faith will grow. As we were talking, the natural woman (natural man) in me thought "he doesn't even have faith, we can't commit him to baptism", but here's another cool thing about missionary work, it's not up to you. This isn't my work or my companion's work. It's the Lord's work. So as I was thinking that now wasn't the right time to commit him to baptism, before I knew it I said "C, as you begin experimenting on the words, the scriptures, and the things we ask you to do, and as you see your faith grow and you come to know that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?" "I've been baptized before, but you mean do it again? like to be cleansed? yeah sure." COOLEST THING EVER. 
After that we HAD to tell someone, so we went over to Bishop's house and told him and his wife. They're friends with C and introduced him to the church. they were in shock because they've been working with him for years!

Today we had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple as a zone! Our session was at 8:30am, so we had to wake up at 5:45 am, so I'm dead tired. I need a nap ASAP. (So you're lucky you're getting such a good and long letter ;)  The temple is bigger than Detroit. It's super pretty.

Thanks for praying for me, I'm praying for you! I'm doing A LOT better. So try not to worry :) 
love you! talk to you soon!
xoxo Sister Viraldo


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Week of a New Transfer!

This week was something else!

It was by far the hardest week I've had in California, but also one of the best. It was hard because more than usual we were out knocking doors of less actives, potential investigators, and their neighbors, and talking to everyone we saw; nobody wanted to talk to us. After 4 days of doing the same exact thing in different parts of our area, I was feeling frustrated, to say the least. We were doing what we were supposed to be doing, talking with everyone and preaching the gospel, so why weren't we finding people to teach? Why wouldn't any of our investigators meet with us? Well, it's because people have their agency: they choose whether or not they want to listen to us.  As missionaries, we are called of the Lord to preach His gospel; our job is to give people the opportunity to learn. And we are promised that as we open our mouths, the Lord will bring us to those who are prepared to receive the gospel. I knew this. Heavenly Father is bound to his promises when we do our part. 
I was a little on edge this week. The responsibility that I felt I had over my area was a lot to take on my shoulders. Because of the inadequacy that I felt, on Tuesday I asked Elder F (district leader) for a Priesthood blessing. That was one of the most amazing blessings I've ever received. I knew that Heavenly Father was aware of my situation and that He trusted me and that I could do it with His help.  
Tuesday we did have a lesson with the R family and we taught them the Plan of Salvation. It went really well. The rest of the week we knocked on a lot of empty houses and hard-hearted people. It was prettyyyyy frustrating.  
Thursday we were out and about with zero success talking to people, and I NEEDED to have a conversation with someone other than my comp, so we stopped by the C's house and talked to Sister C for 40 minutes. Friday we did the same exact thing. Super exhausting, especially when NOBODY WANTS TO TALK TO YOU. People are actually scared of missionaries, haha. 
Then Saturday rolled around, and alas, we went out and for the first half of the day it was super frustrating. We then visited a potential investigator and a guy named C answered the door and seemed pretty interested. He asked us for a pamphlet and who the living prophet today is. No return appointment, but I'LL TAKE IT. After we left his house and we were walking down the street, I yelled "THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER!"  C was a little light that we needed! 
Then we went to visit C (I told you about him last wk) because he was supposed to go to church with us on Sunday (which he didn't...) so we stopped by to see him, but he wasn't there. Sister K then looked over the potential list again (even though we looked at it 100 times that day) and she got a feeling to go visit someone. We drove to his house and he was in his garage! He was telling us how he sees all these different churches around and wants to know which one is right. So right then and there we taught him part of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost, and prayer. He said that he wants to come to church and asked if we'd be there! Also, he asked if he called our number if it would be us that would answer. He wouldn't set up a return appointment (so not considered an investigator) because he has a really busy schedule right now, but he will start having more time off soon. He said that hopefully his wife will be open to it. He doesn't read very well, so he's going to have her read the Book of Mormon to him. Before we left I asked if we could say a prayer with him, he said "yeah, sure! I don't know how!" So we taught him to fold his arms and close his eyes. Then I prayed. His name is R R, (which he reminded me of in the middle of my prayer hahaha). He's SO AWESOME. If he doesn't contact us this week, we'll stop by and see him again.

New Year's Eve we had to be inside by 6pm studying. Then New Year's day was fine, nothing special. I forgot it was New Year's most of the day. Sorry I'm not giving more details on specific days, I forgot my journal.

This work is hard. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. I constantly have to remind myself that the Lord is on my side, and this week, although it was the toughest week of my mission thus far, I learned to rely on the Lord. I grew as a missionary more in this week than ever before. I love the quote "There's no comfort in a growth zone. There's no growth in a comfort zone." That was me this week. I initiated door contacts, which is not in my comfort zone, but I've already improved so much. I've still got a long ways to go, but I'm on my way to being the missionary I want to be and the missionary the Lord knows I can be.

It's hot here.
xoxo Sister Viraldo