Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm heading out of Santa Maria

Hello everybody!

Man, how I love writing home each week.  It's so fun. :)

Well, judging by the subject line, you can probably guess that I'm being transferred.  We got the calls this morning, and I'm heading off to Ventura!  The Ventura 4th Ward, to be exact.  I don't know the address to my new apartment or anything, so I'll send that off next week.  My new companion's name is Elder Tufts.  We are going to be "white-washing", meaning that none of us were in the ward before, and we are both going in not knowing anything or anyone.  Fun stuff!  It's going to be interesting... President and Sister Castro are leaving the mission on Friday, and President and Sister Felix are coming into the mission that day.  With me being in Ventura, I assume that I will be seeing the mission president quite often, because the mission home is in Ventura as well.

We had a zone conference this week, and President and Sister Castro and their children all talked to us and bore their testimonies.  President Castro was telling us that the best thing that we could do for the new mission president is to be as good as we can, and that we need to show him that we are an obedient mission.  

I have another miracle to report!  Tuesday night we had the car, and so we decided to drive to the opposite end of our area to do our miracle walk, because we have only been walking on one side.  We parked the car, and started out.  We went down a busy street and turned onto sort of a run-down, more ghetto part of town.  As we were walking, we saw a man smoking a cigarette walking his dog.  We started to talk with him, introduced ourselves, and he said his name was Monolito.  He told us that he was studying with the sister missionaries near San Bernardino.  He told us that he was visiting his mom, and she just got out of the hospital due to kidney stones.  We shared with him Ether 3:5, and talked about how God works miracles through our faith.  We talked about how we were doing a "miracle walk" and how it was a miracle that we ran into him.  He said, "Alright, well, let's do some miracles and lay on some hands!"  We eagerly followed him inside to his mother's apartment and gave her a blessing.  Elder Agle anointed and I sealed the oil.  I blessed her to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love her, and that they know exactly what she is experiencing, and that as she continues to meet with God's servants, (us) that she will come to a greater understanding of that love.  The Spirit was super strong, and she said thank you.  We went back downstairs with Monolito, and we sat down and talked for a little while.  He explained to us that he loves to watch the Mormon Messages on YouTube, and that he feels a special spirit from those.  I asked him how he felt as we were giving his mom a blessing, and he said peaceful and good.  We explained that this was the Spirit testifying to him that what we were doing, and the authority that we were performing that blessing, was true.  He said without a doubt, he believed.  He told us that when he sees missionaries and how clean they are, it makes him want to be better and that he wants to be like us.  We talked about baptism, and he really wants to get baptized, but the smoking addiction is holding him back.  We asked if he ever received a blessing before, and he said no.  It was late, and we had to leave, but he's going to come back this week and give the other elders a call.  He said a prayer with us, and he thanked Heavenly Father so much for allowing our paths to cross, and we gave him hug as we left.  The Spirit was so strong, that I just felt speechless on our walk back to the car.  God did direct our path, and I truly felt like a disciple of Christ, doing something that he would do.  We got in the car and said a prayer of gratitude, and I just kept thinking that night how grateful I am to have the priesthood to bless the lives of others.

So yeah!  Great things are happening here in California.  I hope all goes well with Rachel and Mario, and that Mario will get off parole soon so that he will be baptized.  I also hope that Rachel will have time to meet with the missionaries, and that the Spirit will testify to her that the things that we are teaching ARE true, and that she will get baptized.  It's going to happen. 

I love you all so much!  The Gospel's true!  Talk to ya next week.  From Ventura!

Love, Elder Harper

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