It has yet again been another great week. So, to start off, I heard about that 6.0 earthquake in Napa that happened a little while ago. I think there was another one that happened in LA or somewhere around there when I was in Santa Maria too. I never felt anything from either of those earthquakes. I do think it would be cool to experience one a little bit, because I've never been in one my whole life. Oh yeah, I didn't hear that Robin Williams committed suicide until last week. I guess that's what happens when you're a missionary.... ;)
So, just to answer basic questions about my time here, we have 12 missionaries in our district. There are 8 elders serving here in Lompoc, and 4 sisters serving in Solvang. We only all meet together on p-days and district meetings. There are 2 wards in Lompoc. There's a little Spanish group that meets on Sundays at our church building, separate from the english ward. We share the ward with 2 spanish elders that are over that group. The other 4 elders share the other ward.
This last Tuesday, like I mentioned, we had our zone conference in Ventura. It was amazing! It was good to listen to President and Sister Felix speak to us. We had spiritual talks, trainings, and dress code reminders. Speaking of that, we are now allowed to wear khaki pants in the mission! I'm guessing that the khaki pants I had back home are too small for me, so I think I'll just buy some at a thrift store for a few dollars. I can't wait to wear khakis. It's a lot cooler than wearing black slacks all the time...but, I digress. Zone Conference was a good experience and we came out feeling very spiritually uplifted. We were trained about justserve.org, and we will now be doing that. It's still in its beginning stages, but it will pick up soon I hope. Nothing was said about iPads at that time, but President Felix has promised us that we will get them before the year is over.
I haven't heard anything about Lily, but I hope that she's doing well and her mom is warming up to her meeting with the missionaries there. Nancy (17), the investigator that has the same issue here, is doing well also. We had a lesson with her on Friday, and her sister Vanessa (15) joined in on the lesson too. Vanessa was also against Nancy getting baptized because she doesn't think it's right to be baptized into two different churches. We explained to her about authority and how Jesus Christ walked nearly 60 miles to John the Baptist so He could be baptized. After explaining it, I showed her my line of authority and how it traced back to Jesus Christ. She understood things a little better after that, and let's just say we have a NEW INVESTIGATOR! Woohoo! Trav, you will probably get 2-3 every day when you're in Ecuador, but here in California it's a lot more difficult in that way, and we do a victory dance when we get one. :D Nancy, until then, was praying about the Book of Mormon to find out it was true, but still had not received an answer. Nancy was trying to help Vanessa understand things we were teaching, and I don't know exactly what happened, but something clicked in her brain and she said, "I got my answer! I know the Book of Mormon is true!" She was so happy and when she said the closing prayer, she expressed her thanks to Heavenly Father for answering her prayer.
About their parents: Nancy's parents are obviously against her getting baptized before she's 18. Her mom is meeting with the Spanish missionaries, but isn't progressing as much as Nancy is. Wouldn't it be cool for their whole family to get baptized at the same time? We have been suggesting to Nancy to fast and pray for her parents hearts to be softened, and she's been open to the idea.
Nancy is the one that's progressing the most out of our investigators. We have a few potential investigators that we go to here and there, and we are always doing less-active work.
There's a less-active member named Mike LaRieva that we have been working with. On Friday, we went over to his house and brought the Restoration DVD. After clarifying what the Restoration was, we watched the 20 min. DVD about it. During the portion of the movie when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, the clouds moved off of the sun and the sun reflected off of the adjacent white apartment building into the room, just as gradually as the light rested upon him.. It was really powerful, and I felt the Spirit really strong at that time and it gave me the goosebumps sensation. At the end of the video, we bore testimony that the Restoration really did happen and then he said the closing prayer. As he finished, we said goodbye and I gave him a hug, and then we immediately LEFT. We left while the Spirit was there so he could see the difference between when the Spirit is there and when it's not. He came to sacrament meeting yesterday too. The Spirit is working on him!
I am thankful to be a missionary. We have good experiences, and we have bad experiences. We have build-ups, and we have let-downs. But no matter what happens, I can feel the presence of the Lord in this work. This work is His work. "When we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to His help." I know the Gospel is true, and that this mission that I am serving will positively impact my service as a student, as a future husband, father, and priesthood holder. I love you all so much, and I'll talk to you again next week!
P.S. I hope your farewell went great, Trav!